In The Loop on Applying to B-School

Jul 11, 2012
Tags: Applications, Choosing the Right School

Al Turner, Rutgers

Provided by Al Turner, Assistant Director, Rutgers Business School Office of Graduate Admissions

Applying to graduate school can be an overwhelming process. And, the landscape is changing with regard to the age demographic applying to and entering graduate business school. The field is getting younger, and those with years of professional maturity will find that the youthful are extremely competitive. There can be no taking comfort in having a job that lasts forever and not experiencing some sort of restructuring. Growing pains and bottom lines dictate the profitability of big and medium sized business, therefore all the more reason to be prepared for the shift and pursue your graduate studies. However, there are definitely some checks and balances that need to be adhered to during the process. 

There is a lot to be gained by having an MBA degree and the financial reward can be quite lucrative. What is required to be that breakout candidate and star? When applying to b-schools, research is extremely important, as evidenced by the numerous graduate MBA fairs that are conducted in cities across the globe. Seeing what schools have to offer with reference to the program is important in your search. When you’ve narrowed down your choice of institutions, it is also important – and demonstrates your level of commitment – to know a lot about the school to which you’re applying. Researching the following are all worthwhile pieces of information:

  • Statistics revolving around GMAT scores
  • GPA
  • Required work experience
  • Program size
  • Specializations provided
  • Alumni availability
  • Availability or access to current students in the program to gain their perspective
  • Resources available that will enrich your experience while in graduate school
Know some history of the program and its accomplishments, awards won or competitions participated in, as well as any breaking news pertaining to the program or school. The process in applying to a school is critical and you need to keep in mind that the school wants to assess that you are a quality candidate, no matter how high an entrance exam score, GPA, or amount of practical professional experience. Programs will examine that you can fit into the culture and student body and you should assess the same. You need to feel comfortable with the school and its student body. 

At Rutgers Business School Graduate MBA Program Newark-New Brunswick, we encourage prospective students and applicants alike to meet with one of the directors or arrange a time to sit in one of our classes. We generally recommend attending a class where you may wish to specialize. The experience of a graduate school classroom and getting involved in discussions with peer groups and faculty is a great way to become part of the culture and further ignite that flame for you to attend b-school. There are additional things to consider when looking at a quality MBA program. 

A key component in aiding a prospective student in the research process is the Office of Career Management. Look at the companies that recruit at the institutions. Ask about their statistics in regard to the amount of students that have found internships as well as full-time opportunities prior to graduation and three months post graduation. These are some important statistics that should be readily accessible if not online then by way of communicating with a Career Management Specialist. 

Be prepared in respect to knowing what specialization you want to pursue. To have any sort of success with Career Management, you must have researched the industry, speak the language of the field and demonstrate that you belong in graduate school and are the right candidate for said employment opportunity. I tell students that you need to embody and embrace; become and sell the fact that you are Finance, whatever area within Finance you choose to pursue or Management or Marketing or Supply Chain. Speak with Career Services and ask questions that will be relative to your future success and career. Our Office of Career Management is there to support the students and guide them with resume restructuring, mock interviews, which are strongly encouraged, aiding you with the must-dos and don’ts in order to be a star. What we do at Rutgers is present you with the tools and qualifications to aid you in attaining that job in your new career path. 

In short, do your research, attend an institution that has what you want, not just in terms of name but also in the substance of the program. If you are attending b-school because you feel it is the golden ticket to a great income and easy street like in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, then you will be in for somewhat of a reality check. Make sure b-school is right for you and you it! Two things you cannot recapture if you feel that you have made the wrong choice in a graduate b-school are the time you’ve lost and the expense. Our creed here at the Rutgers Business School is: “Come with your passion and leave with your career.” Keep in mind, you are not only here for the experience and a job but to separate yourself from the competitors and place yourself in a different tax bracket. It doesn’t get any more candid than this. So, be certain that your detective work plays to your advantage.