How to Get In: Syracuse University Martin J. Whitman School of Management

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

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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?

Whitman's unique experiential learning programs sets us apart, as do our courses on the global economy and business that feature international study experiences that combine in-class lecture, company visits, and guest speakers. A recent course in Dubai combined experiential learning with global business by working on a project to propose to GE solutions that they can bring to the that part of the world using the principles of Islamic finance that they have learned. In addition, the small size of our M.B.A. program allows faculty and staff to work collaboratively with the students to help them achieve success.

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?

Recommendation letters, among other things, provide the Whitman School with the inextricable perspectives of an applicant that we use to determine both academic and professional abilities within the realms of the M.B.A. experience. We look for evidence of strong performance with one's work responsibilities, a demonstration of continual improvement, and overall mastery of functional skills. In addition, and perhaps most credible to the applicant is the comments regarding transferable and soft skills as a professional. How has the applicant demonstrated that he/she is a team player, is energized by challenges, and how their contributions have made an impact in their respective area. Lastly, for the admissions committee to adopt that the comments made by the recommender are valid, they must have had a considerable amount of interaction with them from various venues such as project work, business relationships, or a direct supervisory role.

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

Once an application is received, Whitman's Graduate Programs Office works directly with each applicant to ensure materials have been received, and what items are missing or still need to be completed prior to being evaluated for admission. Once the application is complete, the applicant can expect to hear back with an admissions response in addition to decisions regarding institutional support.

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

In recent years, Whitman students have been hired by companies such as Apple, Beech-Nut, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Corning, Cummins, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Xerox. The Whitman Career Center develops and maintains relationships with corporations across the U.S. and around the world, focusing on institutions with which Whitman students have expressed a desire to launch careers.

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

Business school applications are typically perceived as possessing two intentional components. These are pieces that the applicant has control over, and some that the applicant does not have control over.

Analyzed further, the pieces that the applicant does not have immediate control over are outcomes based on previous performance, interactions, and perceptions/observations. If any of these yield negative submissions, these are, in some way, "mistakes" that the applicant could have avoided. We aspire for consistency across all aspects of an application. Academic and professional performance, in addition to recommendation letters, provides two critical aspects of an application. Applicants have a unique opportunity, if planned enough ahead, to ensure these components are successfully and strategically portrayed.

Items that are more clearly identified as problematic are items such as written submissions and in-person interviews. Our essays and interviews are designed to provide answers to very specific questions. We are looking for an applicant's ability to clearly articulate their experiences and career aspirations. Applicants fall short on this task when they to not articulate enough or provide very general examples. We strive to see the story unfold through written and verbal expression. An applicant must also provide this through a résumé as well. Content, in addition to proficiency in grammar/spelling is an absolute must.