ENROLLMENT AND GMATs DOWN, BUT…
The 2016-2017 application cycle could be described as uneven at best. Fisher received 444 applications for the Class of 2019, down 27% over the previous year. At the same time, it enrolled 91 students, a sharp descrease from 107 in the 2018 Class. That said, a Fisher seat for 2019 became more difficult to attain, as the acceptance rate plunged from 45.2% to 37%.
GMAT-wise, the 2019 Class fell a bit short of the previous class, as the average dipped from 676 to 670. When it comes to four-year academic production, however, the incoming class fared a bit better with its 3.47 average GPA topping the 3.43 achieved by the second-years. By the same token, it is a more diverse class academically. Just 32% of the class majored in business, down from 41% last year. The difference was made up by arts and sciences majors, which comprise55% of the class (with the remaining 13% of seats taken up by engineers).
The biggest difference in the Class of 2019 involves international students. This percentage jumped 10% over the previous year to 25%. Overall, 12 countries make up the class, including students from Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Ghana, South Korea, and Vietnam. The percentage of women inched up a point to 32%. Underrepresented minorities account for 9% of the class, with American minorities taking up a 17% of the class as a whole.
PROGRAM REVAMP TO TAKE EFFECT NEXT SCHOOL YEAR
Although applications are down, the Fisher MBA is a program on the upswing. In 2016, the school celebrated its centennial. It was a special time, says Shashi Matta, the faculty director for the full-time and working professional MBA programs, culminating with a celebration featuring Lee Wexner and Fareed Zakaria. “The message to incoming students was loud and clear – Fisher College of Business charges forward into its next century with 2017,” Matta beams.
Now, the real work begins. The school has embarked on an initiative to revamp the program top-to-bottom. Given the freedom to “blow it up” by Dean Anil K. Makhija, the redesigned Fisher program is taking shape as a high touch, coaching-driven program that leverages three of its biggest strengths: a world-renowned career center, expansive leadership development capabilities, and an impressive portfolio of experiential learning opportunities.
Notably, the program is proposing a three-tiered coaching structure, where students would work closely with a career coach, an academic advisor, and a corporate mentor across the two years of study. The spring semester may also include an Immersion Lab, where students would leave campus for interdisciplinary assignments with client organizations. In addition, second years could potentially leave campus to partner with a non-profit. Such efforts would produce more “polished” students who are even stronger in critical areas like problem-solving, teamwork, and communication.
FILLING THE GAP WITH EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
“We have embarked on an ambitious and disruptive redesign of the full0time MBA program that will be launched in the fall of 2018,” Matta affirms. “The Class of 2020 will be the first class to experience this program designed to be MBA of the Future. This collaborative effort is spearheaded by a task force that includes the Dean’s team, program administrators, and faculty and staff, working closely with students, alumni, recruiters, and business leaders. The goal is simple. We’re going to design and deliver the best MBA program that develops business leaders to shape the future of business. We welcome the Class of 2020 to experience the fruits of this exhilarating initiative.”
In the meantime, the class will enjoy a heavy dose of experiential education. Ask any Fisher MBA about his or her two years in Columbus and the Global Applied Project (GAP) is sure to come up. The course is designed for students to apply the technical skills they gain during the core in an environment where they can practice leadership and teamwork – all while navigating differing business practices and cultural mores. Simulating a project from a leading consulting firm, GAP features sessions on best practices in areas like intercultural communications and projects followed by three weeks overseas in countries like Mexico, France, Tanzania, and China. At the end, students will present their research and solutions to senior level executives – no different than most first years do before the end of their summer internships.
“Experiential Learning is key factor that led me chose Fisher College over other b-schools,” asserts Ram Dharnikota. “During the application phase, I started shortlisting b-schools primarily based on the experiential learning opportunities a school provides. Fisher College has one of the best experiential learning opportunities in its GAP and Global Business Expeditions (GBE). Through GAP, students get an opportunity to work on real-world business challenges even before they graduate.”
