In 2014, senior staff at Temple University’s Fox School of Business undertook a labor of herculean proportions.
They asked 300 corporate leaders what MBA students need to succeed in today’s increasingly globalized business world. Then, they sat down, scrutinized the data and re-designed the two-year Fox Global MBA completely, making it even more experience-based and career-driven.
A year later, Fox placed 97% of its MBA students into graduate jobs; its job placement rate celebrated by Forbes as the best in the US.
And Fox introduced cutting-edge tech too. In partnership with Microsoft, it created RoadMap, the Fitbit for the education world. Only available at Fox, students use the tool to track their progress throughout the MBA via real-time feedback from their professors and peers.
The ground-breaking Global MBA offers international opportunities in India, China, Latin America and Africa. It boasts strong corporate partners including Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, investment management firm Vanguard and pharma giants AstraZeneca and Merck. And, in 2014, Fox was ranked number one in the US for entrepreneurship mentoring by the Princeton Review.
It’s no surprise that MBA students from all over the world are flocking to Fox. Last year, it saw a 30% increase in applications. Up to 33% of its MBA students are international, 56% women.
While Fox is one of the largest business schools in the world - with 60,000 alumni worldwide – its MBA class size is kept personalized and small; limited to between 45 and 55 students. Admissions at Fox is competitive and director of enrollment William Rieth, decides who makes the cut.
What do you look for in your MBA applicants?
We really see it as building a team. If we’re going to have 50 people on the team, we can’t have them all playing the same position. We want a well-rounded student body and we need people from all different walks of life.
We expect a lot from our students from day one. We look for grit, tenacity and work ethic. We also do a lot of our interviews via Skype and WebEx. So it’s imperative that candidates know how to present themselves virtually.
How important is the GMAT?
Our average GMAT is between 640 to 650 every year. If candidates score below a 550 on the GMAT, it tends to be somewhat of a red flag.
Generally, my advice to candidates is that if you were a business undergrad student you should take the GMAT. We do accept the GRE, but the GRE is more for candidates who come from another sort of background.
What financial support and scholarships do you offer?
Philadelphia has a series of sister cities throughout the globe – in Italy, Germany, Israel, Russia, China and more - and we have scholarships for people coming from those cities.
Otherwise, we review all applicants for merit-based scholarships based on a variety of factors; GPA, GMAT, work experience, essays and recommendations.
What makes the Fox MBA unique?
We are one of the smallest full-time MBA programs in the top 50 in the US. We really get to know our students; to understand what their career goals are and to help them with internships and ultimately in finding a role for them when they graduate.
There’s something really special about being part of a small group that has the backing of an enormous research-based business school. And there’s a momentum behind the program. If you look at the rankings of the program over the last five years, it’s really on an amazing trajectory.
What’s the thinking behind RoadMap?
We have an entrepreneurial spirit at Fox and we invest heavily in technology. With RoadMap, we wanted students to be able to track their progress through the two years of the MBA against the competencies that industry leaders look for.
It takes a step beyond just having a grade. As you go through the program, you get real-time feedback from faculty, your classmates and companies that you’re doing projects with.
How do you explain your high MBA job placement rate?
Identifying the right candidates to join the program in the first place, and a lot of coaching.
We want this to be a highly-personalized endeavor. If we have 45 grads, they probably go to 40 different companies. The careers center works with students from day one, all the way to graduation, and afterwards as well.
We also bring corporate entities into the classroom through our projects. In our capstone Enterprise Management Consulting project you’re interacting with senior leaders from Vanguard, from Fidelity, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; you’re in the boardroom with them working on these projects together. That’s real-world experience.
Why is Philadelphia an attractive destination for MBAs?
I’ve been here for six years and I’ve found it to be an amazing, accessible city.
There’s a startup vibe and some major organizations are housed here. The cost of living compared to New York, DC and Boston is very reasonable. It has a vibrant nightlife, four major sports teams, a great food scene and great museums including the famous “Rocky Steps” before the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Arts.