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MBA申请者为什么自己动手写推荐信?

Lauren Everitt 2013年07月17日

调查发现,近4成的申请人被要求自己撰写自己的推荐信。然而,大多数入学顾问相信,真实数据要高得多,大概每10封攻读MBA学位的推荐信中,有多达6封是申请者本人所写。这在MBA招生领域已经是一个公开的秘密,而大多数顶级商学院对这种现象置若罔闻。这背后到底有什么样的隐情?

    MBA申请者自己撰写推荐信的压力也因行业而异。约有一半具有金融或会计背景的MBA申请人被要求撰写自己的推荐信,而在具有技术背景的申请者中,仅有约28%的人被要求这样做。“试想一下,申请人可能是一位身处乡村小镇的雇主。但更常见的情形是,申请人是顶尖公司的咨询师,银行家或私募领域的专业人士——这是文化的一部分,”伊斯阿丁索这样说道。她曾经担任哈佛商学院(Harvard Business School)的招生官员。

    此外,男性被要求自己撰写推荐信的可能性远大于女性——43%比27%。

    大多数情况下,商学院都不愿承认招生工作中存在这样一个问题。有些招生官员声称,他们不知道还有这档事。对于这种态度,入学顾问表示难以想象。克赖斯伯格说:“这种看法真是太天真了。”

    即使有些商学院承认这一问题,其中大多数也很难采取行动。“这种事情肯定有,这项调查证明了这一点,”哈佛商学院二年级学生亚历克斯•克莱纳说。“我从来不会心情舒坦地做这种事。但如果你是一位招生主任,我真的不知道你应该怎样对付这种局面。你或许可以更加明确地表示,‘如果被我们发现了,你的入学申请将被自动拒绝’。除了态度非常强硬之外,我觉得没法阻止这种行为。”

    许多学校更愿意掩饰这个问题。学生们也采用了这种“不问不说”的应对之策。前MBA学生克里斯托弗表示,沉默的动机显而易见:“你可能会因为学术作弊被踢出局。不过,一旦真正被录取了,没人会在乎这件事。”

    然而,入学顾问和一些顶级商学院正在提出一些想法,以遏制这种由申请人自己撰写推荐信的行为。斯坦福大学已经明确表示,“申请人自行起草或撰写推荐信——即使是应推荐人的要求——是一种违反申请程序要求的不正当行为。”

    入学顾问安娜•艾维建议商学院采用统一的推荐表,以显著减少推荐人的工作量,从而使他们不大可能推脱为MBA申请者撰写推荐信的请求。“一些推荐人不得不写比申请书还要多的文字。如果用这种工作量乘以3、4、5,那种感觉就像是推荐人自己在申请商学院,”她说。“这种要求确实有些过于苛刻。”(财富中文网)

    译者:任文科

    The pressure on MBAs to write their own recommendation letters also varies by industry. Half of the MBA applicants with finance or accounting backgrounds were asked to write their own letters, compared with only 28% in technology. "You'd think it'd be an employer in a small rural town somewhere, but more often than not, it's the consultants at top-tier firms or bankers or private equity professionals -- it's part of the culture," says Isiadinso, who previously worked as an admissions official at Harvard Business School.

    Men (43%) are also significantly more likely to be asked to draft their own recommendations than women (27%).

    For the most part, business schools are reluctant to admit there's a problem. Some admissions professionals claim they didn't know it was happening, a position that admissions consultants find hard to believe. "That's pretty naïve," says Kreisberg.

    Even among schools that acknowledge the issue, most would be hard-pressed to take action. "It definitely happens and the survey proves it," says Alex Kleiner, a second-year MBA student at Harvard Business School. "It's something I would never feel comfortable doing. But if you're an admissions director, I don't really know how you combat that. You could be more explicit and say, 'If we find out your application will be rejected automatically. Other than being really tough, I don't think you can stop it."

    Many schools prefer to push the issue under the rug. This don't-ask-don't-tell approach applies to students, too. Christopher, the former MBA student, says the motivation for silence is obvious: "You could be tossed out for academic dishonesty. Once you're in, nobody cares."

    However, consultants and some top B-schools are toying around with ideas to curb self-written recommendations. Stanford already makes it explicitly clear that "drafting or writing your own letter of reference, even if asked to do so by your recommender, is improper and a violation of the terms of the application process."

    Admissions consultant Anna Ivey proposes a common reference form, which could significantly cut the workload for recommenders, making them less likely to push the letter back on MBAs. "Some recommenders have to write more words than the applicants' essays. If you multiply that times three, four, five, it's as if the recommender is applying to business school," she says. "That's asking too much."

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