Why do you want to go to business school? Is it to advance your career? While that may be the answer for many, that's not what business school admissions officers want to hear. They're bored. Sick of it. They want to be wowed. They want to drill down to who you are- as a human. They want to get to know you. Step out of these clothes and slip into something more comfortable. Figure out what motivates you. What makes you tick. How to they intend to do this? By changing the face of the b-school application process as we know it. The well compensated powers that be in academia have revolutionized the interview process in the following ways:
"Staff-moderated group discussions." Group interviews, to the layman.
Beginning this winter, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School will invite a random sampling of M.B.A. applicants to participate in a staff-moderated on-campus group discussion with fellow applicants. They will be encouraged to discuss and debate current topics in business, as chosen by the school.
Insanely quirky and not at all textbook masturbatory prompts that have been posed at university applicants for years.
...even the quirkiest questions can get uninspiring responses. The Haas School, bringing back an old prompt, asked applicants for the class entering in fall 2008, "If you could have dinner with one individual in the past, present or future, who would it be and why?" But Haas's Ms. Fujii was underwhelmed by the answers. She believes an admissions consultant told clients to say "yourself, 30 years in the future," a response that quickly cluttered her office.
Asking applicants to answer the world's craziest questions in 200 characters or less
The University of Iowa's Henry B. Tippie School of Management this summer offered a full scholarship valued at $37,240 to the applicant who best answered, "What makes you an exceptional Tippie full-time M.B.A. candidate and future M.B.A. hire?" via a tweet...Columbia Business School this year is asking applicants to respond in no more than 200 characters to the following question: "What is your post-M.B.A. professional goal?" (The answer would be shorter than the length of this paragraph.)
This last one is almost scary in how "out there" it is. Restricted to 200 letters/spaces/punctuations marks, who knows what kind of crazy shit people will reveal. Instead of going on for 4 paragraphs about how they ultimately want to become an a portfolio manager at mid-sized hedge fund, the character limit will force them to tell the admissions committee, "My goal is to sell organs on the internet." Or maybe the limit will serve to potentially open an even bigger window into any given applicant's soul. Not only will it get them to reveal their real reason for attending business school but could separate the squares who play by the rules and are destined for middle management from those who know when to break them by saying I see your character limit and raise you not only 458 but the chance to accept someone who has the vision and conviction of his ideas to tell you this:
What I really want to do, more than anything in this entire world...and I've never told this to anyone...is I want to breed dogs. I want find one dog out of all of them that not only has the beauty and the grace to win the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show...but then has the speed and the determination to win the Greyhound Classic, which is the Kentucky Derby of dog graces. And then I want to take him to Alaska for what I think is the ultimate test of endurance, and that's to lead his entire family in the Iditorad, with me driving. And to win with a record time. That's really my only ambition and I've never been able to tell anyone about it until now.