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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

June 12, 2010

Reapplication for Success Webinar Transcript and Slides

Below are the slides and an edited version of the transcript for my Reapplication for Success Webinar.  The actual 48 minute Webinar can be found at http://www.aigac.org/summit/SummitVideos/summitVideo12.aspx.  This seminar was part of AIGAC's 2010 Graduate Admissions Virtual Summit.  See here for a full list of all the presentations.

WARNING: The 48 minute transcript and slides below makes this an insanely long post.

Thanks to Vince Ricci, my friend and colleague since 2002, for moderating this session.  Vince's presentation on Fulbright can be found at http://www.aigac.org/summit/SummitVideos/summitVideo10.aspx.


Vince Ricci: All right, welcome this is the AIGAC Summit and we are going to be hearing very momentarily from Mr. Adam Markus, who is a fellow member of  AIGAC. Adam is going to be speaking about the reapplication process and we are very much looking forward to his presentation. All right, take it away Adam.

Adam Markus: All right, I would like to thank everyone for coming to this webinar. My name is Adam Markus and I am an Admission Consultant and blogger. The title of this webinar is Reapplications for Success. I believe that the way to think about reapplication in terms of finding a good solution to what didn’t work out before leads to success. The two key questions for me, when I think about reapplication and when I help reapplicants are, "Why were you dinged?" and "Now what do you do?"

To get a sense of where I am coming from, I think you should know a little bit about what I know. I have been working with reapplicants since 2002. I started as an admissions consultant in 2001 and since 2002 I’ve helped reapplicants get admitted to Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, INSEAD, Tuck and other top schools. In this last year, my reapplicant clients have been admitted to Stanford, Tuck, Columbia and INSEAD. As far as my approach to this, I provide systematic reapplication analysis for clients on a one-to-one basis and I will be using some of those methods in this presentation as well. In terms of the ways I think about reapplication, my approach is always to be solutions based. That is, it is easy to criticize an application, it’s much harder  to suggest how to make improvements. And so, I think any good admissions consultant focuses not only on identifying problems, but identifying solutions.

As far as what else I know, I write extensively on  reapplication and other related issues on my blog. And this presentation is based on a reapplication blog post that I have been actually writing and rewriting for the last few years.

(Image borrowed from http://www.pathguy.com/autopsy.htm)

Adam Markus:
When I think about reapplication, the first thing I think about is looking at the application and I treat it like an autopsy, just like we have here. In this image, there are doctors examining a dead body to figure out what the cause of death was. We need to figure out why you were dinged. The word "autopsy" itself I think is really useful, because it means to see for yourself. The objective of this presentation is to really help you see for yourself to give you some of the questions you need to analyze your own application.

I think it’s also really useful to get the advice of an admissions consultant or to get the advice of mentors or  somebody else with an informed opinion. But I really do suggest that you go through your own applications and try to figure out what happened.

Adam Markus:
One core issue that I find with people who have not succeeded at the admissions process is lack of realism.  If I was going to identify just one overriding issue I think it tends to be simply ignoring one or more really important factors of which, quite honestly, the biggest is probably time management.

The admissions process is a highly involved one, and for some people it can be done quickly and on the fly but for maximum success most people need something between six months and two years depending on where they are trying to go and what their test scores are at the time they begin and how many schools that are applying to.

So the time management issue can be a real consideration. I find that when I am helping reapplicants and I ask them about when they submitted their application, many did so at the last minute.  Of course, the possibility for making errors when you apply at the last moment is just huge. Even with the application forms if you  give weak answers or you have too many errors, it reflects badly on you as an applicant. So, I view the time management piece as sort of critical and I find that when I work with reapplicants they are very conscious of time management.

