Q&A with the McCombs School of Business Managing Director of MBA Admissions
RODRIGO MALTA, Managing Director, MBA Recruiting and Admissions
1. How has your admissions process allowed candidates to get to know the McCombs School of Business and the student community during the Covid-19 times?
Since going virtual with our recruiting and admissions events in March 2020, the MBA team has increased the number of events and added additional ways to connect with the Texas McCombs community. Our prospective students are able to connect with the admissions team and current students 1 on 1, in small group chats, and through info sessions on a variety of topics – from application prep to virtual class visits to industry-focused career webinars. In the past several months we have hosted hundreds of virtual events and look forward to connecting with current and future prospective students.
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
Texas McCombs has always had a case-by-case deferral policy, but we were very generous with deferral extensions in the previous admissions cycle because of COVID. We knew that many of our admitted students were facing unexpected circumstances that may not have been conducive to them enrolling in fall 2020, so we wanted to offer as much flexibility as possible. We also knew that we would have some classroom capacity limitations, since we are using a hybrid delivery model (with classes being held both virtually and in-person this year), so our latest incoming class was a bit smaller than previous years (240 v. 260 students). Our current plan is to have a class of 260-265 students for the Class of 2024.
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.)?
For the Full-Time MBA program, we have application deadlines in “rounds.” This means that applicants must submit their completed applications by the round deadline to be considered in that round. We start the review of applications the day after the round deadline. Any given application may get up to three reads + a “by-invitation only” interview, prior to discussion by the admissions committee. Our committee meets as a group for several days to discuss applicants prior to releasing a final admissions decision.
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 in your MBA application are an important part of sharing your unique story. The most successful essays thoughtfully address the prompts, clearly communicate why you want to attend Texas McCombs, and authentically share who you are. We have great essay writing tips for current Texas McCombs essays here: http://blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/mba-insider/2020/07/09/how-to-successfully-answer-the-full-time-mba-essay-prompts/
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?
Interviews are by invitation only, and for our full-time MBA program interviews are conducted by a current MBA student, an MBA alumnus, or MBA Admissions staff. The number of applicants interviewed varies by admissions cycle and admissions round. One key tip for virtual interviews – test your technology ahead of time! Our virtual interviews are conducted through Zoom, so if you don’t have one already, create a Zoom account. You’ll want to find a good space to conduct your interview, ideally with good lighting, stable internet, and access to a power outlet. Treat a virtual interview the same way you would an in-person interview. This is a professional interview, but we also want you to be yourself so we can really get to know you better! http://blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/mba-insider/tag/interview-tips/
6. Is your MBA program test-optional for 2020-2021 and/or beyond? If yes, what other factors will you now emphasize more?
At Texas McCombs, applicants who meet both of the criteria below have the opportunity to petition for a special test waiver:
- You are unable to take an exam in-person at a designated testing center due to lack of availability in your region, or because you or someone in your household is immunocompromised, AND
- You are unable to take an exam online due to lack of availability in your region, technology or other test-taking requirements (e.g. device availability or compatibility, slow internet connection, testing environment)
If an applicant does not meet both of these criteria, we require that you complete the standardized tests prior to submitting your application. For more information about the test waiver and how we review applications without test scores, please refer to this article: http://blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/mba-insider/2020/08/20/mba-covid-19-test-waiver/
7. What is the one aspect of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?
Austin! Austin, Texas is a magnet for talent, progress, and innovation. The continued growth of the city, which has attracted the likes of Apple, Tesla, and Oracle, makes Austin a great place to live but also an amazing playground for our students to put their new-found knowledge from the Texas McCombs classroom into practice.
8. Anything else you’d like to highlight about your MBA program or admissions process?
Connect with us! Even though we are fully virtual for recruiting events and interviews, we want to hear from and connect with you. Attend an event, send us an email or even give us a call. We look forward to sharing #WhyMcCombs to help you navigate the admissions process and discover your fit at Texas McCombs.