The MBA Tour presents an incredible opportunity for you, as a prospective MBA student, to gather information, make contacts, and advance yourself in the admissions process. But to make the most of the event, you will need to consider it a targeted mission rather than merely time to explore. Carefully think through your preliminary school list, the programs that are most compelling to you, and information you’d like to collect at the tour to help you finalize a sound school selection strategy. You will then be able to stay focused on your own priorities and gain valuable answers to your MBA related questions.
We recommend utilizing the following three criteria to compile a list of ten schools you want to interact with at the event, and to prioritize your top choice schools (3-5), which you will likely want to spend additional time researching and networking with while there.
- School Culture: Each business school has a core set of values and a unique learning environment. These values and the relationships between students, faculty, and administrators create the school’s culture. Finding MBA programs that have a culture compatible with you is critical. A good place to start when evaluating cultural fit is by considering past environments, academic or professional, where you have thrived versus those where you have just endured. What were key words you would use to describe these environments (e.g., collaborative, innovative)? The MBA Tour will be an excellent resource to get a sense of a school’s culture by listening closely to how the admission representatives describe the values and program, student relationships, student engagement with faculty, and alumni involvement. Be sure to consider the cultural aspects you’re looking for and ask directed questions to gain helpful insight.
- Geography/Network: The second, and perhaps somewhat surprising aspect to consider when putting together a school list is geography. Place will play a crucial role in your ability to network. Thus, we often encourage students who know they want to end up in a certain location to consider the top MBA programs in that city, or within the geographic region. Similarly, if your goals are related to a certain industry, it can be invaluable to attend a school near one of the industry’s hubs.
- Career Placement: The last, but perhaps most critical component, is to develop a thorough understanding of which companies are recruiting and hiring employees from the MBA programs you are interested in. We suggest prospective students gain a thorough knowledge of the information contained in each school’s career placement report and engage with the school’s counselors in the career center to learn more. It can also be helpful to look for student clubs or associations within a business school relevant to your goals (e.g., Finance Club, Luxury Goods Club, Marketing Club), as they will often host events connecting potential employers with interested students, as well as providing other resources.
Enjoy The MBA Tour! If you’ve thought through your goals and school selection priorities, it will likely be an unforgettable experience.
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As Director of Apply Point Admissions Consulting, Mary Pat Jacobs is most passionate about helping her clients tell their stories in a compelling way so they can effectively differentiate themselves in the MBA application process. Apply Point's services include school selection strategy, recommendation management, essay content development, essay editing, resume construction, and interview preparation.