Business schools want applicants to submit more concise writing essays or even use slideshows or videos. Leading business schools are looking for students who can express their thoughts clearly and concisely. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal has a famous saying that he does not have time for short letters, so he writes long ones. The ability to create informative, but concise texts is rare. It was one of the reasons why from applicants who apply to the leading business schools, now require fewer essays. And those that need to be provided must be short.
“In the first place we put a clear, concise and reasoned expression of thoughts. And the reduction in the number and volume of the essay makes candidates think about what they want to share, “explains Kate Smith, deputy dean for student admissions and financial assistance to Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. Here in 2014 they began to demand 2 compositions instead of 3 and were asked to give more concise answers.
“To write briefly is really a difficult task.”
Harvard School of Business today asks for just one essay. For comparison, a decade ago they were 7. Students applying for the academic year 2018 are interested in what they would tell their friends at the rate after they arrived on campus. At the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where 5 years ago 4 essays were required, today’s applicants are asked to write only 500 words. At Columbia University, in one of the written assignments, students are invited to talk about their plans for life after studying for an MBA, meeting only 50 characters. And this is only a little bit more than a third of the average tweet. This number appeared as a result of a gradual decrease in the volume with 200 characters, used 4 years ago.
“Reduction is definitely a major trend over the past 4-5 years,” said Matt Simonds, co-author of The MBA Admissions Edge and one of Fortuna Admissions’ directors advising applicants for business schools.
Symonds explained the changes and the congestion of the admissions commissions, connected with a sharp, almost record growth in the number of candidates. At the moment, this trend is typical only for elite schools, but he expects other universities to follow their example.
Business schools are experimenting with various formats of the essay.
This autumn, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business asked candidates to take 1 out of 16 school-related photographs and use it as a starting point for discussing the topic “Why Booth is What I Need”. At the same time, applicants were offered “without hesitation” to present presentations or choose “for their answer any format that seems most organic.”
The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in 2012 introduced a video essay, replacing them with 2 written essays. The same idea was used by Yale University School of Management and Northwestern’s Kellogg. All 3 universities use a platform that offers a question and gives limited time for preparation. Due to this, the focus is aimed precisely at the applicant’s response, and not on his / her productivity.
Why do admission committee members like the video format?
Applicants are harder to “pull” on this format.
“Unfortunately, due to the proliferation of messaging sites and consultants on entrance exams trying to convince students that there are” right “answers to such questions, many statements turn out to be similar to each other,” wrote in her blog post, representing video format, Niki da Silva, director of HR and recruitment of Rotman students. In addition, according to Smith, the ability to introduce oneself properly during a videoconference is an extremely important skill in business communication. She recalls: one of the weighty arguments in favor of the video essay was her dialogue with one of the students of Kellogg, who mentioned that the first round of her interview at Nike included a videoconference.
How to prepare? You do not need to seem too well trained, Symonds warns. You must use your presentation skills and thoughtfulness and behave “clearly spontaneously.” Tell us about your goals and life succinctly, and after losing a thread of reasoning, “breathe, calm down and return to normal.”