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Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan)

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Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 14:34
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A few weeks ago, I was looking for advice on whether or not to disclose my recently diagnosed ADHD to my business school application. I went ahead and disclosed ADHD in my application for Master of Management program at MIT Sloan (MSMS) despite advice from an MIT Sloan faculty member to the contrary.

I just received a decline from MIT Sloan Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS) Program and my advice to anyone applying to a business school is to be very careful about disclosing any disabilities (ADHD, Autism or any other learning disabilities).

Why??

1) It is likely that Admission committees don't have much awareness around ADHD and while they will happily accomodate someone with a physical disability, they will consider ADHD as a shortcoming on the part of the applicant rather than considering it a disability on the same level. This is the exact advice I received from my contact person in MIT Sloan faculty prior to making my application in addition to advice from two other business school professors - I ignored the advice and paid the price.

2) Unfortunately, there has been a lot of negative press against ADHD and this has resulted in people developing biases against people with ADHD instead of appreciating the struggle ADHDers have to put through. A mere mention of ADHD can stigmatized a perfect applicaion as it happened in my case.

3) When you disclose ADHD, school has no idea how to accomodate you even if you don't ask for accomodations. They don't want to find themselves short of not being able to fullfil your needs and hence they take the easy way out by eliminating you completely from the process. Unfortunately, we are still in industrial ages when it comes to recognizing diversity in mental performance. I thought MIT Sloan was going to be different but I was wrong.

So why did I choose to disclose my ADHD in my application?

ADHD has never impacted my career and academic success but after being diagnosed last year I made a huge progress in my relationships and personal life. I have been immensely proud of mysef before and after ADHD diagnosis and I didn't want to hide this 'big part of who I am' from admission committee. MIT claims to be an 'Entreprenuer friendly' school and I thought they would be more respectful to ADHD traits than any other school. I also felt this was going to be a litmus test of whether MIT Sloan was the right place for me. If a school is not going to respect who I am, they don't deserve to have me. For this reason, I am not even a little bit disappointed.

Shoud you disclose your ADHD in your application?

I would say Yes. This means reducing your chances dramatically but you get an amazing opportunity to test the 'value system' of that particular school. If they are going to mark you down for your disability, you don't want to be there. A lot of schools talk about developing humility as a major trait in their MBAs and pride themselves on all that talk about 'values', 'ethics' and 'honesty' but would rather admit someone who lied in their essays than someone who showed humility and honesty.

Could there be something else that contributed to MIT Sloan refusing me a place?

I don't know. May be there was something else and I sincerely hope it was something else. One of my referees has served on many MBA admission committees and her partner is a busienss school dean. They both thought I had a fantastic chance of getting into MIT Sloan MSMS program. I also had a very strong thesis proposal which is based on a real bootstrapped start up which just got valued for over $2.5 million last week.

In the end, my advice for anyone contemplating to disclose ADHD is to think hard about your decision. If you have made this far despite your life-long disability, you are truly gifted and may be already too good for 'short-sighted' business schools. If you get a decline, this is NOT going to be the first time you are going to pay a price for your bad genes but you already know how to overcome rejections more than anyone :)

Are business schools/MBA a good fit for ADHD minds?

It depends on the school and their acceptance for thinking diversity. ADHD folks make up a large portion of successful entreprenuers and MBA schools should be targeting applicants with entreprenuerial tendencies but unfortunately there is more talk and less do when it comes to schools. They badly need you to sustain 'innovation' but they are not smart enough yet.

Enjoy :)

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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 15:17
Whenever someone mentions ADHD this is what comes to my mind : http://www.gametrailers.com/user-movie/ ... ment/39268

If having ADHD has had no impact on your education or career, then why on earth would you mention it on your apps? If you mentioned ADHD in your apps AND told the adcoms that it had no impact on your career you know what the adcom will think? They will wonder what's wrong with you and think "why the heck is this guy mentioning a problem that had NO impact on his education or career? That just shows bad judgement".

PS: I have been told by a number of people a number of times I have ADHD. I personally don't buy this "disorder". It's complete bullcr@p. IMO it was created by inept teachers who were too lazy to handle an active boy who likes to jump and play around and not sit in a boring classroom talking about Anne of Green Gables. The said inept teachers would rather drug the kid to calm him down than exercise patience.

PPS: Please do not compare ADHD to physical disabilities. They are nowhere on the "same level". Spending your life in a wheel chair paralyzed is vastly different from not being able to concentrate for 15 straight minutes.

PPS: I don't mean to be rude. I just know way to many people with inept parenting skills who use ADD/ADHD as an excuse. /End rant.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 15:42
The AdCom will also assume, whether correctly or not, that you received additional time on your GMAT exam. Another reason not to disclose it.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 17:24
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gijoedude wrote:
.

