An Interview with John T. Delaney, dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business

Are there particular strengths of your school associated with your parent university, such as key centers and institutes of research, facilities, joint degree programs with other schools on campus, or other synergies?

Katz gives students the best of both worlds. In one way, we’re a small school, where it’s easy to get to know your classmates and professors. However, our association with the University of Pittsburgh means we’re part of a major research institution in medicine, engineering, computer science, and the arts.

Our Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence collaborates with schools University-wide for its annual Randall Family Big Idea competition. Big Idea gives student entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for large cash prizes as they develop a new business venture or service. Our International Business Center works with other Pitt schools, the University Center for International Studies, and other universities nationwide to offer global opportunities for business study trips and internships.

Our intra-university ties enable us to offer joint- and dual- degree programs with Pitt’s School of Law, Swanson School of Engineering, School of Information Sciences, and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Our faculty also conduct research in collaboration with faculty from across the University and serve and teach as joint faculty in other schools.

What is the most important national or international recognition your school has received?

Since its inception, Katz has been continuously accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). In fact, Katz is one of the founding institutions of AACSB. Year after year, we are rated among the world’s top business schools by leading publications, often within the Top 25 among U.S. public schools.

What are the admissions trends that your graduate school has experienced over the past three to five years?

Our admissions committee is giving even greater consideration to candidate’s work experience and future career potential. Admissions interviews help us understand how focused and engaged a prospective student may be; two traits which are very important to success. Our incoming class of 2011 had about 3½ years of work experience, a mean GMAT score of 612, and a mean undergraduate GPA of 3.4.

About one-third of our students had an academic background in business, followed by about 22 percent who studied engineering, and 12 percent computer science.

What factors are most important in your admissions process?

Potential Katz students are evaluated in three particular areas. We review their previous academic performance and analytical skills, as judged by GMAT scores and previous academic study. We look at their leadership and record of accomplishments, which can be seen in their résumé. And, finally, we want to know their goals and objectives—what are their plans for a future career after the MBA? This is probably the most important piece and one that we focus on throughout the MBA career. In addition to their application, students will be interviewed either in person or via Skype.

Tell us about the international population at your school and any unique admissions requirements for them/

Katz students come from many different countries, as evident in our 2011 full-time class. Our students’ nationalities include Brazil, China, England, Germany, India, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United States, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

We require the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for all applicants whose citizenship is in a country where the only official language is not English. However, in cases where the applicant has earned an undergraduate or another graduate degree in the United States, the tests may be waived at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

How many application rounds are there for your school? Are there any advantages of applying at a certain stage?

For the full-time program, there are typically three application rounds between October and April. The program begins in August. For the part-time program, applications are considered on a rolling basis, although students are admitted at three different points: July, November, and March. The part-time program begins in August, January, or April.