Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Type-casted ?

Do MBA Admissions committees really type-cast the swarm of applicants into pools?

What got me thinking was when I looked at the optional essay in my list of essays to write. Do I write something in this? Are there some 'extenuating' circumstances in my background that could be perceived as weaknesses or raise questions? Or is there some facet of my personality that can add value to my application, that has not been revealed in the other essays? Tricky question.

I've been attending a lot of webinars and the recent one, which was hosted by Linda Abraham (Accepted.com), helped applicants learn more about the Haas full time program. With a show of hands (virtually) the number of people who thought that their level experience (either low or high) was a reason for concern as far as how well their applications would be received was over 30%. Another post by Linda on the popular applicant group, 'The Indian IT male' shows how stressed these applicants are, they nearly want to change continents just to be different!

When asked how any admissions committee decides on the academic strength of students from various parts of the world, the answer is they are rated with their peers from their part of the world, which means their country. So, are these worries good to have? I would think its good to know and be aware of what you are competing with and who you are going to be compared against.

 I wouldn't blame the admissions committees for doing what they do. When I want to create a team for a project, I have to define a lot of factors which would bring us success. One of them would be to organise a good mix of people in the team. I would have to decide what each person brings to the group and so categorization comes naturally, albeit I don't really have to bring religion, race, gender into the foray when I do that. But the Adcoms have a bigger goal to achieve. To find the next batch of future leaders is no easy balancing act.

So there is no running away from the type-casting that is going to be tried out when your essays are read. What's important is that you are aware of it and decide to show something different from the pool you could be type casted in. How do you do that? Lets just say, I'll let you on my thoughts in a post maybe 6 months from now, when I have an admit in my mailbox. But feel free to post your thoughts ;)

Apart from that cheeky aside, just to let you know my type cast. I'm an Indian IT applicant, a female (didn't have to change genders to get that (assumed) brownie point!), deemed 'older' applicant, who is done fretting about this mould, who knows what she wants this year and is going all out to get it!

PS: A very interesting find on this subject was the Veritas prep app, MBA Admissions predictor. It couldn't predict anything for me, so I guess I'm not type-casted after all?

1 comment:

  1. Typecasting is not that bad, but when they typecast after nationality only with respect to grades, it kinda sucks and makes you feel that the system is messed up!