The question we got recently about GMAT scores and LBS is actually a common one that BSers have.
Here’s one such exchange we had some years back, that seems worth talking about again. This scenario happened like this: The BSer sent us a single essay. We gave some opinions, and we asked some questions. We got more info from the BSer… and then our opinions changed.
Here’s from the BSer themself:
quick question you guys about applications in general – is everything *really* looked at on a holistic basis? I ask because obviously, in sharing only one of my essays with you fine folks, I got one response, but after framing up my profile, etc., it was a different one. I’m trying to get my head around this whole complete package thing, especially since applicants tend to focus on things within their control (essays, general online app, gmat) and it’s easy to get lost in the weeds with that stuff. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it seems like a good sign if everything comes together (i.e., your essays support what you’ve put in the online app, and your recs support the stories in the essay, etc.).
What do you guys think about the whole “holistic” notion of the process? BS or truth?
And EssaySnark sez:
NOT BS! TOTAL TRUTH! EVERYTHING COUNTS – AND THE ADCOMS NOTICE EVERYTHING!!
These adcom-peeps are TRAINED PROFESSIONALS! They’re like SPIES on a MISSION to uncover the truth! They’re SUPERHEROES: They have X-Ray Vision and they know the Secret Sauce!
What they do have is a well-honed BS-o-Meter. Like a finely-hewn sword, then can slice through your crapola in a nanosecond and see if there’s something worth seeing beneath it.
(Or they just hold their nose and go “Eww!” and shuffle your app to the bottom of the deck.)
The adcoms HAVE to look at everything in your app as a whole, because for the most part, BRAVE SUPPLICANTS SUCK at presenting themselves on paper. Now, you can’t totally suck or you won’t have a chance, but if you suck like the most of them, which is just a mediocre suck, then the adcom’s gonna take a careful look and see if they can figure out if you don’t really suck you just don’t know how to present yourself on paper that well, or if you really suck and are faking it in which case they will take a pass.
The adcoms are looking for any whiff of unethical behavior, Really Poor Judgment, and other indications of basically-he’s-not-ready-for-prime-time-let’s-pass.
They are also looking for can he cut it in bschool since bschool is haaaard and many Brave Supplicants do not realize this.
They are also looking for will this person add to our culture since CULTURE is one of the few things that differentiates one school from another.
They HAVE to look at the whole package because sometimes you get this really interesting person who’s done some cool stuff but DARNIT that GMAT score is low. (Just like we talked about the other week.)
They especially absolutely must look at the whole package because even more often you get that LOOKITME MA LOOKIT THIS GMAT SCORE!!!! dude who’s maybe got FLASH! and PANACHE! but is in all other areas not someone we wanna touch with a ten foot pole (can you say arrogant? or doesn’t play nice with others? or some other kind of steamroller and pushy and blech kind o’ dude that nobody wants around thank you very much!)
And they NO-MATTER-WHAT have to look at the whole package — especially if they’re a middle-of-the-pack really-good-school-by-anyone’s-standards-but-not-a-Harvard type school like Ross or UCLA or whatever — and they get lots of Average Joe applicants — like 710 GMAT and 3.3 GPA — and they need to see which of these dudes and dudettes is actually a GOOD GUY or CHICK* but they’ve got soooo many to look at…. It’s THOSE they possibly spend the MOST time on because they want to make SURE that they don’t pass on the next gonna-change-the-world-in-the-future person who just happens to look a little vanilla on paper today or has one flaw or two but is it critical?
EssaySnark has met a bunch of these adcom peeps, and we can say for sure, the adcoms take their jobs very seriously. They care about their school, they care about the educational mission and opportunities that an MBA can provide. They love seeing the kids that they accept come to their school and go through their program and come out the other side with amazing new jobs. They are not frivolous. By and large, they want you to succeed! So they’re gonna give you a chance. They know how difficult it is to put together a good application — which doesn’t mean they’ll cut you some slack if your essays are riddled with typos and you’ve got the name of a different school in your essay … a la “I really want to go to Columbia Business School because…” when it’s an application to NYU Stern… Uh, no. BUT!! they’re looking for winners, they’re looking for potential, they’re looking for proof that you’re gonna come to their school and make them proud — and they know that comes in myriad forms — and they know that it’s an inexact science at best.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus… the adcoms look at the whole enchilada. And if it’s on the EssaySnark blahg, it must be true!
*Sorry for the “chick” reference ladies but you hopefully agree that it’s better than “gal”, right?