MBA Application Videos Likely to Become the New Normal

October 30, 2013
Lucas Weingarten

Video_CameraHave you or are you submitting applications to business school? Was a recorded video component an aspect of one or more of those applications? If so, how did you feel about it?

In a recent US News article, Get Ready for MBA Application Videos, a burgeoning trend in b-school applications is highlighted: the video interview. Unlike traditional interviews conducted face-to-face or even their more modern counterparts, interviews conducted via video conference software such as Skype or FaceTime, these interviews are recorded by the applicant and viewed during the application review process by admissions committee members.

In a previous Kaplan GMAT blog post, MBA Admissions Decisions: A Fly on the Wall, I linked to an interesting exposé on the admissions process at one of the world’s top b-schools: The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Much to the delight of Rotman, when the PR rain comes, it pours, as the institution’s newly revised application criteria is featured again in the above linked US News story.

Rotman’s director of MBA recruitment and admissions, Niki da Silva, inducted a video component to the application package in order to “take a big leap away from the essay writing contest that has become the norm in the MBA admissions world.” In the admissions decision exposé, that video component was brought up and utilized among committee members to help inform admissions decisions.

Unsurprisingly, other competitive institutions have joined in the videography fun. The specific process varies among mentioned schools – Rotman, Yale, Kellogg, Stern, and McCombs – but the purpose of the recorded responses is shared. Recorded responses to posed questions that allow applicants only seconds to prepare provides evaluators the opportunity to better get to know the human being described by all those other quantitative and qualitative application metrics.

Is the individual a quick, agile thinker? Is s/he eloquent yet understandable? Does the applicant have natural poise and presence? Is the applicant well put together and professional in appearance? Can the applicant avoid seeming “canned” and contrived?

If you have had experiences with a video recording as an element of a b-school application, then we definitely want to hear from you!!

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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