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Admissions Deans at Top Business Schools Caution Prospective Applicants Against Buying Essays

A new company founded by MBA graduates from Stanford Graduate School of Business and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business lets prospective applicants buy application essays from people who were recently admitted to top MBA programs. But deans and admissions officials at those programs caution candidates against using the service, even for “inspiration.”

An article last week in Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported on, founded by Gili and Ori Elkin, a husband-and-wife team who graduated with MBAs from Stanford and Haas respectively. In lieu of selling a collection of successful essays compiled as a book, as has been done in the past, the Elkins since August have been gathering essays from recent MBA graduates and current students and began selling them via their website about two weeks ago, according to Bloomberg BW.

Prospective applicants can search’s collection by school, gender, graduation year and application round. Essays will sell for $50, though they are being offered at an introductory price of $25 each, and the first 500 essay contributors will be paid half that sum whenever one of their essays is downloaded, Bloomberg BW reports.

According to Ms. Elkin, Wordprom’s CEO, prospective applicants will eventually be able to buy a package of essays at about what it would cost to hire an MBA admissions consultant for an hour. “I thought it would be a way to make the admissions process accessible to everyone and everywhere,” she told Bloomberg BW.

But admissions deans and other officials from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Harvard Business School (HBS) and London Business School, among others, have expressed their displeasure with the new service, citing concerns of plagiarism and inauthenticity.

“I am not a fan. I think it could potentially make candidates inauthentic,” Rob Weiler, Anderson’s interim assistant dean of MBA admissions and financial aid, told Bloomberg BW. Dean of Admissions Dee Leopold from HBS, meanwhile, questioned the essays’ usefulness.

“I understand the desire for prospective applicants to get a glimpse of what an HBS essay looks like. That being said, the buyer should really beware,” she said. “Our essay questions are completely new this year, so historical essays may not be as helpful as candidates might wish.”

CEO Elkin maintains that the essays on are intended to be used for inspiration only, noting that users must sign an agreement promising not to plagiarize. Violation of the terms of this agreement will result in the user being banned from the site.

Read the full Bloomberg BusinessWeek story, “For Sale: MBA Admissions Essays That Worked Once.”


Posted in: MBA News

Schools: Berkeley / Haas

One Comment

  1. While I certainly understand the concerns of the business schools, and I can imagine some fools going control pasta crazy, I can see a legitimate use for this service.

    MBA programs are now using anti-plagiarism software, which hopefully can be modified to include old essays submitted to them, if it does not already. I was under the impression that almost all schools used the same software, so if they jointly give it their essays every year, then perhaps it could save them and start comparing new essays to them too.

    I think the price is a little bit high for the essays, but if I could see 5 for 25 I would be very willing to pay it. (Fewer than five essays and I would not be comfortable saying I had seen a trend in what works.) There is a shocking lack of examples of good essays out there, though there are heaps of descriptions about what to do. How much more helpful was it when writing your resume to see some examples first? Simply seeing the balance between style and content, and formality and personality would be very helpful to me, but everyone is petrified to show a good essay because they are certain you will steal it.

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