MBA Admissions Use Technology in Surprising New Ways

November 8, 2011 · Leave a Comment 

The MBA application essay has remained unchanged for decades upon decades. However, for some schools, it is no longer enough, especially with a slew of new technology that is just waiting for the creative applicant to utilize and MBA admissions to implement into the application process.

Now schools are asking MBA applicants to show off their personality with high-tech tools that take on the form of power points, videos and social media. These new additions to the traditional application have been a success in presenting both the personality and creativity of the applicants. It also minimizes the chance of ghost-written essays, over-editing and forces the student to find new ways to express themselves, rather than repeating what they have already said elsewhere on the application.

Schools Utilize New Technology and Social Media

Francesca Di Meglio of Bloomberg Businessweek describes a couple new programs that have already been, or are in the process of being, implemented into the MBA application process. Chicago’s Booth School of Business asks MBA applicants to submit a power point no longer than four slides that tells admissions something about themselves in a creative, to-the-point piece.

The associate dean of student recruitment and admissions, Kurt Ahlm, states, “Traditional essays were too familiar, and applicant shad access to hundreds of essay-writing books, websites and consultants. We wanted something that was more authentic, get an answer that was thoughtful, strategic, and added some depth.”

Another school that has taken up the call to incorporate social media into the MBA admissions process is University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management. They offer MBA applicants the option to write a 140-character mini-blurb as to why they are right for the school, instead of the traditional essay, and award a full scholarship to the best. By shortening the essay into the the length of a Twitter post, prospective students could “boil down their main selling points,” as Lydia fine, associate director of recruiting and admissions at Tippie said; or in other words, present them succinctly and efficiently. They also, through the links, can still expand their description to give a fuller picture of who they are.

Other schools also use video to better evaluate the character of the MBA applicants – especially for those who cannot make it to a face-to-face interview. This way the students can still show off their best attributes through one more medium.

An Inevitable Turn

As applicants – and admissions – are becoming more tech-savvy the boom in using social media and new technology and mediums to further assess applications is likely to continue. The creativity needed, technological comfort, and strategic decision-making students must display in often limited space go far to paint a picture of a person that could, or will not do well, at the school. It is like taking a picture from different angles, or taking measurements with various tools. MBA admissions now have more access to the bigger picture of the applicant than ever before with the new tools of technology and social media.

Read Di Meglio’s article about it here.

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