The first time you do anything is always exciting — you work hard to anticipate every possible challenge, but at the same time, the enthusiasm around putting a new idea into action is incredibly motivating. This the sentiment among our team in late June when we announced the first-ever Tippie Application Tweet contest, awarding a full-tuition financial award to the admitted MBA candidate who most creatively answered this question:
We were overwhelmed by the attention we received from the media, not to mention more than 60 MBA hopefuls and interested “netizens” who sent Tweets via email or through Twitter. (On that note — look for us in the Wall Street Journal on September 1st, when we’ll be part of a story on innovative practices in MBA admissions!)
What were the biggest challenges?
That’s an easy answer: overcoming the common misconception that the contest was simply “Tweet for a scholarship“ In fact, the reality of it was more complex. Candidates were required to submit a formal application (including all of the normal admission criteria, including test scores), earn admission to the program, and only then would they be considered for the full-tuition award. “Get admitted and then Tweet for a scholarship!” was a more accurate representation.
Did the contest get people interested in Tippie?
Absolutely. The story was picked up quickly and spread through the web quickly; it was tweeted and retweeted thousands of times. Media outlets from USA Today to Good Morning America and The Wall Street Journal to Financial Times covered the story.
Media aside, the initiative brought us 8 new candidates who wouldn’t have discovered Tippie without the Tweet contest. Several of them will be starting classes at Tippie this month, and we’re excited to welcome them to the program.
Our 2011 Tweet contest winner, John Yates, will be joining us in 2012. After much thought, John decided that taking more time to wrap up loose ends and adequately prepare for the program would ensure he got the most from his MBA experience. For that reason, he chose to defer his admission until next fall.
“The administration has graciously permitted me to defer admission until fall 2012,” John said shortly after making the very difficult decision to defer. “I am very grateful to the good people of Tippie, both for the opportunity and their understanding; they have gone above and beyond in every way. I look forward to joining the Tippie MBA program in fall 2012.”
We’re looking forward to welcoming John on campus next August.
What happens next?
First, the 140-character essay will become part of our application for 2012. Candidates will have the option of responding to a typical essay, or to respond to the 140-character question. No doubt the latter, despite its brevity, will prove to be much more challenging.
Second, we had so much fun with this year’s contest that we’d like to do it again next year, but with two winners — one international and one domestic candidate. We’ll work out the details over the next few months, so come back to our blog (or better yet, subscribe using the button at right) to stay in the loop.
Share your thoughts on the Application Tweet contest in the comments below!