Full-Time MBA Program Tips | Application
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Full-Time MBA Program Tips | Application


Welcome everyone. Thank you for joining
us today. I’m Lindsay Haberman, I’m the assistant director of recruitment and
admissions for the Full-Time MBA program. I have with me two of my colleagues here
today with us: Courtney Elms and Taylor Martini. I just
kind of wanted to stop and get a brief introduction. If you can just tell us a little bit about your background and your position here at Merage. Sure, I’m Courtney Elms. I’m the executive director of the Full-Time MBA program
here at the Merage School. I’m also an alum of our program. I
graduated from the full-time program back in 2011 and transitioned from a
career in IT consulting to brand marketing which I did for about four and
a half years before joining the Merage School. Hi everyone. I’m Taylor Martini,
senior associate director of recruitment and admissions for our full-time program.
I am also an alum of the program. I graduated with the class of 2015 and
have been working in this role and managing the admissions process for
about the last three and a half years. Thank you. We appreciate you having both of you here today and kind of offering us some insight into kind of
some of the most common questions that we get asked when we’re on the road
pertaining to the application process and how to make yourself stand out as a
good candidate to our program. So, to start off I’m kind of going to start
from the very beginning when somebody is, you know, first considering the Merage
School and looking at our website and deciding to apply. What makes a great
applicant? Yeah so, I can kind of jump on that one and then you can add in as well.
So, I think for me the first thing that really helps an applicant stand out in
the admission cycle is to get to know the school. So, to actually reach out and
interact with the program office and introduce yourself and so there’s a lot
of ways that you can do that. You can either reach out to current students. You
can reach out to the admissions team by setting up a one-on-one consultation. You
can come to some on-campus events. You can meet us on the road so there’s a lot of ways that you can connect with us, interact with us and really introduce
yourself, and so then by doing that obviously you get to know the program
well, you get to do your due diligence and your research, but also then when you submit your application and we’re reviewing it,
you’re no longer just a name on the application. Now we can match a name with a face and a memory or an interaction and so that helps you stand out a little
bit more when you’re applying. In terms of you know what you can kind of submit
and put forward in the application… I don’t know if that’s something you want
to… Sure, I’ll touch on that a little bit. I think for from my perspective on that
it’s about having a cohesive story. So, are you clearing your resume about the
experience that you’ve had up until now? Do you link that into your essay or on
your short-term goals and make it really clear to us how the MBA is going to help
you achieve those goals? And then, are your recommenders talking about you know your similar strengths that are coming out through both your resume and your
essay so that it all ties together really well when we’re reviewing it? Thank you. Yeah, that’s great and kind of touching on this recommendation and
essay. What do you think makes a great essay? A great essay… So, we launched with new essays for the Fall 2018 application to start in fall 2019 and the first ones
really simple. It’s around what are your short-term goals post MBA? I think what’s
important in that is answer the prompt. Keep it in the word limit and be really
specific and clear. Provide a, you know, specific industry that you’re interested
in, a specific position, perhaps even some target companies. Our second question…
It’s an interesting one. it’s going to make you really think about
what is going on in the industry that you’re interested in and there’s no
right or wrong answer. We’re not looking for a specific answer in that question.
It’s really about understanding your thought process. So, are you able to
clearly articulate what that trend is? What are some of the implications for
that that industry? How is it going to impact what you want to be doing in that
industry? So, we’re really looking for just a clear story from the beginning
through the end of that essays that we walk away knowing that you’ve put
thought into it and that you’ve made it really clear what your position is. Yeah and as a quick add-on to that you know that second essay question is
all around our brand: Leadership for a Digitally Driven World™ and so again we’re getting to know the school and understanding what it is specifically
that you’re gonna get from the Merage program is going to help you address
that second essay prompt. That’s great. I mean, as we’re kind of working through the application–I mean, as you’re looking at your essays–I mean kind of another
component to our application is the letters of recommendation… So how–who
should you ask to write your recommendations and what are we looking
for for a strong letter of recommendation? Sure, I’ll take that one. So ideally it would be your immediate supervisor. They’re really able to talk
to you as an employee what your strengths and development areas are, but
we do understand that that’s not always possible. Perhaps you haven’t told your
company that you’re planning on leaving and pursuing an MBA yet or perhaps
there’s something else that you need to take into consideration. So in
that case, we’d encourage you to look are there other people in your organization that can provide a similar perspective. Perhaps someone that you’ve
worked with on a project. Perhaps it’s a client or a supplier. Really, we’re
looking for someone who can speak to you holistically in terms of your
professionalism, your communication skills, your leadership, your teamwork and
we’re not looking for someone who’s necessarily going to say you’re in the
top 2% in every category. We all have development areas and so I
would really encourage you to speak to your recommenders and talk to them about
why you’re interested in doing an MBA. why are you interested in doing an MBA
from the Merage school and are there particular themes that you want them to
cover in their letter of recommendation and that way it goes back to that
cohesive application that I was talking about before if your recommenders are
building on things that you’ve talked about in your resume or that you’ve
talked about in your essay. It really helps package it all together for us.
