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Admissions Director Q&A: Hollie Hinton of The Ohio State Fisher College of Business

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We are officially kicking off our Admissions Director Q&A series for the 2024-2o25 admissions season with Senior Director of Admissions Hollie Hinton for an insider’s view of MBA admissions at The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business.

Hollie Hinton leads global admissions strategy for the MBA and other graduate programs. Hinton brings private and public sector experience to her role at Ohio State, having formerly led a multi-state marketing and business development team for engineering and architecture firm DLZ, bringing critical infrastructure to communities and expanding the company into new markets. Prior to that, she founded and led the State of Ohio Governor’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach, which focused on advancing the status of Ohio’s women and girls. She is also a small business owner and entrepreneur. Hinton is currently studying for a Master of Consumer Science at Ohio State, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. She is trilingual as extensive experience traveling and living abroad. Her service as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Puerto Rico was transformative, and she is active in the community through her church, serving as an election day poll worker, and with the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Her favorite pastimes include reading, skiing, running, traveling, and spending time with her husband and large extended family.

ohio state admissions

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

Hollie Hinton: It is difficult to narrow it down to a single aspect, however I wish that people knew that our program is ranked #30 in the nation, and that we have a heavy emphasis on career immersion and career placement. We have dedicated career, academic and staff professionals fully focused on the success and return on investment for our Full-Time MBA students.

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?

HH: This is a great question. After students submit an application, our team works to review the application first to ensure that it is fully complete. If an application is missing key elements (such as a transcript, test score, essay or video interview), we are unable to undertake an admissions decision. If that is the case, we work to regularly communicate that items are missing to the applicant. For that reason, we always encourage applicants to apply early and complete your application fully, in order to receive consideration for admission and any possible fellowship or scholarship support.

Assuming we receive a fully completed application, the focus turns to the admissions committee, which holistically reviews all aspects of the candidate’s package. The committee will carefully review essays, the video interview, transcripts, and the candidate’s stated career goals. At that time, we will determine whether to invite the candidate for an evaluative (live in person or virtual) interview. That live interview is one of the final steps before the committee reviews the candidate for admission to the program. During this time, applicants continue to have the opportunity to engage with our live information sessions, in-person events, and visit campus to get acquainted with The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, current students, faculty and staff.

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?

HH: Our team advises prospective students about the construction of their essay on our web site, application materials as well as during information sessions, so applicants have readily accessible information specific to Fisher’s Full-Time MBA. We are seeking to understand your short and long term career goals, what type of research you have conducted about our Full-Time MBA program, and how you envision yourself engaging as a student beyond the classroom. Strong essays articulate how and why the applicant is specifically interested in our program, where they envision themselves in the future, in what specific type of role. It is also very important to avoid errors such as typos, formatting issues, grammatical errors, etc. We also have a supplemental essay option, which is an ideal opportunity for students to tell us a bit more about their journey, and anything that the committee might benefit from knowing. Particular examples are addressing gaps in work or academic history, lower grades or GPA, or similar matters. The committee will carefully review and consider your essays as a critical part of a candidate’s overall submission.

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 2024-2025 admissions season?

HH: The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Full Time MBA Program interviews may be conducted by a single admissions officer, or an admissions officer as well as a representative of our Career Management team. We reach out to applicants to notify them that they have been selected via email, and the applicant can select a time. The interviews can be conducted in person but typically are held virtually, and last about 30-40 minutes.

We will ask a series of questions relative to your overall submission package and video interview, and then also offer candidates the opportunity to ask questions of us as well. We have resources available to help applicants prepare for their interview, and suggest that you come professionally dressed, with a stable internet connection, and prepare by thinking and researching ahead about what you may want to ask us and what you may most want us to know about you.

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

HH: We suggest that our prospective students consider taking an admissions exam to help their overall competitiveness. We receive hundreds of applications annually, for a total class size of 50-60 students, so it is a very competitive program. The standardized test is a great tool for students to demonstrate acumen, especially for quantitative skills. We accept the GMAT and GRE, and we regularly hold information sessions to help students prepare for the test. We offer a limited number of test waivers, and details can be found on our web site for those who believe they may qualify for a waiver. 

CA: In the application data form, many schools ask for information about work experience, activities, hobbies, and much more. What advice would you give to applicants as they approach this component of the application process? 

HH: We are proud to have the highest salary outcomes ever, with very high percentages of job placement. Our career team works with students before they begin the program to start preparing for their internship and job search. Telling us about your work history is very important in the application process, for our committee to know where you’ve worked, for how long, what types of skills and/or accomplishments you’ve had in those roles, and demonstrate that you are prepared for the rigor of the program and to take next steps to pursue your MBA.

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

HH: Several of our core required courses are popular, but amongst our electives, Six Sigma is incredibly popular and Global Applied Projects course, referenced in more detail below, is highly sought after. Last year, we had student teams complete Global Applied Projects with corporations in Italy, Germany, Bermuda, India and Belgium, amongst other locations. 

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

HH: Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business is a market leader in experiential education, with our Global Applied Projects, where students travel and work in an international business setting through a capstone-style course. The Global Business Expeditions bring student-led small-scale consulting projects for global companies.  We also have a Student Investment Management for management of a multi-million-dollar investment portfolio in a stock trading and portfolio management course, and the Washington Campus where students explore first-hand the intersections between the political process and its impact on business leadership through a one-week, intensive seminar course in Washington D.C.  These elective courses are a perfect addition to required core courses such as Business Lab and Global Impact and Purpose-Driven Leadership ensuring classroom learnings are practiced in the real world. This hands-on approach is an essential part of Fisher’s career-focused strategy and why Ohio State alums can be found worldwide leading exciting organizations into their next chapter. 

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.