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Scott Walker is the new acting director of MBA admissions at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario (No. 6 in BusinessWeek's 2002 ranking of full-time MBA programs outside the U.S.). Walker joined the Ivey school in the spring of 2002 as manager of marketing and recruiting. But he's no stranger to the London, Ontario B-school, having completed his MBA there in 2001.
Prior to getting his MBA, Walker worked for high-end pen retailer Mont Blanc in marketing and sales. He recently spoke with BusinessWeek Online reporter Mica Schneider. Here's an edited transcript of their discussion:
Q: Applications to Ivey dipped about 20% in 2004. How did the smaller applicant pool affect your selection of new MBAs?
A: It didn't...though we did interview 100% of our admitted applicants this year [up from 85% in 2003.] We've been pleased with the quality of the applications.
Q: Is the class that's arriving in August already full?
A: Pretty much. [But] if we get a good applicant this summer, we'll be able to find a place for them.
Q: Ivey has seven admissions rounds. When is it too late to apply?
A: It's never too late. Next year, we'll probably move toward a rolling [admissions] process.
Q: Which part of the application do you tend to review first?
A: Ultimately, we look at the whole application. But we tend to look at the essay questions first because that gives us the most insight into an individual. The essays are an applicant's way to tell us what they'll provide to the class and what their expectations are for the MBA.
Those things are further explored in a personal interview. The GMAT score and work experience are quick reference points, so [even] if you've got a 760 GMAT and four years of work experience, you won't automatically get in.
Q: Which attributes are important to show in an Ivey application?
A: One is interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Another is a demonstrated potential for leadership...at work or in extracurricular activities.
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