Yeah, as a quick add-on, I always suggest that, you know, who you decide is going to
be your recommenders… I really suggest that you take them to lunch or coffee,
sit down with them, talk to them about just like what Courtney said why you
want to do an MBA. Talk to them about what are some of those key
accomplishments or the projects that you’ve worked on. How do you want those
highlighted when they write your letter of recommendation? So, you know, really
do your due diligence with that as well and do that preparation so that they can
write you the strongest letter of recommendation possible and they can
kind of showcase you in the best light possible. Those are some great tips you
know getting everything together ready to submit your application, now what
happens behind the scenes once we submit the application? Yeah, I can take that I
guess the first thing that I’ll address in terms of when you submit the
application. So, we are a little bit different in the sense that we work on a
rolling admissions basis and so what this means is that once you’ve submitted
your application and we’ve actually collected all your supporting
documentation: GMAT score, letter of recommendations, transcripts… Once we have all of that and your application is marked as complete and you enter the
review process, we begin the review process right then. So, we don’t wait to
collect a certain amount of applications and then review them as one big batch or
several batches throughout the year. We just review your application as soon as
it’s been completed and that allows us to you know turn around the application
timeline and decision as quickly as possible. Typically, six weeks or
less from the time your application is complete to the time you’ve gone through
the process and actually received your decision in terms of what actually takes
place behind the scenes. So, once your application is submitted, a couple
different things happen. So, your application is going to get reviewed by
multiple colleagues on the admissions team so it’s not just one person that’s
taking a look at your application, but once we’ve had multiple colleagues in
the admissions team review it at that point, we would then let you know if you
are moving forward in the process. And, if you are moving forward in the process
then a couple things can happen. Either you will be invited to a Kira Talent
Interview Stream, which is something that most of our candidates–that would be
their next step in the process, or you could be invited directly to an
interview at that point in the process. So, if you go the route of the Kira
Talent Interview Stream, it’s not really a good or a bad thing it’s just that we’re
looking to get some additional information from you. We have you answer
a couple additional questions, some verbal questions through the interview stream technology as well as a written response question. It’s only
three questions that you need to answer, and then from there we’re able to kind
of evaluate with the rest of your application. Once you get invited to an
interview, after the interview basically your application along with our
interview notes goes to the admissions committee and then from there it’s
usually a couple week turnaround process to get you a finalized decision on your
application. Yeah and just to piggyback off of what Taylor said in terms of the
Kira video streaming technology that we use. I hear a lot from our current
students who are speaking with our prospective applicants around you know…
“Does this mean that I’m not going to get admitted? Is this bad news that I didn’t
get straight to a one-on-one interview?” and that’s not the case. Like Taylor said,
it’s just another piece of information that we’re able to gain from you and it
doesn’t mean necessarily that you’re going to get denied it also doesn’t
necessarily mean that you’re going to get an interview. And so, it really just
depends. We encourage you to put your best foot forward and add it and take
that very seriously and like an interview as well. That’s great advice.
I think, kind of shifting gears here, a little bit I know a question that gets
asked so many times obviously around work experience–that’s a big component
to our application into your resume. What types of experience do we consider as work experience? Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, I would say
typically when we’re talking about the class profile and we’re sharing, you know,
on average our students have five years of work experience. That’s specifically
looking at work experience post their undergraduate degree. Now with that said,
if you’re somebody that is maybe on the less experienced side. You only have
maybe two years of full-time work experience after graduation. Then someone like that when we’re reviewing your resume, we are going to be looking at you
know possibly internships that you had during your undergraduate degree. Any
activities may be outside in terms of clubs or other organizations that you’re
involved with. There are some instances where you know the work experience that
we look at could be a pre undergraduate level. Kind of a unique case would be
with the military. We’ve had some candidates where, you know, before their
undergraduate degree they’ve served in the military for a number of years and
then they’ve been able to, you know, go from there, complete their undergraduate
degree. That is work experience. Again, that of course, we would consider
when evaluating an application. Sure, and another part of that, we get asked a lot
around, you know, I have a non-traditional background and that often means a lot of
different things. So, for some people that might mean that they don’t come from a
corporate business environment or they haven’t studied finance or economics
before. But, we have students from a wide variety of undergraduate degrees from
Social Sciences to hard sciences, engineering and of course we do have our
business and econ majors, too. And so, regardless of what path you’ve
taken, what we’re looking for is what are the experiences that you’ve gained, right?
It’s not necessarily about your title, but do you have consistent work history?
Have you been jumping around a lot between companies? Or, are you showing
progression with where you’ve been? Have you taken on increased responsibilities?
