Goizueta Business School of Emory University

Goizueta Business School of Emory University

Julie Barefoot Emory

Julie Barefoot, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions, Goizueta Business School

What is the one area of the program that you wish applicants knew more about? 

The access that Atlanta gives to students professionally and personally.  Goizueta students can connect face-to-face with alumni who are working at the top firms in Atlanta, get anywhere they need to/from the world’s busiest airport, and enjoy free time in Atlanta’s thriving social scene of dining, music, art and sports.

What’s the single most exciting development, change or event happening at your MBA program this coming year?

This spring we received a $3 million gift from Delta Air Lines to further develop our Leader Fellows program.   This gift endowed our coaching fellows program, an experiential and peer-to-peer education opportunity.   A portion of the gift also created the Delta Leadership Hub, a signature teaching and reception space.   Our leadership fellows program includes a full-day of academic programming for selected Full-Time (One and Two Year) and Evening MBA students.  And, as with all our leader development offerings, this programming is introspective (assessing each student’s leadership skills), experiential (involving hands-on leadership experiences in a “safe space”) and reflective (including personalized, honest feedback about each student’s leadership style and effectiveness).

Walk us through the life of an application in your office from an operational standpoint.  What final decision (e.g., how many “reads” does it get, how long is each “read”, who reads it, does the committee convene to discuss it as a group, etc.”

Once an application is submitted, our applications manager works diligently to ensure that the application is “complete” (meaning that all of the elements of the application are compiled together) as soon as possible.  Through our on-line file reading system, these elements include not only the application file but also any email correspondence between the candidate and the admissions team during the application process.  Once the file is complete, a FT admissions committee member reads and reviews the file and prepares a file overview (a quick snapshot of the file, university attended, academic major, GPA, employer, title, leadership roles as well as a qualitative assessment of the essays, demonstrated leadership and post MBA career plans) as well as a summary of the file, detailing support for their recommendation to Admit, Wait List or Deny.

For those files that are recommended to be interviewed, their files are sent electronically to our Interview Manager and those applicants receive an email with instructions on how to schedule their interview.  Interviews are conducted by a member of the Admissions Committee (the same group that reads application files) or a select group of recent alumni.  At the end of each interview, the interviewer completes an evaluation form as well as a summary of the interview, detailing what they learned about the applicant’s work experience, post MBA career plans, etc.  The interviewer makes a recommendation based on the interview, again, to Admit, Wait List or Deny.  The interview form is then uploaded into the on-line file reading system.

Application files that are considered for admission are reviewed by members of the FT Admissions Committee, which is a group of 9 individuals representing FT Admissions Directors as well as the FT MBA Program dean and the head of the Career Management Center.   Again, the summary and file recommendation is read and reviewed by all.  At least three members of the Committee provide a short write-up on each file in support of an application decision.  If there is not agreement about an acceptance decision, then the file will be further reviewed (perhaps a second read, perhaps a follow up phone call to a recommender or a clarifying phone call to the applicant).   This additional review process typically results in agreement on the decision (Admit, Wait List or Deny) but we continue to review the file until we have agreement.   Application file decisions are held until the Round release date.

In the week prior to each Round decision release and once the Admissions Committee has reviewed all the files within that Round, the Admissions Directors review each file again to consider for merit-based scholarship.

In sum, Goizueta has a very thorough, time-intensive application file review process.  The Committee is composed of individuals of varying experience levels which brings both historical insights as well as a fresh perspective to our review process. For example, we have admissions experience levels from 6 months to almost 30 years and time frames in between.

We recognize that applicants spend considerable time preparing an application file and they deserve a full, thoughtful and thorough review of their candidacy.

How does your team approach the essay portion of the application specifically?  What are you looking for as you read the essays?   Are there common mistakes that applicants should try and avoid?  One key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write them?

We want applicants to tell us their story and to clearly articulate why an MBA is right for them, as well as their post-MBA goals. When discussing post-MBA goals, we want to see that the applicant has thought through how their work experience to date and our MBA program will help them achieve these goals. It’s also helpful if they can demonstrate a clear understanding of the skills needed and qualifications required to help make their goals possible.

