Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The unprofessionalism of Chicago Booth MBA part-time admissions
I try my best to refrain from critiquing individual business schools since I don't want to be too negative in this blog. However, a recent experience has compelled me to set aside that rule for now. It deeply saddens me to write this post since it is regarding one of my favorite business schools in the world.
Those of you who know me are aware of how much I LOVE Chicago Booth. Academically and culturally it is probably the best fit for me. In early September I submitted my application to Booth's evening MBA program for admission to the winter quarter. I had my interview with a student in mid-September.
Booth explicitly states on its website that evening MBA admissions is rolling and that applicants will hear back within 4-6 weeks after submission. I submitted early precisely because it is rolling, since that means more spots will be available when I apply, making it statistically easier to gain admission.
At the end of the 6 week timeframe, I had not heard anything. Concerned, I called the admissions office to see what was going on. The guy who answered my call looked at the database and told me that my application was currently in the "deputy dean's queue," which is supposedly the last stage of the process and that I will receive a decision within a day or two. I thanked him and hung up.
A few days had passed, and I still did not hear back. It was then that I got an e-mail from a senior admissions officer with whom I corresponded with last year. She apologized for the delay and told me that most of the applications were submitted around the October 4th deadline and as a result, they are reviewing those applications before they get back to me. But wait a minute. I thought Booth had rolling admissions? If so, it doesn't matter if a lot of applicants submitted around the deadline; I should hear back before them since I submitted a month earlier! I respectfully raised this question in a follow-up e-mail.
She did not respond until about 4-5 days later. She apologized again for the late response, saying that my e-mail was "lost in her bulk file." Hmmm. I responded directly to her e-mail, so that's weird. She then said that I'm correct that Booth has rolling admissions but that it's common practice for them to read as many applications as possible before making a decision. She told me that I would hear by the end of the week. Huh? That is NOT rolling admissions. Does a senior admissions officer at Booth really not understand how rolling admissions works, or is she lying to me? To make matters worse, I did not hear that week and did not get my decision until last night, nearly 8 weeks AFTER my submission.
The whole experience has been pretty bizarre. The full-time admissions staff at Booth is one of the most professional and transparent people in the business, and I have a lot of respect for their competence. This glaring contrast between full and part-time has been rather disturbing. The admissions staff at Gleacher Center has been so unprofessional that it raises serious questions about the caliber of people who work in part-time admissions as well as the quality of the programs themselves.