My last post was about optional essays. Push essays and push letters are similar in that you have to exercise supremely good judgment when using them. For those of you who don’t know, "push" materials are generally additional essays or letters of recommendation that your target school does not require.
Now this sounds like a great idea, except for the fact that every applicant gets the same idea and the result for an MBA adcom is a flood of additional materials that they didn’t request and don’t have the resources to review. Some applicants send these materials even before the initial interview decisions have been announced. Complicating matters further, some programs encourage push materials for people on waiting lists.
The question is: under what conditions should you send push materials? I recommend asking yourself the following questions:
1) Is the information new? Is it a new development or has it not been covered anywhere else in your application? In the case of a push letter, can the writer say something that your other recommenders cannot?
2) Is it significant? For example, did you raise your GMAT or TOEFL score significantly? Did you get a raise or promotion? Did you complete a project successfully, especially one you mentioned in your essays or interviews?
3) Do you have permission? Did the MBA program OK the additional material or did a personal contact (perhaps an adcom interviewer) recommend it?
The more “yes” answers you have, the stronger your case for sending push materials. But like many things in the MBA application process, you will likely be penalized for poor judgment so think carefully before you send.