PS: I have been told by a number of people a number of times I have ADHD. I personally don't buy this "disorder". It's complete bullcr@p. IMO it was created by inept teachers who were too lazy to handle an active boy who likes to jump and play around and not sit in a boring classroom talking about Anne of Green Gables. The said inept teachers would rather drug the kid to calm him down than exercise patience.


This is exactly the attitude I mentioned in my post. You should have done some research to learn more about ADHD before making rather 'disrespectful' comments.

ADHD is a physical disorder just like any other physical disorder. People with ADHD don't have enough dopamine uptake in prefrontal cortex and this has been proven in multitude of research studies. As a matter of fact, ADHD is the most researched disorder in the US. Because ADHD patients have trouble keeping their pre-frontal cortex active (hence not be able to sit in a boring classroom), they seek excitement through hyperactivity (hence jumping around).

Not a single thread of evidence points any correlation between ADHD and bad parenting or bad teaching.

Since the physical location of disorder is inside the brain and can't be explicitly viewed like some other externally visible disorders, some people find it hard to think of this as 'physical disorder' but this is just lazy thinking and stupidity at best. I know this is very unfortunate but education and awareness will change perceptions eventually. A mere 20 years ago, even people with explicit physical disabilities faced stigmas from society but things improve with the time.

Hope this helps in changing your opinion towards ADHD.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 02 Mar 2012, 17:26
mbarealestate wrote:
The AdCom will also assume, whether correctly or not, that you received additional time on your GMAT exam. Another reason not to disclose it.


Thanks - from what I have heard GMAT will mention any accommodations on your report. Besides, I had taken GMAT 4 years ago and ADHD was diagnosed only last year.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 00:22
Dear Standingtall,

I can understand your pain. like a lot of companies, schools pay lip service. ADHD and other mental disorders can be painful. People who have never suffered from any illness of such sort would not know.

I have given you my very first kudo for your bravery.

Don't lose faith.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 01:00
gijoedude wrote:
Whenever someone mentions ADHD this is what comes to my mind : http://www.gametrailers.com/user-movie/ ... ment/39268

If having ADHD has had no impact on your education or career, then why on earth would you mention it on your apps? If you mentioned ADHD in your apps AND told the adcoms that it had no impact on your career you know what the adcom will think? They will wonder what's wrong with you and think "why the heck is this guy mentioning a problem that had NO impact on his education or career? That just shows bad judgement".

PS: I have been told by a number of people a number of times I have ADHD. I personally don't buy this "disorder". It's complete bullcr@p. IMO it was created by inept teachers who were too lazy to handle an active boy who likes to jump and play around and not sit in a boring classroom talking about Anne of Green Gables. The said inept teachers would rather drug the kid to calm him down than exercise patience.

PPS: Please do not compare ADHD to physical disabilities. They are nowhere on the "same level". Spending your life in a wheel chair paralyzed is vastly different from not being able to concentrate for 15 straight minutes.

PPS: I don't mean to be rude. I just know way to many people with inept parenting skills who use ADD/ADHD as an excuse. /End rant.

You see a bunch of parents with bad parenting skills who use ADD/ADHD as an excuse, then you make a conclusion that the whole thing is complete bullcrap? Lacking CR skills much?

I know for a fact that there are people who suffer from ADHD and yes, it's serious and is much more than something that lazy teachers would create out of nowhere to control active boy jumping and playing around. Perhaps a little research or even googling before you post might have helped?

Of course they're nowhere on the same level.....they're two different disabilities with different symptoms. Everything is relative. A guy with ADHD or other types of illness can suffer just as much as someone who have physical disabilities.

I do agree however, that the OP probably shouldn't have mentioned his/her diagnosis to the school, though I'm glad that OP made a decision and stuck with it. Who knows - maybe there were other reasons that the OP didn't get accepted and we'll probably never know, but better to be safe than sorry when it comes to b-school applications.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 01:22
I agree with goodbyeboy that most of the people out there don't take ADHD and other disorders in the way they should. I have suffered from some serious limitations, but I made it a point never to discuss them with anyone. I did tell me wife before we married, but that's it.

I know that some of us are very idealistic and want to go to a place that accepts us with all our limitations, but that happens only in love. Colleges and workplaces won't understand, and it's best to not to let them know.

