MBA Admissions Decisions: A Fly on the Wall

October 18, 2013
Lucas Weingarten

housefly staringWe often write about the admissions process on this blog. After all, this is the #1 issue on the minds of the bulk of our readers since most of you are in the throes of preparing for the GMAT, which is a critical factor of a b-school application package. And, as I am are sure you can all appreciate by now, there is certainly much, much more beyond the just the GMAT in composing and submitting the strongest graduate school application possible.

While anyone can easily get a list of requirements for submission to an MBA program, the hard part is developing and polishing them. Yet, arguably, the hardest part might be the unknown. We nearly sweat blood developing applications and when we finally send them off, the process is taken completely out of our hands. We have no more control. We have no idea how our application will be received, reviewed, discussed, or decided upon.

Unfortunately, I cannot get you a ring-side seat at your admissions decision. But, I just might have found the next best thing. A recent Poets and Quants article reads like a play-by-play reality TV episode focused on seven applicants to the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The article, titled How A Top Business School Sifts Through A Pile Of MBA Applicants, is perhaps the most interesting article I have ever read on the MBA admissions procedure.

The journalist in the room and provides a verbatim account of the presentations, discussion, and decision-making processes employed by an admissions committee at a globally competitive business school that is determinedly making strategic strides in order to increase its standing in academic and professional communities interested in MBA degrees and those who attain them. Even if Rotman is not on your radar and despite all MBA programs employing unique admissions methodologies, this is a must-read for anyone interested in gaining insight and perspective on b-school admissions.

Lucas Weingarten Lucas Weingarten is a full-time instructor for Kaplan Test Prep and he loves preparing GRE students for Test Day. The classroom is Lucas’ arena. When he cannot be found in one of Kaplan’s cage matches of learning, he is very likely dancing around DePaul University’s College of Commerce/Kellstadt Graduate School of Business in Chicago professing various courses offered by the Department of Management, up to and including monikers such as: “Managing for Effective and Ethical Organizational Behavior,” “Entrepreneurship Strategy,” “Strategic Managements and Analysis,” “Human Resource Management,” “Recruitment and Selection,” and “Foundations of Business Thought and Theory.” (Although that last one was cancelled just before the quarter started and he’s still not gotten over it.) Lucas spent most of his formative years in North Carolina, but hit the long road as soon as he was able. A world traveler with a currently expired passport, he has lived on and wandered around three continents with the expressed intention of finishing the job. He holds a BFA with a concentration in sculpture as well as an MBA with dual concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Finance. When not challenging standardized tests to a duel or wondering how to corrupt the business students of America, Lucas can be found brewing delicious beers, riding-then-fixing-then-riding his motorcycle, hanging out with dogs, pretending he’s a good cook, and feeling like the luckiest guy in the world to have such a fantastic wife and endlessly amazing young son. He’s in Milwaukee now, but is in Chicago often. Email him anytime about anything at:

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