by Brian Burnsed

What can you do to set yourself apart in your application? Admissions officials have the answers

We posed questions to admissions officials at the Brandeis University International Business School regarding the application process, what they look for in applicants, and what sets their school apart. These are their responses:

1. What can applicants do to set themselves apart from their peers?

Have international and volunteer experience.

2. What do you look for in the application essays? What do the essays tell you about a candidate?

The essays tell us whether or not there is a good fit between the student and the school. Also, they determine whether they have thought through their future academic and career goals.

3. How important is the applicant's GMAT score? How do you weigh it against undergraduate GPA and work experience? Which of these carry the most weight? The least?

All three indicators for success are important.

4. How much does prior work/internship experience weigh into your decision making? What's the typical or expected amount of work experience from an applicant?

Work experience is important. We require a minimum of two years.

5. What sets you apart from other schools? What can students attain gain from school that they might not be able to find anywhere else?

We have a student population representing 79 countries. Students have an opportunity to study abroad for one semester at one of our 19 partner schools. Also, we offer a concentration in socially responsible business within our M.B.A. program, called global green M.B.A.

6. What do you look for in recommendation letters? How important is it that the letter's writer has worked regularly with the candidate in an office or school setting? Do you put much weight on letters from prominent public figures who may not know the applicant well?

We place higher importance on recommendations from those who actually know the candidate well.

7. Can you give a brief description of the life cycle of an application? What's the timeline applicants should expect?

We usually have a decision on a complete application within three weeks.

8. Which firms recruit heavily from your school? Which firms hire the highest percentage of your graduates?

EMC, State Street, MeadWestvaco

9. What are some of the most common mistakes that applicants make that hurt their chances of being accepted?

The biggest mistakes include not following directors for completing the application and using essays for multiple schools.

10. Can you describe the archetypal student for your school?

A student who has a strong quantitative background and is interested in being part of a global community.

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