Student Spotlight: The MBA Admissions Process
The process of researching and applying to graduate business programs can appear daunting, but prospective students can lean on the experience that others have had for guidance. Current MBA student Andrew Lolley, National Sales Manager at Active Minerals, reflects back on his application process and offers advice to those considering an MBA program.
Why are you pursing your MBA?
I have always had the desire to continue learning and improving myself. My immediate goal is to add to my business and leadership skill set for my role as National Sales Manager at Active Minerals. Longer term, I’m seeking to become a qualified candidate for promotions to executive level positions. An MBA will provide me the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with other seasoned professionals while developing solutions to real-world business scenarios. It will also equip me with the knowledge to better analyze situations and make well-informed decisions.
What were the most important factors that you had when you were researching MBA programs?
When I began researching MBA programs there were a number of factors that I considered – AACSB accreditation, cost and value of the degree, location, reputation, and culture. Loyola’s Professional’s MBA program checked all of the boxes, but it was Loyola’s admissions staff that really stood out. They were incredibly responsive and in tune with helping to make sure my questions were answered and my needs were met.
How did you begin your MBA search? What led you to Loyola?
A friend of mine shared that he knew many people that had or were having positive experiences with Loyola’s MBA program. I visited Loyola’s website one evening and found the site to be highly informative. I thought it was unique that Loyola had three different MBA programs to offer. I submitted a web inquiry that evening indicating my interest in the program, and I received a direct response back early the next morning from an admissions staff member. She reached out to me to connect with her further and to set up a one-on-one in-person or phone meeting. No other MBA program that I was considering at that time had this level of customer service and willingness to help. I set up a face-to-face meeting with the admissions office for the same week as my original inquiry, and I completed the application process a few weeks after the first meeting, and the rest is history. It was amazing to me that I researched Loyola’s website in early June 2016 and was admitted by the end of July 2016. I was able to submit my application early before the Fall deadline and was rewarded with about a three week turnaround on admittance. Loyola’s application process was clear and straightforward.
I also appreciated Loyola’s Jesuit teaching philosophy, specifically incorporating reflection into the curriculum. In both business and life, taking time to reflect is a best practice for one to consider what went well, what did not, and how that knowledge can be used to act differently and achieve better solutions. I appreciate how this aspect is built into Loyola’s academic model.
Can you talk about your experience during the admissions process and what you found helpful as an applicant?
I was extremely impressed with the customer service. My experience with Loyola’s admissions staff was completely different than what I experienced when considering other options. Loyola valued my interest from the beginning, and I enjoyed interacting with people to aid in the admissions process rather than receiving automated, robot-type responses to inquiry. Not only did I receive a personalized email from an admissions staff member, but I was excited to learn the first step in pursuing Loyola’s program further was to set up a phone call or face to face meeting to understand my interests and goals. Overall, I am impressed with how all of the faculty and staff at Loyola really care about all of the students. There certainly is an outstanding sense of community among the alumni, faculty, and students.
What advice would you give to others beginning the MBA application process?
Do your own research on different schools’ programs; however, try to set up a face-to-face or phone meeting with an admissions staff member to confirm your research and answer your questions. Do not stereotype schools’ programs based on what you hear from other people or read online, but rather do your own research and visit the schools you want to apply to. Most importantly, see which school demonstrates the most interest in you during the admissions process, and then find what makes a certain school unique or valuable in the marketplace. In the end, choose the school that is going to meet your needs and push you towards continuous improvement in business and in life.