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How representative are bschool/GMAT forums? [#permalink]

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13 Aug 2007, 01:29
I'm wondering how well forums represent bschool applicants. Do you think that forums attract a certain type of applicant, so they do not accurately represent the applicant pool?

For example:
Only people who are super-neurotic about their applications b/c they are very weak candidates join forums. OTOH, Super-strong candidates are confident in their profiles and don't seek outside help, thus they don't participate in forums.

OR

Only certain demographics (IIT, international candidates, etc.) join forums b/c they have no other outlet to network. Other demographics (ibankers, MC'ers, etc.) don't join forums b/c they are surrounded by people with similar interests.

Is it foolish to gauge one's chances against other people's profiles applying to the same school? (i.e. those 10 other forum members are also applying to HBS and I have stronger profiles than 9 of them... I'm probably in pretty good shape.)

Do you agree or disagree? Please discuss.
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13 Aug 2007, 03:48
Not quite sure how to answer your question but a word of caution it is very difficult to compare profiles anyways since all you see here are the stats people have and maybe a brief statement about work and extras. Some people could have a job and experiences that sound far less impressive than others but they can convey it very well in essays and in the end come across as a far stronger candidate than people with the "ideal" background. So what you see on paper isn't really a true look at what its like. Having strong examples is a big part of it and if you have a great profile but don't have great examples its going to be tough...It is rare to see a profile here that you can know for sure they will have amazing exmamples, unless you are a silver star winning navy seal its hard to judge by a generic paragraph.

That said GMAT club is obviously filled with the top candidates. You aren't getting discussion on the local college that offers an MBA and its rare for conversations on second tier schools (which is probably because people interested in that read some threads here and become intimidated instead of joining in and providing a different perspective). So if the top 5-10% apply to the top MBA programs the majority of people here fall into that. I would say that Indians do proportionally make up a large number on the forums...which probably is why they all feel the need to have amazing GMATs and everything since they read about it all the time on here.
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13 Aug 2007, 10:30
Very interesting question. In my opinion, the forums are not representative of the application pool. I guess the frequent visitors to such forums are those kind of people who do not have too many people around them that talk about B schools. I am one of them. People in my company think that I am certainly getting into Harvard because I got such a GMAT score. This forum is the only place where I hear from like-minded people with similar ambitions in some cases.

This is why we do not see too many IB / MC candidates on these forums - as they already have a circle to discuss and learn about B schools. And this is why we see so many indians on these forums. Moreover, indians do not believe in the concept of self-selection either (This explains why around 200,000 people apply in IITs, when more than 70% know that they have just no chance of getting in). This explains why you hear a lot more about Harvard / Stanford from indians than others (I am also one of the guilty ones).

As for the quality of candidates at GMATClub, well, you should look at last year's candidates. All the active ones got into one (or more) of the top 10 B schools last year. Mediocre candidates end up creating a profile, asking a few questions, and then leaving. Maybe they get overwhelmed (As riverripper said).

ps. Is it foolish to gauge one's chances against other people's profiles (From the forums) applying to the same school? Yes, I think it is foolish. First of all, we have very few applicants for each school - i.e. too small a sample. Second, the profiles found here are very very limited (Again, as riverripper said). You can't judge much about a candidate from what (s)he writes here.
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13 Aug 2007, 10:48
mNeo

You got that Right man. I second mNeo here.

One of the main reasons why I find myself here is that I'm from a country where a very few people think about getting an MBA from a top school. Actually, here if one gets a score of 600 he's considered hardworker and darn smart
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13 Aug 2007, 10:56
mNeo wrote:
ps. Is it foolish to gauge one's chances against other people's profiles (From the forums) applying to the same school? Yes, I think it is foolish.

Couldn't agree with this more. In some forums(think BW), people inflate their scores, GPAs and achievements in a pathetic attempt to scare off the competition.

I have been on this board for close to a year now and can confidently say that people here try to paint a genuine picture of their candidacy. That said, many candidates also ask for a profile assessment very early in the process(either early in the year or even in an earlier application cycle). They take the ton of great tips on this forum, work on weaknesses and become stronger candidates. At best, a profile provides a hastily composed snapshot of a persons candidacy.

If you form an impression of your chances(good or bad) purely based on the basic profiles listed on any forum, you are probably wrong. It is wrong not just because the sample sizes are too small and are often inaccurate, but also because it is very difficult to do such an assessment. B-schools spend a lot more time on every application than you and I would on a profile listed on a page.

Because comparing numbers is easier, we often form an impression of profiles mainly based on GMAT and as people here say ad naseum, GMAT is just ONE factor in the admission process.

Bottom line, give it all on your GMAT and after that give even more to your essays. How much effort you put in will ultimately determine where you end up.

@ beny : BTW, you seem to have a solid profile. All the best with your applications.
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13 Aug 2007, 11:02
In some forums(think BW), people inflate their scores, GPAs and achievements in a pathetic attempt to scare off the competition.

