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Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Kellogg School of Management’s Melissa Rapp

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With the Round 1 deadline approaching for Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management later this week, we’re pleased to feature the school’s Melissa Rapp as our Real Human of MBA Admissions this week. Rapp joined Kellogg in 2012. She most recently served as director of admissions for the Evening and Weekend Program before becoming director of full-time MBA and Master of Science in Management Studies (MSMS) admissions in January 2016.

She loved the Evening and Weekend MBA Program, including being on its Chicago campus, but she jumped at the opportunity to head to Evanston and head up Full-Time MBA admissions because it presented an opportunity to have new challenges as far as recruitment goals and to work with a new population of applicants, she says.

She’s proud of the incoming Class of 2018, especially its diversity. Forty-one percent of first-year students are women, and, combined with the second-year class, Kellogg now boasts more women students overall than ever before in its history. U.S. minorities make up 26 percent of this year’s incoming class, up from 23 percent last year.

There’s also been an uptick in students with a tech background, Rapp shares. In fact, they almost doubled, from 8 percent last year to 14 percent this year. “It’s really a reflection of the current business climate, and we see it across the student life cycle,” she says. “There are more students coming in from tech and more are leaving to go into jobs in tech.” In response, the school has created new classes to offer to students looking to go into tech and continues to strengthen its relationships with large tech recruiting firms like Google and Apple, as well as smaller start-ups.

But enough talk of work already. This series is about the personal side of MBA admissions, remember? As you’ll see below, this mom of two teenagers is very much a real person, right down to her love of Harry Potter and her shortcomings as a gardener. Our thanks to Rapp for playing along.

Real Humans of MBA Admissions: Kellogg School of Management’s Melissa Rapp

Coffee or tea? Definitely a coffee girl

Beach or mountains? Mountains. My family just got back from a trip to Breckinridge, and it was so much fun and definitely amazing.

Melissa Rapp
Rapp with her family

Morning person or night owl? For sure a morning person. Since I have been at Kellogg, I get up at 4:15 a.m. every day. I realized pretty quickly if I wanted to have any opportunity to work out—which is important to me—it was going to need to be in the morning. So I get up at 4:15 to go for a run before heading to a 5 a.m. cross fit class.

Pet peeve? Rude and inconsiderate people. I think it so easy to be kind and nice—and it gets you a lot further.

Guilty pleasure? Watching “Downton Abbey”

Favorite virtue? Generosity

Worst habit? I asked my family this and they agree that my worst habit is continuing to try to grow plants. I just need to embrace the fact that plants are not my thing.

Happy place? Door County, Wisconsin

Comfort food? Chicken pot pie

Go-to cocktail? If I want to be trendy, I’ll order a Moscow Mule; if I am being true to my roots, I’ll order a brandy Old Fashioned.

Proudest moment? A day in mid-December of 2000. I was graduating with my master’s degree, but my daughter decided she didn’t want to wait until almost Christmas to be born. Instead, she arrived about three weeks early, which meant I couldn’t walk in the graduation ceremony. Instead, holding a newborn in one arm, I answered the door to greet the mailman and got to hold my diploma in the other. At that moment, I thought, “I did it, I really did it.”

Biggest regret?
Not studying abroad as an undergrad

One thing you would change about how you were raised? There’s really nothing I would change. I had a lovely childhood that included being fortunate enough to get to travel all over the world and do lots of interesting things.

Superpower you wish you had? Freezing time

Favorite fictional hero/heroine?  Harry Potter. Can there really be other answers? Except perhaps Hermione Granger.