Posted on May 7, 2015

AIGAC 8th Annual Conference – Reflections of AIGAC 15

AIGAC’s 8th annual conference took place at London Business School (March 30 and March 31) with visits to HEC Paris (March 26), INSEAD (March 27), and Cambridge Judge Business School (April 1).

The conference was an extremely rewarding and enriching experience for me. Interactive training sessions with AIGAC members from around the world,  panel discussions, and networking with representatives from the world’s leading business schools, discussions with current students and alumni, and campus tours, combined with exciting events such as dinner at Château de Bourron (a French castle), a gourmet meal at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, and a fascinating punting tour at the River Cam in Cambridge made the conference a truly memorable experience.

I. AIGAC Sessions

It was an excellent opportunity to meet with AIGAC  members from all over the world. I felt privileged to interact with accomplished, experienced, and learned colleagues in the admission consulting industry and gain some understanding of the manner in which they handled their business. It was my honor to meet with and have conversations with the founder members, Max Duffy and Ricardo; their down-to-earth, warm, and humble demeanor and their willingness to help the newcomers with their valuable insights was truly commendable.

The moderators (Tanis Kmetyk, Sarah McGinty, Andrea Sparrey, Anna Ivey, Dr. Marlena Corcoran, and Scott Shrum ) demonstrated their expertise in conducting panel discussions with world’s leading schools (Columbia, Duke, ESADE, INSEAD, Yale SOM, ESMT, HEC, LSE, RSM, MIT, SDA BOCCONI, Rotman, INSEAD, Johnson Cornell, IESE, Tuck, and  ESMT) on a variety of topics such as, Global Partnerships, EMBA, and Other Executive Programs, Specialized Programs (Luxury, Operations), Early Career Programs which provided additional insights into various schools' offerings and resources. There were also discussions on Trends in Standardized Testing, Annual Updates, AIGAC & Ethics, and AIGAC MBA applicant survey. Since 2009,  AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey data has been utilized by schools and members to gain insights into applicant perceptions of each stage of the admissions process.   Indeed, it was inspiring to watch AIGAC  board members collaborating so effectively with the school representatives.

2. School Sessions:

The presentations were given by each school on their degree programs, curriculum, admission requirements, employment outcomes, and rankings, and most importantly, what makes them unique, were highly informative. I found discussions on leadership development activities at HEC, Blue Ocean Strategy at INSEAD, and the ‘role of business as a force for good‘ at the LBS  especially insightful. The admission officer of the full-time MBA program at Judge Business School, Cambridge, Conrad Chua clarified that JBS focuses on GPA instead of GMAT to evaluate academic achievement for admission, while the admission officer of MBA and MiF programs at the LBS, Mr. David Simpson empathized that they not only "obsess" about the GMAT; they "obsess" about everything together. Furthermore, it was interesting to have current students and alumni at HEC, INSEAD, and LBS share their experiences and insights into what made them choose these schools and what about these schools make them unique. The campus tours provided by all the four schools were fun; I especially enjoyed the tour at the INSEAD and the LBS. It was an exhilarating experience to be photographed in the backdrop of the majestic LBS building.

3. Networking with School Representatives:

Another wonderful aspect of the conference was getting an opportunity to interact with school representatives during lunches, dinners, and interactive discussions between AIGAC members and school representatives. I appreciated the seating arrangement at INSEAD during lunch and dinner where each AIGAC member sat next to one INSEAD admission and staff member facilitating their interactions and conversations. I especially enjoyed having discussions with INSEAD associate admission director of EMBA program Leila Murat and LBS admission director for the full-time MBA program and MiF program David Simpson about the admission process and what they are seeking in applicants. It was encouraging to see how welcoming they are of the AIGAC members and how keen they are to collaborate with them to ensure student success.

4. Additional Attractions:

In addition to learning opportunities, the conference also provided many fun experiences. The lavish dinner hosted by INSEAD at Château de Bourron (a French castle) including a visit to the wine cave and a chat with sommelier, a gourmet meal hosted by HEC at the Louis Vuitton Foundation under the Frank Gehry sculptures, grand lunches, and cocktails hosted by the LBS at the campus, dinner at The Fable with AIGAC members, and at The Table Café in London with AIGAC members and school representatives added an extra charm to the conference. I cannot forget to mention the lovely cake that LBS baked for the AIGAC. It was really a cute gesture. The conference came to a delightful closure with a fun-filled punting tour (a traditional boat trip) at the river Cam organized by the Judge Business School Cambridge. Apart from fun,  the boat trip also offered us glimpses into the history of Cambridge.

To sum up, the AIGAC conference was a tremendously rewarding experience in every way. I felt grateful to meet with kind and engaging school partners as well as enthusiastic and esteemed colleagues from all over the world. Thank you LBS, INSEAD, HEC, and Cambridge who hosted our conference for 2015.  I would like to thank Luke Ashby of London Business School, Tina Francois of INSEAD, Luciano Rolon of HEC Paris, and Conrad Chua of Judge Business School for being our wonderful hosts. Thank you AIGAC board members Andrea Sparrey (President), Vince Ricci (President-Elect Treasurer), Anna Ivey (past President), Scott Shrum (Secretary), Brett Haber (Treasurer), Michael Cohan (Director), Maxx Duffy (Director), Tanis Kmetyk (Director), Candy Lee LaBelle (Director), and Shiela Locatelli-Wallace (Executive Director) for all the hard work you did in making this wonderful conference happen. Again, a special thank you to the Conference Chair, Candy Lee LaBelle, and to the hard-working Conference Committee, Marlena Corcoran, Cristina Freeman, Tanis Kmetyk, and Andrea Sparrey for making our 8th annual conference a spectacular success.

I can’t wait to see you all next year at MIT, Boston

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