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H/W/S selection criteria

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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2008, 17:51
ncprasad wrote:
After all, thats the work ethic that got him into IIT in the 1st place.


NC, I would love to think that too, but can not be sure about this with quota system and all those coaching centers around.
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New post 22 Jan 2008, 18:02
I agree with the quota system part but do not with the coaching center. I think even if you do use a coaching center, you still have to put in like a million hours to get through the stupid test. I did not use one but I can attest to the fact that coaching centers (atleast in South India) just train you solid for the exam. There is one particular center in Hyderabad, which generates a lot of successful IITians. Here to be admitted to the coaching center, you have to give an entrance exam after 10th grade and there is a coaching center that trains you to get into this coaching center. It is just a vicious cycle but- to NC's point, you do have to put in some hajaar effort to get in.

hbs.aspirant wrote:
ncprasad wrote:
After all, thats the work ethic that got him into IIT in the 1st place.


NC, I would love to think that too, but can not be sure about this with quota system and all those coaching centers around.
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New post 22 Jan 2008, 18:41
Personally, I'm not quite sure what H/S/W looks for. If you do not have the "wow" factor or come from a big firm, then admission for well qualified candidates is as random as they get.

I know a lot of the consulting firms have "workshops" set up with admissions consultants and an army of MBA alums preparing their jr consultants for the B-school app. So if you come from that background, and you're one of the top candidates in your firm, you probably have a good shot. Outside of that, it's really up to the whim of the adcom and the applicants that apply that year.

So far I know 3 other co-workers (all in the aerospace industry) who have solid backgrounds, great undergrad schools, good GPA, got into Kelloggs and MITs, and very good extracurriculars (helping poor kids, you know, things like that), but nothing "wow". NONE of us have gotten a Stanford interview invite. Granted, this year the admit rate will probably be 7% or lower, but still.

Part of me wishes that I didn't spend all that time applying to Stanford, but the other part is glad that I will never have the "what if" issue.

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 06:00
i think there is definitely some selection bias here. for what it's worth, i know four people that have gotten into HBS: one engineer and three nonprofit people. knowing these people is a function of my profile (no consulting experience, not desi, not on wall street, etc.).

the engineer was above average in pretty much every way but didn't have a lot of "wow": 3.6 @ top 25 state school, 700+, above average progression at work. i asked him what he thought opened the gates at HBS, and he said that he got in because of diversity (this coming from a white male). his speculation was that he cleared the academic / professional hurdle set by the adcom and then got in because he came from an underrepresented area of the country and was amongst the best applicants from that area. there is probably something to that -- surely the schools receive legions of applicantions from california / boston / NYC, so you might stand out if you come from Seattle (or wherever). i'm not suggesting that will be enough on its own, but anything that shows that you create a diverse class is a plus. diversity of location could easily be the deciding factor between two otherwise very similar engineers.

the nonprofit people all had solid scores and experiences, but nothing that would cause you to read their app and say "wow, i didn't do that, i have no chance of getting in" -- no cure for cancer, no saving africa. basically, the consensus here was that they must have been best of breed out of their applicant pool (which surely fluctuates every year), so they got in on relative comeptitiveness.

ultimately, the process is a black box, but i suspect there is a lot more to it than the kind of "wow" factor that people seemed to be worried about. a lot of it is just luck -- how do you stack up against people like you? you can't control that.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 06:37
sudden, I agree about the relative competitiveness. H/S/W must get many candidates from many different demographics, and not everyone can cure cancer/save Africa/start a $1m company. So, they take the best from each demographic...now what 'demographic' means is unclear to me, which is why admissions seems like a "black box".
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New post 23 Jan 2008, 06:59
Perhaps this works. An advice on BW from Sandy:

Quote:
if you are so lucky as to be the spawn of parents who are ILLITERATE, well, put this in a banner ad from double click at the top of you app.

"PARENTS ILLITERATE, MOM, DAD, NO READ, NO WRITE, NO COUNT EXCEPT WITH FINGERS, ME FIRST TO BRING BOOKS IN HOUSE, DIG IT, DUDE, PARENTS CANNOT READ, NO KIDDING, NO TOEFL, NO ABC, NO CROSSWORD PUZZLES, NO SUDUKO, NO NOTHING, TAKE-OUT MENUS HERE HAVE PICTURES. DAD CAN OPERATE REMOTE FOR BLACK AND WHITE TV, DATZ IT. "
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 07:08
hbs.aspirant wrote:
Perhaps this works. An advice on BW from Sandy:

Quote:
if you are so lucky as to be the spawn of parents who are ILLITERATE, well, put this in a banner ad from double click at the top of you app.

