We posed questions to admissions officials at the Boston College Carroll School of Management 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?
Applicants who demonstrate strong awareness of their background, skill set, and research on an M.B.A. program definitely garner strong attention from the Admissions Committee. Also, by attending admissions events such as information receptions, or visiting a class, or speaking with an admissions officer, applicants can make a personal introduction and connection with school.
2. What do you look for in the application essays?
We prefer to receive concise essays that directly answer the essay question but also reveal unique qualities or personality. What do the essays tell you about a candidate? Well written essays, both in content and form, serve to further illustrate the unique nature of a candidate's background and more effectively highlight an applicant's potential and fit with the school and program. Applicants should articulate a reasonable and sound game plan for short and long term post-M.B.A. goals.
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?
Work experience, GPA, and GMAT scores are weighted fairly equally. Strong work experience, in terms of depth and breadth, is valued. We partner with our Director of Career Strategies throughout the process of evaluating candidates' work history relative to their post-M.B.A. career plans. GMAT and GPA are good predictive tools for assessing a candidate's aptitude and predicting academic performance.
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 look for candidates who have had some traction in their career. We seek candidates who demonstrate professional growth and evidence of increasing levels of responsibility in their careers. Applicants who have strong awareness of their background and goals and have a plan for successfully navigating their chosen career path tend to be successful. Four to five years is the average work experience of the most recent entering class.
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?
At BC, we recognize each student's unique background, skill set, and lifelong aspirations. We limit incoming class sizes so that from the admissions process through the design of each student's own course of study to the career services function, we can deliver truly customized attention.
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?
Letters of recommendation are most valuable to us when they are written by managers or associates who have direct managerial experience with the candidate. The evaluation form requires a thorough evaluation of a set of person and professional characteristics such as analytical skills, leadership potential, integrity, communication skills, judgment, potential for advancement, etc.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
Applications are accepted throughout the fall, winter and spring, according to pre-determined deadlines. Decisions are rendered within eight weeks. Candidates may be in invited to interview during the time period between their chosen application date and the corresponding notification deadline.
8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
A Representative List of Hiring Companies (2007-2009) can be found on our website. Depending on business cycles, the names of firms that hire the greatest percentage of our students change. We believe that this list best represents employers who seek out our students.
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Applicants are encouraged to pay close attention to detail in writing essays, making sure that they are free of spelling errors and bear the correct name of the university to which they are applying. Essays that draw correlation between program offerings and desired program characteristics are also effective and well received.
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
The Admissions Committee looks for candidates who demonstrate evidence of sound scholarship and management potential. Work experience and academic excellence are also significant criteria in this evaluation, as are leadership and community involvement.