Admissions Deans at Top Business Schools Caution Prospective Applicants Against Buying Essays
A new company founded by MBA graduates from Stanford Graduate School of Business and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business lets prospective applicants buy application essays from people who were recently admitted to top MBA programs. But deans and admissions officials at those programs caution candidates against using the service, even for “inspiration.”
An article last week in Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported on Wordprom.com, founded by Gili and Ori Elkin, a husband-and-wife team who graduated with MBAs from Stanford and Haas respectively. In lieu of selling a collection of successful essays compiled as a book, as has been done in the past, the Elkins since August have been gathering essays from recent MBA graduates and current students and began selling them via their website about two weeks ago, according to Bloomberg BW.
Prospective applicants can search Wordprom.com’s collection by school, gender, graduation year and application round. Essays will sell for $50, though they are being offered at an introductory price of $25 each, and the first 500 essay contributors will be paid half that sum whenever one of their essays is downloaded, Bloomberg BW reports.
According to Ms. Elkin, Wordprom’s CEO, prospective applicants will eventually be able to buy a package of essays at about what it would cost to hire an MBA admissions consultant for an hour. “I thought it would be a way to make the admissions process accessible to everyone and everywhere,” she told Bloomberg BW.
But admissions deans and other officials from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Harvard Business School (HBS) and London Business School, among others, have expressed their displeasure with the new service, citing concerns of plagiarism and inauthenticity.
“I am not a fan. I think it could potentially make candidates inauthentic,” Rob Weiler, Anderson’s interim assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid, told Bloomberg BW. Dean of Admissions Dee Leopold from HBS, meanwhile, questioned the essays’ usefulness.
“I understand the desire for prospective applicants to get a glimpse of what an HBS essay looks like. That being said, the buyer should really beware,” she said. “Our essay questions are completely new this year, so historical essays may not be as helpful as candidates might wish.”
CEO Elkin maintains that the essays on Wordprom.com are intended to be used for inspiration only, noting that users must sign an agreement promising not to plagiarize. Violation of the terms of this agreement will result in the user being banned from the Wordprom.com site.