Boasting several globally top-ranked programs, Imperial College Business School credits their continuing success to their focus on driving transformation through the fusion of business and technology. Aligning with Imperial College London’s international reputation as a renowned STEM institution, Imperial College Business School uses the same science-based approach to graduate management education.
“There’s a strong emphasis on innovation and technology in all areas within Imperial College Business School,” shared the Director of Admissions, Amy Duckworth.
“That’s why the Kira Talent platform is a good fit for us — it aligns so strongly with our school’s values.”
By replacing time-consuming Skype interviews for some programs and adding a net-new assessment to programs who hadn’t previously had the capacity to interview, Imperial College Business School is getting the applicant insights they need to more efficiently identify their top candidates.
Finding efficiency in admissions
“I first heard of Kira through my peers at other business schools as well as at GMAC and other industry events,” shared Duckworth. “All the people who I spoke with had very positive things to say about their experience with the platform.”
Imperial College Business School brought Kira in to replace Skype interviews for seven of their programs and has since expanded their use of Kira to over fifteen programs.
“Interviewing was a very time-consuming process for our Admissions officers,” shared Sarah Stubbings, the Admissions Manager at Imperial College Business School. “Arranging Skype interviews with each candidate required a significant amount of manual work. Hours and hours of back and forth with candidates to organize a time, and then you’d inevitably have last-minute cancellations and rescheduling.”
“It wasn’t efficient, it wasn’t streamlined, it was really a full-time job within itself,” Stubbings added. “As applications increased over the years and we added new programs, it became unsustainable for us to run those interviews.”
“We needed a more efficient and streamlined solution, which is why we turned to Kira Talent.”
Building a bigger applicant pool and a better applicant experience
With Kira’s virtual Asynchronous Assessment, Imperial College Business School’s applicants are able to complete their assessment whenever is convenient for them within the given one-week window.
“A lot of our candidates are either working or studying full-time while they’re applying to our programs, so they appreciate the fact that we're conscientious of their time.”
“With Kira, our interviewing process is far more streamlined,” Stubbings continued. “Without the back and forth of scheduling, we’re able to interview candidates much more quickly, oftentimes issuing an invitation to interview within three days of assessing their application.”
“This is obviously great for the candidate’s experience with Imperial. They’re not waiting weeks for us to get in touch with them.”
“It has benefited everyone,” Stubbings shared. “For us in terms of our process efficiency, but most importantly for the candidates and their experience with Imperial College Business School.”
“Even if they aren’t successful in joining the program, they still walk away with a really positive experience having applied to Imperial College Business School,” she added. “That’s a sentiment they’ll share with other people.”
Gaining deeper insight with greater efficiency
Seeing the success of the initial programs they used the Kira assessment in, other programs at Imperial College Business School realized how the platform could enhance their own admissions processes.
“Having that extra dimension when you’re assessing a candidate is incredibly useful in the decision-making process.”
“We’ve seen the benefits of using Kira and having that additional step in the process,” Stubbings continued. “That’s why we’ve been keen to roll it out to programs that historically didn’t interview candidates.”
“We’ve now brought Kira into the admissions processes for all of our MSc programs,” Duckworth added. “These were programs that didn’t previously have an interview, which was why we didn’t initially bring Kira into their processes.”
“Now that we’ve seen the benefits of Kira and the efficiency with which programs are able to complete the assessment evaluations, we’re able to confidently add that extra step in the admissions process.”
An authentic assessment of applicant competencies
“Before joining Imperial College Business School I was at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School where I was involved in bringing Kira Talent into the application process for our scholarship programs,” shared Duckworth. “As with Imperial College Business School, who at that time was already using Kira, we wanted to increase efficiency, but we were also looking to gain a better understanding of our applicants.”
Compared to the traditional essay submission, Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment offers admissions teams a more reliable gauge of their candidates with timed video and timed-written responses.
“With an essay, it can be difficult to get a true sense of the candidate because it’s impossible to determine how much help they may have received,” Duckworth added. “With Kira, candidates can prepare as one might prepare for any interview, but you know that what you’re seeing and evaluating is an authentic snapshot of the applicant because it’s captured in real-time.”
“Kira offers us a more authentic view of our applicants.”
And Kira’s integrity metrics help admissions teams ensure that authenticity.
“It’s easy to distinguish applicants who are candid with their video responses and applicants who are just reading something off the screen,” Stubbings explained. “We encourage candidates to be authentic. With most of the questions, it’s not a matter of answering correctly, we want to see and understand their thought process or motivations.”
“For the timed-written responses, Kira’s Turnitin integration is brilliant,” Stubbings continued. “By flagging any suspicious behaviour, it prompts our reviewers to take a closer look at that response and helps us identify candidates who might not have been as authentic as we want them to be.”
Structured review for repeatable results
“The feedback from our reviewers about their experience in Kira has been really positive,” shared Duckworth. “They’ve specifically commented on how intuitive and user-friendly the platform is.”
“They like the functionality of it as well,” Stubbings added. “Kira allows us to easily see how reviewers have scored across candidates so they’re able to benchmark themselves. It gives them the reinsurance that they are being consistent and fair across our candidate pool.”
“We gather several data points on candidates, so if there was any uncertainty, or if the reviewer indicated that the candidate might benefit from a second review then we’d have the ability to ask for someone else to review it.”
In cases where there’s a significant variance in scores, Kira makes it easy for Imperial College Business School to get a second opinion.
“Traditionally, if we needed a second opinion on a candidate post-interview it was a very timely process. One which made the candidate very aware of what was happening.”
“If we want a second review on a candidate in Kira, you can just assign the video to another reviewer and get another opinion,” added Duckworth. “It’s not something that happens too much but it’s nice to have that ability.”
Assessing for employability
With Kira, Imperial College Business School has been able to create consistency while giving individual programs the flexibility to create an admissions process that suits their unique needs.
"We use similar competencies across all of the MSc programs,” explained Stubbings. “But we have questions mixed in there that allow candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their program-specific knowledge of finance, or climate change, for example”
As part of the onboarding process, Kira helped Imperial College Business School identify and define the competencies that they were looking for in their best-fit candidates.
“We started with a list of every question that we were using in our existing interviews,” Stubbings explained. “When we reflected on them, we realized that many of the questions we were asking were not actually addressing the competency we wanted to evaluate candidates for.”
“The experience of working with our Client Success Manager to build out those initial competencies and create question banks for each was incredibly useful,” she continued. “Kira showed us how to create multiple questions that all spoke to the same core structure for each competency, and applicants randomly receive one of those questions during their assessment. In this way, Kira helps us ensure the security of our interviews while also making sure that we’re being fair and consistent across all applicants.”
“Over the years we continued adding questions into these banks and continued to refine and adjust based on the current climate,” Duckworth explained. “We want our competencies to reflect what employers are looking for in their graduating students. Resilience, for example, is a quality that has recently become very important with employers.”
“The ability to easily iterate on our interview process ensures that we’re always enrolling students with the highest potential to succeed in the current business world as it continues to change and evolve.”