不过，即使这样的调查结果也已经让许多招生主任惊讶不已了，因为他们认为各自的学校一直在对MBA申请者进行相当公允的第三方评估。“我们知道有些申请者被要求撰写自己的推荐信，但我从来没有料到这种行为竟然如此普遍，”达特茅斯学院（Dartmouth College）塔克商学院（Tuck School of Business）招生主任唐娜•克拉克说。“我不介意学生坐下来与推荐人交流，但我现在正尝试着埋头研究推荐信的真实性。”
然而，在几位MBA申请者和入学顾问看来，真实性或许难以企及。美亚咨询集团（Amerasia Consulting Group）的亚当•霍夫承认：“商学院申请人经常被推荐人告知，‘你自己写吧，我署个名就行。’4年前头一次涉足商学院咨询领域时，我就被惊呆了。我简直不敢相信有这么多申请者自己在撰写自己的推荐信，然后还把这些信件拿到入学顾问面前，帮忙做进一步的加工。”
When the letters of recommendation for Christopher arrived in the admissions office of a top-ranked business school, they were just about perfect.
The recommenders raved about the candidate's leadership abilities and team skills. They praised his initiative, curiosity and motivation. And they did so in unusually detailed anecdotes that allowed the applicant to come alive.
Problem was, his recommenders had never written those favorable words. Instead, the letters were drafted by the applicant himself.
Christopher, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, makes no apologies for writing his own recommendations nor does he believe that a school can do much about it.
"Who's going to know?" Christopher recently graduated from one of the top three business schools in the U.S. "With the number of applications coming in, schools aren't going to compare writing styles between the recommendation letters and the applications. Obviously, if they did that, I wouldn't have been in business school."
Christopher's handiwork is not an isolated case. A recently published survey by the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) found that 38% of applicants were asked to write their own recommendation letters. Most admission consultants, however, believe the number is much higher -- with as many as six out of 10 letters written by MBA applicants.
Still, even the survey results surprised many admission directors because they believed their schools were getting fairly candid, third party assessments of MBA candidates. "We were aware of the fact that some applicants are asked to write their own recommendations, but I wouldn't have guessed it would be that high," says Dawna Clarke, director of admissions at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business. "I don't have a problem with a student sitting down and talking to a recommender, but I am trying to wrap my head around the authenticity of the recommendations now."
Authenticity, however, may be fairly elusive, according to several MBA applicants and admission consultants. "Business school applicants are often told by recommenders, 'You write it, and I'll sign it,'" concedes Adam Hoff, of Amerasia Consulting Group. "When I first got involved in the business school arena four years ago, I was stunned. I couldn't believe the number of people who were writing their own letters of recommendation and who then brought the letters back to a consultant to help them with it."
Christopher, who asked that his alma mater not be named because "if they found out, there would be a witch hunt," explains that his direct supervisor was not fluent in English. "He had no clue how to construct a recommendation letter," he says in defense of his actions. "Because of that, I wrote the letter in proper English and made it sound like I'm a good employee, which I am. I didn't embellish, and he was fine with it."