News, advice and resources for business school applicants

Some Top Business Schools Move Away from Alumni Interviews

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management are among a growing number of business schools that are reassessing whether or not to have alumni conduct admissions interviews with prospective MBA applicants, according to an article this week in the Wall Street Journal.

Some schools are opting to send admissions staff around the globe – despite higher costs – to interview candidates themselves in an effort to ensure more consistent comparison among candidates and to keep interviewees and interviewers from lapsing into languages other than English.

Clear Admit co-founder Graham Richmond contributed to the article, confirming concerns schools have that foreign alumni may not always conduct interviews in English. “If you get two French people in a room and ask them to speak English together, it’s just not going to happen,” he told the WSJ. Richmond added that language is an even greater concern in Asia, where some applicants have hired proxies to take entrance exams or write essays. Here, even phone interviews aren’t enough to defer potential fraud, since someone other than the real candidate could be on the other end of the line, he points out.

For this and other reasons, Wharton this year is sending its six admissions officers to 12 hub cities around the world to conduct interviews with prospective applicants rather than relying on its network of 88,000 alumni, as it has in the past. On-campus interviews, meanwhile, are conducted by 45 trained second-year students.

Other schools, such as UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, are hoping videoconferencing via Skype may provide a solution. Beginning with candidates for this year’s fall class, Anderson began using Skype for interviews to ensure that potential students are fluent in English, according to the WSJ account.

For the complete Wall Street Journal article, click here.

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