Hough Graduate School of Business- University of Florida

Hough Graduate School of Business- University of Florida

John Gresley, Asst. Dean & Director, Hough Graduate School of Business

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

We are proud of our connections throughout the state of Florida but as a state flagship institution, there is often a misconception about the reach of our career services and placement, as well as our class size. We encourage our students to seek and be open to opportunities outside of Florida and the Southeast. In fact, last year more than 90% of our Full-Time MBA students accepted internships outside of the Sunshine State. Our reach extends to the Northeast, Southwest and West Coast. In addition, while UF is known to be a large university, our Full-Time MBA program is the exact opposite. Our current enrollment across our three full-time degree tracks sits around 100-120 each year. We are a program where everyone will know your name and you will have access to top tier faculty, resources and services – all while experiencing a student-centered, customized and tailored program.

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

Beginning with the 2018 application cycle for the Full-Time program, we are pleased and excited to announce 100% tuition scholarships. Stepping away from the workforce and forgoing a salary can be daunting. Therefore, we are happy to support our students by relieving the financial burden. The scholarship will cover full tuition and fees for both in-state and out-of-state qualified, admitted candidates. 

Walk us through the life of an application in your office from an operational standpoint. What happens between the time an applicant clicks “submit” and the time the committee offers a 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.)

Our admissions process operates on a rolling admissions model where we review files as they are completed and we receive them. We do offer three deadlines, and we often encourage applicants to apply earlier in the process for priority admissions and scholarship consideration. Once an application is completed, the admissions committee will conduct a preliminary review of the file. If deemed competitive, the candidate will be invited to interview with the committee via video session or in person. Our admissions committee is comprised of MBA staff representing admissions, career services, student affairs and current MBA students. At the conclusion of the interview process, the committee convenes and will render a final admissions decision. Since our process is rolling, an applicant can have a decision in as fast as 2 weeks upwards to 1 month.

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 to avoid? One key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write them?

Our Admissions Committee reviews the essays of applicants to gain a better understanding of their professional experience, the transferable skills they have developed, and most importantly assess career readiness and their post-MBA career goals. Through the essays and interview process, our committee will take a deeper dive into your strengths, weaknesses, and motivations for pursuing an MBA and overall objectives. We want to be sure we have the resources in place to assist with successful career placement and overall satisfaction.

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

Take time to craft your response to the essays as this will be the admissions committee’s first opportunity to get to know you beyond the resume. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the admissions team if you have questions about the programs or application process.

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

As mentioned earlier, we are a small program and we take pride in crafting our class and enrolling a diverse student body hailing from a variety of backgrounds. Beyond the numerical accolades, we assess overall fit. Interviews are two ways, as much as the program is trying to determine competitiveness and fit for program, the applicant should be considering the same. UF MBA programs are comprised of a dedicated team of faculty and staff who will provide 100% of our resources to ensure student success and satisfaction, but in the same respect, we expect our students to be as committed to the process as we are. Our full-time MBA students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the classroom experience but also the experiential learning components. We enroll students who are excited about the possibilities and will be active, engaged learners and professionals while here.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

Our process is fairly transparent. If there is a portion of the application where the committee believes they can strengthen their application, such as a GMAT score, we will provide a timeline and work with them as they attempt a re-take. In addition, beyond the test score we evaluate undergraduate academic performance, graduate level work and their professional experience. Often the professional experience helps the committee asses the value a student will add to the classroom. 

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

Hands down our Business Career Services team is one of the best in the country. The BCS team provides in-depth, thorough, tailored career counseling and preparation. We begin as early as Orientation, where each of our new MBA students will have one-on-one appointments with a member of the Business Career Services team. We start with re-crafting their narrative and resume, honing your elevator pitch, and putting students through every form and type of mock interview. Our goal is that a student’s hardest and most difficult interview will occur with our team, so they are prepared for everything before they even step foot into a final round, in-person interview. We not only draw from the strengths of our BCS team, but we leverage our alumni network, employer connections and advisory board, to both prepare and help place our students after graduation.


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