The MBA Gatekeeper At UT McCombs

University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business

University of Texas-Austin McCombs School of Business

What book should every McCombs applicant have read?

I don’t know that there is one book that everybody should read. But applicants that do well through our admissions process are really well informed on current events. Whichever news source that you utilize, make sure that you’re up to speed on what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in the economy, and kind of be ready for that. For those that don’t have a business background, maybe start looking at the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

If you could change one thing about the admissions process, what would it be?

Something that I challenge my team every year to do: decrease the anxiety factor associated with the admissions process. If I could do away with the anxiety that the applicants have, I think it would be my dream come true. At the end of the day, we’re looking for great people, they’re looking for great schools – to the extent that we can get them to be comfortable, the better match that we’ll be able to have, and make sure they’re set up for their future.

What’s the best application stunt you’ve seen?

I personally have always kind of admired people that are able to do things on video, just because that’s not my forte. With the team, we do have folks that are very video savvy. For me, I think that that’s pretty cool.

What three things should an applicant do before an admissions interview?

First and foremost, make sure that they’re well prepared to tell their story, connect the dots for me. I’d make sure they touch up on school research. The last thing is to have a list of three or four questions to ask at the end of the interview. They should be questions that are sincere that are going to help them with their decision, maybe a tailored list for the schools that they are going to be interviewing with.

What non-verbal cues do you watch for when doing an applicant interview?

Someone that has strong eye contact, smiles, just someone that has a pretty pleasant and comfortable demeanor, seems to be comfortable in their own shoes, is pretty key. We give applicants a lot of different ways they can interview with us and a lot of different times. From an applicant’s perspective, picking a time that is good for them, so they will have time to prepare for the interview, and are comfortable and at ease.

If someone expresses interest in entrepreneurship, what do you look for that would suggest they have what it takes?

We’re pretty lucky being in Austin, it’s a pretty vibrant place for startups and entrepreneurship. We do get a lot of applicants that are interested in it. If somebody says they’re interested in entrepreneurship . . . I’ll be looking for evidence that they have in their professional experience or maybe their undergraduate experience, where they have worked in incubators at different universities, or sort of embarked on similar experiences. It takes a special type of person to be a true entrepreneur. If that’s the case they’re going to have had some level of experience in experimenting in that space before deciding to do it in business school. Showing that experience, I think, is pretty key.

THE GATEKEEPER SERIES:

THE GATEKEEPER TO BERKELEY HAAS
THE GATEKEEPER TO HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL 
THE GATEKEEPER TO STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
THE GATEKEEPER TO THE WHARTON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO THE KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
THE GATE KEEPER TO CHICAGO’S BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO MIT SLOAN
THE GATEKEEPER TO DARTMOUTH’S TUCK SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO DUKE’S FUQUA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
THE GATEKEEPER TO MICHIGAN’S ROSS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS 
THE GATEKEEPER TO CORNELL’S JOHNSON GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
THE GATEKEEPER TO YALE’S SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
THE GATEKEEPER TO LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL
THE GATEKEEPER TO CAMBRIDGE JUDGE
THE GATEKEEPER TO THE INDIAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS