Friday, July 26, 2013

The MBA School Visit Part Two: Questions You Should Ask

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.

As it turns out, the Internet can be fairly limited when it comes to providing questions you should ask during the MBA campus visit process. There is a very helpful Poets & Quants article that does provide some insight to this, but I wanted to bring some additional aid for my MBA seeking ladies out there.

The Third Rail of Questions:

Whatever you do, avoid asking questions which:

·         Can be easily found by searching on the Internet

·         Are extremely specific to your situation when you are in a group setting

·         Are “low hanging fruit” questions that could be applied to any MBA program when you only have the opportunity to ask one-two questions

Creative Ways to Stand Out:

·         Many MBA programs have summer reading lists that offer insight to what the school finds most compelling in recent thought leadership. If you have the opportunity, browse through the list and maybe even pick up a couple books to read from it to discuss while on campus.

·         Learn who some of their most famous or active alumni are. Admissions love to talk about their famous alums, and this gives you a great segue into questions on alumni involvement.

·         Research eminent professors at the school who offer courses that interest you, and specifically demonstrate your interest and prior research while on your visit. 

Questions for Students:

·         What clubs are you involved in?

·         How difficult is it to obtain leadership roles in clubs as a first year? As a second year?

·         Have you participated in any study abroad experiences? Is it common for students to study abroad via short emersions or quarter/semester long programs?

·         What industry were you in prior to attending X school, and where do you seek to end up in as a result of your MBA?

·         How has the financial crisis impacted the summer internship offer process at X school?

·         How competitive do you feel the MBA environment is here? How collaborative is it?

·         How flexible is your course curriculum?

·         What have been your favorite and least favorite courses? Why?

·         Tell me what an average Thursday or Friday night looks like for an MBA student here.

·         When you graduate, what is the one thing you will miss the most about this school?

·         How accessible are alumni to you? Do you outreach to them mainly through the Career Center, school events, informally, or otherwise?

·         How does grade disclosure or grade non-disclosure affect the student environment here?

·         What is the best advice you can give me about applying to this MBA program? Is there anything different you wish you would have done for your MBA application?

·         What do you love about the city the school is? What’s your least favorite aspect?

Questions for AdCom:

Always remember, your questions for the AdCom during your campus visit should SPARK their interest in you by being:

·         Specific: The question is specific to you, the school, experience, coursework, etc. When you are meeting individually with the AdCom, you can ask questions about your specific application. For example, “I don’t come from a quantitative undergraduate background. Outside of the GMAT, how can I demonstrate quantitative proficiency?”

·         Poised: You are inquiring in a poised and professional manner that does not appear demanding, specifically comparative to other schools you are looking at, or uninformed.

·         Accurate: You are asking questions about information that is fact-based, not based on rumor. For example, “I hear grade disclosure makes your students more competitive in nature with one another. Is that true?” is not a good lead-in.

·         Reasonable: Do not demand to meet with the AdCom and then have nothing to ask, this can hurt your application! If you are able to schedule time with them, have 3-5 prepared questions for as well as some solid introductory conversation regarding your thoughts on the school.

·         Keen: Your questions are energetic, you appear eager, and lively. AdComs meet with countless students daily—be the enthusiastic source that they can draw energy from to remember you by.

Show your SPARK and get the information you need to make informed decisions!

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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