Really? Heh .. I am not surprised. In fact, now I understand why some people bash some very good schools on the BW forums. Maybe they are applying to those schools.
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13 Aug 2007, 12:07
If you look back at last year... we had very precious few from the "elite" industries of IB, MC, VC, PE... In fact, I can only think of three or maybe four or five people in MC from last year (I don't count TCS or Infosys or other IT consulting firms as MC), and one from IB. From the MC side, I can only think of one person who was in the "elite" group (Bain, BCG, MCK, etc).... mNeo, I think, has it spot on.
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13 Aug 2007, 13:24
I know personally where I work people do occasionally leave to go to MBA programs or other fulltime masters but no one ever comes back. Since I work for the government, people don't come back because its just not going to have the same salary as a private industry job would post grad. A few of the senior managers do have MBAs but all are part time from second tier or below schools.

The people I know who do go to elite b-schools or have graduated from one came from very different backgrounds, ie very traditional mba paths. I think that it helps to see the other side than what the IB or MC are like since in the end I am not going to be measured against them.
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13 Aug 2007, 20:53
I agree with a lot of what was said here. I was just bringing it up for discussion because the thought crossed my mind. I think one common trend that I see in successful applicants on forums (and even more apparant in blogs) is that the more passionate/dedicated people tend to be more active in the forum or blog. I think it's easy to gauge a candidate based on his/her forums posts or blog.

i.e. I read two past successful applicants who broke H/S and I was not at all surprised, considering their blogs were written with extreme passion/skill and they posessed a style of writing that was very engaging and impressive.

OTOH, I often find some members on the forum (typically new members) who ask certain questions (Hi, I'm 48 w/ no work experience. Can I get into H/S/W? I want to go because they are ranked the top 3.) or write in a certain manner ("can sum1 hlp me wit dis?") etc. that you wouldn't be at all shocked when that person goes inactive (or posts 4 months later about his 9 dings and comes back asking for reapplicant advice).

@ beny : BTW, you seem to have a solid profile. All the best with your applications.

Thanks, but I think you mean application (singular).
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13 Aug 2007, 22:22
Good discussion. I was wondering about the same thing a while ago. I also believe that people here (especially the ones who post a lot) are either:

1. Very motivated and really want to get all the info they can

or

2. Have no one to talk to, thus probably from an unusual industry or IT/Tech.

Or both.

I'm here for both reasons, and as an engineer who works for the government, similar to riverripper, I have almost no one to talk to about the MBA except for a couple co-workers who are also applying. This forum has given me a great outlet to vent my frustrations, celebrate my triumphs, ask lots of quesitons, and help out others when I can.

If all the prolific posters here represent the applicant pool, then I'm pretty screwed considering the competition from the likes of mNeo, lanter1, riverripper, ncprasad, and others (sorry if I didn't list your name, as it would be too long of a list!).

All I wish for is that all of us who pour our hearts into this application and help each other out will get into the schools we want to go to. We'll see each other in 9 months laughing at our current panic posts, right?
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13 Aug 2007, 22:39
kryzak wrote:
If all the prolific posters here represent the applicant pool, then I'm pretty screwed considering the competition from the likes of mNeo, lanter1, riverripper, ncprasad, and others (sorry if I didn't list your name, as it would be too long of a list!).

All I wish for is that all of us who pour our hearts into this application and help each other out will get into the schools we want to go to. We'll see each other in 9 months laughing at our current panic posts, right?

This is embarrassingly flattering (Specially considering that this is coming from a strong candidate like you) ! Thanks for the kind words, kryzak. I agree that by pouring our hearts out, and by helping each other in the sincerest form, we can ensure that we all succeed (Just as the 2007ers did).
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13 Aug 2007, 22:41
kryzak wrote:
Good discussion. I was wondering about the same thing a while ago. I also believe that people here (especially the ones who post a lot) are either:

1. Very motivated and really want to get all the info they can

or

2. Have no one to talk to, thus probably from an unusual industry or IT/Tech.

Or both.

....

If all the prolific posters here represent the applicant pool, then I'm pretty screwed considering the competition from the likes of mNeo, lanter1, riverripper, ncprasad, and others (sorry if I didn't list your name, as it would be too long of a list!).

All I wish for is that all of us who pour our hearts into this application and help each other out will get into the schools we want to go to. We'll see each other in 9 months laughing at our current panic posts, right?

