Best Business Schools Blog

6 Things an MBA Recruiter Wants You to Know


Posted October 12, 2017 by Hannah DeBevoise - Coordinator, Social Media - AACSB International

1. What are some of the top qualities you look for in potential students?

Our goal at the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Gatton College of Business and Economics is to admit academically strong applicants who show the greatest potential for successfully completing the UK MBA program and succeeding in a leadership position. We look for applicants whose backgrounds will contribute to the academic excellence and the demographic, educational, and experiential diversity of each class. Because our goal is to prepare business leaders of the future, our review includes all aspects of an applicant's background, which includes undergraduate major, GPA, graduate admissions test scores, work experience, letters of recommendation, and writing skills, in addition to extracurricular, community, and professional activities. In this review we try to assess whether a candidate shows the abilities and motivation to succeed in the program. We look at all parts of a student’s application and certainly appreciate where their strengths are. Quite frequently, strengths including strong work experience and graduate test scores can supersede a student’s low GPA.

2. What methods and tools do you use to seek out quality students?

The recruitment process for seeking out quality candidates includes hosting information sessions, attending graduate school/professional career fairs, visiting regional schools, utilizing our alumni network, and building relationships with different student organizations, young professional groups, and professional networking groups. Our goal is to create a personal and professional relationship with our candidates so they can get to know us and we can get to know them. In the end, we want our candidates to have the right information and inspiration to make an informed decision on the best MBA program for them.

3. How far outside of your school’s region do you try to recruit?

We value competitive candidates locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. We make strong efforts each year to recruit the best candidates in the state of Kentucky and beyond. Through our different marketing vehicles, our website, social media, and other communications tools we feel strongly that our brand is recognizable inside and outside the region. Accreditation is something that we feel is the backbone of any credible program. Our AACSB Accreditation is strongly represented in all recruiting materials, as it recognizes us as the best of the best and strengthens our brand values.

4. Should potential students be concerned about their digital presence, and are there ways it can enhance their recruitment chances?

I believe students should present themselves professionally at all times, and be mindful of how they interact through social sites. With that said, I would highly recommend having an updated LinkedIn account. Much of our recruitment is done through these types of channels, which has been helpful in getting to know our candidates’ qualifications and backgrounds. In fact, many of our candidates contact us through sites like LinkedIn.

5. Are there common mistakes candidates make that hurt their chances of being recruited?

I believe the most common mistake is waiting too long to get the process started. We encourage our candidates to start the process early so they can understand not only the benefits of the degree but also how to be competitive when satisfying admissions requirements as well as meet eligibility criteria for possible scholarships.

6. How can potential students make themselves stand out among others?

Academically speaking, candidates needs to showcase a solid academic aptitude with a competitive GPA, undergraduate degree, and graduate admissions test scores. We look at a potential student’s transcripts to determine whether they will be successful in the program in both quantitative and qualitative courses. In addition, we like candidates who bring life and work experiences into the program. I would also recommend that candidates allow the schools to get to know them by observing a class, scheduling a school visit, or coming to the schools’ information sessions or open house events to meet the faculty, staff, and current students. Participating in those additional engagement opportunities allows the school to further get to know the candidate and better understand their motivations.


Christopher CarneyChristopher Carney is the director of MBA recruitment at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

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