Decisions, Decisions, Decisions – Round 1

Do you really want to know how our W&M MBA Admissions Committee makes decisions? Is it a toss of files into the air with outcomes based on where they land? Is it a game of darts with the luck of the aim? Is there a magic formula based on a regression analysis used to predict and forecast the success of the MBA cohort? Rest easy, we can assure you that none of the above scenarios are true – although some of them sound fun, even regression analysis. Over the past few weeks, our team has been making decisions on our Round 1 MBA candidates and we want to let you know exactly how we have done it.

An earlier blog highlighted the various factors we take into consideration, while this one hopes to focus more on the process. Most MBA programs will have multiple application deadlines called “rounds” which allow students to submit their materials and receive their decisions at different times throughout the academic calendar. The number of rounds will vary by school, but here at William & Mary we run 4 application rounds (beginning in late October and continuing through late April). If space remains in the class after Round 4, we open up Round 5 where applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

With the expectation of good news to come, it is important to be knowledgeable of the various deadlines of each school to which you are applying, including the decision notification date and enrollment deposit deadline. You should be prepared to make your non-refundable tuition deposit on-time, to secure your seat in the class and as our decisions on candidates in future rounds are based on the responses we receive from you. In the event that you are not successful with the application process, please do feel comfortable to seek out our feedback about areas in your application that you need to improve for future opportunities at the Mason School of Business or in another MBA program. Do keep in mind that admission to B School can be quite competitive and at times, it could simply be the strength of the cohort or timing of your application and not necessarily something that needs to be fixed in your application.

So, what actually happens in each round of Admissions Committee review? After we receive a complete application (application form, essays, academic transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and resume), your application receives an initial review to determine if we would like to invite you to interview with a member of the Admissions team. Because we receive so many applications, we are unable to interview every candidate, so only those with competitive profiles who seem to be the right fit with our program will be invited to interview. Interviews are conducted in person, via phone, or via Skype and Google Hangout. While visiting campus is the best way for you to interview us for fit, and get an idea of immersion into the community and overall experience, please do not feel that a phone or preferred virtual interview are any less significant – and certainly be as prepared as if you were meeting us in person. Interviews are a critical part of the admissions process and give us an opportunity to assess your candidacy in more detail. An evaluation is completed based on the interview which leads us into the final stage of the decision making process, meeting in our Admissions Committee.

Our Admissions Committee will meet after we have interviewed competitive applicants, and are ready to make final decisions. As a committee we will discuss all aspects of your candidacy to determine if you would be a good fit for what we offer here at the Mason School of Business. Our Admissions Committee team includes the admissions staff who presents your candidacy, faculty to assess academic potential and CareerPREP to determine professional readiness. We all bring different perspectives to the table so that we can make the most informed decision possible. At this point it comes down to the fit factor and what we feel the student can contribute to the Mason community. The questions regarding your candidacy that we are consider are: reasons for seeking an MBA, academic strength and ability to succeed, post-MBA career aspirations and are they a fit for what we offer in our program, teamwork and recommendation considerations, among others. The essay, interview, GMAT, work experience and letters of recommendation are all pieces we use to answer these questions, so it is imperative that your application is polished and addresses these topics clearly. Once we answer these questions, we begin crafting our next class. We want to create a class of individuals who bring different things to the learning community, so students with similar or sometimes identical profiles may receive different decisions as we want a variety of diverse contributors in our program.

The MBA Class of 2015 is currently under construction based on the process outlined above. Your stories are being shared and the Admissions Committee is ready for deliberation. Regardless of the outcome, we truly thank you for the time and dedication that you invested in the application process and for selecting the Mason School of Business as your potential right fit for your MBA studies and professional aspirations!

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Amanda Barth

Amanda is the Director of MBA Admissions for the Mason School of Business. She completed her Master of Education degree in the Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Program at William & Mary in 2006. After completing her Masters she worked as a development officer at the Arizona State University Foundation in Tempe, Arizona. Amanda returned to William & Mary, joining the Mason School of Business in 2009 and has been an active part of the Mason family ever since.

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