"PARENTS ILLITERATE, MOM, DAD, NO READ, NO WRITE, NO COUNT EXCEPT WITH FINGERS, ME FIRST TO BRING BOOKS IN HOUSE, DIG IT, DUDE, PARENTS CANNOT READ, NO KIDDING, NO TOEFL, NO ABC, NO CROSSWORD PUZZLES, NO SUDUKO, NO NOTHING, TAKE-OUT MENUS HERE HAVE PICTURES. DAD CAN OPERATE REMOTE FOR BLACK AND WHITE TV, DATZ IT. "


thats a terrible way to get anywhere in life. just goes on to show that schools have failed miserably in keeping the process transparent making people sell themselves on multiple fronts sympathy included. painting one's parents in bad light to show one better is not that great. If anything it goes to the credit of the parents that they worked hard to raise a kid and gave him the kind of education that he is now aspiring to get into H/S.
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New post 23 Jan 2008, 07:25
I agree with pandeyrav. There's no way I am painting a bad picture of my parents just so I can get an admit. They are quite educated anyway. Sandy's suggestion seems to encourage people like that IITian who said that his lower-cast caused him a lot of grief from upper-cast students during his undergrad years. Sick !!
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 08:46
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mNeo wrote:
I agree with pandeyrav. There's no way I am painting a bad picture of my parents just so I can get an admit. They are quite educated anyway. Sandy's suggestion seems to encourage people like that IITian who said that his lower-cast caused him a lot of grief from upper-cast students during his undergrad years. Sick !!


There are people that will use every advantage they can to get into a school, thats just the way it is. Its not really unethical for someone to say they grew up without running water and had to pull themselves to where they are...this is completely valid and I admit that shows character, and is a brilliant way to add another angle on your candidacy. My wife is the first college grad in her family, only one female in the previous generations of her family actually graduated high school. While my parents both have masters degrees, their parents had college degrees, everyone in my family went to college...whats more impressive me have my folks pay the tab for college, after they pretty much groomed me to graduate at the top of my high school class, be involved, and to nail the SATs, or my wife who got in on her own and paid for it herself, while her mother said she needed to find a husband. If my wife applies you better bet I will tell her to talk about her experiences growing up with a father who lost his job at a mill several times, while she struggled to pay for college.

Honestly you play the strengths you have, if you had to overcome a lot then by all means use it to the best of your advantage. If you work in an extremely odd job, sell that as well as you can. If you are unique in anyway maginfy that uniqueness so that when it comes to rounding out a class they say I want that kid who grew up hearding goats in andes mountains.

I think the process for most of the M7 is very confusing on how they choose people, not just H/S/W. Why are there people who get dinged by MIT but get into Stanford. Yes we all know some schools worry about yield control, but you see it happens often enough that someone will get into two or three of the M7 and not a couple others. So obviously schools look for different things, and its also the pool that self selects the school that you are competing against. An engineer is going to have a harder time getting into MIT than Columbia because far more engineers will apply to MIT. Schools want to round out there class, I am sure a place like MIT could fill its entire class with high scoring engineers with bluechip backgrounds but they want to round out their class so plenty of very qualified folks will get cut.

I think HSW have a much higher proportion of students that are 100% easy dings. I think Kry's "what if" statement hits this on the head. For everyone with on paper a realistic shot like Kry (strong everything) there is going to be 2 people who really stands no chance and just deciding to roll the dice like a game of craps. For every easy admit (the Goldman VP with a 780, and a 3.8gpa from Princeton, who is a director of a nonprofit), there are going to be 5 kids they can toss out right away. Its like an HR person at McKinsey going through resumes, they probably are able to eliminate a large percent of applicants immediately without much thought because in reality the person has zero chance of being success in applying.

As for the Indian caste system I know nothing about that really. The only thing related to it that I have heard about that in a b-school sense was from an alum of a top school...when I asked what was the one thing he didnt like about school, he named a single person. I guess this guy came from the top of the caste in India and was very rude to people that he felt were "beneath him" Needless to say he was very unpopular with most everyone at the school. Americans for the most part are extremely against the whole idea of the caste system because we like to believe in upward mobilitiy...so chances are if it ever actually came up then most everyone would side with the individual from a lower caste. I would not concern myself with this fear, no matter if you are from the upper or lower caste if you dont make an issue of it at school no one else will.

Once you are at a school, everyone is going to be an equal no matter what your background...how got there could be totally different but once your in you are all students as XXX.
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New post 23 Jan 2008, 09:44
well said river, and thank you for the kind words :) One more day till my ding. :P

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 10:04
Educated Indians, specifically those in U.S, generally don't care about caste. Whenever this issue comes up, it is almost always becaue of socioeconmically forward class getting advantage of a failed Indian quota system similar to "diversity promotion" in U.S.

