One day before my classes start I finally have some idle time to think back on this journey to get to this school, where I know I will have wonderful two years, learning, growing, meeting many outstanding individuals, and preparing for the next step of my career. The journey began with a big decision to go to business school. Then came a bigger and more important question: I have limited time and monetary resources, so among hundreds of schools out there offering full time MBA programs, which one I should apply for? Finding the school that best fits your future plan, your needs, your resources, and your personality is serious work, on top of your pre-MBA job. Here is what I did:
To find my dream school, I needed to know what my dream was. So I took my time listing out what I'm looking for in terms of program focus, school’s strength, and career services relative to the industry of my interest; its clubs and student community; its surrounding community; potential financial aid; its geographical location, and its weather, etc. I also ranked those criteria I had in order of importance to me and thought about the workload needed to prepare applications.
After having my list, I started my research. I first started with popular rankings such as the Business Week, the Economist, or Net Impact’s Business as Unusual etc. to have an idea of which schools are highly regarded in my area of interest and shortlisted them into 5 schools that I thought I would have time to research in detail. I also browsed schools’ websites, joined discussions on MBA forums, and talked to current students.
Now I had a better idea about the schools’ programs and communities, I knew the level of competition to get into the school of my dreams. I put together a matrix of information, worked out a timeline and to-do-list, identified the resources I had to execute that plan, and managed its execution so that I could spend my two years at the school of my dreams.
Finding my dream school was not a step but a process. After a fantastic orientation program I had last week and excited interactions with classmates and faculties, I am now certain that I am at the school of my dreams.
Tuyet Vu, Forte Fellow
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Class of 2013