The MBA application process at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School shares elements with many other schools in that it is your opportunity to share your unique story with the admissions committee. Every aspect of the application is reviewed annually and has been crafted to help us assess the specific skills or characteristics we are looking for to craft a well-rounded, competitive, and supportive MBA class. Each of these skills or characteristics maps to one of the core values of Goizueta — courage, integrity, accountability, rigor, diversity, team, and community.
Components of Goizueta’s MBA application
- Demographic information: To applicants, this seems to be standard information but, to us, it is the building blocks for a diverse class. Your hometown, current location, age, gender, ethnicity, and professional experience (industry and function) all play a part in crafting a diverse class. (Goizueta Core Value: Diversity)
- Academic information including transcripts and test scores: One of our most important core values is that of rigor. Demonstrated success in undergraduate classes and on standardized tests shows if you will be able to meet the demands of our rigorous academic experience. (Goizueta Core Value: Rigor)
- Extra-curricular activities: These “extra” activities are key to telling the story of how you have demonstrated teamwork and leadership skills. What activities you are passionate about, your level of involvement in those activities, and if you held leadership roles all help the admissions committee to understand who you are outside of your professional space and how you will contribute to our community. (Goizueta Core Values: Team, Community)
- Essays: Goizueta asks you to write two essays. The first focuses on your goals following your MBA studies. The answer to this question helps us understand your motivations and if you are a good fit for the Goizueta full-time MBA program (one-year or two-year) you have chosen. The second essay is about leadership and allows you to showcase how you have been a leader and how that experience can be added to a Goizueta MBA. Both essays require self-reflection and some discipline to stay within the word count. (Goizueta Core Values: Rigor, Courage, Accountability)
- Video essay: Goizueta provides different platforms for candidates to tell their stories and the video essay is your opportunity to tell us more about yourself in a relaxed, real-time way. The questions are randomized so each candidate provides a unique insight. (Goizueta Core Value: Courage)
- Resume: Goizueta prefers a one-page resume that captures your professional experience and highlights times you have added value to your organization. Your resume is the place to craft the story of you as a professional. (Goizueta Core Values: Courage, Accountability, Team)
- Recommendations: Hearing about you from someone else’s perspective is an important part of our evaluation of your fit within our community. It provides a balance to your own self-promotion and can provide insights into how you have demonstrated our values. (Goizueta Core Values: Team, Integrity)
- Interview: With Goizueta’s commitment to be a small-by-design MBA program, every member of the community plays an important role in setting and maintaining culture. To that end, the interview allows us to get to know you on a more personal level. The questions asked during the interview will focus on your career goals and leadership. It is the perfect time to share a great story you couldn’t fit into your essays. (Goizueta Core Values: Courage, Integrity, Accountability, Rigor, Diversity, Team, Community)
Completing the application for any top MBA program requires a commitment of time and energy. Completing an application also requires a strategy. Understand that submitting a strong, competitive application won’t happen overnight or even over a weekend.
Tackling the GMAT or GRE first is a good place to start. You should plan to prepare for the test with either self-directed study or via a test-prep course. While you prepare or when you have a score that reflects your capabilities, begin to work on an outline or a list of examples you can use to answer the essay questions.
Once you begin the MBA application, schedule some time with potential recommenders to talk about your plans and ask if they are willing to write a recommendation for you. Be thoughtful about who you ask and provide them with an updated resume and the timeline for completing the recommendation. If the application deadline is approaching and they haven’t submitted, send a friendly reminder and thank them when it is complete with coffee or a thoughtful note.
Once you have a draft of your essay responses, seek out a few opinions and proofreaders to review them. Often you will have spent so much time with the essays you may not notice simple mistakes. Before submitting, be sure to triple check you have the correct school name in your essays. One tactic I recommend is to have someone read your essay without telling them what the question was and ask them to tell you what they think the question was based on your answer. This is a great way to know if you are answering the question asked.
If you are invited to interview at Goizueta, prepare the same way you would for a job interview. Practice questions you expect to be asked and prepare some questions to help you understand the program better.
The application is your first exercise as an MBA student. Take your time and prepare the best application you can, even if that means delaying your submission by a round.
Melissa Rapp is the Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. In this role, she leads the team responsible for the recruitment, evaluation, and matriculation of students across Goizueta’s portfolio of MBA programs. Melissa has worked at both small and large institutions helping to form and implement admissions strategies. Most recently, she was Director of Admissions for Full-Time MBA and MSMS programs at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s from Baker University.