Another important issue is the numbers and in this presentation and the questions that I want to take later, I don’t necessarily want to focus so much on the numbers because they are highly individual and I think I add the most value by discussing the more substantial parts of the actual application itself. But it certainly is the case that if your GPA, GMAT, TOEFL are below par for the program you are applying to, it can certainly damage your chance of admission. Some schools have imposed standards like Harvard Business School, which  requires a 109 in TOEFL. INSEAD has a certain expectation about percentages on the quantitative and verbal GMAT scores that have to be met for an applicant to be acceptable.

For other schools it’s the age issue and the age issue is real in two ways. If you are applying, for example, to British MBA programs then typically they are looking for at least three years of professional experience. Without that level of professional experience, it could make it impossible for you to get in. On the other hand if you are age 35, your chances for admission to HBS or Stanford GSB are incredibly low. You can look at the average age for those admitted. In the case of Harvard, they break it down by the year of graduation and you can see that the number of people in Harvard over the age of 30 who are admitted is incredibly small. And so, the age factor could be another issue.

Lack of substantial research to determine fit is a huge issue  and one that I will discuss on the next slide.

Adam Markus:  Did you customize your message in your essays to show fit? And by fit I mean, deep connections to the school you are applying to. In terms of the culture of the school and in terms of the educational outcomes you are looking for, each MBA program is different. Each MBA program offers a different set of possibilities and skill development options to students and each school has its own culture. How well did you address that issue? What I find frequently is that when people are applying initially they sometimes think they can take a generic approach to applications and not customize. Really, its critical that you do customize because the way for the school to know about you, why are you a right for it, is for you to make that connection and it’s not just like writing the summarized version of an application brochure but rather to give the admissions committee a really clear idea about why specific parts of the school are really unique and why your capabilities and contributions align well with the school. I think of this as something that you are completely in control of. It’s all part of the process that you really control. Again if it wasn’t customized for the school. it really needs to be.

Adam Markus:
Another issue with essays and a huge one is simply in terms of goals and articulation of desire for an MBA.  This is another area where most people who have been dinged usually have problems. If you read the goal statement, you most likely will really wonder why this person needs an MBA.  Sometimes it is a problem of logic,  but more often it is simply the absence of anything resembling a plan that requires an MBA. 

The nature of an MBA goals essay is to establish that an MBA is actually required. So another way to think about this is that if you have goals that don’t require an MBA then your goals are not effective. Your goals must really justify the need for an MBA.

Beyond that issue, I think another critical part is no plan and this particularly applies to short-term goals. MBA programs, especially in a tight economy,  are really concerned about post-MBA job placement for their students. And so people who go in with clear plans are more likely to be able to quickly look for internships and be able to quickly do their job search compared to those who are less certain about all that. So the more specific you are about your plan, the more of a clear plan you have, the better.

And then the next issue is no vision. It’s very possible that you have a clear plan of approach and you know exactly what you want to do after your MBA and that it even requires an MBA but if there’s no real compelling story about it, if it doesn’t seem to be something that deeply affects you, if there’s no vision or passion you will have a real problem.  Your goals need to be very interesting and/or compelling and especially for highly competitive programs like Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Chicago they want to see a really strong vision and they need a vision that makes them feel that you’re someone with the potential to do great things after you finish your MBA. Just like B-Schools make a bet on whomever they let in. They need to have successful alumni and if you have no vision your chance of actually making big impact is, at least from their perception, relatively small.

Finally, and this is an overriding one that I call "No way!" which is that I read a goal statement/why MBA essay and I don’t believe it or I don’t understand it. That’s a real problem. So, I frequently found that I’ll read something, it’s just kind of unbelievable like there’s no real connection between the person and the goals they haven’t made a strong case and it appears that maybe they know nothing about what they want to do after their MBA. So lack of believability is a real critical issue. I discuss all of this actually in a very systematic way on my blog and you can see a link (This is my Stanford goals essay analysis, which includes a core discussion of goals.  Similar versions can be found in my analysis of other schools' essays as well) for more detailed discussion of this issue.

Adam Markus:
Beyond goals and why MBA, another really important area where reapplicants frequently have a problem is they don’t come across as a unique applicant and this can be for one of several reasons.

