Graduate Management News

Admissions Officers Learned and Shared Best Practices at 2003 Professional Development Program

The Graduate Management Admission Council  (GMAC ) is proud to report another successful event—the 2003 Professional Development Program (PDP). Although the program was primarily designed to help admissions officers meet the challenges of attracting and enrolling desirable classes for their programs, this year’s PDP attendees included program directors, student services professionals, and faculty members looking to GMAC’s annual program for strategies and support.

In this year’s five-day program, held July 27 through August 1 in Washington, D.C., 63 attendees from all over the world met, interacted with leaders in the field, and shared best practices. Program sessions addressed such current topics as marketing, interviewing prospective students, adapting to changing laws and college requirements, understanding GMAT validity and student financial aid, and supporting cultural diversity.

From Telemarketers to Bloggers

GMAC held its first PDP in 1980, and although the goals have not changed since then, many of the approaches to meeting those goals have. For instance, admissions officers used to rely heavily on newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV advertisements; telemarketing and hotlines; and direct mail to get their message out. Now, some admissions officers monitor what is being written about their program on the Internet in Web logs (blogs) and find ways to interject more accurate information into the discussions. For an example, check out, a website of bloggers sharing their opinions about specific MBA programs.

At the 2003 PDP, Alex Brown (senior associate director of MBA admissions at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania) and Jennifer Chizuk (director, MBA program, at the Eli Broad School of Management, Michigan State University) discussed how to use websites to spread the right messages and build relationships with prospective students, current students, and alumni.

From Black and White to Global

In the 1980s, a PDP session on cross-cultural communication meant a session on how to improve communications among people of different ethnicities within the United States. In 2003, the PDP session on cross-cultural communication (by Craig Storti, director of Craig Storti & Associates), showed admissions officers how to differentiate among the norms and values of cultures in other world regions. They learned how to help ease new students out of culture shock, understanding that students come with different communication styles, beliefs, values, and cultural assumptions. He used a simple pop quiz to illustrate these differences. According to the quiz, the percentage of Indian workers who said they preferred very close supervision on the job was—

a. 25 percent
b. 50 percent
c. 65 percent
d. 85 percent

(See the end of this article for the answer.)

Mark Your Calendar

GMAC will hold its next Professional Development Program July 18–23, 2004, at the Georgetown University Conference Center. Spaces fill up fast, so please visit the PDP Web page in the Career Development section of in April 2004 to register online.

Oh, and the answer to the quiz question is d) 85 percent. Indian workers generally prefer more supervision on the job than Western workers.

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