Using MBA Admissions Recommendations For Personal Development

Wake Forest

In business, you live and die by referrals.  At one business school, that’s also the case.

Recently, the admissions team at Wake Forest School of Business have changed their admissions policy and are asking applicant recommenders for a bit more information than a standard letter of recommendation.  Not only do MBA and MSA applicants have to take an 24-question assessment that covers questions related to leadership, ethical decision making and employability, but those recommending applicants are asked to assess the candidates responses.  What WFU is finding is that those recommender assessments can show red flags and ultimately be the cause of rejection for otherwise qualified individuals.

“Gaps that exist between how candidates see themselves, versus how recommenders see the candidates, can be red flags or areas where growth needs to occur,” says Stacy Owen, director of business graduate admissions. “One (rejected)  applicant’s recommender indicated that candidate’s ability to handle adversity was below average, though they still recommended the candidate. If the recommender had not said that, we might have made a different admissions decision.”

For admitted students, this means they have a personal development plan from day one.  Few other institutions use admissions data to help influence a student’s professional development, but the team at Wake Forest School of Business see this as a real opportunity, and is part of the school’s commitment to develop business leaders with character.  Latter assessments draw from peer and faculty input, in addition to self-analysis, to further a student’s academic and professional development.

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