Getting Into Grad School, Did You Pass the EQ Test?

As an excited applicant for a great MBA program, you see yourself as a shoe-in because you have an accomplished resume that is one to be proud of, along with a high undergrad GPA. However, featured in the Wall Street Journal, Melissa Korn states that there might be one more important element that you weren’t expecting to be evaluated on when trying to gain admittance into an MBA program – that is your Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Over the years there has been a growing emphasis on the importance of Emotional Intelligence. Organizations and businesses have used EQ tools for many years to help address individual needs within the workplace, or to see if someone would be a good fit for a particular job. Now, many business schools are beginning to recognize the importance of Emotional Intelligence as well and have begun screening and admitting students based not only on their IQ, but on their EQ.

Business schools are faced with the difficult task of choosing the absolute best out of an extremely large pool of qualified applicants. In order to choose the cream of the crop, schools are beginning to add personality tests as well as scored, standardized in-person interviews to the traditional tools used to admit students. Prospective MBA students are not only expected to excel on paper, but also have a solid grasp on emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience and dozens of others.

In the article “B-Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel?”, Andrew Sama, senior associate director of M.B.A. admissions at University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business states “Companies select for top talent with assessments like this. If we are selecting for future business leaders, why shouldn’t we be [using] similar tools?”

It has become a prominent trend that many Business schools are adopting EQ assessments, but even non-business schools are beginning to take notice of the importance of EQ. The medical school at the University of Ottawa has begun studying EQ factors among medical student applicants. “Dr. Derek Puddester, a psychiatry professor at Ottawa involved in the research, says that while hard work and self-sacrifice are often valued in doctors, such traits need to be balanced by an ability to cope with stress.”

“It’s encouraging to see that more and more top-notch business schools and medical schools are recognizing the importance of EQ,” says TRACOM’s Dr. Casey Mulqueen. “Assessing students for their EQ should have a dramatic impact on the quality of graduates. These programs can produce even more well-rounded graduates by incorporating EQ into their programs, through courses on EQ and also by rewarding students for their teamwork, communication abilities, and personal resiliency under stress. By learning how to be more interpersonally effective, along with learning how to evaluate corporate mergers or memorize human anatomy, students will benefit immensely, as will their eventual co-workers and patients.

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