Trends in MBA Admissions and Programs: my notes from the IECA break out with Jaqueline Wilbur, Executive Director for undergraduate and master’s programme at MIT; Debra Felix IECA (previously Columbia Business School Director of Admissions)


Acceptance rate for the top 10 US MBA programmes around 16%

Applicants have to show that they want to attend the specific school and are a good fit, consider how they like to learn and what profession they want to follow in the future:
MIT experience and curriculum different than Harvard. Harvard University focuses on generan maanament and learning is more case study focused. MIT was an industrial engineering focused school and then a management school. The thread of engineering very much alive. Georgetown attracts lots of international students, wharton specialises in finance / marketing / consulting / healthcare management while Columbia and Berkley more in technology. Wharton and Insead have exchange programmes to expand the experience of participants.

The MBA programmes at Columbia business School and Dartmouth’s Tuck are as different from each other as night and day. (big versus small, city versus rural life, higly competitive versus cooperative culture etc)
Candidates need to read the employment data, faculty members bios / research interests and the history of the school to understand the focus of the school and employment opportunities afterwards.

The score tells us whether or not students can survive the first semester of the school:
Pressure for Admissions departments to increase the average GMAT score, candidates should have a well balanced GMAT score accross the board – take care of your GMAT score if you have low calculus – look if other data from your application confirm a low GMAT score – every school can be different, for example a low quantitative score at MIT will not work given the curriculum of the course

10% of the applicant pool get GRE
If you take GRE be prepared to answer the question are you really interested in business? Some schools do not know how to evaluate this / THE GMAT is the standard exam for MBA applicants / some employers such as banks and consultancies also look at the GMAT scores

To combat increased use of consultants school shift application content annually.

Lots of MBA opportunities for woman.

Deans pressure for students who place well at graduation:
work experience is critical / no gaps

Entrepreunerial background:
Most business schools find it difficult to assess the experience especially for candidates that are the inventors and not the managers of the entrepreunerial activity. Inventors may luck the necessary management experience and language to support their application.

Resession (or even better a year before the resession – if you can predict it): best time to attend an MBA, students that predicted the economic crisis were one of the best classes to graduate from MBA schools.

I would like to take the chance to thank Jaqueline Wilbur and Debra Felix for sharing this information with us and preparing a very informative and enjoyable session.