h/t to this dude on Medium for this.
[T]he inventor of the first programmable computing device design, Charles Babbage, was asked about this on two different occasions:
“If you put wrong figures into the machine, will the right answers come out?”
His response is classic:
“I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”
That’s kind of the deal with the MBA admissions process.
If you put the wrong inputs in, how are you going to expect to see the answer you want on the other side?
“Wrong inputs” might be:
- Inflating your achievements
- Hyping up what you have done in your career in an attempt to sound impressive
- Changing your job titles on the resume
- Shifting dates just real subtle-like to try and hide a small gap in employment
- Or the other thousand-and-one ways you could manipulate the facts of your background to try to hide what you perceive as a weakness
This, all in an attempt to fool or convince or in some way cajole the adcom reader to admit you.
The “system” in this case is a school that tells you over and over that they want you to be yourself, that they care about authenticity, that they want to meet you as an individual. And yet many BSers get all strung up into knots in trying to come across in a specific way.
It’s very rare that a BSer goes into the process PLANNING to do this. Those small decisions are usually made one at a time and they each probably seem like non-issues. But every time you sugarcoat, or obfuscate, or glaze over the facts, then you’re at risk of taking yourself further away from the goal.
Adcom readers develop this incredible Spidey sense. It’s pretty darned easy to tell if someone is totally full of it.
It’s also really easy to spot the ones that work hard, that have thought through all of their answers, that have written their drafts and then ripped them up and then written them all over again. Those aren’t always the ones that the tippy-top schools are able to admit all the time, but they definitely are the ones that get noticed, and that get pondered over, and that the adcom reader spends more time with before making a call.
Garbage in, garbage out is a pretty good rule for how life tends to work. It’s definitely one of the truisms of the application process as well.