We posed questions to admissions officials at the Drexel University LeBow College of Business regarding the application process, what they look for in applicants and what sets their school apart. These are their responses:
1. What can applicants do to set themselves apart from their peers?
Demonstrate in their Statement of Purpose that they understand the curriculum, both in the classroom and experiential, of the Drexel M.B.A. and how it will help them achieve their goals. It also helps to have a superior GMAT score.
2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
FOCUS. A candidate must have a firm grasp of why they want an M.B.A. and what this education will provide for them. We can't meet their expectations if we don't know what their goals are. This leads to student dissatisfaction. No school wants a student who will exhibit dissatisfaction right from the beginning.
3. How important is the applicant's GMAT score? How do you weigh it against undergraduate GPA and work experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?
The GMAT score is very important because it is a fairly reliable tool in predicting program success. We look for a satisfactory GPA but the GMAT has a higher weighting. Work experience is also very important. The résumé is not always a great indicator of the person's background and predictor of success.
4. How much does prior work/internship experience weigh into your decision making? What's the typical or expected amount of work experience from an applicant?
Work experience is very important for two important reasons: the ability to relate subject matter to real work experiences and the ability to secure an M.B.A.-level position and an M.B.A.-level salary.
5. What sets you apart from other schools? What can students gain from your school that they might not be able to find anywhere else?
Our focus on the practical application of learning via the Business of Ambition (co-curricular) component of our program, co-op and intern opportunities and an experienced Career Services department.
6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight into letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?
We look for results, work habits, innovative thinking, teaming, and leadership qualities. We look for an individual who has been a supervisor or teacher to write the LOR's. We don't want best friends or friends of the family. We will accept a prominent public figure LOR but we may ask this candidate to submit an additional LOR.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
Our policy is to provide an admissions decision within one business week of receiving a complete application package. As applications are routinely reviewed for scholarship consideration, we ask applicants to submit their packages ASAP.
8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Firms that recruit: IBM, Seimens, Dow Chemical-Rohm and Haas, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, TD Bank, New York Life, MetLife
Firms that hire: IBM, Seimens, Dow Chemical-Rohm and Haas, GlaxoSmithKline, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
—A common "one size fits all" statement of purpose or stating the wrong name of the school to which they are replying. —Misspelled words, improper grammar (especially from domestic recruits).
—Improper selection of individuals to write LORs.
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
This person is entrepreneurial in spirit and goal oriented. He/she gets involved in co-curricular activities. This person has the ability to lead or be led as an active participant within a team/workgroup.