If you read our last post about MBA campus visits, then you already know how important it is to make an appearance at the programs you’re applying to.
So make them happen already, will ya?! And while you’re tromping around campus ogling all the people, places and things you hope to be interacting with in the very near future, here are some great tips from a few of our MBA consultants on exactly HOW you should be spending your time. Enjoy!
Marcela Pipitone Rodrigues | Harvard (HBS)
Visiting the admissions office and sit in on an actual class. If you know current students on the campus you’re visiting, try to have lunch or coffee with them. If you don’t already have a contact on campus, just ask the admissions office to introduce you to someone. When you’re talking to students, ask them about their personal experiences at the program, tell them your story, and ask for suggestions. Don’t ask questions you can find the answer for on the school´s website!
Neha Madan | Yale (SOM)
I would suggest meeting someone from the program’s admissions committee, attend a class, and treat it like an interview. Genuine questions are appreciated, but I would treat it as an evaluation.
Leslie Curry | UVA (Darden)
(Regarding Darden specifically) Ask to sit in on a first-year class, especially a quant class (QA, finance, accounting) to see how they teach procedure-driven material via case. Some applicants will love it, but others might say this isn’t for me!
Get lunch in Saunders Hall and just ask to sit with some folks to chat with them. Everyone at Darden is open to stuff like that. You can get a strong sense of the community that way
Try to talk with professors after class. Not the TA, but the real deal. They are very congenial and can typically describe to you the goal of the class.
Explore the Darden grounds, the University, and Charlottesville. This is a small (but sophisitcated) college town that breathes UVA. Definitely not a big urban environment! Some folks really won’t feel comfortable in it. But remember DC is 90 minutes away, and there are direct shuttle flights to Laguardia!
Anne-Marie Vignola Chan | NYU (Stern)
First off, don’t worry about impressing the tour guide, get the specific info that you want and need. Definitely make sure admissions knows you visited.If you can’t make a trip, check out YouVisit.
Shawn Faulkner | Northwestern (Kellogg)
Military applicants HAVE to find out what 2nd year military person is helping with admissions. I believe that most schools have volunteer help from currently military students who help cull the incoming class. Figure out who those people are and make contact with them BEFORE going to campus.
Meet with military group. Most B-Schools have an active former military group. Reach out to them and meet up with as many members of that group as possible during your visit.
Ask how to best transition leadership skills and styles to an MBA setting . . . don’t come across as a rigid, crazy military guy. be relaxed and express an interest in understanding their culture, not having them understand a military culture.
Damon Chua | Stanford (GSB)
One practical consideration is FOOD. You’ll be spending lots of time on campus and may not be able to go far in search of the kind of meal you will crave for. Soooooo … do ask:
How’s the food at the cafeteria? Is there somewhere near I can grab (Chinese/Indian/Mexican/Brazilian/etc.) food?
The answer to the second question can reveal how internationally-minded (or not) the school is. And if it is not sufficiently internationally-minded, is it a school you really want to go to?
An on campus visit is important and ideally you can visit a class and talk to current students as well as the someone from the admissions office. See if you can have lunch with a student and even attend a social event or two that are going on on campus. Go to the campus coffee shop or cafeteria that the B-School students go to and strike up a conversation with someone. I definitely recommend asking students about their experience, especially if you can find someone with similar career goals. What classes, clubs or professors do they recommend and why? Why did they choose the school?