Director of MBA, MSB programs spearheads common application

Unlike law schools and medical schools, graduate business school programs don’t offer a common application. That’s a problem, said Dee Steinle, the KU School of Business’ executive director of MBA and MSB programs.

When prospective students apply to graduate business programs, they’re completing each school’s application and sending multiple copies of transcripts and recommendation letters, a cumbersome process that takes students — and universities — extra time and effort. But change is coming, thanks in part to Steinle.

Dee Steinle

Three years ago, she was asked by the Graduate Management Admission Council to serve on a committee exploring the possibility of creating a common application for business schools.

“We all agreed collectively this would really be good for our industry,” Steinle said. “We need to be more like law; we need to be more like these other professional schools and really manage that intake. But then that’s where it got really hard, because we didn’t have an infrastructure to do it.”

Enter Liaison International, a company already offering Centralized Application Service (CAS) for academic programs around the country. Through colleague Bob Alig, Steinle was introduced to the company and its capabilities.

Liaison announced plans for Business CAS in October 2016, and Steinle now serves as the vice chair of the company’s BusinessCAS advisory board, which also includes representatives from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School, Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business and Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, among others.

BusinessCAS features a user-friendly, streamlined application process and a single portal to discover all participating programs.

“Not only do I get this powerful application processing tool, I get a common front door with every other MBA program out there,” Steinle explained. “So, if you’re a prospective student looking for an MBA program, you’re going to open one door and you’re going to see every MBA program that signs on to this CAS.”

KU was one of the first schools to adopt BusinessCAS and will begin using it for MBA applications in fall 2019. In the future, Steinle says the partner schools will collectively market the value of a graduate education, allowing individual schools to focus more on sharing the benefits of their respective programs.

Further down the road, Steinle hopes the collection of schools will make an even bigger impact in the world of business education, stepping into the role filled by professional associations in other fields, which may include developing standards for materials reported for rankings, certifying data for schools and acting as a data repository.

“We have big dreams,” she said. “We have big aspirations for this.”