I neve really understand the reason behind schools and companies forming clubs, groups and holding events based on race, skin colour,gender or sexual orientation, specially when the event is "recruiting event" or "school admission event". I mean, none of these schools have special events for poor people, or disabled people or for applicants who did not have access to superior education during childhood.

Do the opportunities for a person born in a family described in Sandy's message differ based on caste? No. As far as special considerations are concerned I compeletely agree with River on presentng our real circumstances and getting advantage of the same.

We, as a society, are propagating and strengthening a belief that there are differences and lack of equal opportunities where there are no differences. It's a failure of society when people ask " I belog to this race, will it increase my chances for admission even without "Fit"?" (funny I have found this question on GMATCLUB more than once). Race not impacting at all should be fine to become a society in its true meaning.

Of course, as per this research : http://www-stage.gsb.stanford.edu/news/ ... tion.shtml , I might be biased.
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hbs.aspirant wrote:
Do the opportunities for a person born in a family described in Sandy's message differ based on caste? No. As far as special considerations are concerned I compeletely agree with River on presentng our real circumstances and getting advantage of the same.



I agree that portraying your true condition is important and i would do the same. What i am against is that people portray some things worst than they were to gain advantage.

For example:
Person 1: even though my parents never had any formal education, they had rich real world experience and they built my career with great hopes so that i would achieve the success in life to make them proud.

Person 2: my parents are illiterate and have no contribution to my career. I lived in great stress among boorish people and my parents did not know better. I am what i am because of my hard work.


Essentially the above two people convey the same background; both social and economic. But the later degrades others to glorify oneself while the former presents a more positive picture and gives everyone credit where due. If one cannot be proud of ones past and roots, i really doubt that they will have lasting success in life. my 2 cents
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New post 23 Jan 2008, 10:34
pandeyrav wrote:
hbs.aspirant wrote:
Do the opportunities for a person born in a family described in Sandy's message differ based on caste? No. As far as special considerations are concerned I compeletely agree with River on presentng our real circumstances and getting advantage of the same.



I agree that portraying your true condition is important and i would do the same. What i am against is that people portray some things worst than they were to gain advantage.

For example:
Person 1: even though my parents never had any formal education, they had rich real world experience and they built my career with great hopes so that i would achieve the success in life to make them proud.

Person 2: my parents are illiterate and have no contribution to my career. I lived in great stress among boorish people and my parents did not know better. I am what i am because of my hard work.


Essentially the above two people convey the same background; both social and economic. But the later degrades others to glorify oneself while the former presents a more positive picture and gives everyone credit where due. If one cannot be proud of ones past and roots, i really doubt that they will have lasting success in life. my 2 cents

Well said
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New post 23 Jan 2008, 11:17
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msday86 wrote:
sudden, I agree about the relative competitiveness. H/S/W must get many candidates from many different demographics, and not everyone can cure cancer/save Africa/start a $1m company. So, they take the best from each demographic...now what 'demographic' means is unclear to me, which is why admissions seems like a "black box".


i don't know for sure, but i think demographic basically means people with similar work ex. are you an investment banker? then you're in the investment banker demographic. and so on. the schools won't say it, but we basically know they have soft quotas for different kinds of work ex.

the top schools are going to take the best from each category and reject the rest irrespective of absolute competitiveness. if the best applicant in an underrepresented demographic "only" has a 3.0, 2 years of work ex and 650 GMAT, they will still probably beat out highly competitive people with much higer scores from other demographics (i'm referring to people who were good but not at the top of their demographics).

if true, this is a unique phenomena to grad school (specifically MBA school) and is much different from undergrad school where everyone basically has the same profile with the only significant variation coming in the form of ECs (which now make up only one of three major categories -- academic: qual vs. quant; work ex; ECs). in my opinion, this is where a lot of people get into trouble when evaluating their chances because they tend to focus on the objective measures like GPA and GMAT. i think those measures are largely irrelevant on an absolute basis after you clear whatever hurdle the schools set out, but i think it's highly probable that they count a lot within your demographic since the schools are trying to select the best from each category.

people seem to focus a lot on race, but in my experience that doesn't even come close to telling the whole story. i think that a lot of people fail to appreciate the meaning of diversity, which could mean a lot of things:

Race
Gender
Type of Work ex
Location of Origin
Location of Work ex
Location of College
College Major
and so on.

