The following interview with Melissa Rapp, Goizueta Business School’s associate dean of MBA admissions, was originally published by MBA Insight.

Melissa Rapp: Associate Dean of MBA Admissions

1) What’s the single most exciting development, change, or event happening at your MBA program this coming year?
Melissa Rapp, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions

One of the many exciting developments currently happening is the announcement of our Social Enterprise Fellows experiential learning projects. This semester, the projects include an investment plan for expanding the impact of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) services for a non-profit human capital organization, and an AgroTech market outlook and P&L simulation project for a global consumer brands company. 

2) What 2-3 qualities, skill sets, and experiences does your program value most in applicants?

Goizueta looks for candidates who: 

  1. Are growth minded, eager to learn, and collaborate with a diverse cohort in classrooms and in teams.
  2. Are seeking an opportunity to grow both professionally and personally through a rigorous classroom experience, deep networking, and experiential learning experiences.
  3. Have demonstrated impact and leadership regardless of their level or role and look for opportunities to positively drive change and influence others.
3) How does your team approach the essay portion of the application, specifically? What are you looking for as you read the essays? Are there common mistakes that applicants should try to avoid? Is there one key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write them?

We look at essays as a way for candidates to tell their story and add dimension to the more practical parts of the application. We read and consider every essay in the evaluation process. We expect candidates to answer the essay question in a personal way that demonstrates their experiences. Please don’t try to use essays written for other schools, don’t use AI to write your essays, and always have someone else proofread your work. Keep your own story, your motivations, and your goals in mind as you sit down to write your essays.

4) Do you have any application tips for the essay and recommendation portions of the MBA application? 

My first and best application tip is to start your application, give yourself a deadline, and submit it. There is never a perfect time to apply, so if you are thinking about it, now is the time.

For essays, answer the questions being asked. Don’t write what you think we want to hear. Focus on your story and an answer true to you. Proofread well. Read the question before you start writing, think about the question for a couple of days, jot down ideas or map your answer, and then start writing.

For recommendations, follow the guidance from the school on what type of recommender they want you to use. For most MBA programs, choosing someone who knows you in a professional setting is preferred. Ask your recommender a few weeks before a recommendation is due. A good recommendation takes time to write. Provide your recommender with your current resume. Be a good human, write them a thank you note, and let them know what the outcome of your application is.

5) How important is standardized testing for an MBA application to Emory. Is there a preference for GMAT, GRE, EA for your full-time program?

Goizueta requires a standardized test score and accepts the GMAT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT. Candidates with strong quantitative backgrounds can apply for a test waiver.

6) What resources are available within your MBA program to assist with internships, full-time job opportunities, or career advancement?

All Goizueta MBA students receive comprehensive and personalized career support from Goizueta’s Career Management Center. Part of this career support comes through a required course called “Professional Development,” which all MBA students take during their first semester. This course provides foundational training and practice for the MBA recruiting process. It covers topics such as networking, preparing for employer interactions, conducting company research, and interviewing for MBA-level roles. 

Additionally, each job-seeking Goizueta MBA student is assigned to a dedicated career coach. They will partner with them throughout their time in the MBA program. Students work with their coaches on a one-on-one basis. They will discuss their job search strategy, update their resume, and practice for interviews. Students have access to this coaching for both their internship and full-time job searches.

Finally, in addition to coaching and training, the Career Management Center provides access to MBA-level job opportunities. We have an employer relations team who coordinates school-managed interviews, plans events with a variety of employers, and sources MBA-level job postings for our students.

Interested in pursuing a business degree? Learn more about the unique programs Goizueta has to offer.

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