How to Get In: Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management

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 Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead 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?

Present a compelling vision of what they would like to do after graduation.

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

We look for stories from personal experience that tell us how the individual assigns perspective to different events.

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?

We view the GMAT as an important and accurate predictor of success within the program. Strong work experience and undergraduate GPA together may offset a lower GMAT.

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?

While there is not an absolute requirement for prior work experience, it does factor prominently into the evaluation of the applicant. Two year's work experience is typical.

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?

A small class size, with the accompanying peer and faculty familiarity, is a distinctive factor. Among schools of all sizes, what students may find here exclusively is a highly integrated core curriculum. This curriculum replicates the demands and learning process of a professional position, rather than a series of unrelated courses taught in parallel. Also there are two curricular themes, Manage by Designing and Sustainable Enterprise, which students are introduced to in the first year and explore further in the second year through two yearlong courses.

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 from people who have worked closely with the applicant figure more prominently than those from public figures who do not know the applicant well.

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

Once a complete application is received, we arrange for interviews as indicated. The application is then reviewed by a committee, which applies judgment using standard admissions criteria. An applicant should receive a firm response within two months of the application deadline.

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

We are fortunate to have strong relationships with locally based organizations like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals of Cleveland, KeyBank, Progressive Insurance, American Greetings, and Sherwin Williams. Other firms that recruit from Weatherhead include Deloitte, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson.

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

One common mistake is not devoting adequate attention to the interview. The impression one leaves during the interview often is a deciding factor, everything else being equal.

10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?

The type of student we have historically attracted is an engineering undergraduate degree with two to three years of experience who seeks the opportunity to work in management. This archetype is beginning to round out with students from a variety of backgrounds who are attracted to our curricular themes of Manage by Designing and Sustainable Enterprise.