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Calling All Quant Gurus, Help w/ Hypothetical

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Calling All Quant Gurus, Help w/ Hypothetical [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 13:30
If I remembered anything about stats I might have a more eloquent way of posing this, but hopefully it makes sense:

If you took a candidate's profile, and you were somehow able to run it through the admissions process at every business school ranked roughly 11-25, and if somehow you were able to run this trial hundreds of times, what do you think the accuracy would be?

So for instance, if I applied to Stern a thousand times, how many times do you think I would receive the same decision from them? I realize there would be some volatility for people "on the bubble" at certain schools, but I'm assuming most people apply to schools that are attainable or a slight reach, so most people are probably close to the bubble.

So would you say 90% of the time I would get the same response? Or is it more of a crapshoot?

I've heard of people with great profiles applying to four schools and getting dinged at all four, and I've also heard of people who weren't very confident in their profile because of some flaws, so they applied to a bunch of schools to be safe, and then ended up getting admitted to several.

I guess I'm trying to get a sense for what everyone thinks the "volatility" is in this whole process.

It seems at top schools the volatility would be much higher because there would be so many great candidates to select, and small quirky things might make the difference. That's why I'm thinking you would cut the top 10 or so schools out of the hypothetical.

There are probably more considerations that I'm not thinking of that make this whole hypothetical question totally irrelevant, but thought this might at least generate some interesting conversation.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 14:39
Well, let me see here..

If you take a binomial distribution and apply it to bayesian theory, you can extrapolate the E(x) given X bar through Y, assuming of course a r squared value of at least say 0.5. Given that, the E(X) value would roughly equate to the summation of En = n/n-1 where n is > 1, and ideally greater than 1000.

Ok I made that up.

I think its heavily subjective to some extent - with two exceptions. I think there are clear denys that would always be clear denies - the 430 GMAT, 2.2 GPA applying to Stanford. There are possibly some clear admits, but I'd actually venture that 80% of the applicants are inbetween -either admits or denies.

In other words, I think youd find that if you applied to Stern 1000 times, I suspect youd find that youd be admitted 50% of the time and denied 50% of the time.

I don't know where the thread is, but this can kind of be proven - a little bit. If you assume that GMAT and GPA are fair predictors of the relative quality of an applicant, and you look at admissions411 data and run a regression on it, you'll find that that the r2 values are horrible - like 0.03 or something - the variables don't explain or accurately predict anything at all. What that tells me is that, within the 80% band (which admissions411 has a lot of - mostly 660 and above scores) the result is heavily subjective. Obviously this is not hte same candidate 1000 times, so its not the same test - but if the process was not so subjective, youd expect to see some correlation between GPA or GMAT and admission. The fact that you don't suggests that the process is largely subjective.

In other words: it's a total crapshoot.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 14:44
rhyme wrote:
Well, let me see here..

If you take a binomial distribution and apply it to bayesian theory, you can extrapolate the E(x) given X bar through Y, assuming of course a r squared value of at least say 0.5. Given that, the E(X) value would roughly equate to the summation of En = n/n-1 where n is > 1, and ideally greater than 1000.



Hee hee! Funnie!
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 14:54
sm176811 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
Well, let me see here..

If you take a binomial distribution and apply it to bayesian theory, you can extrapolate the E(x) given X bar through Y, assuming of course a r squared value of at least say 0.5. Given that, the E(X) value would roughly equate to the summation of En = n/n-1 where n is > 1, and ideally greater than 1000.



Hee hee! Funnie!


Hey it SOUNDS good... haha
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 14:58
rhyme wrote:
sm176811 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
Well, let me see here..

If you take a binomial distribution and apply it to bayesian theory, you can extrapolate the E(x) given X bar through Y, assuming of course a r squared value of at least say 0.5. Given that, the E(X) value would roughly equate to the summation of En = n/n-1 where n is > 1, and ideally greater than 1000.



Hee hee! Funnie!


Hey it SOUNDS good... haha


Well for MBAs that all matters - it should sound good and convincing! :)
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 16:18
rhyme wrote:
sm176811 wrote:
rhyme wrote:
Well, let me see here..

