The Economist


News from the schools


Contentious consultants

At Wharton, Thomas Caleel, wonders why applicants spend their money on consultants when they can simply call the schools they are applying to for advice. “We tell the applicants what we’re looking for,” Mr Caleel said. “And I can guarantee what we say is far more accurate than what a consultant says.”

Sanford Kreisberg, the founder of Cambridge Essay Service, disagrees: admissions officers, he says, are limited in what information they can release, and tend to be too generic. By contrast consultants, according to Mr Kreisberg, offer “insight into school preferences as to age, background, stats, pet peeves, touch points and passions.”

News from the schools

May 26th 2006

Blake’s progress

DESPITE his low approval rating, George Bush’s recommendation still goes a long way. Just ask Blake Gottesman. Mr Gottesman is the president’s 26-year-old personal aide, responsible for carrying his breath mints, logging his telephone calls and dog-sitting his Scottish terrier. In June the self-described “luckiest college dropout” in America, will leave the White House to enrol at the Harvard Business School (HBS), where the president himself studied.

. . . .

Sanford Kreisberg, an admissions consultant who follows HBS closely as the head of Cambridge Essay Service, says he is not surprised by the decision: “HBS likes political figures of all stripes it is a variety of leadership, their key mantra.” Mr Kreisberg also believes the admissions committee was impressed with Mr Gottesman’s ability to fit into a “high-stress elite” environment. Although HBS claims there is no single formula for a successful application, a recommendation from the president is one formula it finds hard to resist.


News from the schools

From The Economist print edition

Controversy is brewing at Harvard Business School over one of its alumni. Gabriel Ashkenazi graduated from HBS’s eight-week-long Advanced Management Programme in 2004. Recently appointed head of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), General Ashkenazi has been accused by some on campus of overseeing human rights abuses during Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. The general, who is portrayed as a moderate in Israel’s press, has not been charged with wrongdoing in Israel or abroad. But that hasn’t stopped activists from questioning HBR’s admissions standards (the alleged abuses occurred before Mr Ashkenazi came to Harvard).

The disagreement raises interesting questions over how schools make their admissions decisions. Sandy Kreisberg, an admissions consultant who follows HBS closely, thinks schools should avoid giving politically-motivated groups any sway over their decisions. “It would mean second-guessing military admits from scores of countries, including America,” said Mr Kreisberg.