CentreCourt Draws Hundreds To SF

centrecourt mba festival

Matt Symonds (right) leads a panel of admissions directors from leading schools. Pictured from left to right are Virginie Fougea (INSEAD), Tina Mabley (Texas McCombs), Kirsten Moss (Stanford GSB), and Kurt Ahlm. Photo by Nathan Allen

The admissions panel, led by long-time MBA watcher and Forbes columnist Matt Symonds, had plenty of comic relief.

“The application comes in, we have a series of buttons, we hit one, and the decision is made in a matter of seconds. And then we go on vacation for about two months and tell you when we get back,” joked Tina Mabley, the director of the full-time MBA program at the Texas McCombs School of Business. Mabley was the admissions director before taking over as director of the program.

centrecourt mba festival

Reaching Out MBA Executive Director Matt Kidd (left) leads an LGBT-focused panel. Pictured from left to right are Shawn Goodin (MIT Sloan), Sara Johnson (Cornell Johnson), and Vivian Fried-Chung (Wharton). Photo by Nathan Allen

In honor of Pride weekend in San Francisco, Matt Kidd, the executive director of Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA), led a panel about being an LGBT student in business school. ROMBA organizes a conference each fall for prospective MBA students and has been instrumental in raising awareness of LGBT students in elite MBA programs across the country.

centrecourt mba festival

A prospective MBA applicant meets at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper table. Photo by Nathan Allen

Advances in technology — and what impact it will have on MBA classrooms — was a topic of the deans panel.

“We are all going to see education — whether you’re talking kindergarten or you’re talking Ph.D. — the whole thing is going to be completely altered by technology,” said Doug Shakelford, dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

Shackelford spoke of Kenan-Flagler’s new virtual reality simulator that places MBAs in the African country of Cameroon and charges them to sell medical devices. Participants decide if they will sell the medical devices to hospitals, pharmacies, or direct-to-consumer. A full-time MBA student from Cameroon traveled to the African country during spring break along with a film crew and a computer science professor hired by Kenan-Flagler to create the simulation. When participants meet a government license to set up a business in the country, an official asks the students if they are offering a bribe to expedite the process.

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