PMF Nominations

[Crossposted to PMF Info blog here]

The list of 2011 PMF nominations came out a couple of days ago. I’ve been too busy to do more than glance over the list, but figured I would point out the stats from the top. Of the over 9100 applicants, 7482 were nominated by their schools.

Next week, from what I hear, nominees will begin taking the online assessments. I am interested in what you all think of the assessment, bearing in mind you probably don’t have any previous PMF assessments with which you can compare. Also, we don’t want to run the risk of exposing too much information (the PMF Program Office gets really touchy about that).
Since the PMF Program Office will eventually remove the nominees list, I have placed it where you can always access it: click here.
Let me know if you have any trouble getting to it.

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What do you think about the fact that such a high percentage are school nominations?

Part of me doesn’t like that part of the process. But maybe it is good cause it cuts down on some of OPM’s work (so they don’t get 50,000 resumes)

PMF Fellow

I actually think the school nomination process needs to go away. What follows is information I have gathered through conversation with others, but it may not be entirely factual, so take that into consideration.

In the past, the nomination process forced schools to conduct an actual competition, because schools had a nomination cap. In schools where the program was well known and popular, that cap meant that more people might apply than the school was allowed to nominate. The upside is that the school has already done some of the screening work. The downside is that it may disenfranchise smaller schools or schools with little or no experience with the program.

The nomination cap seems to have disappeared, which means that the schools, while technically required to conduct a competitive nomination process, typically just nominate anyone who applies. That’s why the difference between applicants and nominees is relatively small (82% nomination rate) compared to the percentage moving through to successive rounds. Some of the 18% difference between applicants and nominees can be explained by residual school nomination processes. Any ideas on what accounts for the rest?

So, given what is practically rubber-stamping of applicants by the schools, I don’t see that a formal nomination process makes any sense, because it allows the schools to take on the minimum burden possible but not provide meaningful benefit to the rigor of the process.

I’d also like to note that, with a move to the online assessment, the Program Office could support arbitrary numbers of applicants to the program, and the cutoff score from year to year can still be determined as a function of applicants and the distribution of scores.