Published: Jan. 31, 2018 By

Helen Zucchini I had the opportunity to interview Helen Zucchini, the Interim Director of Admissions and Director of Marketing & Outreach to discuss common questions and advice for potential MBA candidates.

Typically, prospective students want to know “What do you look for in a candidate?” 

This is a popular question and of concern to most applicants as many believe they need to be perfect in every area! The admissions committee evaluates three main areas: academic strength, work experience/leadership, and performance in the interview. 

To access academic strength, we review transcripts, GPA, and test scores from either GMAT or GRE. Of course, while most of us do not enjoy standardized exams, they do provide a good indication of verbal and quantitative skill. An applicant’s work history is also evaluated, as it is important for our MBA Programs, especially with our Evening MBA Program. The format of our programs is very project-based and collaborative, so having work experience in class provides a more enriching experience.

Last, the interview is a great way for the applicant to demonstrate why they would be a great addition to the program, how they would contribute, why they are interested in a Leeds MBA.

Overall, remember that we evaluate the entire application and always encourage applicants to apply if they are interested in an MBA.

What advice do you have for students that are just starting to consider an MBA?

Do your research. Typically the more research you do, the happier you will be. Talk with students and alums, attend a class – that is the best way to see if it is the best fit.  While the admissions staff plays a critical role in understanding the program and admissions process, getting feedback from students is the best way to determine if it is a good fit. 

If you are a career switcher, figure out which jobs appeal to you. Are students recruited from the companies or industries of interest to you? Find a program located where you want to live that is strong in those areas. For example, if sustainability is your focus, find a program that has that strength.

Our goal is to build strong alums that will want to be engaged with the School, whether as board members, speakers, student employers, etc. We want to create a win-win situation.

What timeline do you recommend for students interested in Leeds?

If you have any inkling that you want to go back to grad school, go ahead and get your GMAT out of the way—it’s good for five years. We have no preference on GMAT or GRE; depending on test dates, one or the other is almost always available to do quickly if needed. The standardized test is often the biggest psychological worry of the admissions process, so the sooner you can get it done the easier the rest of the experience will be.

When it is the right time personally, finish the admissions process. Do research on specific programs and understand the admissions requirements and the deadlines for submitting your application. We have worked with students whose life circumstances have changed and been able to get it done on a shorter timeline. Each person’s situation is different; if starting an MBA requires a move, it can be a longer process. This is where an admissions advisor can be very helpful, that’s what we do every day!

Looking for more information? Check out an older blog post about the admissions process and entrance exams here.

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