As an extra check on the ability of international students to speak English, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business will begin a pilot program of supplemental interviews for MBA applicants in Beijing and Shanghai. The group interview process, which will launch Jan. 26th and 27th in China, was announced by Soojin Kown, director of admissions at Ross.
“Because of the highly interactive and team-based nature of our classes, we’re seeking to assess applicants’ ability to communicate in a group setting and work with others,” Kown said on the Ross admissions blog. “We plan to have current students and alumni participate as well. We’re inviting candidates to attend this supplemental interview based on geography, so read your interview invitation carefully for more details.”
The “supplemental interview” is in addition to the school’s required one-on-one interview with either alumni or a current MBA student. It appears designed to give the school more insight into the communication skills particularly of international applicants who speak English as a second language.
It’s no secret that some business schools believe they have admitted candidates who were not able to fully participate in class discussions or to deeply engage with their classmates due to language issues. This is particularly true of candidates from China where MBA applications to U.S. business schools have exploded in recent years.
In piloting a group format for the interview, Ross is following in the footsteps of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which this year launched team-based discussions as part of its application process for candidates who are invited to interview.
Kwon said she is traveling to China to help facilitate the group interviews in both Beijing and Shanghai. Though the group interview is not required, she said it is highly recommended that candidates invited to attend participate in the exercise.
The first wave of round two interview invites by Ross went out yesterday (Jan. 10).