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Erica DiStefano, assistant director of admissions and recruitment for MBA programs at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University advises prospective online MBA candidates that they “should think of their essays as their opportunity to show the committee what makes them unique and how they will add value to the cohort.”

“We advise applicants to be specific in their answers and to provide insight and information that cannot be found in a resume,” said DiStefano.

The nearly fully-online program (there is one on-site 4-day orientation required at the school’s Tempe, Ariz., campus) was launched in 2003, and in its first such list, the U.S. News and World Report named the ASU program to its online business school honor roll. The same faculty who teach in the online program teach in the full-time program, which was ranked No. 30 in domestic business school programs by U.S. News and World Report.

While an interview is not required for admission, DiStefano gives these tips into why admissions committees and counselors ask certain questions:

  • Why do you want to pursue your MBA? – “We ask this question to determine the goals of the candidate and whether our program is a good fit.”
  • Why is now the right time? “We ask this to determine if the candidate is aware of the commitment involved and whether he or she is prepared for the investment, both monetary and time.”
  • What are you doing now, and what do you plan to do while in the program, in order to reach your goals after you receive your MBA? “We ask this question to understand how proactive the candidate is in attaining his or her goals, and to help the candidate understand that it is the student, in combination with the degree, that will help realize those goals.”

Related: A Closer Look: Arizona State University | Schools: Online MBA Program Profiles | Guide: Getting Started With Your MBA | Database: Search Top Online MBA Programs | Research: MBA Concentrations | Video: One Minute MBA


Are you the right fit for an online MBA program? Join our #OMBAchat Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. CT. Join DiStefano and Michele Pfund, representatives from the online MBA program at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, to discuss MBA admissions, identifying assets that make a good online learner and tips for prospective MBA students. Experts from Kaplan Test Prep and Austin GMAT Review will also be taking your tweets. Join us Wednesday at 3 p.m.! Learn more here.

– Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets