Getting into Georgia's "Boutique"

Tiny Terry College of Business is seeking risk-takers -- but ones with some humility. In return, the school offers generous financial aid

Anne Cooper is the assistant director of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business MBA Program, which means she's responsible for the management of MBA admissions and the Career Resource Center for full-time programs.

She first joined the staff of the Terry MBA Program as assistant director of admissions in 2000 and became director in 2001. Before earning her MBA from Terry in 1998, Cooper and her husband ran an architectural design group that provided comprehensive design and marketing services to the oil industry.

Cooper says applicants who show self-awareness and humility fit in best with Terry's hands-on approach to teaching leadership. She recently spoke with BusinessWeek Online reporter Jeffrey Gangemi. An edited excerpt of their conversation follows:

How's your application volume this year?

There has been a dramatic drop. Over the last couple of years, application numbers are down about 22% to 23% from year to year.

What do you attribute that to?

People haven't been willing to leave their job when they're not assured of getting another good one after graduation. Also, the demographic group of ages 25 to 35 years old is smaller [than it was in the past]. Competition is also heating up among international B-schools -- I see more and more international programs being marketed here and having appeal.

But isn't the job market getting better?

We had a great year in terms of placement last year, and things are looking good again this year. Companies that do a lot of recruiting are getting to campus early to make their pitches. This year, our students have set an ambitious goal: They hope that 90% of them will have accepted offers by graduation and that 100% will have accepted an offer three months out.

We've made dramatic changes over the past year that have prepared students for the job search, and the students are excited. They're feeling ready to get out there and interview because they know what kind of company they're looking for.

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