Can You Tweet Your Way Into B-School?

Can you tell a business school what makes you an exceptional MBA applicant and future MBA hire?

In just 140 characters, a la Twitter?

It had to happen and yesterday (July 30) the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management announced that it was adding a required tweet to its MBA application process.

And the school, ranked 48th for its MBA program by Poets&Quants, is also making a contest of it. Tippie will award a two-year, full-tuition financial award package to the applicant “who most creatively answers an essay question in ‘Tweet’ form, responding in 140 characters or less.

Why would an admissions committee add Tweets to the process of applying to a business school? Explains Associate Director for Recruiting and Admissions Lydia Fine, “Social media is a powerful tool for business communication, and is driving change in today’s business world. We see it as a natural way to set yourself apart as an MBA applicant.”

The actual question applicants must answer: “What makes you an exceptional Tippie Full-time MBA candidate and future MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!“

Fine says the idea was hatched in a brainstorm with Jodi Schafer, the school’s director of admissions and financial aid. “We were talking about the use of social media and we were trying to think of a way to start a conversation. Higher education has a different type of conversation than a typical brand. We were brainstorming and we just came to this.”

The school plans to ask five or so finalists if their tweets can be shared with others via social media and the winner will ultimately be announced on Aug. 4 on both Facebook and Twitter. “It’s a pilot project of sorts and so far there has been some good conversation about it on the social media platforms,” says Fine. “It does make us optimistic about the response we’ll see.”

Tippie accepts 37% of its applicants and reported a median GMAT score of 650 and a median grade point average of 3.41 for its last entering class. The school’s total full-time enrollment is 140. Some 95% of last year’s graduating class of MBAs were employed three months after graduation with median base salaries of $83,000 each and some also received median signing bonuses of $10,000. The school said that and 100% of the first-year class landed summer internships.

To be eligible for the contest, applicants must submit their full applications—including the Tweet–before July 28, the final deadline for the incoming fall class. Because of time constraints involved with obtaining student visas before the fall semester, the contest is open only to U.S. residents. All applicants who submit a response will have their application fee waived.


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