We posed questions to admissions officials at the Rutgers University Business School 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?
Enthusiasm for our school at the interview goes a long way. Familiarity with Rutgers Business School and its programs is a plus. Come to an open house, information session, or other recruiting event and make yourself known to the Admissions Team.
2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
We look for a chance to get to know the applicant through the essay. We look for analytical writing skills and critical thinking. We look for intelligent writing and no spelling or grammatical errors.
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?
The GMAT is a hoop through which every applicant must jump, however dreaded. The GMAT is a piece of the puzzle, but an important one. A strong work history and GPA can help with a GMAT that is on the cusp.
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?
At RBS we look for at least two years of work experience. Younger applicants need to have strong internships, high GPA, high GMAT, and be focused and mature at the interview. Several years of work experience is a plus for admission; the more the better.
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?
RBS has a unique Pharmaceutical Management program sponsored by many of the Big Pharma companies and the opportunity to interview for a Pharmaceutical Management Industry scholarship. We have a strong Supply Chain Management program with employers clamoring for our graduates. RBS is able to adapt to the changing world by offering new concentrations such as Entrepreneurship to prepare graduates to have the skills to start up a company. We also have a strong and unique Urban Entrepreneurship Center. RBS has smaller classes, and competitive but collegial students. You won't get lost here. We have a very diverse student body and many—and varied—student clubs and organizations to join and lead.
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 look for letters that showcase the applicant's strengths and accomplishments. We look for a degree of familiarity with the applicant through work or school, preferably work. Letters from famous folks work best if the applicant has worked for them.
7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?
RBS has rolling admissions. Once an application is complete, it will be read by the Admissions Committee and a decision will be made. Notification is immediate. At the deadlines, the queue is longer and decisions may take several extra weeks.
8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, Quest Diagnostics, Merck, and MetLife hire the highest percentage of our graduates.
9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?
Applicants who rush to take the GMAT without sufficient study and do poorly, then make excuses. Applicants who are difficult and demanding through the admissions process raise a red flag.
10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?