Q: The last time we spoke, in the winter of 2002, you were enjoying a surge in MBA applications. This past year has been quite a different story...
A: We're down 24% vs. 2003. Even so, this year is proving very competitive. We were just as selective in 2004 as we were in 2003, and the yield [the number of accepted students who enroll] is trending higher.
We're also concentrating our recruitment efforts on targeted groups, for instance, post-doctorate students, participants in Teach for America, military personnel, health-care workers, and anyone interested in our new joint-degree program in biomedical engineering.
Q: How competitive do you anticipate the 2004-05 application season to be?
A: Things may become more competitive, but probably nothing like three or five years ago. If candidates are gauging their chances of gaining admission into Olin, take a look at our school profile.
Q: When is the best time to apply? What percentage of your next class had enrolled by the school's final application deadline of Apr. 23?
A: Earlier, but we don't want our applicants to rush the process and come off unprepared. Approximately 50% of next year's class had [put down a deposit] by the end of April. Since then, another 30% or so have made their deposits.
Q: In general, what makes an applicant a good match for Olin?
A: Leadership experience, involvement in the community, strong communication skills, and academic talent. We also like to see someone who has a sincere passion for the program. They should have a passion for being involved in the program and in clubs, and remain involved as an alumnus.
Q: By your standards, what kinds of professional experience make MBA hopefuls stand apart from the competition?
A: Progression within their company, leadership, substantive experiences, and achievement.
Q: Which piece of the MBA application carries the most weight?
A: We don't look for reasons to deny applicants, [but] rather, for reasons to accept them. The entire application is important. It's about a lot more than just the numbers. We really try to assess the personal characteristics and passion that predict fit and impact.
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