I recently had the opportunity to interview Rosemaria Martinelli, the Associate Dean of Student Recruitment & Admissions at the Chicago Graduate School of Business. Rosemaria was kind enough to answer a few questions about Chicago GSB and the Chicago GSB admissions process. If you are getting ready to apply to Chicago GSB or any business school, you shouldn't miss out on this sage advice:
Can you provide a general overview of your admissions process?
Chicago GSB employs a holistic admissions process. We seek candidates who have a track record of success both academically and professionally, who are engaged in their community, and who have a clear sense of path and plan and how Chicago GSB fits into their plans. Self-awareness is critical. We utilize the typical application components -- GMAT, GPA, work experience, community engagement, essays and recommendations to evaluate whether candidates are a fit & match with Chicago GSB's values. We conduct interviews by invitation only after a full evaluation of the application.
Is it better to apply early in the process?
The timing of an application is less important than the quality of the application. While we encourage applicants to apply as early as is possible, there is always room in Round Three for great candidates.
Who conducts your admissions interviews?
Admissions interviews are conducted by trained graduate assistants on campus, alumni around the world, and staff in specific locations around the world
Do you have any interview tips for applicants?
Know yourself and be yourself. Relax and tell your story.
How important is an applicants GMAT score?
It is one of the predictors for how well a student will do in studies at the GSB. The 80th percentile range of scores for the entering class is 640-760 (a broad range). A high score will not guarantee admissions; likewise, a low score will not preclude admission. It's just one piece of a complex puzzle.
In regards to undergraduate study, do you consider other factors besides performance? For example, does it matter where an applicant completed their undergraduate schooling?
All these factors are important. Each applicant has very different options and opportunities in their life. How well a person leverages his/her opportunities is more important than the brand of an institution.
What is your position on people who apply to your MBA program directly out of college?
Chicago GSB is certainly open to admitting a small number of students directly from college. Successful students need to have had a number of internships, have done extremely well academically, have demonstrated leadership potential through student group activities and can clearly answer "why now?". Of course, personal/professional maturity is important as well.
Does race, ethnicity, sex, and cultural background play much of a role in your admission decisions?
Crafting a diverse class with diverse backgrounds, citizenship, industry and function is an important part of the admissions selection process and the education we provide. We want a well rounded student class body to enrich the learning of everyone. It's just part of the job of crafting a class versus admitting a class.
What qualifies as a good letter of recommendation?
The best letters of recommendation highlight with examples both the strengths and weakness of the candidate in light of a peer group. Typically, admissions offices limit essay length, but we all encourage recommenders to take the space they need to help build your case.
What is the most common mistake that applicants make?
Trying to be someone they are not, and trying to impress the admissions committee.
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