Getting Into Goizueta: A Q&A With Jessica Lowy

Graduates of Goizueta Business School. Courtesy photo

P&Q: Does the school offer early action or early decision?

Lowy: There’s early decision at the university level, but not the business school. There’s an Emory Scholars program and a Goizueta Scholars program. Students can self-nominate and the pool is whittled down to about 15 finalists. From there, students who are selected as Goizueta Scholars are offered anywhere from half- to full-tuition. Those are the students who don’t submit an application to the BBA program, but it’s really just a small amount.

P&Q: What’s the one thing students think will get them in, but will not?

Lowy: GPA. We have a lot of students who are with us who started out at Emory below a 3.0 and they’re doing just fine in the program. People think they need this perfect GPA. Absolutely not. We just want to make sure by the time they’re coming in that they’re ready. Giving them time to adjust to college life, adjust their study habits, and learn time management is an advantage to a two-year program. It gives students this wiggle room.

It’s just getting students to relax a little to see we’re not looking for a perfect 4.0. It’s okay to get a disappointing grade. We just want to see you power through.

There is no magic formula to getting in because it’s holistic. But what do we look for? We like to see students who are intellectually curious. We want to see students taking a wide range of courses. Are they curious both academically and when it comes to what they’re getting involved in outside of class. We want to see students are working on their resilience. I frequently spend time convincing students it’s okay to get a “B” or a “C” in a class. I’d rather see a student get a “C” than withdraw from a challenging course. Maybe it’s uncomfortable, but can you power through then dust yourself off and move forward instead of backing out?

P&Q: What’s the biggest mistake students make when applying?

Lowy: I don’t think there is one; unless their essay is riddled with typos which is easily preventable. But I think the biggest mistake is not applying at all. We see students withdraw from a prerequisite because it’s really difficult or they start an application and don’t finish it. They self-select out which is the biggest mistake I think students can make.

P&Q: What’s something that can leave a negative mark on a student’s application when they’re applying to Goizueta?

Lowy: That would be multiple honor or conduct code infractions or omitting that they have an infraction. If they have multiple violations, or are not truthful, it tells us they’re not learning from that experience.

Outside the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Courtesy photo

P&Q: What happens if a student is admitted into the university, but not the business school?

Lowy: If a student is denied, the reason is pretty much academic. It’s students who have struggled, not a semester or two, but really their entire career to-date at Emory or Oxford college. For some of them, they may not be ready at that time and we encourage students to re-apply. A lot of students may need one more semester. If a student is not admitted, we’ll continue to work with them on weaving business courses in on an elective basis maybe alongside a college major in liberal arts.

Ultimately, though, a student should not be surprised by an admissions decision because it’s an ongoing conversation. We have drop-in hours, we go to resident halls. Students should be having this conversation with us regularly. If there are any areas of concern, we’ll address them early on if a student is struggling in any way.

P&Q: What’s the most common misconception about getting into Goizueta?

Lowy: There’s a misconception that they’re in the college first, then head over to Goizueta. That’s not the case. It’s very free flowing. During their first year, they can get involved in all of our clubs and activities. It’s a great way for students to explore different areas and network with other students.

P&Q: What are some trends you’re seeing among B-school applicants and incoming business students?

Lowy: I’ve been seeing students coming in and prospective students more interested in entrepreneurship. We’ve responded to that with a variety of curricular offerings and resources. Andrea Hershatter teaches an Intro to Entrepreneurship class, we have different things to support students’ endeavours and the innovative thinking they can bring to organizations, we have an entrepreneurship summit, and we do a pitch competition. So that’s really an area of growth.

Another thing is enhanced quantitative skills. We’ve also expanded opportunities in this area. This fall, we’re launching a co-major with quantitative social sciences housed in the College of Arts and Sciences. We’re providing different vehicles to give students enhanced analytical and technical skills.

P&Q: If I’m in high school and I want to enroll at Goizueta, what should my plans and timeline look like? What should I be doing to increase my chances of getting in?

Lowy: I’m going to tread lightly here only because we don’t handle freshman admissions, but what I can tell you from my colleagues in admissions is they’re always looking for students who take on challenges. Are they taking advantage of what their school is offering them? If they don’t offer AP, are they taking an honors course? They’re looking for students going the extra mile. For those who are interested in business, are they taking some kind of quantitative coursework such as calculus, economics, or stats? They’re also looking for students involved outside the classroom; devoting time to things they’re interested in.

Once they’re here, they should be talking to us in the business school. Pop in during drop-in hours. We have a two-hour advising window every week day, no appointment required. We’ll be at orientation, we’ll be in residence halls. We’re also going to do a pre-BBA club fair where leaders of all the business-related clubs will be set up and meet with freshman and sophomores interested in these areas of business. There’s lots to take advantage of. Talk to us, talk to current BBAs, talk to faculty.

P&Q: Goizueta is a two-year program — what are the advantages/disadvantages of this for students?

Lowy: About a quarter of our students pursue a full double major in liberal arts and still do it in four years. I love that this kind of structure supports that. What students are doing here is getting exposure in liberal arts and in business. The biggest advantage is it supports that exploration of a wide range of interests and they can create a unique and customizable path that suits them.

P&Q: What’s the best part of your job?

Lowy: In addition to admissions, I’m in charge of BBA orientation as well as BBA commencement so I get to wear many hats. I get to be a part of these really important events in the life cycle of a BBA and I get to manage those.


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