The visitors came in droves from across the globe for the Indiana University Kelley School of Business direct admit day. Precisely 914 students, accompanied by 1,570 family members and guardians from 19 different countries and 32 states, came to learn about what it’d be like to attend Kelley. The number total of 2,484 people in attendance was a whopping 60% increase from last year.
“Clearly the school has done very well in the rankings and there has been a lot of attention to that,” Dean Idalene “Idie” Kesner says. “Our placement statistics are also high as are our recruiter rankings and we think parents are paying a lot of attention to that.”
Clearly, indeed. In the most recent Bloomberg Businessweek rankings, Kelley ranks no. 1 in student quality by recruiters. Kesner attributes those rankings and the ultra-high turnout to a few things. The Kelley Compass program essentially brings the career service department into the curriculum. Students are given instruction on how to best brand themselves for recruiters.
“Each student has two advisors to make sure the courses they take lead to job opportunities that are well suited for them,” says Kesner. “One is an academic advisor while the other is a career coach.”
MORE STUDENTS, BETTER STUDENTS
Additionally, the school is continually increasing the number and variety of recruiters who visit campus. “We see recruiters from across the board,” Kesner says. “We have everything from recruiters from big financial firms on Wall Street to biotech startups on the West Coast. We have such a large undergraduate population that is highly ranked so we get a big swath and cross-section of recruiters.”
Kesner also says the direct admit program has helped increase the quantity of students while also increasing the quality. In 2013, the average SAT score for students attending Kelley was 1357, a 58 point increase from 2012. “Over the past few years, the qualifications of students have gone up,” Kesner says. “Last year, our average GPA was above a 3.9 on a four-point scale and our average SAT was 1385. We expect this next year’s class to be that or higher.”
GIVING BACK AND INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL KEY FOR ENTRY
What exactly is Kelley looking for in a direct admit student? First, students wanting to apply to the direct admit program at Kelley must have an ACT score of 30 or an SAT score of 1270. Next, Kesner says, Kelley wants to see extra-curricular activites. “We not only want to see their ability to engage in leadership through sports or another extra-curricular activity, we want to see them also give back,” Kesner says. “We look for volunteer work and international travel. We want the students coming here to be a great addition to our culture. There is international travel during the sophomore year of our program and it is great to see that prior experience.”
Kelley is also looking for diversity in their program. Says Kesner, “It’s not just about gender and ethnicity, it’s about diversity of thought and creating an enriching environment with that diversity of thought.”
DRAWING STUDENTS FROM AFAR
The normal amount of students who matriculate after being accepted to the direct admit program is around 30%, but Kesner expects that number to increase this year. “These students have narrowed their search quite considerably,” Kesner says. “We had students from Belgium, Brazil, Canada and China. They’ve come a long way and wouldn’t have come that far if they weren’t serious. We expect the matriculation rate to be more like 60 or 70 percent this year.”
As the direct admit day showed, those students are largely coming from a distance.
“We have more out-of-state students at our school than in-state,” Kesner says. “These students are recognizing the value of Kelley even with out-of-state tuition and realizing it’s worth paying. The amazing career services offered are really just the icing on the cake. We have an extremely collaborative culture amongst our faculty and that extends to our student body.”
(The students and families were treated with this video.)