First, there can be a lack of selling points, and that is simply you read the essays and you’re like "Okay, so what’s this person good at, what are the real strengths, where they demonstrated leadership, are they smart?" I can’t tell and if I can’t understand with someone is really good at and how they excel then there’s really going to be a lack of selling points, and it’s important to make sure that your reader understands how you add value, how you added value in the past at work, how you added value outside of work, and how you expect to have value in the future.

Beyond selling points themselves, you need memorable stories.  I believe each person has their unique story and that the goal of being an admissions consultant is to help someone find their stories.

When I read essays, I’m looking at three levels of analysis. (See here for more about my method.)

First, I want to make sure I understand what’s someone’s written.  Second, I want to know whether I believe it. I ask myself, you know, do I believe? I can read somebody’s essays and I can understand what they’ve written and I can believe what they’ve written, but that is not enough.  Third, I  then ask myself the question, am I excited? Am I interested? And if the answer is No then I know the readers is going to be bored.  When you’re trying to standout from others in a highly competitive process, part of it is being able to tell your own story is  to attract the interest of your reader.

Assume that telling a good story about yourself matters, it doesn’t mean you have to be a novelist or a great short story writer or anything like that, it means you need to be able to talk about yourself in a direct and effective way, and any good admissions consultant should be able to help you with that.

The potential to contribute is another real consideration especially for schools that explicitly ask about your ability to contribute. Sometimes when I read contribution essays I notice that the person really hasn’t established the specific basis upon which they’re going to make the contribution, but rather talking in pure generalities, but really when it comes to contribution you must be specific, you want to give the reader a really clear idea. If you think about some schools like INSEAD for example, where alumni are actually part of the admissions committee or Kellogg where students are part of the admissions committee, you’re being judged on contribution based on who the readers are and the readers are people who have been in the classroom and they can really think about it. So, the potential to contribute is something that may come out very directly like in a Kellogg essays or less directly but it should be there, there should be a really clear sense that you have something to give.

Then finally, the potential to succeed is so important and beyond goals themselves, the reader should have a sense that you’re someone who possesses the leadership qualities and the personal qualities to excel in the future because they’re going to be betting on you. Your post-MBA job experiences will directly impact their results.

So, they have to figure out who they bet on and that brings up this last question on the slide, "Why you and not someone else?"because this is the real issue, there’s always another applicant, and so you don’t know who that person is and you can’t actually worry about who those other people are because they’re unknown to you, but you have to be able make the best case for yourself. One of my objectives with a client is that they always try to make the best case for themselves. I find that applicants sometimes just haven’t really thought about that aspect enough.

Adam Markus:
Another issue that comes up is that every school has some kind of optional space for discussing any potential concerns. If you notice something weak in your application, did you really address it? Trying to obscure or hide that will do absolutely no good for you because you can assume an admissions committee will find your points of weakness. So, you know, if there was a problem with your GPA, GMAT, TOEFL or IELTS obviously, you need to try and address that if it is something you can be addressed effectively. At least, you need to think about a mitigation strategy. For example, if your GMAT quantitative scores are low, it is worth mentioning that you obtained strong academic results in quantitative courses. If you’re currently unemployed or if there was a gap in your employment, you want to address that.  If there’s anything else which could be including,  things like not being able to get a supervisor's recommendation because you are applying in secret. So whatever, you’re really concerned about, did you address that? And I often find that re-applicants don’t make use of the optional essay when they first applied, but you really should.

Adam Markus:
Next, is another piece, which is how were your interviews? Were you prepared? I believe that interview preparation is something that everyone, even people who are really good at interviewing, should do.

So you really need to ask yourself how did that go, how did that piece go for you? Are you generally good at interviewing?  if you are a non-native English speaker, are you good at interviewing in your own language? From my experience working with people around the world, if you are Japanese or Chinese or French or what have you, and you are not good at interviewing Japanese or Mandarin or French, you are not going to be any better at it in English and avoiding that issue is not a good idea.

