Secondly, we believe that we provide our students and alumni with some amazing opportunities for personal growth and professional development—equal or greater than at any B-school in the country. But, we also ask more of them in return. As a student, we ask you to get involved in our community beyond just completing your academic work. Participation in student government, clubs, committees, intramural sports and community service isn't mandatory at Notre Dame, but it's certainly a cultural expectation. Academically, we ask our students to think beyond just the fiscal bottom line to consider the wide impact of their decisions as managers—on their employees, their local communities, and the environment. We ask our students to solve tough problems using their values as a factor in the decision and we ask them to cultivate and demonstrate the moral courage to act on those values. We believe this experience of community involvement and ethical decision making creates business leaders who demonstrate individual integrity and contribute to the greater good. We wouldn't say that Notre Dame M.B.A.'s are better people than other M.B.A.'s (though we think we have outstanding people!) but we would tell you that they solve problems differently. With a different set of considerations than an M.B.A. from another school might use. And our corporate partners recognize the value of that difference. We also think you can see the effectiveness of this approach in our performance in national case competitions against other top B-schools.
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?
The key concept here is your recommender needs to know you well. They need to know both the positives and negatives you bring to the table. That could be a former professor or an immediate supervisor. Essentially, this person needs to know you well. Big name recommenders may seem more impressive to the applicant, but unless you worked closely with that individual, we're not certain that it is a value add.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
Our process is rolling application process. The Admissions Committee will have a response back to you within four weeks of your submitted, complete application. The interview is considered a part of this process.
8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Companies like AT&T, Citi, Ernst and Young, Emerson Electric, ExxonMobil Corporation, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Intel Corporation, IBM, HP, United Airlines, Whirlpool, and Stryker are a few that come to mind. IBM is our No. 1 recruiter.
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Not being prepared and not having done appropriate research on the program is a show stopper. If you're not interested, why should we be interested? Preparation is really a key component to any business transaction. The M.B.A. application process is no different. M.B.A. applicants need to come to the process buttoned up. They need to present a complete application with all ancillary materials. If interviewed, they need to be dressed appropriately, they need to have a list of in depth questions that they would like to ask of the interviewer, they need to be equipped with pen, paper, extra résumés, and last be not least, they should arrive at the interview early. Applicants need to be able to explain their résumé and experiences. Familiarity with the STAR method for answering behavioral questions is probably a good idea.
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?
In our experience, the Admissions Committee focuses on three areas when evaluating an application: academic aptitude, leadership potential, and what we would call "cultural fit" or "consideration of others."