The company that has brought video essay questions to MBA admissions is moving into a new service: helping business schools identify the core competencies they want applicants to possess and a way to measure candidates against those desired traits.
The new offering by Kira Talent, which produces the software used by MBA admissions at Yale University’s School of Management and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, builds upon the company’s existing video platform. While working with schools on video interviews of their MBA applicants, Kira says it found that admissions committees don’t always know what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate and that many schools ask the exact same questions regardless of size or type.
“We ask schools to tell us three to five things they look for in every applicant and what their vision is for their incoming cohorts,” says Emilie Cushman, co-founder of Kira Talent. “Most have a hard time answering and have to get back to us. But it drives the right conversations with teams internally to align what they are looking for in their applicants. It’s very easy to look at an application and make assumptions. We’re fighting these assumptions with standardized measurement criteria.”
A WAY TO LOWER THE CHANCE FOR APPLICANTS TO GAME THE SYSTEM
Over the course of about six weeks, Kira’s new service would take a school on an intensive journey to uncover the most important competencies for their particular program and then would build an assessment rubric for admissions committee members to work off of when reviewing applicants. According to Kira’s announcement on the new methodology, “Using Competencies, schools review successful students in their cohort and identify which traits are most important and valued for their program. By selecting the most important competencies and crafting questions around them, admissions teams can better predict the fit and future success of applicants.”
Once competencies are determined and questions are selected, they’re loaded into the Kira video assessment platform. During the video interview portion of their application process, candidates receive one randomized question from each group of competencies. “Randomized questions make it more spontaneous and lowers the chances of applicants gaming the system or sharing with others,” Cushman says.
Next, admissions committees assess applicants using Kira’s new Rubrics rating system, designed to try to ensure applicants are measured in a fair and objective manner. Cushion says that Kira has been piloting the new methodology since January with a few schools. While she wouldn’t reveal the names of the schools that have participated in the pilot, Cushman says initial feedback has been positive.
PROCESS COULD HELP APPLICANTS SEE IF THEY ARE A FIT FOR THE SCHOOL
“They are now looking at admissions in a whole new way,” she says, ” in a lot more structured and streamlined way and there is a clear value add from a process perspective.”
What about prospective students? “Because the competency questions are indicative of a school’s culture and overall environment, and our video platform allows candidates to see and interact with committee members, this process helps applicants to really see if they are a fit for the school to which they’re applying. It’s a way to self identify based on what they know about a school and what they know about themselves.”
The starting price for schools to onboard with Kira is around $10,000. Final costs grow and vary depending on the needs of the school, size of the program, complexity of the assessment, and level of integration that’s required.