At a time when business schools are fighting to prove that the MBA is still a relevant and useful degree, the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, based in Bloomington, is finding new ways to reach out to students. By offering rigorous evening and online programs, in addition to the traditional MBA, the college is reaching a larger audience.
Recently, BusinessWeek Online's B-Schools channel hosted an online chat to give potential students the chance to get admissions information from Kelley on everything from GMAT scores to online teaching techniques. Jim Holmen, the school's director of admissions and financial aid for the full-time program on the main campus, Darrell E. Brown, program coordinator for the part-time MBA course in Indianapolis, and Joelle Andrew-Mohr, program director of Kelley Direct Online classes, fielded questions from audience members and BusinessWeek Online's Francesca Di Meglio and Jack Dierdorff. Here's an edited transcript:
Q: Are admissions up or down for the full-time, evening, and online programs?
Holmen: For the full-time program, applications were down a bit this year, but the quality [of applicants] was strong. This has allowed us to meet our enrollment targets without compromising quality.
Brown: For the evening program, applications are up. We take 60 students out of 130 applicants each fall and spring.
Andrew-Mohr: We have received about the same [number of] applications to the MBA offered through Kelley Direct this year as last year.
Q: Do most applicants get financial assistance?
Holmen: All students offered admission to the full-time program are considered for merit-based aid. This year, close to half of our students received some kind of scholarship or assistantship.
Q: What kind of student fits into the Kelley culture?
Holmen: The Kelley culture can be described as collaborative and team-oriented. Therefore, students who are well-focused and interested in contributing will be a good fit.
Q: Would you consider applicants without much work experience?
Holmen: For the full-time program, we like to see candidates with at least two years of full-time work experience. The faculty counts on students to have a base of experience to build on and draw from as they move through the program. Most students find their MBA experience far richer and their post-MBA career options far greater, if they come in with some experience.
That being said, there always are a very small number of students with limited experience who gain admission because they may have had significant internship or leadership experiences, coupled with a strong academic record and high test scores.
Q: What's your admission policy for students who have PhD degrees but less than one year of work experience?
Holmen: We take a holistic look at every candidate. We'll try to understand the reasons the PhD candidate wants an MBA. Based on their educational and other experiences, we'll see what they will be able to contribute to the classroom.
Brown: In the part-time program, we like to see two years of full-time experience as well. However, we will evaluate the individual's internship and part-time experience and 20% of our fall MBA class has engineering undergraduate degrees.
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