Monday, October 22, 2012

Campus Visits: Discover Your Answer to “Why this School?”

All top schools are looking to find students that demonstrate “fit”.  Campus visits can help you experience MBA “fit” and pinpoint what it is about each school that resonates most with you.
Keep an open, inquisitive mind on your campus visit. Every MBA program has a reputation but it comes down to what each school means to you. Campus visits may challenge your pre-conceived ideas. When you step on to campus and feel that unique energy, you’ll know where you belong.

7 key steps for planning your visit:

1)      Check out school websites for campus visit dates. Registrations can be limited and October dates will fill up fast with Round 1 deadlines approaching.

2)     Sign up for as many activities as you can: campus tour, information session, class, and lunch with students or faculty.

3)     Schedule time to meet or chat with current students while on campus, especially if you have interest in a particular program, club, field of study, or background.  Many schools will include student profiles on their website for this reason, or if not, you should not hesitate to ask when setting up a campus visit. Take the initiative and come prepared to ask questions!

4)     Wear business casual (nice slacks, collared shirt, or dress) and shoes you can walk in for the visit. Yes, you can still get into b-school if you trip in your heels on the tour.

5)     Check out recommended accommodation and transportation details. Parking at urban business schools can be difficult. Make sure to arrive early and bring a photo ID, pen, and notepad.

6)     After touring the campus, explore the nearby neighborhood and if possible, check out areas where current students live. This could be your new home for the next 2 years!

7)     Take time to reflect right after the visit.   Initial impressions will fade over time and it’s important to record your experience. All your notes will be great fodder for applications and interviews.

So what if you can’t visit campus? The next best thing is attending an open house event in your city or MBA program-hosted webinar.

Good luck and happy visiting!

Teresa Delgado, Forté Fellow
Class of 2014, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business


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