Do you require a resume in the application and what should applicants most heavily emphasize in their resumes?
We do require a copy of the applicant’s resume. I think that one of the main things we like to see in the work experience via the resume is their role in their job and their responsibilities. Many times an applicant will talk somewhat generically about their experiences in a department or a group and that is very important because it shows team work and communication skills, but we also want to know what were their specific roles, their accomplishments, their results and for what they were most directly responsible. It gives us an understanding of where they fit. Is this person more of a team leader or are they more of a supporting member?
Let’s talk about the GMAT. Everyone wants to know how important is the GMAT?
It is an important piece in that it is the one standardized test across all applicants. However, it is definitely one component and it helps us understand an applicant’s academic performance.
Do you have advice to give applicants who are struggling with the exam?
One of the main things is to overcome the test anxiety. They should become familiar with the test so that it is not so foreign and also the testing environment so they become more comfortable with actually taking the test. Also, an applicant, in order to give themselves a cushion, should plan on taking the test more than one time if they feel it is not a reflective score. We take the highest test score.
Do you want to talk about the GMAT range for the admitted applicants for this coming year?
Sure. Our scores are not published yet, but last year is going to be very similar. I believe our 80% GMAT range is between 620 and 730.
Let’s talk about the interview. It is a requirement at McCombs Business School before a decision is made?
It is not officially a requirement, but 100% of our domestic admitted students and approximately 85% of our international students admitted students were interviewed this year. So it has become an increasingly important aspect of the application here at McCombs.
Are there specific applicant’s traits that you are trying to gauge in the interview?
Yes. We try to understand the general aspects of communication skills and team work skills. We are trying to flush out more about their professional objectives, why they are interested in McCombs, are there particular aspects of the program that they are attracted to and to try to get an understanding of a student’s flexibility. One of the main things happening in business schools and in the economy is how to adapt to change. It is obviously a very dynamic economy and so we want to get an understanding of an applicant and how they have may have faced adversity in the past or handled particular aspects in their previous experience and how they have been able to adapt.
Are there types of questions that the applicant should expect to be asked in the interview?
I would definitely be very comfortable asking why you are getting an MBA and that really has multiple parts to it. It talks about your previous experiences, what you have done, what has gotten you here, what has made you successful and then how is the MBA a tool to get you to that next step. What do you expect to take from it, how do you expect it to impact your professional development and then what are the aspects of McCombs that will be critical to move you to that next level.
Are the interviews that you do conducted blind or is the applicant file always reviewed beforehand?
It sort of ranges on the amount of material in the file. Most of the time you might have a limited amount of information about the applicant. So it is not completely blind, but you will not have a full set of information on the applicant.