Business Schools

Chicago: The Ins and Outs of Getting In


Stacey Kole is the deputy dean for the full-time MBA program at BusinessWeek's No. 2 B-school in 2002, Chicago Graduate School of Business. Kole will be deeply involved in admissions until early 2005, when the school plans to hire a new associate dean for student recruitment and admissions. But she's no stranger to Chicago, having earned her Ph.D. there in 1992. On Sept. 27, Kole and second-year MBA Heather Briggs, who's also president of the school's Graduate Business Council, fielded questions from audience members and BusinessWeek Online's Mica Schneider. Following are edited excerots of their conversation:

Q: What changes are planned for Chicago's next admissions season?

Kole: From the students' side, it's business as usual. We continue to look for talent across the globe. Our first-round deadline is Nov. 12. Decisions go out to that group no later than Jan. 21.

Q: Are there certain countries from which you'd like to receive more applicants?

Kole: We [enrolled] students from 44 countries in our Class of 2006. We always welcome new countries sending us students. One of the reasons for my [recent] trip to Asia was that there's something very exciting happening, especially in Japan, where companies are asking young managers to lead entrepreneurial ventures. That experience fits the GSB's focus on entrepreneurship, and we wanted to be sure that the Japanese applicant pool...[and others] understood that there's a great match.

Q: What percentage of the Class of 2006 is non-U.S. students?

Kole: Thirty-two percent. We don't have a specific target in mind, [though] I think sometimes people think we might.

Q: Of those students who hold foreign passports, what percentage were already working or living in the U.S. before joining the GSB?

Kole: I don't have that information handy, but one of the things that makes an international student more attractive is having had experience living and/or working in another country. For example, a student from the European Union may have spent time working in Asia, and that experience diversifies his or her skill set and makes these individuals more successful as global managers. We do not view current residency in the U.S. as a necessary requirement for international students to gain admission.

Q: What qualities would you like to see more of among GBS students and applicants?

Kole: We're looking for a diverse applicant pool, so we're looking for confident, mature individuals who are ready to engage in lively debate in a challenging environment to reach their full potential.

Q: Chicago GSB is known as a finance-centric school. Would an applicant be at a disadvantage if his long-term goal was starting a marketing consulting firm?

Briggs: That was one of my biggest concerns. I have found that the marketing program here is not as well known but is also excellent.

Kole: I don't think of Chicago as finance-centric, I think of it as free-choice-centric. We encourage students to select courses that interest them, to devote their time to extracurricular activities that will support and enhance their ability to reach their career goals and allow them to develop into their own style leader.

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