The Ivy Coach Daily

June 20, 2021

Stanford GSB and Admissions Coaching

We are proud to have helped many students earn admission to the Stanford Graduate School of Business through the years (photo credit: Steve Castillo)

On its application for undergraduate admission, Duke University used to ask applicants if they worked with a private college counselor. Eventually, Duke nixed the question and why? Well, essentially, they found it wasn’t worth asking since students weren’t being honest in their answer anyway. We always felt what business was it of Duke’s admissions office to ask the question in the first place. Would they next ask when the applicant last wet the bed? In any case, Duke’s admissions office realized its mistake. But it seems the Stanford Graduate School of Business admissions office hasn’t learned from Duke’s mistake.

As John A. Byrne writes for Poets & Quants in a piece entitled “Stanford GSB Warns MBA Applicants About Coaching,” “Stanford Graduate School of Business is telling prospective applicants that if they allow coaches ’to craft any part’ of their application to its MBA program they could be denied admission or an admit could be revoked. While the school isn’t explicitly banning the use of an admissions coach, it appears to be openly discouraging their use. Admission coaches rarely provide mere feedback on an application, most often guiding every aspect of how a candidate applies to a business school from what to tell admission officials and how to frame their stories. The admonition is being issued at a time when MBA admission consultants likely help a third or more of Stanford’s MBA candidates with their application.”

Perhaps the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ admissions office would benefit from taking a class at its own school on the practice of attempting to restrain trade and how that can even potentially violate federal law? Just saying ?. Of course, the Stanford GSB admissions office did clarify that “the school isn’t trying to discourage applicants from hiring professional coaches but trying to ensure that coaches don’t overstep and actually write the essays.” Well, that we’d agree with! But, Stanford GSB, there are bad apples in every profession — be in medicine or law or finance or even landscaping. Let’s try to learn from the mistake of Duke’s admissions office years ago and not offer advice based on a few bad apples.

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