What do you look for in MBA candidates for your program?

Feb 28, 2012
Tags: Admissions Process, Admissions Requirements, Applications, B-School, GMAT, MBA

Wendy Flynn, Director of MBA Admissions, Texas A&M University

The Three Things We Seek In Every MBA Applicant

In the MBA Admissions Office, we're often asked, "What do you look for in MBA candidates for your program?" Here's the basis of what we seek.

Ability to be successful academically in our program.

The good news about our 16-month MBA structure is that our students complete 50% more coursework (as compared to traditional programs) in the first nine months of the program. It's also a lot of work to complete 36 credit hours in 9 months. We screen academics closely to ensure that we admit only those candidates who can be successful academically. 

We place a strong ethical value on this particular factor. As an Admissions Team, we feel that nothing could be more wrong than to admit a candidate who cannot succeed in the classroom. 

To assess this area, we look at your GMAT scores, your undergraduate transcripts and your professional experience. Like all MBA programs, our program requires strong quantitative skills. So, we're looking closely for indications of quantitative skills.

Ability to contribute in the classroom.

The MBA classroom at Texas A&M is a highly participative classroom led by accomplished academics who are skilled at generating synergy from the shared contributions of the students in the classroom. A significant part of the learning in the MBA classroom comes from this synergy. 

Furthermore, we seek a broad diversity in the background of our students (professionally, academically, culturally, etc.) This diversity further enhances the dynamic that occurs in the classroom. Thus, candidates in our program must have the background to make a contribution as well as the disposition to fully engage in this active academic environment.

Potential for success in the post-MBA job search.

Most people pursue an MBA with the intent of either a career change or advancement within their current field. It's our role in admissions to ensure that we admit candidates who can accomplish the goals they are setting forth for themselves. This is why it's critical for our applicants to have well-defined post-MBA career goals. 

As our Director of Graduate Business Career Services, Jim Dixey, says, "The MBA Program is no place to 'find yourself!' You should know what you want before you embark on this journey!" In fact, our Graduate Business Career Services staff members interview all candidates who come to campus, and serve as a member of our Admissions Committee. 

In simple terms, here's how we look at this, "Does pre-MBA Experience PLUS the MBA degree logically EQUAL the post-MBA goal?" It's your job as an applicant to have a solid goal in place, and help the Admissions Committee connect the dots to make the equation work. 

Keep these factors in mind as you prepare all of the components of your MBA application. You'll strengthen your application because you'll be proactively answering the questions the Admissions Committee asks.