Likewise, I'm here for both reasons. Although I'm probably here more because of the latter reasons. Also have to consider those from countries where getting an MBA is not common.
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14 Aug 2007, 12:48
from what I have seen so far, the members seem to be more on the techie side with good GMATS.

at my client side, I'm surrounded by ppl who would rather get their MBA's online. Its hard to relate to them on the process when GMAT/Apps/Essays do not apply
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14 Aug 2007, 13:12
router79 wrote:
from what I have seen so far, the members seem to be more on the techie side with good GMATS.

at my client side, I'm surrounded by ppl who would rather get their MBA's online. Its hard to relate to them on the process when GMAT/Apps/Essays do not apply

People at my old job just didn't get it. They would point out that I could get an MBA from some local community college for $12,000 (like they did) instead of$90,000. I didn't bother explaining that theres a reason they are priced differently, and that obviously, the $12,000 MBA didn't teach them much about supply and demand. Director Joined: 24 Oct 2005 Posts: 575 Location: NYC Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 60 [0], given: 0 Show Tags 14 Aug 2007, 15:05 rhyme wrote: router79 wrote: from what I have seen so far, the members seem to be more on the techie side with good GMATS. at my client side, I'm surrounded by ppl who would rather get their MBA's online. Its hard to relate to them on the process when GMAT/Apps/Essays do not apply People at my old job just didn't get it. They would point out that I could get an MBA from some local community college for$12,000 (like they did) instead of $90,000. I didn't bother explaining that theres a reason they are priced differently, and that obviously, the$12,000 MBA didn't teach them much about supply and demand.

trust me.. All of my friends are the same. Got an MBA from a community college and for them, me aiming for top business school or spending money on my GMAT is ridiculous. Only on the forums, I find the like minded individual and the inspiration to do better..
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15 Aug 2007, 03:41
kryzak wrote:
Good discussion. I was wondering about the same thing a while ago. I also believe that people here (especially the ones who post a lot) are either:

1. Very motivated and really want to get all the info they can

or

2. Have no one to talk to, thus probably from an unusual industry or IT/Tech.

Or both.

Abso-freaking-lutely right! The main reason for my good GMAT was/is gmatclub.com. Yes, I agree that you won't get that 750 without substantial effort, but you can study much 'smarter' with gmatclub.com
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15 Aug 2007, 04:09
rhyme wrote:
People at my old job just didn't get it. They would point out that I could get an MBA from some local community college for $12,000 (like they did) instead of$90,000. I didn't bother explaining that theres a reason they are priced differently, and that obviously, the \$12,000 MBA didn't teach them much about supply and demand.

My wife has a friend who actually debated with me that there is a difference with MBA's. She refused to admit that a graduate from Harvard has more options and will make a lot more than an MBA grad from a local college...its the same degree to her.

Then again she also claims to be a vegetarian despite eating fish and chicken.
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16 Aug 2007, 08:03
Quote:
Good discussion. I was wondering about the same thing a while ago. I also believe that people here (especially the ones who post a lot) are either:

1. Very motivated and really want to get all the info they can

or

2. Have no one to talk to, thus probably from an unusual industry or IT/Tech.

Or both.

I'd like to join the "both" club also! I work in the non-profit lobbying field and so MBA's are not very common. Now, if I chose to apply to law school, I would have an endless selection of people to talk to about it! I'm also an information junkie and tend to research things that I want to do.

I also have experienced what many of you have in that a lot of people just don't understand that all MBA's are not created equal. Granted, I am one of those rarities here, in that I scored in the 600's on the GMAT and am applying to a near elite frontier school rather than a top one, but the school I'm applying to is still usually ranked in the top 25 nationwide.

I was having a conversation with a friend before I took the GMAT, where I was stressing out about it. She suggested that I consider applying to the MBA program at a local semi-community college instead. When I asked her why, she said because they don't require the GMAT. She told me that she had a friend who got that MBA and was able to get a "good" job (quotes are mine). Mind you, this college also advertises their MBA program in local television commercials. I had to think for a moment about how to tell her without offending her and her friend that I didn't really feel that that particular college was offering what I was looking for.
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22 Aug 2007, 21:24
bewakoof wrote:
trust me.. All of my friends are the same. Got an MBA from a community college and for them, me aiming for top business school or spending money on my GMAT is ridiculous. Only on the forums, I find the like minded individual and the inspiration to do better..

the same. in my country MBA schools are only at the initial phase and they do not provide same knowledge as foreign schools do. This leads to funny things - most of the people at the top part-time program are the top and middle-level managers of the well-known corporations for whom MBA is just a good "club" with seminars, giving some knowledge and they even do not care much about studying. I was surprised when heard that to join for the full-time program at the same school, one needs to get 550 GMAT - in case if he wants to study second year in California for 10-15 kUSD. Earlier the requirement was even better - you could bring partial results, for example you score Q40; V15 at one session and Q27; V30 at another. They count only maximum results. So, when I started to prepare for GMAT and application, I was inspired by 4 students from Michigan, whom we helped during their research project in my native city. They gave me the idea that MBA is not something-out-there-up-in-the-sky-not-ever-reachable, but the study, to which can apply even people from my city. And more I learn about the programs/preparation, more can I contribute to my friends/acquaintances, who are also interested in the program.
22 Aug 2007, 21:24
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