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Admissions Director Q&A: Leigh Britton of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business

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This edition of our Admissions Director Q&A series takes us to Athens, Georgia, to learn all about the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business from Leigh Britton, Associate Director of Admissions for the Full-Time MBA and MS Business Analytics Programs. 

Leigh began her UGA career in 2018 as a student services coordinator working with admitted MBA and MSBA students and on the admissions committee for the MSBA program. She transitioned to full-time admissions in 2022. Leigh is a seasoned higher education professional serving multiple intuitions across 3 different states in a span of 12+ years. Her expertise lies in collaborating and prioritizing relationships with prospects and students to ensure a great experience throughout each process. She has also worked extensively with diverse populations including the military when moving around with her husband who is now retired Army. Leigh received her BA in communications from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, and her MEd from the University of Georgia.

Read on for her insight into what to expect from admissions this year, including interview prep, essays, and popular classes.

Associate Director of Admissions for the Full Time MBA and MS Business Analytics Programs

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

Leigh Britton: Taking a pause in a career and leaping into the next chapter in one’s life is exciting but requires careful consideration and strategy. Most students are looking to advance in leadership roles, progress with their current careers, or transition to a new field. To help students reach those goals, the Georgia MBA allows them to explore and partake in many experiential learning opportunities. 

We believe that this is a key component to understanding and gaining the level of skill sought after by employers. By providing hands-on experiences both inside and outside the classroom, we expose students to real-world situations that may have been previously unavailable to them. It’s an immersive approach that can help them launch a new path. 

Our students have an opportunity to engage in capstone projects, in collaboration with our corporate partners on real problems. This integral component of our curriculum consistently delivers a substantial ROI for students, significantly enhancing the value of their degrees from our top-ranked program.

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?

LB: Once you click submit, the admissions committee takes this opportunity to dig deeper into who you are and why you’re interested in the Georgia MBA program. We carefully consider each component of your application to ensure you’re not only a good fit for our program, but we’re also a good fit for you. 

The committee will then invite select candidates for interviews with a member of the admissions committee. We want to get a better understanding of your goals and the strengths you’d bring to the program. It gives you one last opportunity to showcase who you are as an individual. The committee then makes decisions with a holistic view encompassing your written application and interview.

CA: How does your team approach the essay portion of the application specifically? What are you looking for as you read an essay? 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?

LB: The essay part of your application is your time to shine! Pulling all the information together to highlight who you are and how your application fits into an MBA program can take some thought-provoking time. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back with specific questions to help you focus. 

Our essay prompts cover a wide range of topics. You can talk about personal or professional experiences that had a positive impact on you or share how you’ve contributed to creating an inclusive and diverse work environment. It’s your chance to let us know more about the real you! I enjoy reading these essays as it gives me more of an idea of who you are and how you handle different situations. 

Common mistakes of spelling and grammar errors should always be avoided. And don’t fall into the trap of giving generic answers just because you think that’s what we want to hear. It’s better to be true to yourself and let your authentic voice shine through. Admissions staff come across tons of similar responses, and if everyone sounds the same, it’s hard for anyone to stand out. Always put your personal touch on it so your application is memorable – in a good way, of course! 

CA: Could you tell us about your interview process? Approximately how many applicants do you interview? Who conducts the interview (students, admissions officers, alumni) and what is the nature of the interview (resume-based, application-based, behavioral)? Will your admissions interviews be in-person or virtual for the 2023-2024 admissions season?

LB: Interviews are always conducted by a member of the MBA admissions team. They’re there to get to know you better and dive deeper into any questions that might need clarification from your application, focusing on topics like group work, team building, leadership opportunities, and your contributions. 

We offer the option of virtual interviews, so distance won’t be a problem. But wait, there’s more! You also have the chance to have an in-person interview, which can leave a lasting impression. We host Campus Visit Days, where you can experience a “day in the life of a student” and explore our beautiful campus firsthand. It’s a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to be a Georgia MBA.

Oh, and one last thing—whether you’re interviewing virtually or coming in person, make sure to do your research! Dig deep into the school and program you’re interviewing for. Showing your genuine interest will help you stand out.

CA: What is your testing policy? Do you offer exam waivers? Why or why not?

LB: A GMAT or GRE is required, however, we do offer test waivers to qualified candidates. Waiver requests can be submitted via the application. We’ll review your employment and academic background to determine if you meet our waiver policy and will then notify you of our decision before your application is evaluated for admission.

CA: Could you tell us about the waitlist? What can waitlisted applicants do to maximize their chances of being accepted to your program? Does your office allow for waitlisted applicants to submit additional materials (e.g. letters of support, job updates, new test scores, etc)?

LB: Applicants could be waitlisted for several reasons before an interview is offered or after an interview is conducted. The Georgia MBA program is smaller compared to other similarly ranked institutions, so depending on the volume and competitiveness, we may have to use the waitlist for further review and consideration.

CA: Tell us briefly about two popular courses at your institution.

LB: We lean heavily on students gaining real-world experience inside and outside the classroom through the capstone projects. Students can also join the Leadership Fellows Program which is a fantastic opportunity for students to hone their leadership skills. As a Fellow, you’ll participate in the Leading Evolving Organizations course taught by Associate Dean Mike Pfarrer. This course complements lessons in leadership and provides strategic insight and perspective within organizations and develops models to become a successful leader within an organization. Fellows also complete a service-learning project, partnering with a local non-profit or community organization, allowing you to make an impact on our local community. 

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

LB: Each class we have brings a fresh perspective and teaches our team how generations are evolving. We’re always discussing ways to enhance the student experience and understand what they desire in the classroom.

Our curriculum is constantly evolving, especially with the rapid growth of analytics and AI. We’re determined to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and skillsets that employers are seeking. We take immense pride in seeing our students succeed after their MBA journey. We equip them with the right skill sets, and they go out into the career world and rock it! It’s so fulfilling knowing we’ve played a part in their success.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.