Right now, MIT selects most graduate students pretty much the same way other universities do: Students usually have to have a college degree. They have to take standardized tests, like the GRE. They must send letters of recommendation and submit their earlier grades.
Esther Duflo thinks MIT can find a better way.
“The GRE is not very informative, because no one who comes to MIT doesn’t have a near-perfect GRE anyways,” Duflo says.
Letters of recommendation, Duflo adds, are only useful if they come from people and universities that MIT faculty are familiar with. “So, in practice, if you come from the University of the Middle of Nowhere, we have no way to judge the quality of your application, and therefore that creates a lot of barriers.”