Last month, the Wharton School's MBA Admissions announced the hire of Frank DeVecchis as the new Director of Admissions after a 16-month vacancy following the resignation of former Director Ankur Kumar.
DeVecchis has a lot of experience dealing with students as he was an academic advisor for around 200 Wharton MBA students prior to taking on this new role. DeVecchis said that his experiences as an advisor in particular will help him in his new role as Director of Admissions.
“[The MBA] is a really challenging program. There are certain students that struggle and certain students that do very well. I hope to better identify the individuals that might do very well.”
DeVecchis first came to Wharton in 2009 as the Associate Director of the Wharton Fund. In 2011, he became the director of the Global Immersions Program and in 2013 was briefly the interim director of MBA Program Academic Affairs. Most recently, he was the Director of MBA Academic Operations, a position he held since July 2013.
DeVecchis said that his past work with the MBA curriculum, departmental administrators and departmental chairs will also be beneficial for his new role as he works to promote the MBA program to prospective students.
“I have a unique view of what our academic experience has to offer so I can talk to applicants about that, and do a better job at articulating it,” he said.
When asked about what he would change about the MBA admissions process, DeVecchis said it will be something he plans to figure out in the next few years. His first official day on the job just two weeks ago and he is still settling into the role.
“Every director has a different view of their role in the process,” he said. “Some review every application and others are more team-based to come up with more holistic decision.”
DeVecchis added that the most immediate changes coming to the MBA Admissions Office will be the two new hires: a data analyst and a Senior Associate Director, who will be specifically focusing on the “diversity of the applicant pool," he said.
In his first two weeks, DeVecchis has already been traveling to participate in the evaluation of MBA applicants in “team-based discussions.” Invited applicants have the option to attend a team-based discussion with five other applicants either on campus or in certain hub cities.
The prospective students are given a prompt about a real-world business problem and must analyze it together. Applicants are evaluated on how they interact with each other to see what they would “add to the discussion” at Wharton, DeVecchis said.
DeVecchis said that in MBA candidates, he is looking for a “built-in sense of curiosity" as well as "those who are really looking to learn and grow here, not just someone looking to check a box.”
In terms of advice for prospective students, DeVecchis said to “be yourself” and to not “model behavior that you think a school wants to see.”
“Make sure you are the right fit for the school as much as the school is the right fit for you. Truly be yourself and put your best foot forward," he said.
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