How to Get In: University of Georgia Terry College of Business

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

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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 students would say that it's the people that set Terry apart, not just the faculty and staff, but the students themselves. Terry is very good at facilitating the creation of true communities of learners, communities that continue to flourish long after graduation. We would say that it's the substantial investment Terry makes in every M.B.A. student, not only through our faculty and curriculum, but directly through financial awards, seminars taught by business experts, professional executive coaches working with students to develop their strengths as managers and leaders, and even travel scholarships to career fairs and case competitions.

Terry's entrepreneurship program uniquely focuses on working with students to start real businesses while they're in the M.B.A. program. Even students not planning on an entrepreneurial career benefit from acquiring an entrepreneurial mindset. M.B.A. students can join start-up teams for companies that are the "brain children" of marketing pioneer and Terry entrepreneur-in-residence Dill Driscoll—such as the Digital College Network, E-TV (E for Entrepreneur), and the start-up, Stats, that is marketing a new product that has caught the attention of pro-scouts and the UGA baseball team. Entrepreneurship program director Chris Hanks has developed and sold several businesses himself and is well known in venture capital circles. Rising entrepreneurs flourish here!

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?

We prefer letters of recommendation from a manager or client who has had direct experience working with the candidate over a period of time. We are looking for information on the candidate's work ethic, self-management skills, achievements, and ability to collaborate. Lesser weight is given to recommendations from prominent figures or former teachers who have not had substantive opportunities to know a candidate well.

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

Terry has four application rounds and deadlines. If a student completes her application by the deadline, including score reports, transcripts, and recommendations, the application will be read by the admissions staff and evaluated for an invitation to interview on campus or via Skype. After the interview, the application is reviewed by the admissions committee and a decision made. Applicants receive electronic notification of the decision in approximately 45 days from the submission deadline for that round.

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

Terry has long-standing recruiting relationships with Accenture, Aflac, Bank of America, BB&T, Carter's, Coca-Cola, CSX, Deloitte, E-Trade, Johnson & Johnson, Newell Rubbermaid, Regions Bank, Rock Tenn, The Home Depot, and Unum. Bank of America, BB&T, CSX, Unum, Aflac, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Johnson & Johnson, and Chick-fil-A hire regularly from the program.

9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?

Not doing their homework. Sometimes candidates ask questions that lead us to wonder if they've visited our website. Simple questions that can be answered by the most cursory scan of our homepage shouldn't be asked. It may be a sign that the individual needs hand-holding—not what we or a future employer necessarily want.

Also, discourage Mom and Dad from calling the admissions office and asking questions on your behalf. Half the calls are probably made without the applicants' knowledge, but it still reflects poorly on the applicant. Helicopter parents need to know when they're not helping!