How an MBA Admissions Committee Decides

It’s not just GMAT scores any more. On a chilly winter day in Boston, the group is huddled in a windowless, nondescript room. Piled high on a side table is enough junk food—potato chips, popcorn and Oreo cookies—to put an extra five pounds on every person in the room. It’s evidence of the likelihood that the locked-door session will test everyone’s endurance. The seven people around the rectangular table in room 112G are enacting a scene that is playing out at business schools all over the world, as admission committees decide the fate of tens of thousands of applicants to their MBA programs. In this case, the group is the MBA admissions team at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Led by Assistant Dean of Graduate Admissions Meredith Siegel, the seven members of the committee will present dozens of candidates today, mull over the pros and cons of each application, and ultimately decide whether to admit, reject, or waitlist an applicant. A Record $50 Million Gift For BU, this is an uplifting time. Less than a year ago, the school received a $50 million naming gift from alumnus and long-time retailing giant Allen Questrom and his wife, Kelli. The gift, the largest ever received by the university, is going toward the endowment of 10 faculty chairs and will result in a new graduate program facility. Ken Freeman, a former corporate executive who is now in his sixth year as dean, not only reeled in the unprecedented gift. He has also put new life into a school that for years competed neck-and-neck with Boston College behind the two giants of business education in town, Harvard and MIT. “We have basically turned everything over,” he says. “There is no aspect of...

4 Questions to Ask at MBA Admissions Events

When it comes to applying to business school, connecting with a school’s admissions team can be a key part of the process. For prospective students, this connection often happens at admissions events. School representatives travel to Chicago, Denver and dozens of other cities to attend business school fairs where they can meet applicants. Aspiring MBAs can learn about curriculum offerings, class sizes and experiential learning, often without having to visit the school. For those who are able to travel, admissions staffers also host on-campus open houses throughout the year. While applicants can learn about a school online or through a brochure, there’s an advantage to attending one of these meetups. “The dialogue that occurs is often much richer if you are present with somebody in person,” says Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. “I can get a better sense for who a candidate is in person, I believe, than I can over the phone or via email.” Prospective students can also use these occasions to learn key tips about how to boost their applications. Applicants often have five-minute, one-on-one chats with a member of a program’s admissions team during school fairs and can use the time to learn how to improve their personal statements or other application components. Below, admissions experts outline four questions applicants should ask to make sure they’re selling themselves to schools in the best way. 1. What’s an appropriate length for a resume? Many MBA programs prefer applicants work for a few years before applying and like to see resumes with a certain look. “I would say no more than two pages for their resume,” says Stephan Kolodiy, a senior admissions officer for the business...

Top Tips for Meeting an MBA Admissions Officer Face-to-Face...

You’re dressed in your best business attire, you have a flawless resume in hand, and you’re ready to network! Yet, when you approach the booth for your dream school your mind draws a blank. What do you say? How do you make the best first impression? Meeting Admissions Officers face-to-face can be intimidating, but if you prepare ahead and follow these tips it will easily become second nature. 1) Do Your Research Before attending the event take note of the schools that will be there. Highlight the ones that you are most interested in and do research online about specific programs, classes, admissions processes, etc. Most answers to common questions (grades, requirements, scholarships) can be found online. You’ll want to formulate questions that will be of value in a conversational setting. For example, instead of asking if the GMAT is required, ask about the competitive advantages of the school’s MBA program. This probing question will provide the basis for a better conversation. 2) Practice Your Pitch Take a few minutes to write down why you are interested in doing an MBA. By putting your goals down on paper you’ll be able to better articulate them to the Admissions Officers you meet. Be clear and concise when introducing yourself. 3) Confidence is Key Remember, Admissions Officers are there to help you! They want to answer your questions and provide you with the best information possible. Be confidant when introducing yourself and speaking about why you are interested in that specific school. 4) Relax! The more at ease you are, the more information you’ll absorb, and the better your interactions will be. For more information on how to prepare for the event and advice from Admissions Officers, visit The MBA Tour’s...