It’s not always a promotion but instead of maybe when you started you were only
responsible for one portion of a project or a function and now you’ve taken on more over the last year or two and so we really do consider all work experience
and again there isn’t really a right answer or you know a cookie-cutter work
experience type that we’re looking for. And I think, especially, you know, with
non-traditional candidates or really even candidates that are looking to make
a big transition. It’s about highlighting those
transferable skills so, even if you haven’t been exactly in a role that
aligns with what you want to do moving forward or, like I said, maybe you’re
coming from a slightly different background, it’s highlighting those
transferable skills that are going to be used in that desired role that you’re
looking to get into. So going along the lines of non-traditional students we
have, you know, a lot of students that have kind of a different background
coming in and want to know how I be considered. How would they best
demonstrate those diverse backgrounds in their application? Yeah, I think Taylor
just touched on it a little bit. It’s around what are the transferable skills
especially if you’re looking to move one industry and function to another.
Perhaps you’re looking to change only the industry or only the function or
both and be a complete career switcher. The reality is probably about 80+ percent of our students are looking to make some sort of career switch. And so,
we’re really looking for are you clear about what that switch is? Have you done
some homework around speaking to people that are in the types of roles that you
think you’re interested in? Of course you’ve got lots of career prep once
you’re here on campus, but in important pieces is doing some of that homework up
front and being able to demonstrate why you’re interested in getting into that
particular company or industry or function. Yeah, I would say utilizing
informational interviews, reaching out on LinkedIn and some other resources that
can be used to help you figure out exactly what that target role or
position is and then taking a really good kind of self reflective look at
your background and what are those things that you can pull out to really
leverage to pursue that desired function or industry. And something Taylor
mentioned earlier was around personal consultations and this is a great area
to bring in your resume and meet with someone on the admissions team one-on-one. Think of it as, you know, a mini coaching session around… What are the
skills that you should be highlighting in your resume? What are the experiences
that are important for you to pull out in your application? And, we’ve read tons
of applications, we’ve seen thousands of resumes and we work really closely with
our Career Center as well and so we have experience and in helping you navigate
that transition and being able to highlight those specific skills. So, if
you have any questions about you know you the career switch that you want to
make or about your particular work experience, reach out to us and have a
personal consultation. I mean this is a lot of great great insight into kind of
the different parts of the application. I think you know a big question and
obviously you know we get this a lot being cost. What kind of scholarships do
we offer our students here at the Merage School? Yeah, that is a good question and
one that we get quite often. And, it can be a little shocking when you see the
sticker price of MBA programs, including ours, and the reality of it is that you
know students are getting scholarships so, I was actually just looking at
the numbers from our most recent incoming class and over 90 percent of
the class was receiving some type of scholarship. And, all of our scholarships
that we offer here are merit-based and what that means is it just depends on
the overall competitiveness of your application so we’re looking at the GMAT
score, we’re looking at your undergraduate GPA, your work experience… Everything that you put forth and the application is getting evaluated not
only for admissions but for scholarship as well. And, it ranges greatly you know
in this last batch class we saw everything from five thousand dollars
all the way up to, and some rare instances, some full scholarship offers
that were given out. So, it really does depend on your you know individual
competitiveness of the application it is quite the range but over ninety percent
of the students in the incoming class we’re getting some type of scholarship.
And, a nice little benefit about Merage is that when you apply to the program
you’re automatically considered for those scholarship opportunities. So,
there’s no extra essay, there’s no extra application, there’s nothing like that
that you have to do. Once you go through the process, if you’re admitted to the
program we would also let you know at that time how much scholarship we can
award you to attend. And, on a slightly different note than that, we also have
someone in our financial aid office. She actually sits right in our building at
the business school and she’s dedicated to only graduate business students. And
so, she’s someone that we can connect you with along the road so that you can
understand what are some other ways that you can look to to finance your degree.
Great, again, that kind of concludes this session, but I wanted to say thank you
very much for both of you, taking the time out of your day to really offer
some great valuable, you know, insight into kind of the application and how
somebody kind of looking at Merage can stand out. In closing, I think you know
the next step is obviously reach out and get connected with us. Many different
ways to do that, one being our website and looking for events that we’re going
to be on the road or on-campus. Also, signing up, like she said, for a
consultation. The best way to kind of put your, you know, your best foot forward and
kind of the guidance that you need throughout
the process. Also, we have a great group of student ambassadors. Please reach out
to any one of them. They are great insight as to what Merage life looks
like. They are living our program and they are more than happy to have a quick
chat with you, meet you over coffee, even buy you in for a class visit to kind of
see what that environment looks like. So thank you both again. I appreciate it and
please also stay tuned for future series that we’re going to have. We’re gonna to
have an additional content around our alumni. We’re gonna have student
interaction also some of our faculty, and of course, our Career Center. So, please
watch out on our website for that. Thank you very much and
we appreciate you taking the time. Thanks!

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