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US College Offers Scholarship to MBA Course for Candidates Who Apply by Twitter

CAN you express your career and life goals in a tweet of 140 characters or fewer?

Then the University of Iowa wants to hear from you.

The university's Tippie College of Business is offering a full two-year scholarship to its MBA course, worth dollars $34,000, to the applicant who most creatively answers the question, "What makes you an exceptional Tippie MBA candidate and full-time MBA hire?" in a 140-character statement in place of an essay.

Getting into an MBA programme was made much tougher by the recession as growing numbers of applications from unemployed high-flyers forced more colleges to reject even highly qualified students.

A consequence of this increased competition for places has been a rise in coaching and tutoring companies offering, for a fee of several thousand dollars, help in writing application essays.

"Application essays were becoming unoriginal and highly edited," Jodi Schafer, director of MBA admissions and financial aid at the university, said.

"They weren't fresh; they were very formulaic."

Ms Schafer said that inviting applications in the form of a "tweet" was a good way of gauging applicants' creativity.

Because the tweet applications provided links to other social media, such as blogs, they would give candidates a chance to construct their application as a teaser, leading admissions tutors to discover more about the candidate elsewhere.

One full scholarship will be awarded this year. Students will still need to pass the usual admission tests and tweets must be sent by July 28.

Anyone tempted to think that a tweet is easier to compose than an essay might do well to recall Blaise Pascal's comment: "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

"Writing concisely is difficult," Ms Schafer said.

"This isn't just a tweet. It's much more than that."

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