It’s safe to say that we are in the midst of massive change in our world.
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday only reinforces that reality — the reality that EVERYTHING is being reshaped and reformed.
That’s why everyone is so stressed out right now — that, and the massive uncertainty, where we just don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Historians are going to be unlikely to capture what this moment really is like. Yes there has been tremendous upheaval in the past. Yes there have been major wars and other pandemics and economic depressions that affected everyone. Yet when you read about those in the history books when you were in gradeschool, you probably came away with literally zero understanding of what the experience was like for the people who lived through it. Even talking to your grandparents about their lives in a war likely didn’t really impart upon you what it felt like.
Anyway, this is a getting-into-bschool blahg so let’s bring it back around to focus on that:
The schools are doing admissions differently now too.
We told you last week that MIT Sloan is not requiring a test for applying to their MBA program now. We’ve updated our MIT Sloan SnarkStrategies Guide to offer a full discussion of the implications of this for you, because there are a lot of moving parts to it. We mentioned in that post about how MIT is “changing the game” that standardized admissions tests reinforce an unfair system of privilege, and we don’t have direct confirmation that that’s what’s underlying the change at Sloan. It’s not that they are seeking to fix the system of racial and socioeconomic inequity with this change. It may be a byproduct, rather than a driver. And, how it actually plays out in their admissions decisions is a total unknown (though again, our MIT Strategy Guide goes into the possibilities and how your own decisions should be made on what to share with the adcom in your application).
That’s not all that’s changing.
With the arrival of Dean James at Wharton, things were already going to change there just by nature of the extreme difference in leadership that she represents compared to their status-quo dean who’s now left — and then all these other events of the world have made schools take stock and re-examine. We already know that next year’s application requirements at Wharton will be different. The current Class of 2023 requirements including essay questions had already been announced and they apparently opted not to tinker with things, and instead take a measured approach to looking at things like essay prompts next season.
For this season, we are betting that their previous priorities in how they evaluated candidates based on their measures of quality are changing behind the scenes even if they’re not going to advertise that publicly. For this reason, we are encouraging more candidates to try for Wharton because there is a high likelihood that Wharton admissions will be looking at app data with fresh eyes this year. In the past, GMAT and GPA were given a massive precedence there. It’s still likely they will end up with high GMAT and GPA averages when the Class of 2023 is announced, but we also suspect that there will be a different sort of class makeup overall.
It all remains to be seen.
The other change is greater transparency — there are new standards for what data schools will publish in their class profiles — though the schools could still be doing more, specifically around reporting how many applications they got from a) women, and b) underrepresented minorities. Now, schools like Harvard and hopefully all others are reporting race/ethnicity at a greater granularity than they have done before, including this data from Harvard’s Class of 2022 :
Still, it’s progress.
Bureaucracies are hard to change.
Systems are hard to change.
And yet: When everything changes… that means there’s an opening. We’re currently in a moment of re-examination, of HAVING to adapt, of questioning how things have been done.
Are you going to double down on what has been in the past?
Or are you someone who’s finding ways to be open to the changes and let life take us to a new place entirely?
Are you SEEKING OUT ways to do it differently now?
It’s hard to have that type of bravery, when it seems everything is unstable and anxiety levels keep rising with no outlet.
This post is to recognize that things are scary, and change is hard, and most of us don’t like this level of upheaval at all.
We’re going to be watching schools like Harvard who will be soon announcing their plans to invite Round 1 applicants to interview. We expect them to be issuing higher numbers of invitations this year though most schools have not actually shared numbers like that publicly. Maybe this year Harvard will choose to do so they provide the date(s) that invites will go out.
Side note in case you want to understand how Harvard does interviews, here’s how it’s worked in the recent past; it’s impossible to say yet if they’re going to do it exactly that way this year, though we do expect them to try to make it a one-and-done, where on one single day, EVERYONE who applied in Round 1 will either be invited, or released, or put in the limbo state of “Further Consideration” which is tough but also positive.
Since Harvard’s admissions team is not having to travel the world this year, that frees up many extra days within the calendar that perhaps they’ll devote to interviewing instead. Which means that they would have the resources to interview more folks. EssaySnark is holding out hope that they, and all of their elite-school admissions peers, are looking for ways to be more inclusive and open in their admissions processes. So far we have seen that happening.
We will be watching and waiting for how it plays out in actual admit decisions and what the classes of future MBA students shape up to be.
The world is changing. Please, admissions teams, please lead the change that you profess all your schools stand for.