How the Wind Blows at Weatherhead

The school's admissions chief talks about what gives applicants an edge -- and about a new program for those with liberal-arts backgrounds

Keith Auer became director of MBA Marketing and Admissions at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio, in January, 2005. He came to Case Western as an undergraduate admissions officer in 1997 and made the move to MBA admissions as associate director in 2002. Auer recently spoke with BusinessWeek Online reporter Jeffrey Gangemi about what Weatherhead expects from applicants to its program. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:

Q: Do you weigh applications for the full- and part-time programs differently?


The application and materials necessary are the same. The two-year program starts in the fall, and our accelerated one-year program for undergraduate business majors begins in the summer. The full-time programs are a bit more competitive, because we limit the number. We cap it at 100 admitted students for the two years and about 30 to 40 for the accelerated program. Because of less stringent limits on the number of admitted students, the part-time program is easier to get into.

Q: How popular is the new MSM (masters of science in management) program?


It's a new nine-month program that we just implemented for a trial period. There is a demand for students from liberal arts undergraduate programs to have business training. Sometimes they want to pursue the business route, but they don't have the work experience to enter an MBA program or the coursework to find a position in business. So this MSM will provide them the business courses and the academic background they need while giving them access to our career services department.

Q: What is the trend lately in the school's application numbers?


Over the past couple years, our applications have been down. This year, for the full-time program, we're down about 5% for the domestic two-year program and up slightly, 1% to 2%, in international applications.

Q: Do you make any special efforts to market to women?


: We do not do anything special in recruiting women, although they make up about 38% of our student body. Our "women in leadership" club has been working with admissions to show interested women around campus. We also have a highly ranked program in organizational behavior and are in the top 10 for nonprofit management. Those are two fields traditionally dominated by women, and they draw a lot of interest from that population.

Q: Are there countries from which you'd like to see more applications?


We have been actively recruiting in Latin America for about 10 years and will continue to focus on that region. We find that the Latin American students in the program not only do well but also are active in the student clubs and organizations. They're a big part of the atmosphere and the environment. It's also easy to place them in jobs here and in their home countries.

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