Babson's Entrepreneurial Edge

B-School applicants should be willing to try new things, take risks, and have an appreciation for other points of view, says Graduate Admissions Dean Kate Klepper

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Kate Klepper has been dean of graduate admissions at Babson College's Franklin W. Olin Graduate School of Business since 2001. Prior to joining Babson, she was director of MBA programs at Northeastern University. Klepper is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she received her B.S. in consumer economics, and of Northeastern University, where she earned her MBA. She recently spoke by phone and e-mail with Mica Schneider, BusinessWeek Online's reporter covering management education. Here are edited excerpts of those conversations:

Q: What general tips do you offer Babson MBA wannabes?


The admissions committee wants to get to know you. You can help us do that by being honest and thorough in your essays, as well as being prepared. We strongly recommend visiting campus, sitting in on a class, and meeting some of our students to get a complete understanding of what the Babson experience and culture is all about.

Q: The dean recently mentioned that Babson hopes to expand its one-year MBA program, which is currently offered to undergraduates with a business degree. How might changes in the 50-student, one-year program affect the school's traditional two-year program?


It's true that we're looking to expand our one-year program, which is designed specifically for candidates with an undergraduate degree in business. The goal is to better accommodate professionals for whom taking two years away from work isn't possible.

The program is similar to our two-year program in that it offers a highly integrated curriculum, focuses on teamwork, and incorporates opportunities for experiential learning. The impact that a larger one-year program will have is to deepen and broaden the student network. As students enter the elective phase of the curriculum, both one-year and two-year students select electives from the same list.

Q: Will a bigger one-year MBA program encourage the school to shrink its two-year program?


We don't have plans to do that yet. One hundred and fifty students is about normal for us.

Q: Are your applicants as strong on paper as in past years?


Yes, our application pool is very strong so far this year. We're pleased with the experience and expertise of our applicants.

Q: In 2003, your office gave the nod to 43% of Babson's 700-plus applicants. Your yield, the percentage of admitted applicants who chose to enroll, was 47%. How might fewer applicants affect your yield in 2003?


Even with the application fluctuations of recent years, our yield has increased. I believe that's because Babson offers students a unique curriculum with the highest degree of integrated learning and hands-on experience. Coupled with our strong community, that positions us as an innovative place for learning. Babson's faculty has been recognized for its excellence. We encourage candidates to visit campus and get a sense of Babson that goes beyond the Web site and our brochures.

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