We posed questions to admissions officials at the University of Connecticut School of Business 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?
We look for candidates who have leadership and drive with proven skills and accomplishments who can clearly articulate their career goals and know how the UConn M.B.A. Program can help get them there.
2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?
The essays are critical tools for us to get to know an applicant. Since the essays are our first introduction to the individual, we look for applicants to put a lot of time into writing their essays to ensure that they share substantive information with us, but in a clear and concise manner. Through the essays, we look to get a better understanding of the applicant as an individual with professional accomplishments, varied life experiences, and career goals, as well as an understanding of their personal character.
3. How important is the applicant's GMAT score? How do you weigh it against undergraduate GPA and work/internship experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?
The GMAT test score is an important factor in the admissions decision, but it is not the deciding factor. There are many factors that go into an admissions decision. We look at the quality and quantity of work experience in terms of skills, responsibilities and accomplishments; teamwork; and maturity and leadership. The admissions committee will also look at how a candidate expresses themselves in their essays and their goals for an M.B.A.; their official GMAT test score; recommender comments; as well as previous academic performance. Of the three, work experience carries the most weight. Academic performance is also important, as we want to ensure that all of our students succeed academically.
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?
Work experience is extremely critical in our admissions decision. We find the level of learning in the classroom is significantly higher when you have individuals who have substantive work experience and can share their knowledge and skills. The M.B.A. classroom is a highly interactive environment with much discussion and analysis, and having accomplished professionals come together in this setting truly raises the bar. The average work experience of our students is 5.3 years. We look for at least two years of full-time professional work experience to be considered for admission.
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?
We pride our program on the level of experiential learning our students can experience over the course of two years. We started with our first learning accelerator—edgelab (a partnership with General Electric in a specialized, high-tech facility)—10 years ago, and we now offer five different types of accelerators. These include edgelab, our Innovation Accelerator focusing on startup companies, SS&C Technologies Financial Accelerator focusing on financial services, Sustainable Community Outreach and Public Engagement (SCOPE) focusing on social entrepreneurship and innovation, and our Student Managed Fund involving investment decisions using $2 million of real money. All of our students will be required to participate in an accelerator during their second year in the program. During the first year, all of our students complete the Application of Core Teaching (ACT) Project with a sponsoring company. Working in teams, they do research, analysis, and solution development. All of these learning accelerators allow our students to work on real projects with real responsibilities, shoulder to shoulder with real executives. The accelerators allow our students to gain more skills and accomplishments, making their résumés look very different leaving the program from when they first arrived.