Monday, October 8, 2012

Finding a dream school

So it's that time of the year when you start researching and selecting schools. Most prospective MBA students spend oodles of time coming up with their target list. Owing to this time constraint and the cost incurred in applying to B schools, it isn’t feasible to apply to TOO many schools. So you really need to put in additional effort to come up with a list of schools you would actually attend if given a chance to.
While researching for schools, most MBA aspirants tip highly towards the various school rankings. But other things such as, curriculum type, available specializations, MBA type (full-time, part-time, or online), geographic location of the school, faculty, and the tuition and other expenses should be taken into consideration as well.

I started with a long list of schools (25) based on their strong concentration areas (Marketing and Management in my case) and rankings. As I progressed forward, additional elements were added to my research and I narrowed down to 6 schools. One thing I heard a lot about during my research and so will you is the whole idea of "safe schools" and how one must apply there. I frankly do not believe in this concept. I think you should choose schools that excite you and make you want to be a part of their class irrespective of the forecasted probability of getting admitted there. You need to be a good fit for the school and vice-versa. Not to forget, few schools will explicitly mention certain attributes they expect in their prospective class. If you do not fit the bill, do not waste your resources by applying to that school. Also, if you have financial constraints it is important for you to consider schools that provide the necessary aid in terms of scholarships or graduate assistantships to their students.

Now that you have your list of schools, it is time to head out and visit the campus to get a better sense and feel of the program. If you are an international candidate like I was, don’t worry you can attend the various information sessions held by the admissions committee in your home country. Also, don’t forget to converse with as many current students and alumni as you can for it is a perfect way to learn more about the school.
Good Luck!

Urvashi Marda, Forté Fellow
Class of 2014, Kelley School of Business at Indiana University
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