The Admissions Committee, in considering applications to the MBA program, seeks people who:
- are academically talented
- exhibit strong potential for leadership
- have a history of success, both personally and professionally
- demonstrate compelling personal qualities
- have a clear sense of purpose
- differentiate themselves from other qualified candidates in our pool
Each application is considered relative to the applicant pool from a global perspective and in a holistic manner that relies on no fixed criteria, formula or weighting of specific pieces of the application. There are four broad areas of evaluation that encompass the entire application, but the decision is rarely tied to any one aspect or feature of an applicant's candidacy. These areas include: academic ability, professional experience, personal qualities and overall presentation.
The two primary predictors we use for academic potential and achievement are GMAT scores and prior academic performance (including undergraduate / baccalaureate degree and graduate-level courses). Other credentials (e.g., CPA, CFA, MSE) are also considered. When evaluating the academic profile of an individual, we consider not only actual scores or letter grades, but factors such as the competitive level of the student's curriculum and school, the course load the student chose and academic trends exhibited on the transcript. The grade point average (GPA) or class division (e.g., First Class with Distinction, Second Class with Honours) is evaluated in light of other demands on the applicant's time such as working while in school or heavy involvement in extracurricular activities. Equally important are the factors influencing college choice, the attitude the applicant has towards his/her college experience, whether the applicant made the most of the opportunity, and how many years the applicant required to earn his/her degree. For non-native English speakers, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS test is required. The score is used as a predictor of the applicant’s ability to learn and participate in the program in English. Few applicants are admitted with a TOEFL below 100 on the computer test or below 610 on the paper test. In addition to this score, other forms of English communication, including the written essays and interview report, are examined.
The average Anderson student possesses almost five years of full-time, post-baccalaureate work experience. This is only an average, as some students are admitted just after finishing their undergraduate studies whereas some students work for ten years or longer before coming to graduate school. Some level of work experience is very helpful to demonstrate definite progress and focus towards an applicant's stated goals, and to enable a valuable contribution to the class. When evaluating an applicant's work experience we look at the nature of work, the level of challenge, leadership and progression of responsibility. We do not place a value on the type of work an individual has done, but what is gained from the experience. What has the applicant contributed to the work environment; what has the applicant learned from successes and failures; how has the applicant worked with others and managed conflict? Given these measures of professional maturity and quality of work, experience as a museum curator, for example, may be just as competitive as consulting.
This is the most difficult area of evaluation to explain because it contains so many intangibles. We are looking for people who are personally and professionally mature, who are successful in at least one area of their life and who can gain from and contribute to Anderson inside and outside of the classroom. An individual's personal profile is determined by examining essays for writing ability, consistency and clarity of goals, ability to organize thoughts, breadth of personality and self-image. Recommendations help determine strengths and weaknesses, ability to work with others and analytical abilities. The level and type of extracurricular activities often indicate breadth and depth of interest, level of commitment, leadership potential and group involvement.
How an individual presents him/herself overall contributes to the evaluation process. Presentation comes partly from a clear, polished and well-organized application. In addition, presentation encompasses the message an applicant chooses to send by the tone and topics of essays, the type of references selected, etc. The ability to engage the reader or interviewer is important. Presentation also encompasses things such as timeliness, thoughtfulness, preparedness and appropriateness of dress and interaction with Admissions staff. It is worth noting that in any given year the majority of our applicant pool is admissible. Becoming an admitted candidate from this strong pool of qualified applicants largely depends upon presenting a compelling argument for admission.