Admission Tips for Graduate Business Programs
Recruiting is all about relationships, regardless of field or industry. Engaging our prospective student population at a deeper level helps us understand individuals’ personal and professional career goals and enables us to guide someone in the right direction. Our goal is to work closely with prospective students to find the best program fit and help them understand how to stay competitive through the process. After reflecting on my experience working with prospective students in the part-time MBA, full-time MBA, and Master of Accounting programs over the past three years, here are some key takeaways for those pursuing graduate degrees in business.
Timing is Everything.
It’s never too early to explore a graduate program. Graduate school is an opportunity to invest in yourself and in the future of your career. That said, timing is everything when it comes to program exploration and the application process. Be strategic about applying early to make priority deadline for scholarship consideration, but keep in mind that application materials should not be more than one year old. Admissions advisors can help you plan your application timeline and answer questions along the way.
Approach it like a career move.
Because it is! There are many synergies between applying for a job and applying to graduate school, especially if you’re seeking a graduate degree in management or a specialized area of business. You need an updated resume, recommendations, and will participate in phone and in-person interviews depending on individual program requirements. Graduate business is a competitive space, and programs are constantly evolving to meet needs of businesses in a growing and changing market. Similar to the job interview process, it’s important to put the time into your application and do your homework (because you will eventually have to anyway should you be admitted) when it comes to program specifics. Know the basic requirements and ask informed questions. Recruiters and advisors can be advocates for you in the admissions process, so put your best foot forward when interacting with them.
Communicate openly and directly.
Communication is key to understanding good program fit and allows for setting expectations on both the applicant side and the program side. Sharing information is a two-way street. It takes cooperation from all angles to build successful classes and cohorts. We keep prospective students as updated as possible on the progress of admissions committee decisions, and we need applicants to keep us updated on their plans, too. Engage the school with one preferred email address and keep us updated if contact information changes.
Seek advice. Ask for guidance.
There are countless resources available for prospective graduate business students. Take advantage of connecting with admissions advisors, current students, alumni, faculty, and other program ambassadors for advice and questions about the MBA or specialized master’s program experience. Attend an information session or test drive to inquire about degree offerings. Do your research and come prepared with programmatic or process questions.
Kelly Fader currently serves as Assistant Director of Recruitment for Graduate Business Programs at Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business and Management.
Ms. Fader has more than eight years of experience in management education, corporate recruitment, and talent acquisition. She is also a current Loyola MBA candidate in the Sellinger School.