Take it From Me…Think Carefully About Essay Responses

Every MBA must demonstrate proficiency in two key areas: quantitative reasoning and concise communication. The GMAT is a good tool for assessing these capabilities. We find that ensuring our candidates are fully competent in quantitative subjects is particularly important for their success in our rigorous, quantitative MBA curriculum.  For this reason, we include the following statement on the application form, “Please describe experiences and skills that demonstrate the strength of your quantitative skills.” In response, one UST MBA hopeful wrote that they believed that their talent in knitting demonstrated their quantitative skills.

Knitting? An evidence of quantitative skills sufficient to aid you in a multivariate statistics course in marketing research or help you calculate an ROI on a potential business decision? Not to disparage the noble pastime of knitting (some of my best friends are knitters) but let’s have a discussion on demonstrating a relevant skill set in your application!

As an admissions director at St. Thomas, it is my job to ensure that the students in our classrooms have relevant experience to aid the education of their peers. I want each student to be a sought-after team member. This means your skills must be relevant to the task, particularly quantitative skills.

Appropriate answers, therefore, include quantitative work you perform on your job (managing budgets, examining the supply chain and calculating opportunities for improved efficiency, performing financial analyses on businesses to enhance the overall portfolio), or special training you had in your undergraduate education.

In the UST MBA program, we are seeking highly competent professionals who “think critically, act wisely, and work skillfully to advance the common good.”  In short, we’re looking for academic rock stars that will go change the world.

Take it from me, making the case that knitting (or any other non-applicable hobby) demonstrates quantitative skills sufficient to succeed in a challenging graduate program is definitely a stretch.