300 MBA applicants accidentally waitlisted

March 15, 2007

Applying to graduate school became even more stressful for over 300 applicants to the McDonough School of Business’s MBA program last Thursday when an incorrect e-mail told them they were waitlisted.

Of the applicants who received the e-mail, 256 had already been accepted to the program and 68 had already been denied, according to University spokesperson Julie Green Bataille. The MBA program, which receives approximately 2,000 applications every year, accepts applicants on a rolling basis.

The new McDonough School of Business building, which is currently under construction behind the Leavey Center, may lead to another jump in the MSB’s ranking.
Simone Popperl

An employee of the MBA Admissions Office sent the e-mail at 11:20 a.m., and after a barrage of inquiries from concerned applicants, the office sent out a new e-mail at 2 p.m. informing applicants of the error, confirming their original decision, and ascribing the mistake e-mail to a “technical error.”

The mistake quickly made the rounds on business school blogs and message boards around the world.

“Of course they followed up quickly with an apologetical [sic] e-mail, where they blamed the software. How smart is that?” wrote the author of the blog Patxi @ London Business School, which has received almost 13,000 visits since Jan. 2006.

Bataille and University Information Services Security Officer David Smith both said that there was no indication that breach of security was involved.

“The system used to process MBA applications is the same one used by other top business schools and there are no plans to change it,” Bataille wrote in an e-mail message. “However, the MBA Admissions office regrets this incident and has put in place additional safeguards to prevent this kind of error from happening again.”

Also on Thursday, the MSB received a positive publicity boost when Business Week ranked the school’s undergraduate business program as #11 in the nation, up from #13 last year. Earlier this year, the Financial Times ranked the MBA program as third in the world for international business.

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