Business School Spam

When you sign up for the GMAT and during the actual GMAT exam itself, you are presented the option to sign up for the GMAC mailing list.  I forget the actual terminology, but it says something like:

“Do you want business schools to send you information about their programs and potential scholarships?” 

“Scholarships” being the key word in this phrase.  Had they left it out, I would have never checked that box.  But like many other prospective students, I was looking at taking on tens of thousands of dollars of debt to go to business school, and felt that I needed all the help I could get.  And hey, it couldn’t hurt right?  Well, what the statement should have said was this:

“Do you want random schools you’ve never heard of to constantly spam you with what is essentially the equivalent of credit card junk mail?”

Now, I really don’t mind the occasional email.  But I’ve seriously lost respect for a lot of schools through these email campaigns.  Some of the gimmicks I’ve encountered included:

  • Getting a free iPad if you enroll in the school
  • Being pre-qualified for a $100,000 fellowship
  • Getting an email from some random admissions director saying that the admissions deadline had passed, that I had not submitted an application, but that he was kind enough to offer me a grace period.  How nice of him.

My recommendation, as you can probably tell, is DO NOT sign up for these business school mailings.  When you are presented the chance, don’t check that box.  What you should do is go to each website for the school’s that you are applying to and sign up for their individual mailing lists.  That way, you only get the material that you want.  Additionally, you don’t run the risk of confusing the material from your target schools with junk mail.

It’s a simple example of supply and demand.  The schools that are worth getting into won’t market themselves to you.  They have enough applicants and get enough press through the rankings.  It’s you who has to convince them that you’re good enough.

I will say that the mailings I got eventually led me to attend the GMATCH event, a virtual business school career fair where you can chat with admissions personnel from various schools around the world.  But even that webinar only had only two schools I was interested in and was extremely difficult to navigate.

I’ve spent the past few days unsubscribing from all the spam that I get.  I wonder if there is a way to stop it all at once?  I probably won’t do that until after decisions are out, as I don’t want to knock myself off the mailing lists for my target schools.

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