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Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to?

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Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 04:23
Can admission officers find out which other schools I am applying or have applied to? In case they can, how would their finding affect my application?
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Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 05:36
I'm almost certain the answer is no. However, some schools ask for a copy of your unofficial GMAT report, which has the list if schools to which you reported - so I'm sure they can have an idea. But there's no database of everyone's application info that only the adcoms are privy to if that's the question.
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Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 08:25
Schools aren't so naive as to think they are the only one you're applying to. If CBS sees you're also applying to MIT and Booth they don't just throw your app in the ding pile because you dared to look at other schools. Some schools ask what other schools you're applying to in the application. I think it's more for them to benchmark their peer institutions.
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Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 08:41
Actually, I think it might even work to your advantage when schools look at the other ones you are applying to when being considered for a scholarship...
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Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 09 Jun 2013, 17:45
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Hello -

I'm responding to your question as a former Director of MBA Admission, a position I held for 15 years at a top-ranked MBA program.

The only definitive information a school can see is the list of schools you sent your GMAT scores to. This appears on the school report of the GMAT scores, which has slightly different information than the student-based score report.

Now, even though I could see that list, it doesn't mean anything really unless a candidate has actually applied to those schools. And that is something that is not known.

Another way I might be able to tell if an applicant is applying to another school is if they made a mistake in their essays and put the name of a competitor school in the essay. Humorous, yes. This happens very frequently. It's not a reason to deny an otherwise qualified applicant.

One last way I might be able to tell if an applicant is applying to another school is if the recommender sends a recommendation form for another school to us. As the recommendations become more web-based, this is less of an issue. However, when I was the Director of MBA Admissions, I always instructed my staff to forward those letters on to the correct school as a matter of professional courtesy to both the applicant and the other school. I can't say what the policy of other admissions offices was.

As an admissions professional, I found it interesting to discuss the school choice set with the applicants, and would always bring this up in my interview. I also always asked candidates which school was their top choice. What I was looking for in this line of questioning is not for applicants to tell me that they loved my school the best - but I was assessing their professional judgement and checking to see if their professional post-MBA goals lined up with their school choice set. I also expect good candidates to apply to more than one school. I think it would be very foolish indeed to apply only to one school. Why put all your eggs in one basket?

To get to the heart of your question, would this information count against you in your application? No.

However, this is a very common fear of applicants. In fact, applicants have many similar fears that appear throughout the application process. I refer to it as the "Urban Legends of Admissions."

Some examples of other "Urban Legends of Admissions" include: I'll have a better chance of admission if I have an alumnus of the program write a recommendation (not true); if I'm admitted off of the waitlist, I'm a "second-class" admit (not true); and if I don't need financial aid, the program will be more likely to admit me (not true). No one can ever point to a solid source of of the urban legend; they just know that they've heard it somewhere. (Hey - maybe I should launch a Snopes site for the Urban Legends of Admissions!)

If you have questions like this that you don't feel that you can pose to the admissions team of the schools you are applying to, you are welcome to send them to me directly. I'm happy to share my information and insights from my years of experience in this field.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your application process!
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Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 00:28
There are many ways a school can find out which other schools you are applying to (many already nicely described by Coach). Like any industry, business school is a small but well connected sector. If there is really a need, one HR manager can call another HR manager and get many vital information about a candidate. I have no reason to believe schools does not use that similar connection in special cases.

In most interviews, the interviewer will ask you this question and this is a great question to display your logical thinking, rationale, indepth analysis of pros and cons, alignment of your objective and so on. Every school will have their own strength and you need to align your objective with those strengths (true or fake, does not matter!!)

While some school may feel insecure that you are well qualified (sought after) and will not join them but at the same time, some schools may think that you add to their programme and they may entice you with scholarships. It can work both ways.

If I am a selector in any school, I will not believe any candidate claiming that they are applying only to my school. Unless there is solid justification, I will treat that as LIE and will reject that student as unethical!! Simply, this question does not justify telling a lie.
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Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to? [#permalink] New post 10 Jun 2013, 14:08
Thanks, everyone! Things are clear to me now.
Re: Can adcom find out which other schools I am applying to?   [#permalink] 10 Jun 2013, 14:08
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