If you take a binomial distribution and apply it to bayesian theory, you can extrapolate the E(x) given X bar through Y, assuming of course a r squared value of at least say 0.5. Given that, the E(X) value would roughly equate to the summation of En = n/n-1 where n is > 1, and ideally greater than 1000.



Hee hee! Funnie!


Hey it SOUNDS good... haha


You forgot the value-add (I hate this phrase)
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 16:36
You serious, you really think it's a crapshoot? I kind of get that sense just from anecdotes and whatnot, but wasn't sure if other people thought the same.

If I didn't have time contstraints I would have applied to many more schools to guard against that sort of volatility.
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 [#permalink] New post 06 Feb 2007, 16:57
I believe that for most schools, there are clear admits and denies. It's very surprising to see someone with a 3.9 from a top school and a 760+ denied, and it's also surprising to see someone with a 2.3 from a mediocre school and a 650 admitted.

Then there is a large pool of people that could be considered in the mix; people that are within the 80% middle for GPA & GMAT. These are people that can be admitted or denied based on other factors. I don't necessarily think it is a crapshoot, but there is definitely some randomness involved. I also believe that people need to be realistic about the other parts of their application.

For example, if both GPA & GPA are within the 80% middle, but below the average, then chances are probably not good. I think it's important to consider that just like with GPA & GMAT, 5 or 10% of applicants can distinguish themselves in other parts of their application. Sure, everyone thinks they will write winning essays, honestly, only 5-10% will really be great. People need to be honest with themselves; is there any reason to believe that their essays will be better than those of competing applicants? There are people around with truly distinguishing experiences and truly elite writing skills because they use them every day. It's a mistake for everyone to think that they can be average or below average in GPA & GMAT, and automatically assume they will score points with their essays.

Same with interview skills. Probably 5-10% will really be able to distinguish themselves in this arena. Each person knows whether it is reasonable to assume they will do will.

Work experience is no different. A small percentage of the people of the people out there had really distinguishing work experience. Then there's the other 90-95% of applicants.

So, I don't believe it's a total crapshoot, even for those in the general mix. I believe that some of the deciding factors are not necessarily clear. A useful checklist might look something like this, and for top ten schools you probably need to be above average in almost all of them:

GMAT & GPA: both above average, pretty much in the middle, both below average.

Work Experience: Truly distinguishing with lots of responsibility and promotions at a job that was highly competitive to obtain, an average experience at a job that was highly competitive, below average experience at an elite job, average at an average job, average performance at a low-level job, etc. Be honest, some people are coming from jobs where there were hundreds of applicants for each position.

Essays: Awesome experiences and excellent writing skills, average experiences and excellent writing skills, below-average experiences with poor writing skills, any of the above with poor writing skills, etc. Again, be honest - are you a great essay writer? Why do you believe that?

Interview: Again, try to gauge the full range of competition. Some other applicants are in positions where they interview applicants for their current companies. People that have been through (on both sides of the table) dozens or hundreds of interviews will likely do the best. People that make friends easily will likely do well. Do not discount good looks and do not discount natural charisma. Each person knows themselves (take a hard look and be honest) to know whether they are the type that can expect to have killer interviews.

If there were a way to accurately judge this type of information, I don't think it would seem to be as much of a crapshoot. People really are only qualified to examine themselves, given the data available.
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My thoughts [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2007, 00:09
I absolutely agree with Pelihu that after all the subjective information is converted to the same scale using some (publicly unknown) conversion factor one can probably predict the decision with a pretty good accuracy. This is what adcoms imply when they say that the process is pretty robust. Many applicants are not reflective and honest enough to assess their chances realistically. Specially when it comes to qualities like maturity/self awareness - there is no standardized test to inform one about one's standing in the applicant pool and hence stats only provide partial information.

After years of experience, adcoms probably have a good sense of a good application even though they may not have an exact formula - they may have devised short hand methods/ready made list of things to look for after observing how past applicants with similar profile performed in their program and post-MBA in the past, from feedback of recruiters, career paths within different industries etc etc even though they will never publicly acknowledge it - this is not to suggest that adcom has any deliberate intention of stereotyping applicants - but the fact is - this is how human brain operates when it needs to deal with huge amount of information in a short time and this is how things turn out.

