Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's the Best Fit For You?

It’s a busy time here at Carlson. We’re just winding down our on-campus recruiting for summer internships and already a good percentage of my classmates have positions secured. It’s a great feeling, and such a relief! Now there’s more time to focus on school work and of course spending time with our soon-to-be-departing second year friends.

Of course, it’s also a busy time for all of you! First and second round admissions decisions are making their way out to prospective students, and now the tables have turned. It’s your turn to judge each school to which you have been admitted, and determine which might be the best fit for the next two years of your life. Below I’ve compiled a checklist I found handy when weighing my options around this time last year. By no means is the list exhaustive, but a lot of these items can be easily assessed at upcoming admitted student weekends – which, if you’re able, you should absolutely attend.

·       Student body: Do you like the students you meet while visiting the school, or the people who call you to follow up on your offer of admission? Can you see yourself spending upwards of 50-60 hours each week with them?

·       Curriculum: Did you sit in on a class? Did the students seem engaged, or were they messing around on their cell phones the entire time? Did you like the professor? Does the school focus on one particular type of career development, and if so, is that the career you’re 100 percent certain you want to pursue after graduation?

·       Career opportunities: What does recruiting look like at the school? Are there companies that consider the school a “core” school for intern and full-time candidates? Which companies are located near the school, with whom you can network and interact with throughout the school year? What’s the job placement rate for graduates?

·        Alumni: How strong is the school’s alumni network? How does the school support your interactions with their alums?

·        Extra-curricular: Is the student body generally engaged? Are there active clubs? What types of activities do they participate in outside of school? Can you see yourself living in the city in which the school is located? Is that city easy to navigate – and if not, will you have access to transportation? Are there fun things to do in the city outside of school?

Enjoy the process of exploring your potential new schools! There are so many great schools to choose from – now it’s just about finding the one that fits you best!

Sarah Riley, Forte Fellow
MBA 2014, Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota

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