Fourth Annual Conference of International Graduate School Admissions Consultants Draws Top MBA Programs and Testing Services to Palo Alto.
Graduate School Admissions Consultants Worldwide Converged on Bay Area to Share Best Practices and Hear from Leading Schools
The Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) has successfully concluded its fourth international members’ conference in Palo Alto, California. More than thirty graduate admissions consultants representing twenty consultancies from six countries gathered on the campuses of Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley to share experiences and best practices with fellow admissions counselors and to speak directly with admissions officers from some of the world’s best graduate business schools.
The three-day conference, held June 8th through 10th, featured panel discussions on a range of topics related to the theme of graduate admissions and career planning “fit”. Additional sessions featured the Stanford and Berkeley Haas business schools, discussions with at least a dozen admissions officers, and meetings with representatives from the Graduate Management Admission Council and the Educational Testing Service, and membership networking. In addition to visiting Stanford and Haas, the group met with admissions officials from Dartmouth (Tuck), Columbia, University of Virginia (Darden), UCLA (Anderson), Yale (School of Management), Cornell (Johnson), and IE in Spain.
The conference’s first day, held on Stanford University’s campus in Palo Alto, featured panels on consulting and ethical best practices by representatives from seven AIGAC members or member organizations. In the afternoon, participants visited the campus of the Haas School of Business in Berkeley for a round-robin exchange with the Associate Director of Admissions at Haas’s Full-Time MBA Program and other representatives from Haas’ admissions, career services, and financial aid offices as well as a tour of the campus.
The second day began with an insightful presentation by the Vice President of GMAT Program from the Graduate Management Admission Council on the “next-generation” GMAT, followed by a representative of the Educational Testing Service on the revised GRE and new Personal Potential Index. A representative of Dartmouth Tuck School of Business joined both sessions. The morning session concluded with a wide-ranging discussion of the application essay by representatives of Berkeley Haas School of Business, Columbia Business School, and Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Afternoon sessions focused on the role of admissions interviews and how admissions committees view traditional and unconventional MBA applicants, featuring representatives from Yale, Virginia, Cornell, UCLA, and IE.
The conference’s third and final day began with a visit to Stanford Graduate School of Business’ new Knight Management Center, where the GSB’s Assistant Dean and Director of MBA Admissions answered participants’ questions and led a tour of the business school’s new facility. The conference concluded with afternoon sessions on admissions interviewing techniques and alternatives to traditional MBA academic and career paths by representatives of Beat the GMAT, the Association of Professionals in Business Management, CT Partners, and Omidyar Network.
All participants agreed that the conference, sponsored by Veritas Prep, Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, Manhattan GMAT, Kaplan Test Prep, Clear Admit, Maxx Associates, and Accepted.com exceeded expectations and demonstrated the continued rapid growth of the admissions consulting industry. AIGAC conference chair Maxx Duffy commented, “What I liked most was the interaction. Meeting members and admission officers from other parts of the world for the first time, catching up with those I have not seen in a year, and engaging in lively discussions in the sessions and afterward is the best. I am already looking forward to next year!” Anna Ivey, President of AIGAC, concurred: “Our 2011 Conference was our most international yet, with participants from all over the United States, Spain, Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, and Japan, and we were excited to meet with admissions officers from schools both within and outside the United States. The network effect was in full force.”