These days there are a lot of exciting posts on the MBA blogs from successful applicants who are preparing to head off to various schools. My MBA Journey reflects on all of the paperwork and preparation before starting at Yale. Strawberrtints celebrates getting financial aid. And Rainierisms even offers some fashion tips on different bags for back to school. But Let me wear a Suit. Please brought up something, albeit with humor, that I haven’t seen much of on the blogs…the fear of failing classes.
With all of the discussions on the GMAT, essays, recs, and interviews followed by the drama of acceptances and rejections, it is easy to forget that the ultimate outcome is going to back to the classroom and that means getting grades. Many applicants may not know that some schools like Stanford practice grade non-disclosure. This means that when students interview with companies, interviewers are not allowed to ask students their grades and students are not allowed to share their grades. The main reason for instituting such a policy is to foster a non-competitive atmosphere. That said, the policy may not be the real problem as discussed in this HBS piece. In fact, in recent years HBS reversed their grade non-disclosure policy, a decision you can read about here.
There are pros and cons to such a policy. I’ve heard students from non-traditional backgrounds (eg, non-profits, military) say it was helpful to go into interviews knowing that their struggles in quantitative classes wouldn’t hurt them. I’ve also heard students from these same backgrounds who were strong quantitatively say this policy hurts them because they can’t show companies that they are ready for a finance position, for example, despite their previous career path.
At any rate, grade disclosure policies are one more question you can ask in information sessions and on school visits to help you get a sense of each school’s culture.