More and more highly qualified applicants are applying to business school, which means that if you want to gain admission to a top b-school, you’re going to need to show some serious skill, that is, serious multimedia skills—at least that’s the recommendation according to a recent Financial Times article, “Express Yourself.”
High test scores, a strong academic record, impressive letters of recommendation, and killer essays may not be enough to gain you admission to your dream MBA program. Many schools are now introducing an optional essay, or “third essay,” often in the form of an electronic submission, including PowerPoint slides, PDF files, videos, CDs, DVDs, and links to personal websites or YouTube videos.
The thinking here is that an admissions reader can gain a better, more complete, picture of an applicant by taking a look at his or her creative abilities, rather than by simply reading an essay entitled, “Why I Want to Go to Business School.” Kurt Ahlm, senior director of admissions at Chicago Booth, explains that “while the other two essays are ‘valuable,’ they are also ‘somewhat programmed’.”
Also, it’s harder to cheat or plagiarize when it comes to multimedia submissions.
Still, some schools believe that their current admissions process works just fine and that there’s no reason to complicate things by adding a new component. According to James Holmen, head of admissions at Indiana Kelley, “[T]he [application] process we have now works really well for us… My concern with the multimedia option format is: would [the admissions committee] be getting a good sense of who the applicants are and what they bring to the table, or would they be swayed by style over substance?”
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