We posed questions to admissions officials at the Louisiana State University E. J. Ourso 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?
On at least three dimensions (academic, professional, community engagement), applicants can set themselves apart as follows:
Academic achievement demonstrates discipline, perseverance, intelligence, capability and potential to succeed in a graduate program.
Professional involvement, such as previous work experience, internships, involvement with professional societies demonstrates interest in the profession, ability to stand out among peers, ability to contribute to the profession, and it is evidence that the candidate has been exposed to a professional environment and knows how to behave and get things done in a professional environment.
Community engagement are those things usually motivated by self-interest to help others, to volunteer, and to give back to the community. Candidates demonstrate unselfishness, kindness, and passion. They have opportunities to utilize business skills in a different field, or to apply knowledge and skills from another field in the business context. This also provides them with an opportunity to mature and to develop important social and group skills. Also, it community engagement demonstrates that the candidates appreciates the importance of leading a balanced life.
2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
In the application essay we want to learn more about the individual, what they have accomplished in their lives, and what they hope to accomplish equipped with an M.B.A. We want to see applicants with purpose and ambition. We want to see applicants that demonstrate passion, dedication, and integrity. There is a lot more a candidate can say when the format is open ended, as opposed to fill-in-the-blank. The worst essay is on that is extremely short or poorly written.
3. How important is the applicant's GMAT score? How do you weight it against undergraduate GPA and work experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?
The GMAT score provides one of many perspectives on a candidate. We look for accomplishment across three areas: academic, professional, and community engagement. The GMAT provides insight into basic mathematical, problem solving, reading comprehension, and critical reasoning skills. The interpretation of the GPA, which provides insight into academic accomplishment, depends on the academic field that is studied. These scores are very important especially when students have limited work experience and professional accomplishment, for instance. We look at every piece of information and try to identify the candidates that we believe will be most successful in our program.
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?
We like to see evidence that the candidate can work in a professional environment and in a professional manner and be effective in their role. We like to see candidates that are team players. Ideally, candidates will have been effective in supervisory or managerial responsibilities and are relatively mature as individuals. Candidates will have something to contribute.
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?
Fields of study: We have particular strengths and focus in certain fields: internal audit, finance and accounting, supply chain management, brand marketing and sports marketing, entrepreneurship and franchising.
Graduate Assistantship opportunities: Our GAs have tremendous opportunity to work in outstanding environments and gain meaningful and valued work experience. Current GAs are placed in areas such as: Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, Louisiana Business Technology Center (an incubator), Business Development, Alumni Relations and Corporate Outreach, and other places.
We have many opportunities for academic achievement, professional achievement and community engagement. We put a lot of emphasis on academic achievement, personal development, leadership and professional development. We have an active student body and world-renowned faculty. We value diversity and we love collaboration and competition.
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 want letters from individuals that have had significant professional relationship with the candidate, and can provide insight into the candidates character, integrity, work ethic, effectiveness, and ability to work with others. People who have achieved success in business, industry or another field, and Flores M.B.A. alumni provide good insight into the candidates character, capabilities, and ability to succeed in our program.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
Candidates generally begin to apply in the early fall of the preceding year. We have three general rounds: submit complete applications (Graduate School application and M.B.A. application) by December 3 and the decision will be returned by December 17; submit complete applications (Graduate School application and M.B.A. application) by February 1 and decision by February 25; submit complete applications (Graduate School application and M.B.A. application) by April 1 and decision by April 15. The final deadline for the Graduate School is May 15 so we will handle these applicants on a rolling basis.
8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Postlethwaite & Netterville
The Shaw Group
Ernst & Young
UBS Financial Services
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Selfishness (e.g., demonstrate that they only care for themselves), carelessness (e.g., a sloppy application or an essay that is shallow or sloppy), demonstrating behavior that is not professional, demonstrating that you did not do your research (e.g., lack of purpose, lack of basic knowledge about the program) are examples of some mistakes.
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
In very general terms, the archetype students embrace the following: professional integrity and professional effectiveness, fellowship and collaboration, community engagement, diversity of thought, and passion.