To diverge for a moment from our topic of yesterday about how “applying everywhere isn’t a strategy” (read part 1 here if you missed it):
Another contributing factor to this trend of many people applying to many more schools is the admissions consulting industry itself. “Common wisdom” seems to be that you need to apply to more schools in order to maximize your chances of getting in. You can easily spot the biased rationale here, right?
“You need to apply to more schools to have a shot” with the unspoken add-on idea of and you need to pay me to help you with all of them. Totally opposite to our do-it-yourself approach to this whole thing. That advice contains such an obvious conflict of interest that it’s laughable. Yet people fall for it all the time.
Plus, being a leader is about thinking things through and determining a good plan; it’s about weighing out your options and deciding the right course. Running a business – and running your life – should not be a shoot-from-the-hip random let’s-see-what-happens kind of deal. If you want to take control of your own destiny (to the best extent that Life allows such idealized notions of control) then you need to do your homework and make good choices. Yet the concept of researching schools to determine best fit often seems to completely escape people – not only those applying, but those so-called “experts” too. In fact, we recently saw this on a discussion board:
So what I would say, is apply, see where you get in, and THEN from those schools we can figure out what is better for YOU.
OMG that is so completely backwards it’s ridiculous.
All we have to say to that is, caveat emptor.
Actually no, we have a lot more to say about that. One of the main reasons we started this blahg in the first place was to offer GOOD advice to all the lost souls out there who were trying to get into business school. That, and to offer it for free, since it seemed like highway robbery in terms of what some admissions consultants charge. Believe it or not, and as idealized as it sounds, it’s our small effort at trying to help the world. If it’s only the rich kids who get into Harvard – or Columbia, or wherever – then the system only gets worse. Yeah, we know, we can’t really affect the imbalance in the world. But honestly, that’s where we were coming from when we first started posting here, way back when.
That, and because we would read crap like that from other consultants and just say “WHAT?!??”
Basically what we get from that is that the consultant is saying, “You don’t need a strategy to apply to bschool – just apply to schools you like” — that whole thread we linked to is about the “prestige” of schools, and you can read our reaction to that idea as the first response on the thread — “But wait, this thing is so complicated that you need my help to have a chance at it.”
So, no strategy needed, but I need to help you with strategy.
Yeah we’re oversimplifying but sheesh.
All right, off the soapbox. We’re going to take up this “how many apps?” question again in the next week or so, since it’s a very important one. Stay tuned.