New Essays

Cognitive Bias and Tuck's 2014 Essays

Cognitive Bias and Tuck's 2014 Essays

Tuck released its new essays and they feature no changes to Essay 1, the removal of one word from Essay 2, and the cutting of their old Essay 3 (on setback/failure).  

No doubt everyone in this space will be analyzing those changes today (I am too), but my guess is they will come to incorrect conclusions in many cases.  There are a lot of reasons why people make incorrect determinations when analyzing changes, but much of it can be attributed to cognitive bias - everything from recency bias to bounded rationality to confirmation bias.  We tend to read things in one way and our flow of assumptions follows that set path.  I will explain what I mean with the context of each questions - but just be forewarned that this blog post serves two functions: an analysis of Tuck's questions, but also an attempt to figure out why people trip up and make errors in interpretation.  

Breaking Down Changes to Stanford GSB's New Essays for 2014/2015

Breaking Down Changes to Stanford GSB's New Essays for 2014/2015

The essays are releasing in a fast and furious fashion this year, as GSB comes hot on the heels of Columbia releasing its own essays.  With Stanford this year, we see further evidence of a school and admissions office that is completely dialed in to what it wants: the core essays remain, the fat has been trimmed, and the only tiny bit of confusion has been clarified.  This may sound a bit odd, but if Stanford had asked for my opinion after last year's process, I would have told them "clarify what you want on Essay 2 and do away with the tack-on shorter Essay 3."  Well, that's basically what they did.  Let's dive in with a bit more detail. 

Ambiguity Equals Opportunity: The Story of the New HBS Application

Ambiguity Equals Opportunity: The Story of the New HBS Application

Today we are going to talk about the new HBS application and what it means for applicants.  We've already gone on record with our thoughts on how something like "this" (a school eliminating required essays) might impact our work as consultants, so this post is going to break down what this means for applicants.  First, we are going to provide some context, to properly frame expectations. 

Relax: HBS' 3rd essay really just a 400-word chill pill

Relax: HBS' 3rd essay really just a 400-word chill pill

Today the MBA-journalism website Poets & Quants published an article that was more or less a summary of a recent blog post from Dee Leopold, the managing director of admissions and financial aid at HBS.  In it, she tries to better articulate HBS' much-discussed new "post-interview" assignment.  In a series of emphatic points, she takes great pains to tell applicants the following:

  1. Relax
  2. This is meant to emulate the Real World (capitalizing these words was not our idea, by the way)
  3. Admissions consultants are NOT ALLOWED

All three of these points are sort of ridiculous and we will take them in the order presented above.