COLUMBUS WITHIN 3 HOURS OF ALMOST 70 FORTUNE 1000 FIRMS
Leadership development is also weaved through the Fisher MBA curriculum, particularly in the first year where a pre-term opens with leadership foundations and the core concludes with a professional development capstone. In between, students complete intensive assessments, complete a personal development plans, and receive regular coaching.
“I was committed to attending an institution that didn’t simply use “leadership” as a buzz word, but strategically embedded leadership into the MBA curriculum,” Gupta says. “Fisher intentionally recruited an abundance of distinguished faculty with extensive leadership research to teach MBA courses. Additionally, the program has several hands-on leadership development experiences such as the GAP project and Fisher Board Fellows (a program that allows you to act on a board of a local nonprofit); they even have a new Leadership Retreat for graduate students starting this fall!”
The Fisher College also benefits from its location in Columbus, where it is the proverbial “only game in town.” As a result, employers often deluge the school with partnership opportunities. The metro area is home to five Fortune 500 companies, including 21st-ranked Cardinal Health and 69th-ranked Nationwide – not to mention nearly 15 Fortune 1000 companies. Columbus is less than two hours from Cincinnati (Kroeger, Procter & Gamble and Macy’s) and three hours or less from Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, Together, these metros boast nearly 70 Fortune 1000 firms.
“Fisher and its faculty have done a wonderful job creating a bridge between the Ohio Fortune 500 companies and MBA students,” emphasizes Tyler. “We have intimate discussions with executives detailing their greatest business challenges and how they are working to solve them. The ability to deeply interact with central Ohio decision-makers is unique and creates the exciting classroom experience I wanted in a business school.”
SUCCESS MEANS KNOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
So what’s next for the Class of 2019? Jeff Baldetti is following in the footsteps of his sister, who earned her MBA at Fisher in 2015. For him, the next year is a chance to answer the big question: What should I do with the rest my life? “I will be happy that I’m on the right track,” he admits. “Sometimes learning what we don’t want to do is just as important as finding out what it is we do want to do. So I will consider answering this question a success after my first year of business school if I’ve developed meaningful relationships here at Fisher with classmates and professors that open my eyes to the many possible answers to this question we all ask ourselves.”
Kamboj believes her MBA will give her an edge as she completes her medical training, particularly in the structural and relationship issues that dog the profession. “As a resident, I will draw from the team-based approach and problem-solving expertise cultivated at the Fisher College of Business to more efficiently manage challenging patient care scenarios. As an attending physician, I will confidently guide inter-departmental collaboration, coordinate organizational strategy, and represent physicians around a business table. Finally, as a leader in global health, I will employ my knowledge of systems and operations to provide healthcare to those who are unable to afford it and, ultimately, improve their standard of living.”
For Dang Nguyen, success will be measured by opening up and taking risks. “I would consider my experiences at Fisher as a success if I can wholeheartedly say that I gave 100% of my effort towards the program while having no regrets. This would entail that I pushed myself out of my comfort zones, developed leadership skills that I lacked or was missing, and welcomed the Fisher faculty, staff, and student body into my family.”
To read profiles of incoming Fisher MBA students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.
|Jeff Baldetti||Skaneateles, NY||Elon University||Twin Lake Total Return Partners|
|Andrew Body||Zanesville, OH||Muskingum University||BWS Education Consulting|
|Huy Dang Nguyen||Columbus, OH||Ohio State University||solutionX LLC|
|Keelyn Green||Columbus, OH||Ohio State University||Justice|
|Neha Gupta||Phoenix, AZ||University of Arizona||PwC|
|Alisha Kamboj||Columbus, OH||Ohio State University||Medical Student|
|Ankit Malik||Jind, Haryana, India||University of Delhi||Suzuki India|
|Prodpran Nontasuwan||Bangkok, Thailand||Chulalongkorn University||Secretary of Deputy Director-General (Thailand)|
|Ibukunoluwa Oni||Woodbury, NJ||University of Pennsylvania||The State of New Jersey|
|Hargav Ram Dharnikota||Vijayawada, India||Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur||iRunway India Private Limited|
|Matthew Rosebaugh||Youngstown, OH||U.S. Military Academy||U.S. Army|
|Chuck Tyler||Los Angeles, CA||University of Southern California||Spectrum Reach|