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March 23, 2018

MSU MBA pilots admission initiative for creative professionals

The Eli Broad College of Business will pilot an admissions initiative, targeting dynamic candidates with professional experience. For the first time, starting with the class of 2021, the Full-Time MBA will accept a select number of candidates without a standardized test score.

"We will launch this pilot to give prospective students of diverse professional backgrounds, who may not fit a traditional paradigm, the opportunity to pursue an MBA in a top program," explained Glenn Omura, associate dean for MBA and master's programs. "To partner with these students in their pursuits, faculty and program administrators have innovated the curriculum to provide additional resources for students to both evaluate their potential for academic success and to strengthen their skill sets as they progress through the program."

The pilot program will consider domestic applicants with progressive professional experience with strong communication and interpersonal skills. Candidates can apply to the program without a standardized test score, but must meet additional select requirements to ensure their success in the MBA curriculum. These select requirements include an additional interview by a Broad Graduate Career Management panel and completion of non-credit online pre-requisite courses.

Trend data reveals that MBA applications across the country are down, leaving top schools competing with one another for candidates in a smaller pool than ever before. To get ahead of the impact this will have on business schools, Broad began conversations to come up with ways to continue to attract quality candidates. "We are putting in place an admissions process that will not only take a closer look at traditional MBA applicants who have taken a standardized test but also consider high-caliber candidates with significant work experience who have not taken a standardized test," said Paul North, director of MBA admissions.

Broad's pilot also addresses job placement, which is a top priority for MBA programs. "To provide employers with the type of candidates they want, we need to think outside the box and look at more than test scores to admit the right applicants," added Marla Feldman McGraw, director of career management and employer relations. "These employers don't necessarily want a team of people who know how to take a test. They want broad skills, talents, and backgrounds, and employees who are able to adjust and think quickly."

"It is our goal to open doors for aspirant individuals and create diverse classes of dynamic students who will find success at the Broad College and beyond," concluded North.
The admission team will evaluate the success of this initiative to determine long-term viability after three admissions cycles.