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Admissions Director Q&A: Pasquale Quintero, Jr. of the UMD Smith School of Business

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As the Senior Director of the Full-Time MBA and Specialty Master’s Programs, Pasquale Quintero, Jr. leads the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business recruiting and enrollment efforts. He oversees the recruitment team in College Park, and closely collaborates with Maryland Smith’s Global teams. Pasquale has 15 years of higher education experience and joined us to discuss UMD Smith’s admissions, standout faculty, and the impact of COVID-19 in this edition of our Admissions Director Q&A.

Clear Admit: What is the one aspect of your program that you wish applicants knew more about?

Pasquale Quintero, Jr.: Analytics is a major part of our curriculum and it’s woven throughout the program. Maryland Smith MBAs learn to convert data into insight, preparing them to lead in the quickly evolving business landscape. Our faculty actively work with businesses as consultants and their research is driving best practices in many areas. They impart this knowledge in the courses they teach, so our students are ahead of the game when they take their first post-MBA position.

CA: How might the applicant experience look different this year due to COVID-19? How would you advise candidates to get to know your MBA program and student community if they aren’t able to visit your campus?

PQ: This fall, the traditional on-campus experience will look different from previous years as we implement strict health and safety guidelines to protect our campus community.  While some courses will be hybrid, students should expect that many of their classes and engagements will be online this fall.

However, Maryland Smith will provide a quality experience in this “new normal” environment. Our expertise in online learning (with #10 Online MBA program and award-winning MicroMasters on edX) has given us a head start in knowing how to provide an amazing online experience. The same standards for in-person teaching and services apply in the virtual space, but we’re also taking advantage of some of the benefits of technology, so students can expect to see more industry speakers, panelists, creative uses of things like polls or breakout rooms, and more personalized interactions with faculty.

Our admissions team will continue to be fully available to prospective students through virtual recruiting events and consultations.

CA: Walk us through the life of an application in your office from an operational standpoint. What happens between the time an applicant clicks “submit” and the time the committee offers a final decision (e.g. how many “reads” does it get, how long is each “read,” who reads it, does the committee convene to discuss it as a group, etc.)?

PQ: We highly recommend that prospective MBA candidates engage with us through a recruiting event or consultation, before they submit their application. Our team can better understand someone’s career aspirations and answer questions about the application process, such as traits and skills we are looking for in a candidate.

When a candidate submits their application, we prequalify the candidates and will extend an invitation to candidates to interview with a member of the admissions team. All interviewed candidates are reviewed by the admissions committee for a formal decision. The admissions committee will thoroughly review the candidate’s academic record, GMAT/GRE score, work experience, essays, and recommendation letters. All admitted students will be notified of their admissions by our team.

CA: How does your team approach the essay portion of the application specifically? What are you looking for as you read the essays? Are there common mistakes that applicants should try to avoid? What is one key thing they should keep in mind as they sit down to write?

PQ: I encourage candidates to be authentic and not overanalyze the essay. Authenticity is important and sometimes candidates can make mistakes by trying to tell us what we want to hear as opposed to conveying their true aspirations for wanting an MBA, or their career objectives. We are a competitive, but collaborative community, and truly value all aspects of diversity. Also, proofread your essay! Candidates have uploaded essays for other MBA programs to their application.

CA: Tell us briefly about two notable professors at your institution (ideally one student favorite, and one up-and-coming).

PQ: Student Favorite: Dr. Margret Bjarnadottir
Dr. Bjarnadottir, Assistant Professor of Management Science and Statistics, teaches Data Mining & Predictive Analytics in the Full-Time MBA program. She has won numerous teaching awards, including Most Effective Elective Professor in 2018 and Most Effective Core Professor in 2020, both of which were FTMBA student-voted awards. Students say that she embodies data driven decision making in a manner that is easily communicated even to non-data literate folks and that she always went above and beyond to ensure students understood the material.

Up & Coming: Dr. Pablo Slutsky
Dr. Slutsky, Assistant Professor of Finance teaches finance electives in the Full-Time MBA program. He has won a number of teaching awards during his first few years at Maryland Smith, including Most Effective Elective Professor in 2019 (FTMBA student-voted); and the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020 (awarded by the Smith School). Students say his enthusiasm for the material is contagious, he is extremely knowledgeable, and his teaching style keeps students engaged throughout the course.

Exciting Appointment: Dr. Neta Moye
Dr. Moye, Clinical Professor of Leadership and Senior Fellow, Executive Education, assumed the role of Interim Assistant Dean and Executive Director of the Office of Career Services. In her 30+ year career, Neta has navigated between professional practice and academia, including HR roles within a Fortune 100 company, a Leadership Development specialist within a Human Capital consulting firm, and a management professor at two top 50 MBA programs. She is an award winning MBA professor, and has delivered training in over 25 countries to leaders across a wide spectrum of industries, organization size, and stage of growth – from the World Health Organization to NIH; from the World Bank to Global Communities; and, from Nissan to Under Armour.

CA: Anything else you’d like to highlight about your MBA program or admissions process?

PQ: We are very proud of our MBA program, and care deeply about helping candidates through the challenges caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Most recently we were recognized as a top 10 program for Innovation and Management by Bloomberg Businessweek for preparing graduates for a COVID-19 world. We are honored to be a school of choice for individuals, and we look forward to welcoming future Terps to Maryland Smith.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.