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Top Business Schools Combine Admissions for Full-Time, Part-Time, Executive MBA Programs

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Columbia Business School (CBS), Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and Spain’s IE Business School are among top MBA programs that are introducing a combined admissions process in which students who get rejected from a full-time MBA program can more easily be offered admission to a part-time or executive MBA offering instead, the Financial Times reports.

Through combined admissions, schools can look for applicants whose profiles may not be strong enough to secure a spot in the full-time MBA program but who might be well suited for the part-time or executive MBA programs. For example, students with low GMAT scores but valuable work experience could be admitted to the EMBA cohort at certain programs instead of the full-time MBA program, admissions officials told the FT.

Schools that embrace combined admissions are able to merge the admissions functions of different programs within the school, realizing cost savings and better meeting their recruiting targets by being able to market the traditional full-time MBA as well as the part-time and executive programs to applicants to ensure that each student finds a fit with one program.

At CBS, for example, Vice Dean Amir Ziv helped centralize admissions two years ago. Before then “the full-time MBA and EMBA were separate divisions and instead of co-operating they were almost competing [for students],” Ziv told the FT.

At IE, meanwhile, the new system helps direct highly qualified students who may not gain admission to the full-time MBA program to consider alternate programs instead. Strong candidates who are turned down for IE’s flagship international MBA program now undergo a more formal counseling process about which other programs could be a fit, Lisa Bevil, director of full-time admissions, told the FT. Ten percent of students who applied to one program now study in another as a result of the new system, she said.

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business combined admissions two years ago, and since then 130 students have applied to the part-time program instead of the EMBA after receiving advice from admissions counselors about better fit, Ross Director of Admissions Soojin Koh told the FT. “They would have all applied to the EMBA and probably would have not been admitted, because they had mis-evaluated their experience,” Koh said. 

Combined admissions is also helping schools cut costs. “We didn’t have shared accountability for the enrolment results . . . there was no formal process for cross selling and there was no co-ordinated marketing plan,” Liz Riley Hargrove, associate dean for admission at Duke, told the FT about the school’s previous system. Now, “we save a significant amount of money just by co-ordinating the [recruiting] schedule,” she added. 

To learn more about some schools’ move toward combined admissions, click here.

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Posted in: MBA News, Part-Time/EMBA News

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