i'd bet that, assuming similar scores and work ex, H/S/W would be all over an investment banker who doubled majored in finance and sociology than they would a "regular" investment banker with a "commodity" background. similarly, they probably prefer an engineer who also studied music theory in college than any other run of the mill engineer they are likely to see. those qualities won't make up for significant weaknesses, but if you are "in the mix" in all of the categories, then it probably does come down to fine degrees of difference (essays aside since there is no way for us to evaluate those amongst candidates). the interviews are used to evaluate which of these apparently best candidates really are the best.

anyway, i applied to H/S/W and my strategy was to play up the diversity as much as possible:

- Non-traditional college major before entering finance
- Unusual geographic location within the U.S.
- Unique finance interest (socially responsible finance)
- Arts background that really influenced the charater of my essays

i have no idea whether it will be enough, but i guarantee i will stand out amongst the finance crowd. i don't have perfect stats, nor do i work at goldman sachs, but if the schools want a diverse set of finance students (as i expect they do), then i may have a chance. otherwise i am ~$700 poorer and out a few weekends of my life :) i mean, if i know that i can't compete with the 780, 3.8 princeton, goldman sachs VP, then why market myself to compete with him? i think a lot of the process comes down to having some kind of niche and executing on it.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 11:57
Sudden,

Great post! Very true about not trying to compete directly with the typical all-stars but marketing yourself as an atypical allstar that can really lend a new/different point of view to an incoming class!

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New post 23 Jan 2008, 21:30
Sudden, good post.

I applied to Stanford based on 2 points... the 'what if' and playing the diversity card. As Sudden mentioned, the 'interesting' background, will hopefully spike up some curiosity.
Although my GMAT and GPA are relatively weak compared to the people in this forum. The strategy for Stanford was based on

- Expert in my field of engineering work. Now working in a top 10 brand company. Even though my major was in Sports
- Music industry experience
- Work exp. in 2 countries of completley different cultures so had to learn a new language.

Of the interviews i've had so far. How i moved from a sports major to engineering has cropped up everytime! (In fact it pops up everytime i have a job interview as well)
My music industry experience has also popped up in all my interviews (But not in job interviews)

So the core of the strategy is to try to emphasise a multi-industry and diverse background (Sports, Music and Engineering), try to show success in all fields and use that as an indicator of potential to suceed in another area (MBA). Therefore not positioning myself against other engineers who come from a traditional background (Eng. Degreee -> Eng. job)

The lower GMAT score is not an issue for me, if i get on a waitlist, i know this is the area i have to correct. If i get dinged from Stanford (most likely), at least i tried. But i do believe that my approach is not a 100% ding (99% probably ;) )
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2008, 00:50
River & Sudden,

Very well said.

I agree that to distinguish yourself from the thousand applicants that is in your pool (meaning, the engineer pool, the consulting pool, etc), you would have to play your cards very well. Whatever ammo you got in there just put them on the table.

It doesn't mean that you would have to exploit every single thing and spin every single story in your life. But tell them who you are and why are you living your life the way only YOU can.
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2008, 02:37
hbs.aspirant wrote:
Perhaps this works. An advice on BW from Sandy:

Quote:
if you are so lucky as to be the spawn of parents who are ILLITERATE, well, put this in a banner ad from double click at the top of you app.

"PARENTS ILLITERATE, MOM, DAD, NO READ, NO WRITE, NO COUNT EXCEPT WITH FINGERS, ME FIRST TO BRING BOOKS IN HOUSE, DIG IT, DUDE, PARENTS CANNOT READ, NO KIDDING, NO TOEFL, NO ABC, NO CROSSWORD PUZZLES, NO SUDUKO, NO NOTHING, TAKE-OUT MENUS HERE HAVE PICTURES. DAD CAN OPERATE REMOTE FOR BLACK AND WHITE TV, DATZ IT. "


Sandy can be such a j@@k sometimes :roll:
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2008, 05:54
Hi,

To me personally, I don't think it's such a mystery finding out for these schools look for. From what I have absorbed in the last couple of months of application preparation, this is what these schools are looking for:

Not sure about W, but S and H are pretty obsessed with leadership - in community, in education, at the workplace (For H, I'm pretty sure they prefer all three). People who have made a strong positive impact on their surroundings. Such people will be successful, whether or not they get into B-School. Hence, it's the chicken and egg story - their alumni are successful because they graduated from these schools, or because they were anyway cherry-picked and were among the best ?
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Re: H/W/S selection criteria [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2008, 08:33
there's quite a bit of truth in that, in fact most applicants admitted to the top b-schools are the kind of people who would have been successful in their careers even without an MBA - so yes, there is a fair amount of selection bias to begin with.

sonalbahl wrote:
their alumni are successful because they graduated from these schools, or because they were anyway cherry-picked and were among the best ?
Re: H/W/S selection criteria   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2008, 08:33

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