Overheard in Committee

With our Round 2 decision process coming to an end, I decided to borrow a blog idea from the William & Mary Undergraduate Admission’s Admit It! Blog. They have a series of features called “Overheard in Committee” where they address specific questions and comments that come up during candidate deliberations. These insights could be helpful to those of you who are preparing to submit applications in time for our upcoming Round 3 deadline on March 3.

“Is he/she Mason Scholar material?” – If we are posing this question when reviewing your file, good news is on the way! Our Mason Scholar award is our highest honor, bestowed onto 10 candidates in our cohort. Mason Scholars receive a two-year scholarship that covers full-tuition, but the responsibility transcends more than simply the monetary support. Mason Scholars are expected to contribute to the learning community through leadership, innovation, teamwork and service. Successful recipients have demonstrated strong work experience, leadership, academic accomplishment, GMAT achievement and have an inherent ability to inspire excellence in their peers.

“Does our program support his/her short-term and long-term professional goals” – Our Admissions Team consistently stresses the importance of finding the right fit in terms of selecting a potential B School, and it is our most essential essay question. In pursuit of candidates who are focused in their career plans and have thoroughly thought through the decision to go to B School, we want to be sure that our resources line up with their objectives. Although our general management curriculum does allow some flexibility, we want to know that what we offer at Mason will allow a candidate to achieve their goals within a particular industry, function or even specific company. We want our students to be happy and successful in achieving their goals, sometimes even if it means we need to pass on a great candidate.

“Is the candidate’s career progression, as demonstrated in his/her resume, fluid and substantial?” – When applying to MBA programs, professional work experience or internship opportunities are essential to your ability to contribute to the learning community. Our MBA CareerPREP partners sit on our Admissions Committee to assist our team with assessing how your resume will look to future employers. For individuals who have gaps in employment, or who have moved around from company to company, an employer might look at the candidate as a risk. Sometimes employers will feel that an individual isn’t willing to dedicate to a company to work their way into a stronger position, instead of seeking out the next opportunity. This is not always a deal breaker when it comes to admission to our program, but it certainly is an aspect of your candidacy that you should address in a formal manner. If you have been at several companies over the last few years with much movement, simply take the opportunity to share your personal circumstance in the optional essay or during your formal interview. There can be many reasons for movement including promotion, stronger compensation, downsizing, relocation, etc. – it is better to address these situations first hand instead of leaving our committee guessing.

Ultimately, we try to craft a class that brings a diversity of professional, academic, life and cultural experiences. The last question I ask of all the candidates I interview is: “If you had the opportunity to sit in the Admission Committee and advocate for yourself, what would you want us to know?”

All candidate stories are shared in our Admissions Committee discussions and this is a helpful sneak-peak into our conversation. As we prepare to start the process all over again for Round 3 (March 3, 2013) in early April, we hope this blog post will help you to better understand our decision-making. On behalf of the Admissions Team, we appreciate the time that you have dedicated to the application process and we wish you the best as you move forward to Committee review!

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Randy Tripp

Randy currently serves as the Associate Director of MBA Admission for the Mason School. After graduating from William & Mary with his Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology in 2005, Randy worked in the Undergraduate Admission Office at William & Mary for 5 years. After being away from W&M for a year and a half, he returned to the Mason School in May 2012 to serve in his current role.

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