What to Do at an MBA Fair

Click here for the full recording of our interview with Peter von Loesecke!If you are considering making the major investment that a b-school education requires, then you’ll want to start by spending time carefully researching MBA programs. One excellent way to learn more about your MBA options (and to help prospective programs learn more about you) is by attending an MBA fair.

Listen to the recording of our conversation with Peter von Loesecke, CEO and Managing Director of The MBA Tour to find out what you can gain from attending an MBA fair and how to best prepare to take advantage of the opportunity and impress the b-school reps.

00:02:47 – About the MBA Tour and the MBA2U events.

00:08:35 – How to get to meet top b-school reps and other must-knows about attending an MBA Tour event.

00:15:18 – Tips for preparing for an MBA fair (and how not to turn off the b-school reps).

00:20:29 – What to wear and bring along.

00:22:16 – EMBA candidates, here is what the MBA Tour has for you.

00:24:40 – In person vs. virtual options for getting to know b-schools.

00:28:08 – The very best ways to damage your admissions chances at an MBA fair.

00:31:31 – Trends in management education.

00:34:37 – Advice for 2015 & 2016 MBA applicants.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!

*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com.

Related Links:

• MBA Fairs: Advancing Your MBA Ambitions
• Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One
• The MBA Tour

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• Healthcare Management at Wharton and at Large
• An Inside Look at INSEAD
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Are you prepared for your next MBA Fair?

Three Ways to Boost Your MBA Application

Check our MBA Admissions Resources! The MBA Tour recently swung through Los Angeles, and Linda Abraham and I were delighted to have a table there. We enjoyed meeting dozens of impressive and enthusiastic prospective MBA applicants, and thank the organizers for this great event – nearly 500 people registered and most attendees stayed all day. Clearly, applicants were soaking up information offered not only by the MBA programs represented, but also by consultants like us.

Frankly, we were amazed at the long lines of attendees waiting patiently to speak to us. We had offered brief, complimentary evaluations of resumes and MBA profiles, and we were swamped for more than five hours!

I found three issues came up repeatedly with the applicants we met:

1. How to present yourself to best advantage if you are a career-changer.
2. How to maximize the impact of your resume.
3. How to handle a low GPA and GMAT/GRE scores.

If your career change is major — say, from banking to entrepreneurship, or from engineering to new product development, be prepared to show the admissions committee the skills and knowledge you already have that are both valuable and transferable to your new field and function. Many people had not considered how important relevance is. If your new field and hoped-for job title demands sophistication in salesmanship and leadership, but you don’t have that in your professional background, how can you show you have these abilities or are working to get them? You might have some of those skills through experience with a community organization or other extracurricular activity. If not, join a group or take a class now that will help you build those strengths. B-schools will want to see that you have given thought to how you can transfer skills to your new field, and they will want to see that you understand what new skills and knowledge you will need. After all, you can’t learn absolutely everything you will need from B-school.

I also saw many weak resumes that did not do justice to the applicants’ true abilities. A very common pitfall was “generic-itis” – boring, non-specific bullet point items like this: “Led groups to align department goals and reach benchmarks.” Okay, I probably didn’t see one that awful, but I saw too many lines that were perilously close. Remember that adcom members will only look at your resume for about a minute or less on first glance. Bore them and they won’t even look that long.

How to cure generic-itis in resumes? Easy! Focus on and quantify achievements as much as possible: “Led group of 5 in weekly department meetings as part of campaign to increase sales by 10 percent; sales rose by 8 percent within 3 months.” See the difference? Specifics can include how many people you mentored or led, and how much sales grew in actual dollars or by a percentage. Did your company or department enjoy improved efficiencies, fewer customer complaints, a boost in re-orders? Quantify these achievements wherever possible and show what role you played in those achievements. And if you need to save space, use fewer bullet points to make room for more substantial and more specific achievements.

Here’s another way to strut your stuff in your resume: make sure to include any performance-linked bonus or fast-track promotion you earned. I was surprised to discover many people I spoke to had earned one or both of these professional recognitions, but hadn’t thought to include them on their resumes. This sort of information is resume gold! It presents the perfect marriage of quantified, concrete achievement and impressive career growth. For example: “Signed 4 new accounts worth $500,000, leading to promotion to Associate Product Development Manager.”

Finally, people who have low quant scores for their target schools have options to try to overcome this weakness. If you’re in this situation, you can retake the test – the best option if you think you can raise the score. Sometimes, people are just not good test-takers but are fully capable of b-school quant work; if that’s you, you still have to prove it in your applications. One way is to have A’s in courses such as economics, accounting or statistics for business. If your quant GPA is considerably lower than it should be for your target schools, take at least two of these courses before b-school starts, and note in your applications when and where you are enrolled for these courses if you haven’t completed them yet. You need to earn A’s in these classes.

Alternatively, you may already be able to prove your quant skills through quant-heavy work you are performing professionally. Highlight the quant demands of your job in your resume and job descriptions, and encourage your recommenders to write about your abilities in this area too.

The MBA applicants who stopped by our table were very appreciative of our advice and input. I hope you find this recap equally valuable. If you have questions, please post in a comment below.

Prepare for the next MBA Fair with our free special report- MBA Fairs: Advancing Your MBA Ambitions."

Judy Gruen By , MBA admissions consultant since 1996 and author (with Linda Abraham) of MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business SchoolsJudy advised applicants at The MBA Tour and would love to guide you to acceptance at your dream schools.

Upcoming MBA Tour Events in the U.S.

