School visits are common during this time of year. Many applicants wait until their applications are submitted and, while classes are still in session, travel to their business schools of choice to either score some brownie points towards their application or to be better informed about the school’s offerings and fit.
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With so many applicants visiting the school, you want your visit to be a memorable one. Preparation before your trip is key. Here are some tips:
1. Before you visit, try to go through the school’s website and refresh your memory regarding its offerings and unique attributes. Pay particular attention to any news or new initiatives. You want to be well-versed on anything going on, and reflect this in your conversations with students, faculty, and staff during your visit. Don’t limit your search to the program’s website, look for related news articles related as well.
2. Be up-to-date on any news in your industry and in the industry you want to work in after your MBA. Read The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Economist well before your visit.
3. Take advantage of the information session, have lunch or coffee with the students, attend a class, and take part in the tour. Even if you have visited the school previously, try to take part of everything the school offers to prospective students and meet as many people as you can.
4. Don’t request to talk to an admissions officer unless you have a particular concern you would like to address, one for which a meeting with an adcom would really be necessary. Never ask about the status of your application, or why they haven’t invited you to interview. These types of questions will put the adcom in an uncomfortable position and might affect your chances for admission.
5. Include time in your day to get to see other parts of the university. You never know when resources outside of the school will be relevant to you.
6. If it’s relevant to your situation, check the family-friendly resources the school (and the university) offers.
7. Collect business cards, write down names, and send individual thank-you emails to each and every one of the students, staff, and faculty that you meet during your visit. In your email, include a reference or two about a conversation you had with that person, and reiterate your desire to attend the school.
8. After your visit or during breaks during the day, write down notes about your impressions, things you liked, and things you didn’t like. If there were any particularly memorable statements that you may want to incorporate into an essay, jot them down.
Whether you are visiting after having submitted your application or checking out the school for the first time, it’s important that you plan your visit well. The information gathered will help you in your essays, in your interview, and ultimately in your decision to attend (or not) this school.
Esmeralda Cardenal is a Former Associate Director of Admissions at Yale SOM, Director of MBA Admissions at MSU Broad, and consultant at Cardiff Business School in the UK. Since 2014, she has guided Accepted clients to acceptance in various graduate programs including MBA and master's in finance, business analytics, data science, sustainability, and public policy. Want Esmeralda to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!
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