Colleges tell that they don't discriminate on the basis of age, but how many times do you see 40+ or for that matter 30+ guys in Harvard, etc. We live in an imperfect world....
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 05:51
Everyone is entitled to write whatever they want for their essays. I commend the OP for writing about a substantial issue that is personal and may be difficult to disclose or receive feedback about. I also wish the OP good luck in future admissions endeavors! :)

This post seems to arise because the OP has been dinged, but there is no way to know exactly why the OP was dinged. The assumption that it must be the ADHD topic only seems to lend credibility to the viewpoint that it should have been omitted in the first place. There's plenty of other things to write about that would have sidestepped such a potential landmine. I'm sympathetic that this issue might actually influence people's view of OP, but sometimes discretion is a valuable skill to exercise. My personal opinion is that OP did not have a "perfect application" but for mentioning ADHD. Who in their right mind would say, "Gosh, this person has all the elements of becoming the next Steve Jobs, but my, oh my, that ADHD will have to mean the ding pile."

Either way, the OP is free to do as OP wants. I will say though that I'm uncomfortable with the assumption that business schools would rather admit people who lie on their essays over people who show honesty and humility. I reject this notion, and furthermore, there's no way for them to know who is lying or not. Through this one interaction, it seems as if the OP has created an image of all admissions officers and business school in general. Just as OP wishes people would not buy into negative stereotypes about ADHD, I wish the OP would not buy into negative stereotypes about those affiliated with business schools. The more I think and read over this post, it seems like a classic case of sour grapes. They had something OP wanted, OP was dinged and said it must be because they are inhumane searchers of liars, and now OP's too good for MIT? Then the point about business schools should actively search out people with ADHD because a large portion successful entrepreneurs have ADHD? But they're not "smart" enough yet to do that?

Again, I wish the best for OP, but I'm scratching my head on this one I guess.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 06:09
Oh man, my friend has the exact same problem - but with epilepsy. She's epileptic and leads a support group 10-15 hours a week but she doesn't know whether she should mention this at all on her apps. Now she wishes she had a more "acceptable" condition to have a support group for because many people do believe epilepsy is mind destroying etc. It's so sad.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Mar 2012, 10:28
Discretion is key... i.e., probably not the best idea to post the name of the school that rejected you. I'm sure admissions officers, if they read this board, would not take too kindly to what you said about their process. Maybe you wake up in 2 months and decide you want to give MIT another run.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 07 Mar 2012, 12:46
chromium73 wrote:
Discretion is key... i.e., probably not the best idea to post the name of the school that rejected you. I'm sure admissions officers, if they read this board, would not take too kindly to what you said about their process. Maybe you wake up in 2 months and decide you want to give MIT another run.


I don't have any further aspirations to pursue anything with MIT. If they end up reading it, hope this feedback will change things for better in future and if enough people started disclosing their disabilities, a few will suffer the consequences but rest will benefit in the long term.

FatRiverPuff wrote:
Oh man, my friend has the exact same problem - but with epilepsy. She's epileptic and leads a support group 10-15 hours a week but she doesn't know whether she should mention this at all on her apps. Now she wishes she had a more "acceptable" condition to have a support group for because many people do believe epilepsy is mind destroying etc. It's so sad.


I wish her good luck - unfortunately, schools are not even willing to give you an equal chance let alone accommodate you for your difficulties if you mention your disability.

I called their admission office a few weeks before applying and asked if I should disclose my disability and they stressed that I should definitely mention it. However, the informal advice from an internal source was NOT to disclose ADHD. If you are someone who represents MIT, honestly ask yourself if this is the case.

MIT has not replied to my request for feedback and there is apparently no obligation on their part to explain how my ADHD disclosure was taken into consideration while making a decision - hence very convenient for them to make easy choices.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 07 Mar 2012, 15:31
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Based on previous discussions in the main MIT 2012 thread, MIT received over 4000 applications in round 1 with an average GMAT of 750 and an acceptance rate of roughly 8%. With numbers like this, I wouldn't conclude that ADHD was the sole reason why your application was rejected or that it even played any role. With the sheer number of applicants, the competition for the very few seats offered by the school is immense. Also, rejecting well over 3500 applicants MIT doesn't necessarily have the time to provide you with a detailed response as to why you weren't selected.

Just something to take into consideration.
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Re: Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 02 Jan 2014, 10:29
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Disclosing ADHD in Business School Application (MIT Sloan) [#permalink] New post 03 Jan 2014, 05:40
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Steve Jobs, Bill Gates of the world don't waste time in business school. They are too smart to be directed by someone. They like to be on their own. So when applying to business school try to present all your positives and remove the negatives. After all on which B School website you find an iota of self criticism. On the contrary the placement reports try to present all the best stats and ignore the uncomfortable facts. Alas only if all parties could be truthful. The world would. E a much better place.
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