While your business school application is about marketing yourself to a school as a stellar MBA candidate, MBA fairs are schools’ chance to market themselves to you. Attending a fair is less about trying to impress the admission reps you’ll meet and more about letting them court you by learning what makes their school great.
Make the most of this opportunity by asking attending b-school reps focused questions that will not only help you decide where to apply but also help you craft a killer application. For starters, don’t waste the limited face time you’ll have with admission reps by asking them questions you could easily answer by perusing the school’s website. This includes info about deadlines, class size, specialties or tracks, average GMAT or GRE scores, or other basic application info. Gather these facts before the fair begins.
When you do visit schools’ booths and talk with representatives, ask questions that draw on their intimate knowledge about their programs, questions that you’d never find the answers to had you not attended the fair. The tips below will help you formulate the best questions.
What are admission officers looking for in the personal statement? What kind of work experience and how much of it do they value? How could an applicant ameliorate a low college GPA or a low GMAT quant score? There’s no one better to ask than the people involved in the selection process. While admissions reps may not divulge every detail of how they select applicants, they’ll provide candid insight on what they value and the type of applicants stand out to them.
Though you can learn about management at any business school, how you learn about it varies widely according to each school’s teaching style. For example, Harvard Business School is famous for its case study method, which focuses on learning through class discussion, while other schools are more theory based, exposing general principles and how they’re best applied. Many schools employ a combination of these methods in the classroom. It’s up to you decide which classroom environment will suit you the most, but admission reps can enumerate the methods and advantages of their approach to business education.
Most likely, you won’t visit the campus of every school you plan to apply to, so speaking with admission reps or a current MBA student or recent alum — who sometimes also staff school booths at fairs — is the next best way to get a sense of what day-to-day life at the school is like. Especially if an alum or current student is present, ask them to describe the school’s social life, what they like most and least about the program, the availability of classes, the depth of the alumni network, and the school’s career services resources. The network you build at business school can impact your career for years to come, so you want to make sure the student body the school attracts and the culture it fosters are things you want to become a part of.
Ready to put these tips into practice? Check out one of The MBA Tour’s upcoming events hosted around the world. If you’re in the Boston area, come visit Prep4GMAT at The MBA Tour, Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Hynes Convention Center. You can register here.