So doing intensive preparation is something that I strongly recommend. And how did you prepare? As far as I am concerned preparation is both individual, a personal thing, you need to prepare on your own, but you also need to do some mock interviewing. Who did you prepare with? I think one of the advantages of using an  administrative consultant is they’re not your friend, they are not your mother, they are not your wife or your girlfriend or boyfriend. They are not even a mentor, somebody who hopefully can look at you a little bit more objectively.  Getting feedback from more of an objective mock interviewer, I think is a really useful thing to do, especially if you don’t feel that you are very good interviewee.

How do you think your interviews went? Now sometimes you maybe able to get some kind of feedback from one of my interviewer about this, though I think that’s a variable believability, but in our own head how do you think it went. If you had a bunch of interviews and were dinged post-interview from schools where you are invited to the interviewed, you can assume that the interview was  a problem. If you weren’t invited for interviews at all, obviously you don’t know what impact interviewing had and if you only had like one interview it may or may not really be your area of weakness, but it is something to think about.

Adam Markus:
How were your recommendations, did they honestly and effectively endorse you? One thing I see consistently when I am looking with re-applicants is that the recommendations are sort of week in terms of lack of clarity or in terms of honesty. Were they are authentic? If I read a recommendation it looks it was written by the applicant, I am assuming that was the reason why they were dinged. If it’s really transparently obvious that the applicant wrote the recommendation that obviously be disastrous.

Did the recommendations containing sufficient details that help the admission committee understand your selling points? I sometimes read recommendations which seem to be  reference documents like John worked at this company, he had this job, and that  John was great, but we need to know why John was great. We also need to know actually why John wasn’t so great, almost every recommendations asks about weakness.
So a good recommendation will really evaluate both your strength and weaknesses, because it’s usually asked  and you can assume the reason they are asking a question is because they really want an answer. A lot of recommenders don’t want to address the weakness question directly, but it really needs to be addressed.

What I would tell anyone is that with weakness you want a high context answer, that is to say you want weakness to be extremely well defined and in the context of the story so that’s it’s limited. With strengths everyone is happy to have an unlimited sense of their strengths, but they want their weaknesses to be limited and confined. So a good recommendation will definitely included well defined weaknesses, but also really good, clear, strength stories.

Adam Markus:
So the next thing beyond recommendations, beyond the applications themselves is the whole question of school selection. Were you realistic about school selection?

One important consideration is did you apply the programs were it was a good fit. I know sometimes people just apply based on brand. They go well, HBS is a great school I’ll apply there and it maybe a good or a bad choice to apply to HBS, but on the basis of brand alone it is not a good choice.

You really need to look at each school and figure out whether it’s right for you and I often find that when I am working with re-applicant that one of the best pieces of advice I can give them is to look at different schools and to not actually reapply to the same schools, but to apply to a different mix of schools, which may include some of the schools they previously applied to. But if the fit’s not there, there is no real reason to apply to a school again. If you can’t figure out why you picked the school and if the admissions consultant you are working with can’t figure out why you fit the school then apply somewhere else! There are lots of schools.

Did you apply to programs with low rates of admission? Firstly, I don’t think there is any problem applying to a Stanford or Harvard, or UC Berkeley or MIT or other programs with historically low rates of admissions. In fact, I have clients all the times who only apply to such programs, but look at the actual admissions rates when determining where to reapply to.

