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        Meet The Team: Rachel Killian, Warwick Business School

        Rachel Killian, Admissions Director at Warwick Business School, on the three criteria she uses to assess an application

        The nerve-wracking wait once you have applied to a university for an MBA program is something many of us have gone through. Did you answer everything right? Will your application make an impression?

        Though making a good application requires considerable effort, it’s not all that complicated. Rachel Killian, the Admissions Director of Warwick Business School gives her views on what can make or break an application and gives prospective students applying to Warwick or any other B-school some encouraging tips.

        Warwick Business School sees more than 1000 applications come in for its various MBA programs. And sifting through these applications in search of candidates who would be good for Warwick involves huge responsibility. So what are the main criteria that the Admissions team look for when they receive applications?

        Rachel explains, "I look at an application with three main questions in mind: Firstly, does this applicant have the ability to succeed in a demanding academic programme? Secondly, would other students want this person in their syndicate or team group, would they contribute, would they be a good team player? And finally, will this candidate be a worthy ambassador for WBS when they meet and interview with recruiters towards the end of their program? If an applicant can assure me on all three areas, then they would be short-listed for an interview."

        For MBA students who have been short-listed, the interview is the next hurdle. But Rachel advises simply 'being yourself'. According to her, anyone invited for an interview to Warwick is likely to be a good student for the university. What they are looking for is just a confirmation that the applicant has the right experience, personal qualities and commitment to the MBA programme.

        "Remember that the interviewer is hoping that you will be a good candidate, so it is simply your opportunity to prove that it is so."

        For candidates who don't have very high scores and a GPA, worry not! There are things you can do to make your application stand out. For Rachel, what matters is knowing that the applicant can cope with Warwick's academic programme. As the program is demanding, with mid-term exams early into the term, a student with a low GPA and a low GMAT score needs to provide good results in professional qualifications, or a really impressive career journey with clear examples of achievements and progression.

        Work experience is a make or break factor. If people don't have the right type of work experience, they simply don't get short-listed. "We don’t compromise on the quality of our students’ experience.The rest of the class and our corporate recruiters have high expectations of our students and the application process is designed to make sure we don’t let them down."

        With the country going through a long period of economic crisis, some may wonder whether the competition now is fiercer than before. Rachel admits that the number of applicants for Warwick's full-time MBA has seen an increase, but she doesn't limit the reason just to the financial crisis. She believes that students today are more aware of the return on investment of the MBA, with many looking for a fresh perspective on their career journey.

        "We’re meeting a greater number of candidates who previously would have considered a part-time MBA, but instead are considering a full-time programme; they are finding that their organisation has cut back on management development and perhaps there are fewer promotion opportunities available within the company. So instead, they are looking to take 12 months out to get a fresh perspective on their career journey whilst also gaining the management skills and practical tools that they will need when returning to the workplace."

        So as the Admissions Director of Warwick Business School, she believes her job is not necessarily difficult, but is a big responsibility. "I really enjoy learning about the different candidates, their work experience and their aspirations. I’m making decisions that will impact not just on the individual’s future, but also that of the school. Any business school is only as good as the quality of their students and alumni, so I have to ensure that we are only selecting the best applicants – and the ones that are the right fit for Warwick."

        For those aiming for Warwick Business School, or any other B-school, Killian suggests some tips. "Start your research early and do it thoroughly. You’ll save yourself a lot of anxiety later in the process if you are very clear on what you hope to achieve by doing the MBA and can therefore articulate the type of school that you’d be happy in. Start with a long list of schools and narrow it down over time as your research continues. Put aside some time to carry out a few school visits too; it’s only when you step onto campus and talk with current students that you’ll really know whether it is the place for you."