Case Studies · 3 minute read

FAU College of Business reimagines admissions to enroll top business leaders in their executive PhD program

When traditional assessment methods were creating barriers for the senior professionals that FAU College of Business wanted to attract to their executive PhD program, they switched to Kira Talent.


Building an interview process that accurately captures the unique skill sets of executive business leaders with decades of experience.

Key outcomes

Replaced the GMAT/GRE requirement with a streamlined assessment that captures candidates’ quantifiable skills and knowledge.

Favourite features

  • Question and rubric workshop
  • Randomized question bank
  • Dedicated client support

For over 60 years, the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) College of Business has built a reputation of excellence and innovation in business education. Over the decades, the FAU College of Business has continually adapted to the changing landscape of business education, integrating cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking practices into its curriculum to become one of the leading business schools in the Southeastern United States. 

Where most executive business programs allow candidates to earn a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), FAU is one of only five executive PhD programs in the U.S. The program caters to senior professionals with decades of experience in business who are looking to build out their research and analytic skills and apply them in business.. 

In our traditional PhD program, we're generating scholars. In our executive PhD program, we are fine-tuning executives” explained Marc Wharton, PhD Programs Coordinator at the FAU College of Business. 

Evaluating this niche applicant pool for admissions came with some unique challenges. Where most business programs were using the GMAT or GRE to assess program readiness, FAU found that the test simply didn’t work for their applicant pool.

“We’re working with professionals who haven't been in a classroom or taken an exam in years. They aren’t in that mindset and that often meant that they were getting very low scores.” 

“On top of that, it was proving to be a barrier for many of our ideal applicants,” he continued. “We’d be recruiting a 50-year-old Chief Operating Officer with a very impressive resume and we’d ask him to go take a test on business fundamentals. More often than not, those candidates just walk away and go to another program.”

That’s when we took a deeper look at our admissions process and asked ourselves what we're looking to learn with that test score,” Wharton shared. “What we found was that we were trying to confirm that the candidate had the quantitative skills to be proficient in the statistical analyses they'd be required to do as doctoral students and we realized that we could get a better assessment of those skills with an Asynchronous Assessment in Kira Talent.” 

Creating a custom assessment for working professionals

“When we started building out the assessment with Kira, and I saw how intelligently the questions were crafted and how they targeted our desired competencies, I was 100% sold,” Wharton shared. 

“As well as being more effective at honing in on those important skills, Kira has allowed us to make our admissions process much more efficient,” he continued. "Among others, the PhD committee  is composed of six faculty members. Trying to align their schedules with the applicants’ and coordinate committee interviews was extremely difficult."

“I opened up the very first assessment, watched the candidate’s response, and realized that I had learned more about that person in the two-minute video than I typically learned in a half-hour interview.”

This is the best interview experience I’ve been involved in,” Wharton added. "Hours of work used to go into the coordination of interview days. The Asynchronous Assessment has allowed us to reinvest that time elsewhere in our recruiting process.” 

Learn how McCombs School of Business increased yield while reducing time spent on interviews by 30% 

Expert advice for an elevated assessment

“With Kira, we've discovered a way of assessing executives that is highly effective,” Wharton shared. 

“I'm on several interview committees and what we’ve created with Kira is more sophisticated and more professional than any other method I’ve experienced.”

“There's a level of expertise in creating these questions that your average admissions team just doesn't have,” he added.“I've never had an interviewer ask a question with as many layers and that required as much reflection and consideration as what we’re now asking in Kira.”

“The culture at Kira is so aligned with the culture at the College of Business, which makes the entire partnership feel seamless,” explained Wharton. "The team at Kira is so responsive, whether I had a quick question or request or needed to hop on a call, they’re quick to provide support however they can,” he continued. “It gives me that extra peace of mind, knowing that we’re not doing this alone.” 

“I would describe myself as a futurist,” added Wharton. “I’m always wanting to innovate and improve on our processes.” 

“That’s what Kira is for our admissions process — a modern solution that reflects the future of higher education.”

Engaging More Applicants Faster

OSU Fisher College of Business discusses how they're reaching more international applicants in this recorded webinar.

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