MBA Action Plan, Part 6: Visit Schools

For the last post in this series of what you can do now to optimize your chances of getting into a top b-school later, I’d like to focus on the importance of visiting schools.

Not sure whether you should take the time and money to visit the business schools you plan on applying to? While some adcoms admit to awarding brownie points and some swear that whether or not you visit has no impact on your acceptance or rejection, I believe that if you have the opportunity to visit the b-schools on your list, then you should absolutely do so.

And it’s not because of imaginary “brownie points,” but because you will be a much better informed applicant after you visit a school than before. You’ll know more about each school, its culture, and why that particular school appeals to you. You’ll learn more about its teaching style, whether it supports your goals, and how well you and your MBA goals match the program, students, and faculty.

Here are some tips to make the most of your visit:

  • Visit the school when class is in session. That way you’ll get to see the learning in action and speak with the students when they’re not stressed out about finals.
  • Take advantage of all visitor options, including a tour, a one-on-one meeting with a student, info sessions, etc.
  • Come prepared with good questions to ask the adcom and to ask students and/or faculty that you may encounter.
  • Learn as much about the school before you land on campus. You don’t want to ask a question that was answered 10 times already on the school’s website.
  • If you are unable to visit the campus, be sure to attend info sessions held in your city.

While “good questions” differ b-school to b-school and student to student, the following is a sample of general questions that you can use as a jumping off point for your specific situation:

  1. What is a typical day like for a first or second year student?
  2. How do professors balance research and teaching?
  3. Do professors teach their classes in the larger framework of the interconnectedness of business functions? Do they use an integrated approach? Do they coordinate with other professors?
  4. How are interview slots for internships and full-time positions assigned? If there’s a bidding process, how does it work?
  5. What do you like best here, other than the people?
  6. What would you like to see improved?
  7. How helpful is career services? How have they helped you?
  8. Have you had any problems getting the classes you want?
  9. Who is your favorite professor? What’s your favorite extra-curricular activity?

In summary, do your research, take advantage of visitor options, ask good questions, and evaluate your fit with each school.

Like the advice you see in this post? Download Accepted’s new special report, MBA Action Plan, for more practical tips on what you can do now to increase your chances of getting in to a top business school next year. (P.S. It’s free!)
 ~ Helping You Write Your Best