MBA Fairs Special ReportMBA events and receptions are excellent opportunities for those of you who don’t live close to your target schools to learn more about the programs, interact with school representatives — admission committee members, current students, and/or recent alumni — and get answers to your burning questions. Attending The MBA Tour near you should be a necessary part of the school research that is so vital to a successful MBA application effort.

MBA applicants – mark your calendars! The MBA Tour will be hosting MBA fairs on the following dates:

Thursday, July 18, 2013 – Chicago

Saturday, July 20, 2013 – New York

Monday, July 22, 2013 – Boston

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – Washington, D.C.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 – Atlanta

Saturday, July 27, 2013 – San Francisco

Sunday, July 28, 2013 – Los Angeles

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 – Houston

Register here.

Important note for fair attendees in Los Angeles: Linda Abraham, Accepted.com founder & CEO will be at the LA MBA Tour event. Take this opportunity to talk to Linda and become eligible to win one of five copies of MBA Admission for Smarties.

Not in the U.S.? Don’t worry. The MBA Tour goes around the world.

Come to the fair prepared! Read our special report, MBA Fairs: Advancing Your MBA Ambitions, for FREE pre-fair preparation tips and advice on how to make the most of an MBA fair!


Upcoming MBA Tour Fairs

MBA Tour Fairs

“Take advantage.”

The MBA Tour will be hosting day-long MBA fairs next month in the following cities:

Monday, Feb. 4 Los Angeles
Thursday, Feb. 7 San Francisco
Saturday, Feb. 9 New York
Monday, Feb. 11 Washington, D.C.


Participating b-schools include IE, UCLA Anderson, Washington Olin, IESE, and many others.

For the above four events, the MBA Tour will be hosting an Attendee Tweet Giveaway during which participants will earn entries into a drawing by tweeting about their MBA Tour experience. Four lucky winners will win the indispensable MBA book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools, written by Accepted’s own Linda Abraham and Judy Gruen.

Why should you attend an MBA fair? To apply successfully to business school, you need to know as much as possible about each of your potential programs and the opportunities they provide for people with your background, skills, and interests. This is known as the “fit factor,” and once you’ve determined what’s important to you, you’ll do a better job choosing programs, writing your essays, interviewing, and demonstrating fit throughout your application.

Make sure you take advantage of the MBA Tour’s FREE event near you and register today!

Accepted.com Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

How to Make the Most of MBA Fairs

MBA Fairs Special ReportThe MBA Tour will reach the four corners of the globe in the upcoming months, having separate tours in Asia and India in September, the Middle East and Istanbul in October, and Canada in November. The tour events provide you with great opportunities to meet with school representatives and learn more about the schools.  However, fairs also can devolve into mind-numbing circuits of big, crowded halls where you collect shiny brochures that will gather dust and nothing more.

How can you ensure that those few hours are beneficial?

I recently had the opportunity to interview Peter von Loesecke, CEO and Managing Director of The MBA Tour LLC, and am sharing inside tips Peter revealed for making the most of your MBA Fair experience.

  • How should applicants prepare for a fair so that they can get the most out of the event?

Applicants attending MBA Tour events should prepare themselves by researching MBA programs, by thinking about their career interests and goals, and by knowing how an MBA helps them achieve those goals and interests. Career interests may be described as something that rounds out an applicant’s education or satisfies a personal goal like improving leadership skills.

  • What are reasonable goals for spending a few hours at an MBA fair?

A reasonable goal for anyone attending an event is to make a lasting impression so that the representative will remember you.  My suggestion is to have your resume available and I recommend wearing business attire. Business casual is ok,  but most serious students, especially those outside the US, attend in business attire.  Make sure you ask questions that pertain to your personal situation and goals and avoid asking questions that can be answered off the school’s internet site.

  • What should applicants do while at the fair to get the most out of it?

Expand your horizons. Everyone comes to our events with first impressions of programs and where they want to go to school. Don’t let those first impressions influence who you speak with. Try and visit with as many schools as you can and have your visit recorded. That way a program has a record of your interest.

  • How much time should an applicant try to grab with a school representative at a fair?

Perhaps 3 to 5 minutes with each representative present. Schools reps local to the city in which the event is being held are usually very busy. Schools from out of town will have more time to spend with you. Use that availability to make an impression. If no one is competing for time than a student can take as long as he wants. However, I urge students not to monopolize a conversation because it demonstrates a level of insensitivity.

  • Is it appropriate to ask for a business card and to contact the representative after a fair?

Yes, absolutely and you should send them an email thanking them for the time they spent with you. You can even resend your resume too!

  • What are common mistakes applicants make when participating in MBA fairs?

Asking questions that are not relevant to his or her situation or not researching schools before talking with them. Here are some questions not to ask…

  • “What is your average GMAT score?”…research this online on Business Week or through other sources.
  • Tell me why I should apply to your school…” never ask this of an admission officer because it implies you think the school would be privileged to accept you.
  • Where is your school located?“…this question does not exhibit much prior research.
  • Asking a local program…”How strong is your career services in this city?” A better question is: “Does your career services center have connections into XYZ industry where I am looking for a position after graduation?” The second question is a fair question and should be asked. The first one will generate a predictable response of “Of course we are strong in job placement in this city”

The more your questions relate to your goals, situation and background the better they are to ask because asking penetrating questions allows the representative to get a lasting impression of you! Remember you are considering a big investment by going back to school. Schools want to get to know you as a person.

To register or for more information about scheduled fairs, check out the MBA Tour website.

How to Make the Most of MBA Fairs was excerpted from MBA Fairs: Advancing Your MBA Ambitions. To view the entire free special report, please click here.


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