One of the most common statements that MBA admissions committees hear from applicants who have rocky academics is, “My GPA does not reflect my ability.” We have cautioned against this before as not quite the ideal. So then, what is? We’re reluctant to be too direct in making suggestions for what to say in an…
First of all, if your GMAT is low, then we don’t recommend writing an optional essay about it at all. The optional essay is meant to explain, and thereby neutralize, issues and weaknesses in your app. If your GMAT is low, there is no amount of explaining that will neutralize it. The only thing that…
We see statements like that quite a bit in optional essays about poor academic performance in college and we had thought we’d done a post explicitly discussing it, but it appears that we have not. This one on “My abilities did not match my performance” touches on it. However it deserves a post of its…
If you’re just starting the process of applying to bschool for the first time, this post is not for you. Today we’re mostly talking to those who are either still on the waitlist, or who will be reapplicants, and who will be informing the adcom about an updated GMAT score either in a waitlist update…
If you’re reapplying to business school then by definition that means that there was something off in your original application. The schools give you different essays to lay out for them your explanations for what you’ve addressed and how you’ve improved. We cover a whole bunch of advice for self-assessing your original apps and determining…
So many times over the past year and a half, we’ve been tempted to blahg about the person who’s become the Republican candidate for President of the United States. So many teachable moments – and some positives, too, actually! There has been debate in Snarkville about it (not nearly as heated as the debate last night!) but in Fall 2015 we decided we’d just leave it alone. We don’t want this to be a political place. You come here for snark about bschool admissions; there’s more than enough snark out there on the interwebs about all of this other nonsense. We wanted this to be a safe space (ha!) where you could enjoy living in a parallel dimension where none of that RL stuff ever invaded.
But then last week we posted a snippet of a field report from a last-year BSer that referenced a political candidate and on Friday, we were served with an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
Anyway, it’s not like we’ve never used politics or current events as fodder for the blahg before. We referenced the 2008 Democratic Primary debate between Obama and Clinton in a 2014 “Are you likeable?” post about interviewing. And we actually covered what we’re going to talk about today last year in this post about hacked emails where Sony executives made jokes in poor taste about the President.
What we got on Friday was a scandalous recording from ten years ago where this Presidential candidate said some things about women, which prompted the candidate to release a video Friday night ostensibly apologizing for what he said. (If you have not seen either or both of these videos yet, what rock have you been hiding under??? We’re not about to link to them directly, they’re easy enough to find on your own if you need to catch up.)
In the apology video, the candidate made the classic assertion:
“Anyone who knows me knows these words do not reflect who I am.”
Why on earth is EssaySnark going to such pains to lay all of this out for you?
It’s because it’s the most common assertion in the world and it pretty much always is bogus.
When you say to the adcom, “My grades in college do not reflect my abilities.”
Or when you say, “My GMAT score does not…”
Well guess what?
These things DO reflect. In fact, by the very nature of them – words, behavior, test scores, GPA – that’s EXACTLY what they do.
The only thing we have to evaluate our fellow human being and to see what they’re made of is the things that they do and the things that they say.
That is ESPECIALLY true in your MBA applications.
Your academic record is a sum total of all of your abilities – or if not your abilities, your willingness to put forth the effort.
The words a person speaks come from their thoughts. Nobody will ever say something that does not originate in their mind. If you’re claiming that your mind is not a reflection of who you are, well, sorry but that does not fly.
Same with this classic (and useless) excuse about academic performance or results of a standardized test.
When you trot out this “does not reflect” line, you’re basically insulting your audience. You’re saying, “Look, this happened, OK? Much as I’d like to pretend that it didn’t, and have tried to hide it, now that it’s out in the open and part of the record, I guess I need to deal with it. But you shouldn’t judge me on it. Why not? Because I say so.”
If you find yourself in a situation that you need to explain something negative from your profile to the adcom in your MBA applications, then…
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THAT is how you handle a difficult situation from your past. THAT is how you neutralize a negative in your profile – or even, best case scenario, turn it into a positive. THAT is how you avoid insulting your adcom reader’s intelligence with the fallback and totally transparent and empty claim that everyone says when they’re busted with something that they shouldn’t have done, but they did.
To bring this around to a positive and mention the original reason for the Snarkville debate on whether or not to reference this man on the blahg: Everyone by now has heard him speak. What struck us even a year ago and continues to this day is his speaking style. He speaks in short, declarative sentences using simple language and structure. Most of his sentences are of the basic form: subject -> verb -> object. (Usually with some big adjectives and adverbs thrown in.) This style has been evaluated as speaking at a third-grader’s level , or by others in a more rigid analysis, a sixth-grader , which to some sounds like a criticism, but it’s actually a technique that invites clarity.
We are not about to suggest that anyone model their MBA essays on this person’s style – but we will say that writing more simply is usually an advantage in your applications. (We will leave the question of the content of this person’s speech for you to evaluate.)
You should be able to reuse the core content from one optional statement to another school but recognize that the actual submission may need to be tweaked or tailored to the specific school based on their differing requirements. It’s getting a little more complicated in the case of the Optional Essay because schools are starting…