As far as mistakes, we encourage applicants to proofread. Grammar mistakes or using the wrong school name are easy to avoid with proofreading. Be sure to give yourself enough time to write and review your work.

A couple of things to keep in mind are having other people, who know you well, read the essay without seeing the question. You know you are on the right track if they’re able to pretty closely guess the question that was asked. Lastly, read your essays backwards sentence by sentence. This may sound silly but it will help you catch mistakes. When you read the essay start to finish over and over again, eventually, you know what’s coming next and what you intend to say which may cause you to miss small errors.

Do you have any application tips (for essays and recommendations) for MBA applicants? 

Essays are an opportunity to tell your story.  Please answer the questions being asked and in the word limits given.  The optional essay is a great place to address any of your weaknesses you have not had the opportunity to address.

Recommendation letters provides additional insight into your career potential and success.  We want professional recommendation letters – a manager, a supervisor or a client – and from someone familiar with you – you do not need the CEO of the company.  The recommender should provide examples with their statements.  Be sure to meet with them to share why you are pursuing the MBA, share your goals and highlight some of your recent accomplishments.  Make sure they have the time to complete the recommendation and that they will provide you with a positive recommendation!

What are the most important aspects of the MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA and current job position?

At Goizueta, we are interested in candidates who are a fit with our community and culture. We take a holistic view of the person and try to understand all aspects of their application file. We consider their academic background and test scores to ensure they will be able to handle the rigor of our program. We also closely review their letters of recommendation, the quality of work experience and leadership to understand their professional accomplishments and maturity. With essays and interview, we are interested in candidates who have the same values and principles as the Goizueta community. With this deliberate and intentional approach, we enroll students who are successful in our program and beyond.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

First, it is important to note the GMAT is one of many factors we consider when making an admissions decision. Since we take the highest total score, we encourage candidates to retake the GMAT if their score is not representative of their ability. Candidates may also elect to take the GRE. However, please note that the Admissions Committee converts GRE scores to GMAT scores for evaluation.   We focus on the quantitative section of either test and like to see candidates have above the 50th percentile.  If you want to address your quantitative ability, you can take math courses (i.e. MBA Math or statistics).

What resources are available at your MBA program to assist with internship and full-time job opportunities?

As evidenced by our strong career results (% with offers within 3 months of graduation and our very competitive starting salary), Goizueta’s Career Management Center (CMC) does an exceptional job of preparing our students for both the internship and full-time job opportunities.   Our CMC staff is divided along career coaching lines as well as recruiter lines.  Each student is assigned a CMC coach as well as a Second Year MBA student Peer Career Coach based upon their stated post MBA career plans.  And, our CMC is well-staffed with talented professionals, many with MBAs, who have worked for companies who hire MBA candidates.  This approach means that our students receive specific feedback and career search advice from individuals who know them personally and who understand the job search/interviewing process unique to each industry or job function.

The preparation for our students actually begins before they set foot on campus.  Each deposited student is required to take the Career survey assessment prior to On-Boarding (MBA Orientation) as well as to update their resume in the Goizueta resume format and to complete pre-enrollment CMC work.  This information provides crucial data to the CMC about what types of positions our incoming class is seeking, what companies they are most interested in working for and what part of the world they most want to work.   With that information, the CMC will add or adjust recruiting outreach and plan our Fall Career Treks to best meet the interests of the incoming class.

The CMC also hosts an upscale recruiter social event in early September each year to give our MBAs a chance to interact socially with recruiters who hire our MBAs.

These activities are in addition to the traditional on-campus Company Presentations and Interview Schedules that are held throughout the year.  And, the CMC also coordinates a Saturday Interview Prep Day with MBA alumni as interviewers and provides industry-specific interview prep, such as Crack the Case and training on behavioral interviews.  Goizueta faculty partner with the CMC as well and have been instrumental in preparing students for interviews on Wall Street or with Private Equity firms.

In sum, at Goizueta we take a holistic and comprehensive approach to preparing our students for the job search process and work in partnership with students, faculty and alumni to support our students’ job search efforts.


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