The McDonough School of Business has added a video component to its Masters of Business Administration application cycle, embracing a recent trend in both MBA programs and the job market.
In reforming its application in this way, the MSB follows other elite business schools, such as Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Yale University’s Yale School of Management, which have implemented video components in their MBA applications in recent years.
However, the MSB’s MBA video requirement differs from other schools in allowing its applicants more flexibility in recording. While Yale and the University of Chicago require MBA applicants to answer questions on the spot while being recorded, Georgetown requires its candidates to submit links to their videos, which can be re-recorded as many times as they wish.
The first round of this academic year’s application cycle, which began Oct. 10, offers the primary iteration of the video application component, which will continue as a part of the second round, commencing Jan. 5, 2017 and the third round beginning April 1, 2017.
The MBA application requires that a video be one minute long, and specifies that applicants should use the time simply to introduce themselves to their future class.
Associate Dean of MBA Admissions Shari Hubert clarified that the prompt for the video — a simple introduction — has been purposefully left vague so that candidates do not overthink the question or simply speak to what they think admissions officers wants to hear.
“We’re not giving any kind of guidance because we want to see people in their real selves,” Hubert said. “There’s no right or wrong answer. What they say is important, but I would say equally important is how they say what they say.”
Additionally, the online video essay guidelines explain that there is no expectation that the video meet a high production standard beyond having clear lighting and sound, but it must be uploaded to an accessible website, such as Youtube. The instructions further dictate the link must remain active for at least five years for purposes of the program’s record retention.
Hubert also added that, because the video is designed to be an informal component of the application, there is no required dress code, but she tempered her statement with advice for applicants to use their best judgment when filming themselves.
“This is a business school that you’re applying to,” Hubert said. “You’re trying to put your best foot forward and represent yourself in way that shows your executive presence.”
Looking beyond higher education, video components are also becoming increasingly prevalent in business hiring practices, as Bob Myhal, director of digital marketing at CBC Advertising and former CEO of NextHire, told Business News Daily in an article from January.
“More and more employers are leveraging webcam and video interviews to streamline the hiring process,” Myhal told Business News Daily. “We are already seeing a steep uptick in one-way videos where applicants record their interviews for later on-demand viewing. Live, two-way webcam interviews will also experience tremendous growth over the next three to five years.”
Diana Banks, associate director of employer development in the MBA Career Center, explained that while many companies that she knows still prefer a personal touch but predicted that some will move towards technological hiring from an efficiency standpoint.
“I don’t think that it’s taking place everywhere — there’s still a number of employers that consistently come to campus,” Banks said, “But I think, that as they attempt to find other ways to reach a different generation and also be cognizant of costs, that is something that they might employ.”
When asked if she had any advice for undergraduates considering applying for an MBA program that utilizes the video application, Hubert emphasized the importance of being upbeat and positive.
“The way in which you physically emote can go a long way,” she said.
Hubert also cautioned against over-rehearsing and advised students to pretend that they are simply introducing themselves to the person recording them.
“Absolutely take as many takes as you need for you to feel comfortable, but you also want to come off as natural,” Hubert said. “Think about it not as how am I going to introduce myself to a bunch of strangers, but ‘how would I introduce myself to a friend of a friend?’”
When asked what he thought about the addition of a video component, Andrew Feinstein (MSB ’18), who is considering pursuing an MBA in the future, said that the vagueness of the MSB guidelines were worrisome and offered a possible emendation to make the video essay seem less daunting to applicants.
“A question like this might throw a student off guard and make them feel like they’re being tested, and therefore not achieve the university’s goal of receiving genuine applications,” Feinstein said. “It would be nice if there were a few examples posted that students could review to reinforce the fact that it’s not a test, and there’s no one way to go about it.”