I like to think about school selection as a portfolio. It is an investment opportunity. Are you overleveraged? Did you did apply to enough programs? For some people they only want to go to Harvard or Stanford or Wharton and that’s it and they won’t go anywhere else and they don’t see the reason to go anywhere else and I respect that and I think that’s fine. There are good reasons for someone to make the decision that the return on investment is such they can only go to a particular small group of schools. On the other hand, if you’re able to apply more widely and if you are thinking more widely, did you apply to enough schools and  did you apply to a wide enough range of programs? That is to say, did you apply to a program that is going to be really challenging for you get to in to? Did you  also apply to programs that were of moderate difficulty in terms of acceptance rate and your fit in terms of the number like your GMAT (Was your score in the 80% range for those admitted?  What about GPA?) Did you only apply to programs where your chance of admission was looking really slight? For me it’s a portfolio, you decide how much risk you want. You can look at acceptance rates at schools and see that there is just a huge variation in the difficulty in admission and so you have a choice to make about what kind of portfolio you want to buy for yourself.

Adam Markus:
Strategic school selection from my viewpoint involves doing research, really understanding fit, being ambitious and realistic. I think this combination or ambition and realism is critical.  Try to go to the best place you want to go to, but also think realistically about what your bottom line is. Apply to enough programs and assemble a winning portfolio.

Adam Markus:
One other consideration is honestly.  Did you over market yourself? I often find that people just sell their experience without providing any reliable details about it, it’s like bad advertising and it’s something I can see rather than describe, but it usually involves just sloganeering with no real story. Keep in mind that if someone reads your application and they don’t believe you, you don’t get in.

So believability is a real core consideration. Do your stories contains sufficient details to be believed? One of the advantages of telling detailed stories is they help the reader embrace the reality you are presenting and so the more you can do that better. Do your recommendations support your claims about yourself? That is, the recommendations don’t necessarily need to say exactly the same things as in your essays but do they confirm your essays?  Do the recommendations provide a sufficient amount of coverage and connection to make the reader believe that what you are presenting is really who you are?

Adam Markus:
Finally, who did you get advice from? And to me, this is really a critical issue. Did you obtain advice on your applications from mentors and/or admission consultants? Getting advice from other people can be incredibly helpful. It can also be confusing if you get advice from way too many people or the wrong people.  So what I would ask you to think about is who advised you in terms of school selection? Who advised you in terms of reviewing your applications? What did they say?  Were they optimistic?  Were they pessimistic? Did they give you detailed feedback or not?

These are things you need to think about because as a re-applicant you are going to need figure out who to get advice from the next time. You might really need to get advice from different people. Were they right? Sometimes you could get advise from someone who says something to you and they were right and you don’t get in. If they were wrong and you don't get in, you need other advisers.

From my viewpoint getting good advise means finding someone you can trust, who is going to be able to give you a well informed opinion. The reason to use an admission consultant is that they should be able to give you a more objective opinion about what you are doing and can also coach you to through the process.

Adam Markus:
To win the admissions game, you need to think about fit and about what you want from MBA.

Next, create a realistic portfolio.  Realistic is completely subjective.  For some people, the portfolio might only be HBS because they can't see the ROI anywhere else.  For other, there might be twenty schools they can easily consider as good options.  If you are looking at twenty schools, narrow that down to somewhere between say four and eight schools to apply to. The number of applications and the timing of applications is really something that varies so widely from applicant to applicant.  Some people really do need 10 schools in their portfolio.

Next, and this point includes many things. Think deeply about what you want to do in the future (at least for purposes of this application process) and what you want to say about yourself. Learn a lot about programs. Write your essays. It takes real commitment and time for the writing process.  Revise and revise again. Get good advice from an admission consultant or mentor.  You may need someone (or multiple advisers) who can really help you go through the revision process and also through the conceptualization process as well rehearsing for interviews.

And then if you do those things, hopefully you’ll win and you’ll get a goal. That is, you will get admitted.

Adam Markus:
So for more information please visit my blog, see especially my posts on reapplication and school selection. For more about my services, please see http://adammarkus.com/.

Vince, do we have any questions?

Vince Ricci:
We do Adam, we have good turnout here and we have a quite a few questions.

The first one it’s probably going to involve you repeating something you’ve already said but the first question was asked was, some of the students to know what if, could you speak a little bit more about this concept of fit.  What does it actually mean because it’s a term we hear a lot.

