Have you noticed any changes or trends in interview performance over the past few years?
In the interviews that I’ve conducted and anecdotally talking to my team, I do think that applicants are more savvy. They know they need to show up a certain way. They know they need to impress. They come across as very impressive and confident. There are always outliers and people who don’t prepare, but for the most part, the ones we see applying to Georgetown and interviewing have really done their homework, which is nice. They’ve really taken the time to talk to other alumni or students and to attend our events and to make themselves accessible, and then to talk about that and give concrete examples. We’re seeing more and more applicants comfortable in giving examples of how they’ve had impacts in their organizations.
We even had an example of a really great applicant who had to stop on the side of the road and conduct his interview from his car. And it wasn’t till the very end when he told us that we even realized that. He was so poised. He was still able to have composure and to really engage in a meaningful dialogue that we had no idea he was sitting on the side of the highway.
I’ve been really impressed and my team has been really impressed with the quality of interviews we’ve seen over the past few years. I think people understand it’s an important part of the process and unless you’re in a system with video essays, it’s the one time you can personalize your application and I think people take it very seriously.
What are some of the reasons applicants give you for applying to Georgetown specifically?
I would say for us and what we want in terms of reasons and why we want people to consider Georgetown, we think of ourselves as transforming students into global-ready managers who exhibit principled leadership that’s in service to business and society—that’s our mantra. What we hear from students who end up coming here and some of the reasons they are interested in coming, is caring for the whole person. We are big believers in being a successful leader today, you need to be culturally aware—even if you’re global at home, our dean likes to use the term global at home—even if you’re never on a global project or study abroad, you understand how the global landscape impacts your business even if your business is right in the backyard of D.C.
We look for leaders who can exhibit empathy, treating their people with respect and being able to create value at a societal level regardless of whether they’re leading a for-profit, a nonprofit, or public sector entity. So we find that we’re putting those messages out, and alumni out in the world, who exhibit those behaviors out in the world and what we’re getting back are individuals applying to our program who are looking for that level of transformation in their own lives.
If you could change one thing in the admissions process, what would it be?
I would say the concept of melt. Melting is a concept unique to the admissions process world and it’s when someone puts down a deposit for your school, but then down the line, they turn around and walk away from that deposit and put down a deposit at another school that they would prefer to go to.
Every school goes through it, no matter if you’re the No. 1 school or the No. 50 school—every school has to contend with this. So sometimes I wish the graduate business school could figure out a way to make agreements binding like they do in the undergraduate admissions world. But I know it’s not realistic. It’s tough at times to put so much effort and emotionally invest in applicants who you feel would be so great for your program and you could really see them thriving at your program but to lose them to a peer school.
Again, every school goes through this, even in the top 10, so they can share my pain. One of the things we’ve tried to do at Georgetown is develop a tool that allows us to better predict melt for a specific deposit population. And this year we’ve actually been able to curb that melt more, which we’re really happy about. We piloted the melt predictor last year in the third round and really found it valuable. And at the very least, it allows us to look at particular data points and levels of interaction in a more systematic and organized way and then make some assumptions about individuals’ likelihood of melting. This helps us feel more in control of the process in which everything is very speculative. So for us to have that level of feeling more control, we found that to be valuable.
We also found that the tool is a great way to manage our wait-lists in a more effective and customer-centric way. For example, we were able to provide good news earlier to a few folks on the wait-list that otherwise would have waited. But with our melt predictor, we can make those decisions earlier and preempt that and not have to wait so long, which I think our wait-listed students were appreciative of.
What are some of the data points you’ve seen that are helpful to predict melt?
One in particular would be for an international student, is whether or not they’ve filled out their I-20. Have they gotten their visa yet? Or have they even filled out the forms to get the visa?
Also, open rates. We send out communication to individuals once they’ve deposited and we’re continuing to communicate with them before they matriculate, and are they opening the emails, how often, and those kinds of things help us. Have they started to find housing? There are all these small data points that in the aggregate give you a picture of how interested someone is and how they may have actually started to take steps to materialize their enrollment.
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