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Chicago Booth School of Business Transfers MBA Application Review from Current Students to Admissions Staffers

300px-Chicago-GSB-Szmurlo2Beginning with the 2014-2015 application season, current students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business will no longer read the applications of prospective candidates for the school’s MBA program. Instead, admissions staff will assume responsibility for reading all files, a shift school administrators hope will both provide for more consistent evaluations and free up the student reviewers to interact with prospective members of the Booth community in more meaningful ways.

“The consistent read piece is only a small part of why we have changed the GA role,” Stacey Kole, deputy dean of the full-time MBA program, told Poest&Quants. “The driving force behind the change in our Graduate Fellows Program is to further engage students as ambassadors, providing meaningful connections between our students and those not yet in our community.”

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School made a similar change two years ago, discontinuing the use of MBA students as first readers. At Chicago Booth, the reaction to the change by this year’s student readers was initially mixed, but they were engaged in discourse with the admissions staff before final changes were presented to the dean for approval, according to an opinion piece by one of the students in Chicago Business, the school’s student newspaper.

“The changes are nuanced and far-reaching, the driving force being to increase the interaction between Booth students and applicants via on campus programs, communication, branding and interviewing,” wrote Vladimir Andonov, a Class of 2014 MBA at Booth.

Until now, Booth applications were assigned to MBA students known as Admissions Fellows, chosen for their involvement as first-year students in giving tours and running Admit Weekends and their demonstrated passion for the school.

According to the P&Q report, Fellows would be assigned as many as 10 to 12 files a week in peak periods, and they would be tasked with grading each of six elements (test scores, academics, work experience, extracurricular activities, essays and recommendations) on a scale of one to six. They would also provide an overall score for the application as well as a subjective “Fit to Booth” score.

Starting later this year, that responsibility will be handled entirely by admissions staffers, P&Q reports.

Read the complete PoetsandQuants article, “Booth Changes MBA Admissions Process.”