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MBA Admissions Q&A: UCSD Rady

MBA admissions Q&A with the Rady School

Earlier this year, the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) received a new pledge of US$100 million to support the expansion of what it is a relatively young business school in US terms.

However, since the Rady School gained AACSB International accreditation in 2011, its full-time MBA program has already made a notable impact on QS’s regional MBA rankings, jumping up from 61st to 40th position in North America between the 2013/14 and 2014/15 editions.

Here to shine some light on the Rady MBA admissions process and the type of MBA candidates the school is looking for is UCSD Rady’s director of graduate recruitment and admissions, Jay Bryant. In this Q&A, Bryant stresses the importance of being true to yourself in the MBA application and not trying to come across as something you’re not, simply to impress an admissions panel. In fact, he says, enrolling in a school that doesn’t suit your personality is pretty much “the worst thing that could happen”. Read the full Q&A to learn more:       

Jay Bryant, the Rady SchoolWhat is the typical acceptance rate to the Rady MBA program?

The admissions rate for the full-time MBA program is approximately 40%. Rady also offers flexible MBA programs on the weekend and in the evenings. These have a typical acceptance rate of approximately 70%.

What are the most important aspects of the UCSD Rady MBA application process besides GMAT score, prior GPA, and current job position?

We are a school built on innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. Therefore, in the admissions process we are looking for candidates who have proven throughout their professional careers that they have the potential to lead with this mindset.

What is a common mistake you see applicants make?

Applicants sometimes try to represent themselves as something that they are not. Do not rely on canned answers and things you read on the internet. We have read those too! It is better to be yourself and share your real passions, goals, and capabilities.

What is something you would like to see applicants do more often?

Be yourself. You will find that the best school for you will choose you if you are upfront and honest about your future goals and current capabilities. The worst thing that could happen is for you to choose a school that does not match your own personal character.

What does the Rady application process look like?

The process of admissions is very similar to those applicable to other MBAs at large universities. Once we have received all required items (2 recommendation letters, GMAT or GRE score, application, etc.) your file will go under an initial review. If you pass the initial review, you will be invited to interview. After the interview, your file is reviewed by the Rady’s admissions committee and again by the dean of UC San Diego’s graduate division. As soon as all decisions are made, we communicate those immediately via email.

How can a candidate overcome a lower GMAT score?

We look at candidates holistically. A candidate may overcome a low GMAT score by having truly exceptional work experiences, an extremely high GPA, or some other attribute which makes them worthy of consideration. We may ask candidates to attempt the GMAT again if their score is extremely low since our program is highly analytical and we have expectations of performance that one must be able to meet.

MBA admissions tips

Essay(s): Answer the questions, completely and thoroughly – then stop!  Do not write just to take up space.

Interview: Treat this like a job interview.  This is when the school is giving you the opportunity to truly put your best foot forward.  Know the school, research the programs, and have clearly defined goals prior to walking in for an interview.

Letter of recommendation: Start on these early. These are typically the last things to arrive in our office since candidates do not have direct control over their completion.

CV/résumé: Look up a template and follow it.  To look your best, you want to make sure your résumé is organized and easily understandable.

School visit: You should definitely make every attempt to visit the school in person, if you are able to. During the admissions decision, your commitment and enthusiasm about the school is often discussed. You want to make sure that you show your true interest in becoming part of the school.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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