Rice- Jones Graduate School Of Business
Katie Radcliffe, Director of Admissions, Recruiting and Admissions, Jones Graduate School of Business
1) What’s the single most exciting development, change, or event happening at your MBA program this coming year?
This marks the first year that all Rice MBA students are required to “go global.” The Global Field Experience (GFE) is now built in to the curriculum and tuition of all MBA program formats, as Rice Business is committed to building strong, experienced global partners and leaders. This immersive experience allows students to take what they learn in the first year of the Rice Business MBA program and apply it to short-term projects for organizations and communities in diverse cultural settings. Students will still have the option to “go global” more than once during the program, through international electives, seminars and exchanges, but the required GFE is a major change for Rice Business that has us extremely excited.
2) What 2-3 qualities, skill sets, experiences does your program value most in applicants?
Each applicant has a different story to tell, and we do not have a specific profile that we seek in every applicant (how boring would that be!). However, the top three traits that we find our most successful students have are leadership, teamwork ability and a unique perspective. Leadership is most often seen in the form of initiative, in which someone took it upon themselves, without being asked, to address an issue or improve a situation. Teamwork ability is extremely important, as most of the Rice MBA coursework is designed to be done in teams, and we also want our alumni to be known for excelling in team environments. Finally, with the small class size at Rice Business, we seek to fill every seat in the classroom with a unique perspective, as this in essential to creating a diverse and well-rounded class setting. Applicants that provide tangible examples of leadership, teamwork, and why their perspective is unique from other applicants tend to be very successful in the admissions process.
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?
My biggest piece of advice for the essay portion of the application is to carefully read the questions. This seems obvious, but it is often a missed opportunity by applicants to show their attention to detail. Especially if candidates are applying to multiple programs, it can be tempting to repurpose a great essay that you wrote for another school, but there are two issues with this approach: 1. Admissions teams put a lot of thought and effort in to the essay prompts and ask them for a reason, and your responses to another school’s prompt may be way off the mark; 2. You may inadvertently forget to change the school name within your essay!
4) Do you have any application tips (for essays & recommendations) for MBA applicants?
The Recommendation section of the application can be an easy one to check off your list, as this is the only content within the entire application package that is not actually provided by the applicant. However, I encourage applicants to spend the extra time with their recommenders rather than simply checking this off their to-do list. Take your recommender our for coffee or lunch, or arrange a time to connect over the phone. Share with them why you are planning to pursue your MBA and why you are applying to the schools you have chosen. Remind them of the excellent work you did for/with them so they have several examples to share in their letter of recommendation (tangible examples have a much greater impact than generalities!). Each component of your application package should add something new to the story you are trying to tell the Admissions Committee. Do not discount the importance of your Recommendations, as these can be a great way to showcase another dimension of your personal and professional experience.
5) Are you putting additional emphasis on the GMAT versus in past years? Thoughts on GMAT vs. GRE?
At Rice, we convert GMAT and GRE scores to equivalent scores, and do not have a preference for one over the other. My advice to applicants is to take the exam they feel they will do best on. There are a plethora of free resources available online that can help determine which test format is going to be best suited for an individual’s style. That said, keep in mind that your MBA application may not be the last time you will need a GMAT or GRE scores. Some industries, such as investment banking and consulting, still require a GMAT score as part of their job application process and do not consider the GRE equally. We have had students in the past several years who were admitted (many with significant scholarship awards) with GRE scores, and then had to spend time during their first semester as an MBA student studying for and taking the GMAT. Trust me, this is the LAST thing you want to be doing during your first semester!
6) What resources are available at your MBA program to assist with internship and full-time job opportunities (or to advance their Career Path)?
The Career Development Office (CDO) at Rice Business serves to support each student’s development of a career plan throughout their two years. The full-time student’s engagement with the CDO begins even before classes start in order to prepare for the summer internship with the MBA Career Management Online Course. The CDO is comprised of two teams: the Recruiting and Employer Relations Team works mainly with employers and the Career Education and Advising Team works primarily with students. They provide group workshops and work individually with students to ensure they develop the strategy, job search skills, and networking opportunities that will help them succeed in the professional MBA job market. Recruiting events, such as company information sessions and a career fairs, occur each semester. The CDO also provides unique support to international students looking to build their career in the US, as well as advising and support to all Rice MBA alumni.