Preparing for an MBA Event: Advice from Admissions Directors

Posted by The MBA Tour on 31 October 2013 / 1 Comment

Considering an MBA, but not sure where to start? You have already taken an important first step in registering for an MBA conference or recruiting event. When the time comes to meet with admissions directors from schools located all over the world, how will you know if you are ready?

Here is some advice that we gathered from admissions directors on how to ensure you are fully prepared to meet them at an MBA event:

1. Do your research.

Researching schools of interest before attending an MBA conference will allow you to come prepared with strong questions and have productive and mutually beneficial conversations with admissions directors. Taking a look at school websites is a great place to start. Renice Jones, admissions director at the York University Schulich School of Business has some advice on resources to consult when beginning your research on a program:

2. Formulate questions beforehand.

Having strong, insightful questions to ask school representatives will go a long way in your interactions at a recruiting event. Asking questions will demonstrate your resourcefulness, and will indicate to admissions representatives that you are serious about their program. It will also help you gather more information on programs in your consideration set, and ultimately allow you to make an informed decision on which school will be right for you. Good questions include those surrounding program offerings, school culture, study abroad options, and internship and recruiting opportunities. Frame these questions so that they align with your goals.

One caveat: Make sure to avoid asking basic questions whose answers can readily be found online! Here are some more Do's and Don'ts for asking questions, courtesy of Jennifer Chen at UBC Sauder School of Business:

Niki da Silva from the Rotman School of Management also has some useful advice:

3. Know yourself and your goals.

Admissions directors may ask questions of you in response to your questions, to get a sense of your candidacy for their program. Having a solid '30 second pitch' on why you want to pursue an MBA is a good start. Even more importantly, you must have a concrete grasp on your goals, both during and post-MBA. B-school representatives want to know that you will be a strong contributor to their program inside and outside of the classroom. They also want to know whether you will be a competitive candidate for employment post-graduation.

Keep in mind that your interactions with admissions directors at recruiting events will be brief. Therefore, it is important to narrow down your goals. Defining your goals is not only important in conveying your candidacy, but also in determining your fit with a school:

4. Look the part and approach the opportunity with professionalism.

Given that your interactions with admissions directors will be brief, it is important to make an impression so that you will be remembered for the right reasons. Treat the MBA conference like you would an interview. Dress smart and act professionally. You don't need to overdo it, but business professional dress is strongly recommended. Coming prepared with smart questions while also looking the part will ensure that you make a memorable impression on admissions representatives. Here is how to make a lasting impression at an MBA event:

Use these strategies at our upcoming events...

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