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Tippie's Twitter Essay: An MBA Admissions Experiment Gone Awry

Tippie's Twitter Essay: An MBA Admissions Experiment Gone Awry
Photograph by Businessweek

After only two years, the Tippie School of Management’s famous “application tweet” contest has gone the way of the dodo bird. University of Iowa’s business school made headlines in the summer of 2011 when it announced a pilot program that asked applicants to explain—via a tweet of 140 characters or less—why they thought they would be a good Tipple candidate and future MBA hire. The pilot was such a success that the school made the contest a formal part of the application process last year, giving students the option either to write a second essay or to craft a thought-provoking tweet. Those who chose the “tweet” essay were entered into a contest for a full-tuition scholarship to Tippie.

The Twitter contest, though well-received by applicants, did not live up to the school’s hopes, says Jodi Schafer, Tippie’s director of MBA admissions and financial aid. The school had originally come up with the idea as a way for candidates to express more of their personality than the standard application allowed. “The essays we received were highly edited, and we wanted to come up with something more innovative,” she said.