Forget what you know. Business schools
increasingly want to know what you feel.
are trying to choose from a crowded pool of well-qualified applicants and get a
sense of the human being behind the application by adding personality tests and
scored, standardized in-person interviews to the traditional battery of essays,
transcripts and recommendations. Now, prospective M.B.A. students need to shine
by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience and dozens of
schools increasingly want to know what you feel.
EQ—or emotional intelligence quotient—is the latest attempt by business schools
to identify future stars. Since students typically start their job hunts almost
as soon as they arrive on campus, the schools have little time to fix any
select for top talent with assessments like this," says Andrew Sama,
senior associate director of M.B.A. admissions at University of Notre Dame's
Mendoza College of Business. "If we are selecting for future business
leaders, why shouldn't we be [using] similar tools?"
the fall of 2010, Mendoza applicants have been required to complete a 206-item
online questionnaire called the Personal Characteristics Inventory. It screens
them for traits the school has found in its most successful students and graduates,
such as teamwork and leadership abilities.
is difficult to determine the "right" answers. For example, one item
asks, "What are your sources for new ideas?" The multiple-choice
answers include "reading," "my own thoughts,"
"subject-matter experts," "family and friends" and
"people I work with." Star students tend to provide the same
responses, Mendoza says.
Toboni, a first-year M.B.A. student at the school, says he "couldn't beat
around the bush or give an artificial response" in the online test, unlike
with interview talking points.
the 23-year-old Mr. Toboni says he was pleased the school was evaluating his
personality and not just the length of his résumé, since he was
"shallow" on work experience.
on the assessment, Mendoza labels students "recommended" or "not
recommended," though the school may ultimately admit a number of students
in the latter category and may reject others in the former.
plans to track this spring's graduates closely, as they are the first class
admitted with the explicit consideration of EQ. The school says early
indications show that those who scored well on the assessment are highly
engaged in classroom and club activities.
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