Adam Markus:
I think fit means establishing a set of deep connections between, on the one hand, what you want to do post-MBA and what a school can provide. And that is to deeply connect your goals to the specific parts of an MBA program. So it maybe if the schools really good at organizational behavior and you view organizational behavior as a critical area for you post MBA career it will be connecting that. At a different level, fit is about the culture of the school and this is where visiting a school or  at least having conversations with alumni and current students is helpful because fit is establishing the connection of the culture so that you are into the mindset, viewpoint, and perspective of that community because you trying to join the community. And you should look at each MBA program as a select community. So fit is about establishing connection to that community.

Vince Ricci: Nice, that’s a great answer.

The next question is what would your advice be to someone to reapply even if someone was dinged without being put on the waiting list. I am talking about a school that has an applicant initiated interview.

Adam Markus:  we’re talking about a school like a Kellogg, which has an applicant initiated interview. Oh, I think reapplication is fine. Especially, in the case like Kellogg because as you know so well, the quality of the interviews that people experience from Kellogg vary so greatly depending on who they talking with. So I think a redo for a school like Kellogg is totally fine. I don’t see an inherent problem with that.

Vince Ricci: Great. The next question actually relates to essays a little more directly, this person says, "I believe I have a strong profile but I applied late for fall 2010. I’m looking to reapply next year but struggling to add significant material to my reapplication essay. What role does statistics and demographics play for reapplications, are there any factors I should look at?"

Adam Markus: Well certainly, I always think about which rounds some one applies in as like seats in a movie theater where there’s a limited number of seats. So, obviously applying earlier has the advantage on a statistical level, this is more open seats. That said as a re-applicant, you have to change your application, unless you’ve gotten specific feedback from the school just saying to reapply and there’s no problem, which I doubt you’re going to get. You need to figure out more. It maybe telling additional stories about yourself, you got to have other stories. It means looking at the school in a different way in terms of thinking about school, maybe going and visiting. You’ve got to make a series of changes and it maybe going and another maybe doing GMAT.
So yeah, I mean the statistical part certainly impacts results, but hoping a statistical change alone will result in admission to a school you previously applied to is, I think, a dangerous approach.

Vince Ricci: Great. I’ve got a lot of questions here, this is excellent. So the next one is from Chris, Chris is asking for re-applicants, is it better to rewrite all previous essays, what stories should change and what can say the same?

Adam Markus: Well, I mean the basic facts of your life have to stay the same because you can’t really alter those, but I think everything else is up for grabs. I had a client who was admitted to Harvard Business School after previously applying twice before and he came to see me, it was the third time and we changed everything.  It also depends on the school though. I mean you got a school like Columbia where basically they say we only want one essay and then you have most other top MBA programs where you can do a complete do over.

So I’d say feel free to try and do over as much as possible as long as you’re the same person and, you know, the basic facts are not going to be contradictory, but you can bring a totally new interpretation of yourself in a new application.

Vince Ricci: Nice, that’s great. We can -- great this is excellent questions, just keep coming here. The next question says, "Are there schools specific strategies such as reapplying to HBS, do they compare your new application to your old one, so they will they read all your essays together?" He says,  "I just applied round 3 but plan to reapply round 1."

Adam Markus: They certainly reference your old application and other schools specific strategies sure, I mean each school has its own issues. For example, l if you’re applying to UC Berkeley as an example, this is a school that really cares about how much the applicants know about the school. So if you were reapplying to Berkeley and you had not previously visited, a school specific strategy really would be to go visit Berkeley because they have an entire essay in the application on "How did you learn about our program?" So that would be a very school specific one. In the case of HBS, they’re going to reference the previous application. That said I would treat it as a do over. I know Vince that, because we shared some clients, that we've always assumed it was a do over. So I think that that’s the way to treat it.

Vince Ricci:
Great. Question just keeps coming, the next one is from Michael and Michael is asking, "Do you have any tips on how to get off a waitlist using some of the elements that you’ve mentioned, any extraordinary tips you can share on wait list strategies?"

