How to Get In: Indiana University Kelley School of Business

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

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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 value recommendations from people who can speak meaningfully about an applicant's past professional success and future management potential. The best reference letters are from those who have worked closely with the individual, and can provide specific examples to highlight the applicant's strengths and areas for improvement. Letters from those with important titles who don't know the applicant well are rarely helpful.

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

The Kelley School offers four application deadlines: November 1, January 5, March 1, and April 15. The first two deadlines are our priority deadlines for merit-based financial aid consideration. International students are also encouraged to apply by the January 5 deadline to allow ample time to secure a student visa if offered admission. Decisions are typically released via E-mail about eight weeks after each deadline.

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

Last year, the top hiring firms for full-time positions included Cummins, Deloitte Consulting, Eli Lilly, Procter & Gamble, Target, Infosys, Intel, Kraft, Mead Johnson, Ernst & Young, Johnson & Johnson, Nationwide, Sears Holding Corp., and Whirlpool.

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

On the surface, M.B.A. applications seem very similar from school to school. Therefore, many candidates appear to complete their applications without carefully reading the instructions. As a result, they neglect to submit required documents, miss deadlines, or submit materials in ways that are not preferred. Following instructions and submitting materials as requested is very helpful. Applicants should also carefully proofread their essays and résumés. Spell check is a very useful tool, but it can never replace careful proofreading.

We offer an optional essay. Many applicants use this essay to talk about an area of their application that they are not proud of—an aspect of their candidacy that is not an accurate reflection of their potential for success. Applicants who simply make excuses for the deficiencies are rarely successful. Those who identify a weakness, and then provide examples of strengths to balance the deficiencies are often more successful in the admissions process.

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

The ideal Kelley M.B.A. student has clear short- and long-term career goals, a track record of academic and professional success, a strong work ethic, and a solid team orientation. Our students are confident, driven, and success oriented, but they want to be successful with their classmates—not at the expense of their classmates.