How to Get In: Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers.

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We posed questions to admissions officials at the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary 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?

Interview preparation is key. They should engage in admissions opportunities, recruitment fairs and forums, on-campus information sessions, online chat sessions and webinars. They should develop creative and well-written essays that clearly articulate focus on professional goals and aspirations and highlight previous work experience and relevant knowledge that will contribute to the learning community. We look for polished résumés, special attention to grammar, punctuation and structure.

2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?

Clear focus in terms of goals and aspirations. We look for candidates that have relevant experiences that have shaped their long-term objectives and candidates that are realistic in their plans for business school and the future. Emotional maturity and the ability to contribute to the Mason community. We also assess essay composition.

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 is important in determining the applicant's potential to succeed in the M.B.A. program. The William & Mary core curriculum is rigorous and quantitatively focused. For international students, the verbal and analytical writing assessment scores are vital to evaluating language competency and comprehension. Undergraduate GPA is important, and institution type and classes taken are very important. We do not require that students have been business majors, and diversity in academic background is preferred, but they must have demonstrated a successful experience. At William & Mary, we evaluate all aspects of candidacy to determine admission and scholarship.

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 preferred. Internship experience will be considered if students are exceptional in their undergraduate career and test performance. We typically look for three to five years of work experience from an applicant.

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?

—Executive Partners Network and Leadership Advantage

—13-week Field Consultancy

—Career Acceleration Modules—allows for two specializations

—Mason Career Services Industry-Specific Ambassadors

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 on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?

It is essential that the recommender is someone that really knows the working habits, demonstrated successes and competency of the applicant. We put very little weight into letters from prominent public figures that do not know the applicant and [we] strongly discourage this practice.

7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?

At William & Mary we have four admission rounds with associated deadlines. After you have completed your admission interview, you will typically receive an admission decision in six to eight weeks.

8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?

These firms recruit heavily from our school: IBM, Deloitte, BB&T, Cargill, U.S. Department of Treasury, Department of Navy Finance, Ernst & Young, Google, Smithfield Foods, Deutsche Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Johnson & Johnson, Cox Communications, AmeriGroup, Genworth, Bon Secours, Citigroup, American Express, Northup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Altria.