Adam Markus: Sure, that there’s actually a post on my blog on waitlist. A lot of the issues in fact are the same and I do both waitlist counseling and reapplication counseling. With waitlist counseling it’s a much more constrained issue and that it depends really on what the school is going to take. Some core issues would be figuring out what parts of who you are were not well represented in the previous application. If your goals were not really well developed, further discussing why the school will really meet your post MBA plans in establishing new greater fit is something to do. Also if there are contributions that you think you can make, that certainly is another thing that I think is a good point for discussion.

Vince Ricci: Good we’ve got, still got about five minutes and luckily we’ve got a great group for being, late here in California, but I suppose it’s early in other parts of the world. Our next question comes from Naveen, Naveen’s question is "I have a question about selling work experience before graduation. There are candidates that have significant work experiences before graduation and they end up completing their graduation by distance. How the schools value it and how can one go about selling that profile?"

Adam Markus:
You can certainly sell your work before graduation on your resume, CV first of all. That’s one place where it certainly would work well and then also in what you write about in your application. I mean I work with younger applicants. I had one client admitted last year to the Harvard 2 plus 2 program, and obviously that person had not graduated from universitity either and I think in his case one just simply discusses one’s professional experience. Maybe in the application form there is some differentiation between full time employment after graduation and prior, but full time employment or grade work experience is something that can always be discussed and you should value it and treat it as important. If it’s really important experience it should be given the time and attention in your application.

Vince Ricci: Nice. This might be our last question, we’ll see how it goes. It’s a pretty long question. It’s from Yuji and I’m going to just read the whole question. It says, "Thank you for your talk Adam, regarding recommendations written by non native English speakers. If my prospective recommender is not fully capable of writing a solid letter in English would it be okay for him or her to just to attempt writing a letter with sub-par grammar to effectively authenticate the letter or would it be mandatory to have a professional editor correct every single grammatical error or possibly even go as far as revising style of writing." This is a tricky question, but it’s commonly asked.

Adam Markus: Yeah it’s totally a tricky question and it’s one you and I have been dealing with for many years now. Basically it totally depends on how bad the writing is. If you have a recommender who writes and tries to tell stories and can tell stories that are clear, if there are grammatical errors, I don’t think that’s a problem at all. For me the issue would be that the recommenders answers are just too limited in length and  not effective in terms of the stories they would tell. Grammatical errors per se wouldn’t freak me out or wouldn’t be a problem. I have seen recommendations certainly that were written by non-native speakers which had mistakes in them, but which were really good recommendations. They were really great stories about the applicant and I think that that’s fine. It shouldn’t sound like, if the person is not a native speaker, like it was written by a native speaker. The other alternative frankly is to just say it was translated and have a professional editor work on it or have the recommender, I am assuming in the case of Yuji, he is Japanese, to have the recommender write it in Japanese and get it translated and just indicate that in the recommendation  and that’s not a problem.

Vince Ricci: It’s great advise, great advise. All right we are coming up on the end of our time of 50 minutes together. First of all I want to thank Adam. This was a really informative talk and the attendance just kept climbing! Adam was able to build a lot of great momentum and has a lot of people tuned in at this moment which is fantastic.

To the attendees who are listening either live or after the fact, please provide feedback, this is the first time AIGAC has done this kind of event and we want to continue doing it and making it better every time. Thanks for all of you for showing up and giving us your time. We hope this has been valuable, thanks for all these great questions and again thanks in advance for giving us some feedback. It would indeed help us continually improve our services. I want to encourage all of you to review the articles that are going to be posted today. Consider signing up for later webinars although we are actually nearing the end of this marathon today, but come back to review the recordings of this and other webinars on the AIGAC website and also on Adam’s website. Thank you all again and thank you Adam.

Adam Markus:
Thank you Vince.

And if you read through all of this, thank you!
-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

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