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Business School Admissions Go Interactive

In an effort to gain a more authentic sense of MBA candidates, some business schools have introduced new features, including video essays and team-based interviews, into the traditional MBA application process. Forbes discusses some methods being tested at MBA schools and contemplates the future model of the business school interview.

Application components such as academic transcripts, personal essays, and standardized test scores can continue to serve as valuable tools in assessing the leadership potential and intellectual abilities of candidates for MBA programs. However, Forbes reports that the interview is still considered the most effective method for evaluating a candidate's interpersonal and communication skills.

The University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management decided to replace one of its traditional written essays with a video interview. The move came after the MBA admissions committee sensed a lack of diversity among applicants in the traditional written essay format. The video interview allows applicants to practice with as many sample questions as they wish before recording their official 90-second interview video.

"There is no preparation required, and no right answer," Niki da Silva, Rotman's Director of Admissions, explains in the article. "They might be asked to talk about an event that has inspired them, or reflect on how their colleagues might describe them. It is telling to see what jumps to mind, and we get a glimpse into their value system and perspectives we don't see elsewhere in the application."

The Wharton School has recently added team-based discussions to its interview process, finding that group interaction allows applicants to give a more dynamic sense of their personalities and gain a better sense of the Wharton experience. A Wharton representative reinforces, however, that the team-based discussion is simply one of a number of tools used to evaluate candidates as part of a holistic approach to admissions.