Shelley Conley is director of graduate enrollment and MBA admissions at Boston College's Carroll Graduate School of Management. Conley, whose career spans 12 years of undergraduate and graduate management admissions experience, joined Boston College in 2000, after serving as director of MBA admissions at Simmons College in Boston.
She earned her MBA from Simmons and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. On Jan. 6, Conley talked with BusinessWeek Online reporter Mica Schneider via phone and e-mail about this year's recruiting season at Carroll. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:
Q: The Carroll Graduate School of Management received 959 applications for its MBA program in 2003. How many do you expect in 2004?
A: About the same. We just hit our first deadline and are still processing applications. However, early indicators suggest that our applicant pool will be flat again after several years of growth. GMAT volumes and news from competing institutions point toward a lackluster year for applications. I think the economy is at play, and students are still somewhat worried about leaving their jobs after several years of layoffs.
Q: How competitive will MBA admissions be this year?
A: Our MBA class is 100 students -- two cohorts of 50. Admission has historically been very competitive, with acceptance rates ranging from 14% to 20%. We anticipate this year's selectivity to be on par with previous years.
Q: When is the best time to apply? What percentage of your class will be filled by your last deadline, Apr. 1?
A: Given the competitive nature of the process, we encourage candidates to apply in the first [two] rounds, which end Dec. 1 and Feb. 15. More than 60% of the class will be filled before our final deadline. International applicants must apply by Feb. 15. We do rolling admissions, which means that candidates who apply between deadlines will receive a decision in six to eight weeks assuming that they've submitted a complete application.
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