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 MS candidates.
Typically, prospective students want to know “What do you look for in a candidate?”
This question is a concern to most applicants because they believe they need to be perfect in every area. The admissions committee evaluates two main areas: academic strength and potential fit to our program.
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 provide a good indication of verbal and quantitative skill.
To assess “fit” we evaluate the applicant’s personal statement and their recommenders’ comments and ratings. This gives the admissions committee an opportunity to determine if their goals are a good fit for Leeds and specifically for the MS Program of interest. While prior work experience is not required, the applicant’s resume also can demonstrate leadership and drive.
Overall, remember that we evaluate the entire application and always encourage applicants to apply if they are interested in an MS.
What advice do you have for students that are just starting to consider an MS?
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.
Thinking about which jobs appeal to you can help you determine what program is the best fit for 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 supply chain management 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 MS 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.