Monday, November 14, 2011

Information Sessions: Worthless or Priceless?

By Lori McMenemy
MIT MBA Class of 2013

If your business school application season is anything like mine was, then you are exhausted right now. Between reading advice columns, stressing over admissions blogs, drafting the perfect resume, creating essay outlines, cramming for the GMAT, juggling volunteer work and other extracurricular activities, and managing to keep your job intact, life is busy! I remember getting several emails from friends asking when they would ever see me again. At the time, it seemed like they never would! I will save you some time and sum up this post in a sentence: go to the information sessions and attach a face to your application.

When I applied to business school, I was living in San Antonio. The schools I applied to only held information sessions in Austin or Houston. I had to decide if it was worth making a one and half hour drive to Austin or a three hour drive to Houston to attend the information sessions. Despite how busy I was, I attended the information sessions in an effort to create the strongest applications I possibly could. Based on my experiences, I recommend leveraging the information sessions to:

1. Learn About the Schools: Get to know the schools you are applying to. This information will provide talking points for your essays and interviews. Some school applications even contain a section about which events you have attended.

2. Meet Alums: Learn firsthand why the alums picked each school, what the network is like in your particular area of the country, and what the alums are doing now.

3. Introduce Yourself to Admissions: Being mindful of the line of people and the admissions officer’s time, briefly introduce yourself after the information session and ask a question that will enhance your application. Follow up the next day with a thank you email.

Business school is a challenge in time management, and the application process is the first taste of that juggling act. Given the opportunity to learn about schools, meet alums, and introduce yourself to admissions, my verdict on information sessions: priceless.

1 comment:

  1. I got my MBA from the University of San Francisco, which is nowhere near the top rankings for MBA programs. It has never opened any doors for me or made me eligible for anything except entry-level jobs. Fellow alumni have even shut me out of their networks because they consider my military background to be worthless. Prospective MBA students should only bother applying to the top MBA schools; othwerwise, forget the MBA and just keep working.