McDonough School of Business- Georgetown University

McDonough School of Business- Georgetown University

Shelly Heinrich, Associate Dean, MBA Admissions and Director, Marketing

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

Over the last few years, we have taken a strong look at our leadership curriculum and optimized it to be more innovative as we train leaders for the new world of work. This has included adding the Executive Challenge, Leadership Fellows Program, and new Managing the Enterprise Course. This year, we also have rethought orientation. Orientation will now be an immersive leadership class called Leading Teams for Performance and Impact meant to enhance the strong community for which Georgetown’s MBA program is known while also addressing key skills our students need to know to thrive in our program and beyond.

2) What 2-3 qualities, skill sets, and experiences does your program value most in applicants?

Diversity of experiences. We’re looking for candidates who have well-rounded experiences in their professional and personal lives. This could be through employment, travel, volunteer, or simply life experiences. We seek perspectives that will add value to the classroom conversation and allow classmates to learn from one another.

Grit. We’re looking for students willing to roll up their sleeves and take advantage of our experiential opportunities. From our Global Business Experience global consulting project to our Executive Challenge, an all-day competitive internal case competition where more than 100 C-Suite-level alumni coach students in simulated experiences, our core courses challenge and test students in leadership scenarios.

Community Focused. Georgetown MBA students are Hoyas for life. Our students and alumni have built a collaborative community that works together to support one another, both during their time on the Hilltop and anywhere in the world as alumni. We have over 40 clubs and 350 board positions so students who want to take on a leadership position truly have the opportunity to do so. This allows them to set themselves apart from their peers at other MBA institutions. Additionally, Washington, D.C., is a vibrant nexus of business, policy, and global organizations. From for-profit organizations like Amazon, Nestle, Capitol One, and Marriott, to NGOs like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, students have endless opportunities to meet with alumni from these and other organizations.

3) 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?

This year we moved to a new and innovative essay format where we offered three different examples allowing candidates to choose one. We admit a diverse class and believe our essay options need to be flexible enough to allow candidates to determine their value proposition and then select an essay that allows them to highlight it, rather than offer one essay option that requires candidates to fit themselves into a box. The new approach aligns more with our mission at Georgetown.

A few mistakes that I’ve seen over the years.

  • Including names of other universities in essays. We know students are likely applying to other universities to maximize their chance of success, but it looks sloppy to include a wrong name and makes it seem like Georgetown isn’t their first choice.
  • Using language to impress. I’ve seen essays where the candidate seemed to use a thesaurus just to pepper his essay with big words. Applicants should be themselves.
  • Spelling and grammar. This seems simple, but have someone with a strong command of the English language proofread the application. Adding an optional essay that’s really just a second essay. Optional essays should just be to addresses weaknesses or gaps or inconsistencies.

Overall, applicants should give themselves enough time to write and edit. They shouldn’t expect to get it done in the first sitting. We love reading essays and look forward to receiving them.

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

The title of the recommender is not as important as the quality and length of the content. It’s more important that recommenders can write in detail about the applicant. They should be able to discuss strengths but also address and ideally counter any weaknesses that might be perceived from the application. For example, if an application shows a lack of quantitative skills (i.e. lower GMAT/GRE quant percentiles or lower quant grades from undergrad), but the applicant has had quantitative responsibilities at work, the recommender could address them. If someone doesn’t have management responsibilities but has shown strong leadership skills, that’s also great to address.

5) Are you putting additional emphasis on the GMAT versus in past years? Thoughts on GMAT vs. GRE?

We weigh the GMAT and GRE equally. They are different tests with different testing styles. If an applicant doesn’t do well on one, I recommend they first try to take the test a second time and if they are still not doing well, perhaps they should try the other test.We then look at the best score. It is also perfectly fine to take the test more than once. I wouldn’t recommend taking it more than three times, though, as statistically you won’t do better. The test is just one aspect of the application; it’s a holistic review and we consider many other components.

6) What resources are available at your MBA program to assist with internship and full-time job opportunities (or to advance their Career Path)?

We have a phenomenal MBA Career Center. They provide personalized coaching based on each student’s intended industry. We start working with students the summer before orientation through a series of career webinars and individual coaching sessions. Students come to campus with an edited resume and cover letter and an accomplishments record they use to hit the ground running in September for internship recruiting. We then work with students throughout the internship and full-time job search, assist them as they prepare for career workshops, etc.

This year, Georgetown McDonough received high marks across the board in a new analysis of recruiter responses to the annual Bloomberg Businessweek MBA employer survey, scoring first in the world for having the best-trained graduates in addition to being listed in the top seven of all six categories:

  • 1st in the world for having the best-trained graduates,
  • 3rd in the world for having the most creative graduates,
  • 3rd in the world for showing exceptional entrepreneurial skills,
  • 4th in the world for the value of the school’s brand,
  • 4th in the world for the school’s reputation for entrepreneurship,

The results are based on the responses to specific survey questions in the Bloomberg Businessweek Best B-Schools ranking employer survey, which includes responses from 3,698 employers. The new Recruiter Insights lists demonstrate how the top 30 schools in the global MBA ranking fared on each question.

We’re excited at the opportunities our students have with the Career Center and the ROI students receive. There’s a great video students should check out that shares more about the student experience.


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