Monday, July 29, 2013

The MBA School Visit Part Three: What You Should Walk Away With

Our guest blogger is Ashley Wells, a member of Forte's MBA Launch program for MBA applicants. She is excited to share her perspectives on the process of pursuing an MBA.

Your impressions of the school: You should take the very first opportunity you can to write down your impressions of the school. Preferably, your thoughts would be captured throughout the day while still on campus. This is what a MBA friend of mine called “time on a nice bench” to do some soul-searching during your visit. This is critical not only to remember what your thoughts and impressions were of the program, but also to reference experiences from classes, professors, and interactions in your application to provide rich depth to your essays and add specificity to your school interests.
Connections: The best thing you can do is to meet students when on an MBA visit. Meeting with people from clubs you are interested in, former colleagues, friends, and so forth will help provide you with real insight to the school’s pros and cons. While admissions staffare great resources, meeting people in the MBA cafés and classes can help provide a diverse perspective.

Make every effort to write down people’s names, contact information, and a synopsis of your conversation to follow-up with them via email and connect on LinkedIn. I can’t tell you how many MBAs have offered to help me on my journey, some of whom have set me up with their friends at other schools along my MBA-visit journey. It is critical to follow-up with those you meet along the way, as they could be great future resources.
Fun side note: A friend of mine is now long-distance dating the student admissions volunteer he met on a campus visit. You never know!

Gratitude: Be thankful to the many friends and contacts who have supported your school visit process. Take time to send them a hand-written card in follow-up to the school visit within 72 hours. MBA alums and students have a ton going on, and are taking time out to help you get informed about what can be a daunting process. A little note goes a long way to say thank you for their time and valuable advice!
Conclude your visit with information, confidence, and resources for the future!

I’d love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments section below.
Ashley Wells is a Strategy and Operations consultant at Deloitte. She is currently enrolled in Forte’s inaugural MBA Launch program for women. She is an MBA 2014 candidate hopeful and is excited to share her experiences and insights throughout the MBA application process. She has a degree in Political Science from The George Washington University.

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