Another important piece is - self awareness - in my opinion, for many applicants with excellent stats, this might be the make or break. Excellent stats with little self awareness reflected in the essays will probably result in a ding unless the applicant is seen as a young super achiever who is immature but has great potential (usually valid only for young applicants, for older applicants lack of self awareness can be fatal).

Good self reflection can convert average experiences in to insightful and strong stories. But even excellent experiences not written in an introspective tone or a story written in a manner that stresses on the "wrong" areas (Focussing on the event/situation instead of one's thoughts, actions and learnings) may bias the reader the wrong way (impressions like - too full of oneself, lacks maturity, lacks big picture view, not self aware etc etc)

For many applicants with excellent stats - lack of self reflective voice in essays probably can be a good predictor for ding. And very few people realize on their own that their essays lack self-awareness - or else they would have changed them in the first place. Writing skills would probably play a part only at the extremes - when the applicant cannot express his/her thoughts coherently in grammatically correct english or the applicant is an accomplished writer who immediately distinguishes himself/herself from the pack.

And finally, one could get just plain unlucky - 3 adcom readers in bad mood ?? i would think the probability of that would be low. However,a significantly stronger applicant pool in a particular year can probably affect one's chances more than the subjective assessment of adcom. I dont believe that adcoms would deny one strong application because they have already admitted X applicants of "similar demography" - Yes they do favour diversity and probably have some kind of class composition in mind - but that fact *alone* would probably not determine one's fate. Other weakness in the application AND informal "quota" would more likely seal the fate. On the other hand, if the overall quality of the pool fluctuates from year to year, one may get admitted one year and may not in another.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Feb 2007, 13:57
How about figuring out the chances of admissions given an interview invite? (conditional probability?) Is it safe to assume that because you were invited for an interview, they consider your profile to be "good enough"?

Or do you think they will interview applicants who "don't quite make the cut, but give them a chance (in interview) to prove himself"?

During one of my interviews, my interviewer told me how their admission process works: each category is out of 6 points - GMAT, GPA, essays, experience, references and interview.
You need a certain number of points to get an interview, and a certain number of points to get admitted.

This would mean that a decent/good interview is all you need. And unless you bomb it or totally don't get along with the interviewer, you have a good chance.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2007, 06:40
fluffydot wrote:
During one of my interviews, my interviewer told me how their admission process works: each category is out of 6 points - GMAT, GPA, essays, experience, references and interview.
You need a certain number of points to get an interview, and a certain number of points to get admitted.

This would mean that a decent/good interview is all you need. And unless you bomb it or totally don't get along with the interviewer, you have a good chance.



Just curious as to what school this was? Thanks. Also, you guys are forgetting if all else fails, during your interview you could always take the interviewer hostage!

Also, as earlier noted, I have conducted over 100 interviews and charisma, appearance and verbal skills are the three most important factors that influence an interview. This, of course is objective, but for me those traits influence an interview tremendously.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2007, 07:08
That point system is crazy. That means for that school that GMAT, GPA, Essays, Experience, Recs, and Interview are all worth exactly 16.6%

I wonder how many schools have point systems like that.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2007, 07:10
If it is true though, it really reinforces adcom telling us everything is only one part of the process.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2007, 07:31
I got that from University of Toronto...

But it makes sense... a strong GMAT can compensate for slightly lower GPA but can't make up for multiple weaknesses. However, I'm sure this system still has a lot of randomness because there would be many ties where scores are just around the admit score. Then it's just up to the adcom to choose who appears more interesting...

But it does give hope to people (most ppl on this board) who are slightly above average in each category. 8-)
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2007, 07:33
Somehow I would think that sort of system is the exception rather than the rule.
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 [#permalink] New post 08 Feb 2007, 08:29
I wouldn't be surprised if many schools use a similar system. The different adcoms need to quantify their evalution of each app. I think they would probably give it a score. Then compare the total score from different adcoms.

Sort of like judging American Idol or something like that...
  [#permalink] 08 Feb 2007, 08:29
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