GME: Today & Tomorrow Fall 2019

Anatomy of a 360° View of Applicants An Interview with Evelyn Tate, Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business

S hould we change or drop standardized test requirements? Ask for letters of recommendation? Check applicants’ LinkedIn profiles? Extend our admissions deadline to accommodate late applicants, which, according to one industry source, comprises 30% of today’s applicant pool? 1 These are just a few of the many questions being debated among GME admissions officers today as they juggle finding best-fit students with filling seats. In such a rapidly evolving environment, it helps to hear from colleagues facing these same issues and hear why they made the choices they did. Recently we interviewed Evelyn Tate, assistant dean and director of graduate recruitment and admissions at Northeastern

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University‘s D’Amore-McKim School of Business. She provided a bird’s-eye view of their current holistic admissions process and discussed some newer techniques being used to evaluate candidates. She also addressed the increase in late cycle applicants and spoke to the ultimate benefits reaped as a result of getting to know their applicants.

You have been at the D’Amore- McKim School of Business since 2005. Can you describe what goes into the holistic review process and how it has changed over the years? Evelyn Tate (ET): First, I would say that we really do strive to get a very clear sense of our applicants. We do this by looking at both qualitative and quantitative factors, from experiences, to undergraduate GPAs and test scores, to leadership potential and communication skills, among others. We do not assign specific weightings to any one factor or part of the application. Rather, we like to remain flexible and look at candidates as individuals. Perhaps the only common denominator is that we

look for students who can contribute to the class in a meaningful way and strengthen their skills to be successful in the business world. In my view, the most significant change in the review process has been the personalization of the application experience — for the applicant as well as the admissions team. We no longer make decisions based solely on application documents. Instead, we may engage with our candidates multiple times throughout the process. For example, we interview candidates for several of our programs. The interview allows the applicant to provide additional perspective or clarify information in the application. The admissions committee can learn

more about the candidate and his/ her potential fit for our program. In particular, our business school programs incorporate team-based project learning. As such, we want students who demonstrate they can work in a group environment. We try to assess this in our interview process. Candidates are asked to provide examples of their actions in team settings as well as experience with leadership. If they are working, we ask for examples of their accomplishments. We also will ask about extracurricular activities if appropriate. All told, we can glean attributes such as leadership skills, emotional intelligence and social and communication skills through the interview process.

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GME: Today & Tomorrow | Fall 2019

1 Want a 57% Yield Rate on MBA Applicants? Look to Your Late Pipeline, EAB June 21, 2018

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