“You just need to get your foot in the door.” That’s what the experts say. And you took that advice to heart when you applied to business school. You poured your soul into your essays. You celebrated those sacrifices and risks that helped you maximize your talents. And you faced those missed opportunities, blunders, and gaps that haunted you. Back then, the admissions people were the detached judges of your fate.
Once you arrive on campus, a funny thing happens. Your focus shifts from impressing the adcoms to a new target: Recruiters. Students enroll in business schools for many reasons, but landing that dream job tops the list–and recruiters guard that door. The process will start with casual coffees that’ll be the toughest interviews of your life. Recruiters have seen and heard it all. In minutes, they’ll size you up, chipping away at your rehearsed narrative and polished persona.
In many ways, business school is a two-year job interview, where recruiters can observe which candidates will ultimately become the best fits. In short, recruiters are the true consumers of business schools. And that’s why outlets such U.S. News and World Report and Bloomberg BusinessWeek factor recruiter evaluations into their business school rankings.
For its annual ranking of business schools, U.S. News factors in a “recruiter assessment score,” where “corporate recruiters and company contacts from MBA programs previously ranked by U.S. News” rate schools using a five-point scale, with one being “marginal” and five being “outstanding.” According toU.S. News, 16% of those surveyed responded, with those recruiter assessments accounting for 15% of each school’s weighted ranking.
Why Recruiters Matter
Recently, Poets&Quants investigated how U.S. News’ overall rankings deviated from peer assessment scores. In doing so, we learned that some schools’ peer scores lagged behind their higher overall rankings (which are grounded in quantitative data like GMAT scores, average starting salaries, and job placement). Conversely, some deans and MBA directors polled by U.S. News ranked schools higher than their underlying quality measures warranted. This raised a question: Does a school’s reputation match its production?
Recruiter scoring is an important category to help answer this question. For many, U.S. News’ recruiter assessments are a more reliable measure of a school’s value. Unlike academics, who are removed from the daily operations and students of rival campuses, recruiters know their schools intimately. Recruiters also hear back from their superiors on which hires are doing big things. So they know which schools produce the best hires. And such feedback informs where they devote their time and resources.
Which Schools Outperform Their Rankings?
Like our peer assessment rankings, we’re breaking out schools into two categories: “Overperformers” and “under performers.” Using a methodology created by U.S. News, an overperforming school has a higher overall ranking than its recruiter ranking would indicate. Conversely, an underperforming school has a higher recruiter ranking than an overall ranking.
Keep in mind, the terms “overperformer” and “underperformer” may be misnomers here. If you place heavy value in recruiters’ evaluations, you might perceive a school with a high overall ranking and a low recruiter score to be an “underperformer.”
So what are the differences between the overall rankings and the recruiter rankings? Let’s start with U.S. News’ Top 20 schools. Do Stanford and Harvard rank #1 with recruiters as they do overall? How do rising powers like Haas and Fuqua fare? And which top schools are more attractive to recruiters than their overall rankings would indicate? Check out our results for the answer:
A good way to prepare for GRE essays is by writing a lot of sample essays. However, just writing essays makes little sense. You need to even analyse essays and identify your mistakes and weaknesses. One way to do it is by scoring your GRE essays. Scores tell you a lot about your individual ability and guide your improvement process.
Any good essay is composed of the following elements:
- Ideas – You should see whether the ideas make for a compelling read along with good examples. Your idea should be on the lines of the major component of the argument.
- Structure – A good essay always has an introduction, which flows seamlessly into the body paragraphs and comes to an end with a solid conclusion.
- Coherence – All your paragraphs should flow smoothly from one to the other maintaining momentum of the topic. The entire essay should read like one coherent piece.
- Grammar – Check for common errors in subject-verb agreement, parallelisms and punctuations. Also, make sure that you use your tenses correctly. Always proofread to avoid spelling mistakes and typos.
- Writing style – It is not necessary to show off your vocabulary skills. You should use words and phrases that explain the ideas in a simple manner. Use a combination of sentences to keep the readers interested.
When you are analyzing your essay, look for the factors listed above. You can see how you have fared in each of the aspects listed above.
But we know it is hard to stay objective while evaluating your own essays. Thankfully, there are great resources available for becoming better at scoring your own essays. You have the following options:
- ETS – What better than going to the test makers themselves! ETS has made available a lot of GRE test preparation material in multiple formats. We highly recommend reading the Overview of the Analytical Writing Measure. It familiarizes you with essay preparation and offers tips to do well in this section. The document also offers insights into the scoring pattern and provides a pool of argument and issue topics along with sample essays.
ScoreItNow! is yet another useful service offered by ETS. This online service enables you to submit essays and get an immediate score from the e-rater automated scoring system. You can also review scored sample essays, get suggestions for improving your writing skills and receive feedback for your responses. The fee for the service is US$20.
- Use QS Leap Online Study Groups – Online learning communities such as our own QS LEAPoffer a great way to get some friendly feedback. You may also get useful suggestions which you can incorporate in your essay writing.
- Get feedback from mentors and friends – Have a friend or a mentor? They might be able to give you some real feedback on your essays. Look for people in your network who have taken the GRE before. Ask them to evaluate the essay based on the elements listed above.
Hopefully, these resources will help you prep well for the essay. Scoring your GRE essays is a great approach to essay writing. Even if you are not naturally good with essays, a little practice and analysis is all you need to be on the right side of the 0-6 score scale.
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