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Monday, February 06, 2006

Admissions consultants irk top business schools

I doubt anything serious will come of this AP Wire announcement. Essay's under supervision? The cost of application would go up so high as to make the whole process unwieldly for schools that have a lot of prime candidates. For many schools, admisssion manpower is short handed as it. This sort of action would be unprecedented. Dental, Medical, and Law schools would all feel the reprecussions of such an action. Nice try, but not gonna happen.

BOSTON Some of the nation's top business schools are looking for ways to shut out the growing number of consultants who coach applicants on essays and interviews.

Admission consultants charge M-B-A hopefuls up to three thousand dollars per application to elite schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.

But school officials are worried that they're not seeing authenticity.

Britt Dewey, managing director for M-B-A admissions at Harvard Business School, tells the Boston Globe that "what we really want to see is the candidates."

The deans of seven top business schools plan to discuss the issue at an upcoming gathering.

They are considering conducting multiple interviews, and requiring applicants to complete essays under supervision.

Consultants, some of whom are former admissions officers, insist they're helping clients find their voices.

“Our value is in helping the applicant match himself or herself to a school,” Linda Abraham, president of, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm, told the Globe. “We're not creating a generic application, and we're not fitting to a generic application.”

The use of consultants is more accepted at undergraduate and law schools. At the elite business schools, there is a stigma because the degrees translate to high-paying jobs. The Globe reported that business school applicants don't disclose their use of consultants.

Some consultants are organizing a panel to discuss their work at a Graduate Management Admissions Council meeting in San Francisco this spring.

“We're starting to get some recognition by business school admission committees that we exist, that we're not going away,” said Alex Brown, admissions counselor at ClearAdmit LLC in Philadelphia.

Source Article


Stanford GSB was one school that posted a link to a the most thorough version of this article on the net.

Here's the link


Anonymous Chris said...

That AP story is complete crap, as is the quote, "what we really want to see is the candidates."

I do agree, however, that there are unscrupulous admissions consultants out there and feel the story should point this out. These types of consultants go so far as to write essays and recommendation letters for candidates.

Obviously, this type of behavior is completely unethical.

The legitimate admissions consultants are professional and do no conduct business in a shady manner.

Coaching can be a valuable tool for MBA applicants.

Perhaps the schools need to make their admissions process more detailed?

I am on the side of schools conducting more lengthy and detailed interviews with its applicants.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

I recently talked candidly to someone from admissions at a top school. This was at a party with friends, so she was somewhat off the record. She explained that she was tired of reading applications from overseas applicants that had all been coached by the same few consultants.

She told me that it seemed like there was some sort of template they used that made all of them sound the same. She said it was refreshing to read the occassional app that had an original voice, instead of making the same points that the consultants advise. To her, it was clear who had been coached and who hadn't, and it didn't seem that those who hired consultants overseas (at least if it was one of the popular ones) were at any advantage. In fact, they might have been at a disadvantage.

I'm sure it's different for US applicants, but I found it interesting to hear about how transparent it was to them for overseas applicants.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Dave for MBA said...

This article is shady at best. Primarily because the article doesn't go into explicit detail as to what target area of the admissions consultants they are pursuing. The fact that Clear Admit and are used for comment on the article are a sure sign to me that U.S. based Admin consultants are not public enemy number one.
I would further add that the target group of applicants may be too hot to comment about. For example, I've found that applicants from India use the same template Admin Consultants. I even have numerous messages from folks in India that have asked me whether they should use them because it seemed so many others were using them. The prices were reasonable so that was the first clue that the services weren't good.

Admin Consultant pricing is high to begin with. They tend not to be reasonable in pricing unless you consider ROI on applicant acceptance or not.

Anyway, the B-schools can't comment like this lest they be targeted as being called racist or biased in some way. But I have no problem saying. Frankly, because I know it's true. Not necessarily India per se, but a few populations outside the U.S. tend to be the majority of the culprits.

12:40 AM  

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