If you’re good enough for Emory, you’re good enough for Goizueta. You could say that’s the unofficial motto for students hoping to get into Goizueta Business School — ranked 14th on Poets&Quants’ 2017 list of Best Undergraduate Business Programs. In a two-year program that doesn’t permit external transfers and requires applicants to spend at least a year taking general education and liberal arts courses, Admissions Director Jessica Lowy says getting into Goizueta is almost always certain once students have cleared the obstacle of getting into the university.
“Frankly, the hurdle is admission into Emory,” says Lowy, who has worked in Goizueta admissions eight out of her 13 years at Emory. “If they can get into Emory, they obviously can get into Goizueta.”
In the most recent incoming class, Emory’s acceptance rate was 22%, Lowy shares in an in-depth Q&A interview with Poets&Quants. Compare that to Goizueta’s acceptance rate which tends to fall anywhere from 76% to — most recently — 95%.
There is no cap placed on the number of students the business school will open its doors to and their application review is holistic — going beyond mere GPA to focus more on students’ intellectual curiosity as evidenced by how they make the most of their required time taking general education and liberal arts courses.
Still, for prospective students and applicants who have their sight set on Goizueta’s undergraduate BBA program, Lowy unveils what she and the rest of the admissions committee are looking for, what they don’t like to see, and the one thing that’s sure to make an application stand out from the rest.
P&Q: How does admissions into Goizueta work?
Lowy: A typical student is coming into Emory University or our Oxford College as a freshman. Oxford College is an undergraduate division of the university. It is required that they spend their first two semesters taking liberal arts courses and exploring the depth of disciplines that are available to them.
Though technically a two-year program, students can enroll in the business school once they’ve accumulated enough credits to reach junior standing. At Goizueta, this means students can apply as early as their first semester of their sophomore year if they want to be enrolled in the business school spring semester of their second year.
Some students may know they want to study business coming in the front door as freshman, but some find out through exploration. Our pre-BBA students are self-identified freshman and sophomores who have an interest in the undergraduate business program. When students come to Emory, they’re asked about their interests on the initial application then asked again when they come in. These are just two of the many ways students may indicate their interest in business. I’ll get that list from the admissions department then connect with the students by email with our website, resources they can get from us, and they may get information from our career center. We also have a large presence at orientation and we have drop-in advising hours throughout each semester.
P&Q: What about external students?
Lowy: If a student transferred to Emory between freshman and sophomore year, they‘d apply in their second semester at Emory to start as a junior. If they come in off-cycle, they have to put in two semesters before they’re able to come to the business school.
I would mention that we also have a really robust exchange program. We partner with 45 different schools in 25 different countries. We send students out and we get 50-60 international students with us each semester.
P&Q: What does the application to get into the business school consist of?
Lowy: The application itself is very simple, especially compared to the college. It’s a general form, an essay about their involvement on campus, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. Then the admissions committee looks at all of the applications. We do it in a holistic way. There is no minimum GPA that students need to be considered. It’s a function partially of our size that we can do it holistically. We’re looking at the big picture — types of classes they take, the number of classes they take each semester, trends among students with their GPA, etcetera. We take all of that into account.
P&Q: Can the letters of recommendation come from anyone?
Lowy: We ask for two letters: one from a faculty member who taught them at least one semester then the other from someone outside the classroom environment. Someone overseeing your work or worked with you in some capacity. For a student athlete, for instance, it’s probably their coach. If they have an on-campus job, it’s probably their supervisor. If they’re in a fraternity or sorority, it might be the president of that organization. The person is Emory-affiliated, but has worked with them outside the classroom.
P&Q: What makes a student or application stand out?
Lowy: They’re all really strong as evidenced by our admission rate. Something that comes to mind is when a student has a really outstanding recommendation letter from someone who clearly knows the student well and knows their motivations. You can get a one-line description or two pages of content that comes from forming those relationships outside the classroom. That’s always nice to see.
P&Q: What’s your admissions rate?
Lowy: In the past five years, we’ve ranged from 430 to 550 applications. On average, we’re admitting students in the 400 range. Where that shakes out numerically is that our admissions rate has been about 76% to 95%, with 95% being more recently. If we look at Emory, there are about 7,900 undergrads. Each year, about 1,400 are freshman. At Goizueta, we’re taking in about 400 of those 1,400.
Ultimately, almost all students who apply get admitted. Frankly the hurdle is admission to Emory. Last year the acceptance rate for Emory was 22% and 95% for Goizueta. If they can get into Emory, they obviously can get into Goizueta.
P&Q: Is there a maximum number of students Goizueta will admit each year?
Lowy: We don’t cap the number or percentage of applicants we take in. Everyone who demonstrates they can be successful can get in. If an incoming class gets larger, we just add a section of our core courses.
Any student who wants to apply, we want a part of our program. Our perspective is always: is this student going to be able to manage the BBA curriculum successfully and will they be able to balance all the career and professional development activities that come with being a business student?