Meredith Richardson is the Admissions Manager, Specialty Programs, at Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

The three specialty master’s programs attracted over 2,000 applicants last year, who each go through the admissions office to ask questions, learn more about the program, and, of course, gain admission.

Meredith RichardsonIn the past, Richardson would conduct hundreds of Skype interviews each year, speaking with anywhere from 25 applicants per week to as many as 40 at her busiest, in addition to her other regular responsibilities. Often, she would be up until eleven o’clock at night speaking to students around the world, as she tried to account for and accommodate for time zone differences.

Last year, the school added Kira to their process to help handle their applicant volume. The results have paid off for Richardson and her team in both time saved and insights gathered.

Flexibility for applicants and admissions teams

“Using Kira gives me more flexibility, but it also gives applicants more flexibility,” she said. “It is so great to give students the opportunity to use the practice session in Kira to feel more at ease with the process, and to know that they can complete their interview when they want, where they want.”

Likewise, Richardson has that same flexibility for reviewing applicant responses. She's no longer tied to the particular time she's booked with applicants for their video calls, and she can assess student responses when she's most alert and during regular hours.

Given Weatherhead’s rolling admissions deadlines, Richardson estimates that she has saved at least 48 hours of evening interviews peppered throughout the recruiting season.

“Because I can get more done in less time, I can actually meet more applicants. You can’t put a price on that.”

“Since adding Kira, I feel like I got my evenings back,” she said.

Work efficiently and collaboratively as a team

Weatherhead makes use of the ability to assign applicants to other members of their department to support with assessing the large volume of applicants to the schools’ specialty programs.

Previously, Richardson would coordinate not only applicants’ schedules, but find ways to slot those interviews into the availability of her colleagues. Now, with Kira, everyone can review on their own time.

Get a candid view of applicants

Time-saving has not been the only benefit for the team at Weatherhead. They’ve also gained valuable insights from the responses applicants have provided in Kira.

“It’s been really interesting to see the candor from these students and observe how they think on their feet. The applicants get sixty to ninety seconds to respond, and then they’re done. They either use it, or they don’t,” she said.

She noted that with live interviews, either party might be more likely to probe or divert from the structured nature of the interview, which can distract from the core purpose of the conversation and take up even more time. Using Kira presses applicants to stick to the question and give an authentic response.

"The shortened time frame of answering the question can help students understand how to focus their answer specifically to the question, much like in a real-world scenario," Richardson added. 

“I would recommend Kira to any other admissions team because it’s efficient, it’s concise, it helps us save time, and the review process is a lot easier to manage, especially when dealing with multiple reviewers.”

Thanks to Meredith Richardson for taking the time to speak to us! We’re so thrilled to be working with you and the team at Weatherhead School of Management.