Now You Can Tweet Your Way Into Business School

Could you say what you intended to do with your MBA that left you $168,000 in debt in 140 characters or less? Well, if you can’t, then you are probably not going to get into Columbia Business School. It is asking applicants to answer the following question: “What is your post-M.B.A. professional goal?” in 200 characters or less. It is like they are encouraging people to have more ADD.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

“The hope is that these new components to the application process will help steer prospective students away from trying to anticipate what they think business schools want to hear, and will force those students out of their comfort zone.

Admissions officers say they are looking for more authenticity and honesty, since essays can be carefully crafted, often with help from a professional M.B.A. admissions consultant.”

Other schools such as the University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business are also using new non-traditional methods to get the most out of their applicants. The University of Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie School of Management this summer offered a full scholarship valued at $37,240 to the applicant who best answered, “What makes you an exceptional Tippie full-time M.B.A. candidate and future M.B.A. hire?” via a tweet. Since 2007 Haas has been asking applicants to answer the question, “What else should we know about you?” in a very short Power Point presentation. Harvard Business School this year began directing current applicants to “Answer a question you wish we’d asked,” an open-ended prompt that could be mentally exhausting. It is the lack of direction that is actually harder on an applicant.

“There are many [applicants] who still think there is a formula to get into business school, who think there’s a certain type of response the admission people want to see,” said Stephanie Fujii, executive director of full-time M.B.A. admissions at Haas. According to Fujii, there isn’t.

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