Business Schools Look at Applicants’ EQ, Says WSJ

As if worrying about your GMAT scores, essay prompts and letters of recommendation wasn’t enough, more and more business schools are incorporating assessments in emotional intelligence quotient, or EQ, for incoming applicants.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions, and according to Melissa Korn‘s recent article in the Wall Street Journal, looking at EQ is “the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”

Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business has been posing a 206-item online questionnaire called the Personal Characteristics Inventory since 2010, which screens them for traits such as teamwork and leadership abilities that the school has found in its most successful students and graduates, the WSJ reports.

Andrew Sama, senior associate director of M.B.A. admissions at Mendoza, notes that companies select for top talent with these types of assessments, adding “If we are selecting for future business leaders, why shouldn’t we be [using] similar tools?”

Meanwhile, the Yale School of Management plans to try out the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test on volunteers from the current crop of applicants in the coming weeks. Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean and director of M.B.A. admissions, tells WSJ that for now, the school is merely in the process of gathering data on what traits predict success, so the results of the online self-assessment won’t affect admission decisions.

Admissions Director Dawna Clarke of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth tells the WSJ she’s still searching for a test that accurately and consistently measures EQ, but notes that the school asks people who recommend a student to score the applicant on their ability to cope with pressure, intellectual curiosity and other traits.

While the inclusion of EQ assessments in MBA admissions decisions may strike fear in the heart of some applicants, others—perhaps those with lighter resumes—will find relief in being valued for their competencies in this area.



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