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How to Get In: University of Texas—Austin McCombs School of Business

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

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Recommendation letters should complement the overall application package and we typically ask the recommender to rate the applicant on his or her leadership, teamwork, and analytical skills. While most candidates have current work supervisors write their letters of recommendation, not all do. It is most important that the recommenders know the applicant personally and be familiar with his or her work history, credentials, and career aspirations (keeping in mind that the letters should be professional in nature). It is really up to the applicant's best judgment in deciding which recommenders can provide the admissions committee with information that will enhance his/her candidacy for the Texas M.B.A.

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

We process applications in rounds with submission deadlines and decision release dates posted on our website by August of every year for the following admissions cycle. All applications are verified for completeness before they enter the admissions evaluation process.

A typical admit would go through the following cycle: the application will be read by up to three different readers; the applicant will be interviewed (not all applications are invited for an interview, but all admits are interviewed by a Texas M.B.A. representative); and the application package will be discussed by the admissions committee before the admissions director signs off on the final decision.

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

Each year, recruiters from hundreds of the world's leading companies, representing a variety of industries and functions, come to McCombs in search of the new kind of leader being developed by the Texas M.B.A. program. Our program draws more than 300 companies and more than 3,000 on-campus interviews each year. Last year the biggest M.B.A. recruiters were from these firms:

•Advanced Micro Devices

•American Express Co.

•Apple

•Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

•Booz & Co.

•Credit Suisse

•Dell

•Deloitte

•Ernst & Young LLP

•Exxon Mobil Corp.

•Frito-Lay/PepsiCo

•General Electric

•General Mills

•Goldman Sachs & Co.

•Intel Corporation

•J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

•PricewaterhouseCoopers

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

One of the biggest mistake applicants make is trying to guess what the admissions committee wants to hear. All the admissions committee is interested in is getting to know that applicant—what their goals are and if they're the right fit. It is best if the applicant has a well structured and tight application that really highlights their professional development to date, where they want to go, and why the M.B.A. is the step that they need to get there right now.

I always tell applicants to have a really cohesive story. I think a good tip is also to share [that story] with your recommenders so that they know what angle they need to take when they are writing the letter of recommendation. This holds true for the interviews as well. Make sure that you're highlighting the same things from a professional achievement perspective, but use different examples that illustrate what you bring to the table.

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

In two words: collaborative and competitive. Texas M.B.A.'s are a diverse and collaborative group of innovators determined to make a positive impact in the business world and beyond. Our students live the Texas motto: What starts here changes the world. They impact every single part of our school from admissions to career management and they each strive to leave their own particular legacy at McCombs.

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