Q&A with Goizueta Business School’s Associate Dean of MBA Admissions
Melissa Rapp Associate Dean of MBA Admissions, Goizueta Business School
1. How has your admissions process allowed candidates to get to know Goizueta Business School and the student community during the Covid-19 times?
Goizueta has offered a robust portfolio of virtual opportunities for candidates to engage with our community since Spring of 2020. In addition to 1:1 consultations with our admissions team, candidates can participate in information sessions, class visits, student-run ambassador assemblies, & monthly coffee chats with the Deans. We also offer monthly Insight Nights, which is a casual virtual chat and Q&A with prominent member of the Goizueta community. We encourage candidates to take advantage of as many of these opportunities as they can and to connect individually with our current students and alumni.
2. What was your deferral approach for your newly admitted students due to COVID in 2020? Do you have plans for increasing enrollment for the classes of 2023 & 2024
Due to the unusual and uncertain times last year, we allowed candidates to defer their admission if they were unable or uncomfortable starting the program in the Spring or Fall. Goizueta remains committed to providing a small-by-design experience and so we may have a slightly larger class, we will continue to promote an intimate learning environment.
3. Walk us through the life of an application in your office. 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.)?
After a candidate submits their application, it goes through a series of evaluations. The first is conducted and influences if a candidate is invited to interview. After that, it receives at least 2 more evaluations by members of the admissions team. The final evaluation is done by the Senior Director of Admissions or the Associate Dean. Once all candidates have received a preliminary decision, we meet as an admissions committee to discuss final decisions and scholarships.
4. 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? What is one key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write?
The essays provide candidates the opportunity to elaborate on aspects of their story we feel are important to the Goizueta community. Leadership is an important characteristic we look for in students, so we have an essay question with that in mind. It’s important for candidates to answer the questions being asked. Sometimes, a candidate will write about a great experience, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the question we’ve asked. Doing that doesn’t help your application since we’ve asked specific questions for a reason. All candidates should keep in mind there is no perfect MBA candidate and we want to know them and their story. The best essays are honest, answer the question and provide insight.
5. Could you tell us about your interview process? Approximately how many applicants do you interview? Do you have any Interview tips for a Zoom call?
Goizueta offers open interviews in the summer prior to the first deadline and anyone can take advantage of that opportunity. Once the first deadline passes, our interviews are by invitations only. For zoom interviews, please consider your background prior to the interview and make sure your video and audio are working well. Relax during the interview and be sure to have a few questions ready. Interviewing is one of our favorite things to do because we enjoy getting to know our candidates.
6. Is your MBA program test-optional for 2020-2021 and/or beyond? If yes, what other factors will you now emphasize more?
We are not test optional, but we do offer a waiver process for candidates who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are unable to take a standardized test at this time. Standardized tests are one way we assess if a candidate will be able to handle the rigor of the MBA classroom. Other ways include academic performance and class selection on transcripts and career responsibilities and focus. We will assess the need to continue the waiver process following this cycle.
7. What is the one aspect of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?
A lot of schools talk about a personalized MBA experience but at Goizueta, it is a very personal experience. We intentionally keep our class sizes small so that we can create a very unique and personal experience for every MBA student. All of our MBA students know each other by name. Faculty, program office staff, career center staff know all of our MBA students by name, and academic and career counseling sessions are uniquely tailored to each student’s goals. Goizueta is not a place to come if you want to be a face in the crowd. Goizueta is the place you come to make lifelong friends and partners, to know faculty both inside and outside the classroom, to build a fulfilling life both personally and professionally. There is a real sense of community here in which everyone can succeed. And of course, you get a rigorous top-ranked academic experience on top of that.
8. Anything else you’d like to highlight about your MBA program or admissions process?
One thing a lot of prospective students discount is the power of our location. Atlanta is a major U.S. city which affords Goizueta close partnerships with prominent companies and key industries. There are 30 Fortune 1000s headquartered in the region and more than 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies have a presence in Atlanta. There is a strong industry presence in FinTech, consulting, entertainment, and non-profit. Many Goizueta faculty bring industry leaders into the classroom as well as serve as consultants for them, which enable faculty to marry theory and practice. Our Career Management Center also has strong industry ties which they leverage to create in-person and virtual networking and recruiting opportunities for internship and job placement. It’s also worth noting that the Atlanta airport is within a two-hour flight of 80% of the United States’ population. The Goizueta MBA and our location in Atlanta mean our students have tremendous access to industry and career opportunity.