Upcoming MBA Fairs: Meet admission officials and alumni

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Upcoming MBA Fairs: Meet admission officials and alumni

Perhaps you thought that MBA fairs were only for the beginning of the application process: fact-finding events where you gathered general information, picked up dozens of glossy pamphlets, chatted with school representatives and elbowed your way through crowds of grads and professionals eager to make a favorable impression.

Certainly, MBA fairs are great for initial research into business schools and the admission process, but they also hold tremendous value for those already enmeshed in the application process.

How to approach a winter MBA fair

In few other settings can applicants chat face-to-face with admission directors or probe alumni from their desired schools.  Many fairs also host seminars and workshops, everything from application examinations to talks about post-MBA career opportunities.  Whether you’ve already been accepted, rejected or waitlisted, the right conversation or insight could lend new perspective on what you do next on your application journey.

If you’re trying to decide between a few programs you’ve been admitted to, the chance to speak with alumni of that program is invaluable.  Ask them about their time in the program, their likes and dislikes, the atmosphere of the campus and student body, and how their experiences and education impacted their employment opportunities.  Such conversations can convey intangible details about a program that contribute to your decision.

This is your chance to reverse roles in the application process.  Previously, schools scrutinized and evaluated your strengths and weaknesses and overall “fit” for their program.  With the security of an acceptance letter, it’s now your turn to do the same to them.  Study your accepted schools for the one the best fits with you and your goals.

For those of you who don’t have the security of an acceptance letter, MBA fairs are a forum for questions and advice direct from the experts.  Admission officials field countless questions on applications and can help elucidate the mix of qualities their school looks for in applicants.  Identifying where your application may fall short will give you a better idea of how to strengthen it.

Also, a positive interaction with a school official can make an impact by showing continued interest and commitement to a program.  Accordingly, a negative or impudent interaction can just as well hurt your admission chances, so treat any interaction as you would an interview and come prepared with a few quality questions for admission representatives.

Upcoming MBA fairs

The MBA Tour provides opportunities for one-on-one interactions between MBA representatives and attendees, and carefully reviews and selects the schools in attendance. This winter, the tour will make six North American stops before traveling through South America in March.

North American dates and locations:

  • Jan. 29 — Washington, DC
  • Feb.  3 — Toronto
  • Feb.  5 — New York
  • Feb.  6 — Boston
  • Feb.  8 — Los Angeles
  • Feb.  9 — San Francisco

South American dates and locations:

  • March  8 — Mexico City
  • March 10 — Bogota
  • March 12 — Lima
  • March 15 — Sao Paulo

The QS World MBA Tour boasts bringing admission directors and representatives from some of the world’s top MBA programs direct to prospective students and applicants.  The fair also includes application and GMAT workshops and seminars hosted by business school alumni.  The tour has six scheduled North American stops and then in the spring a host of European, Asian, African and Middle-Eastern stops.

North American dates and locations:

  • Jan. 30 — Vancouver
  • Feb.  1 — Toronto
  • Feb.  3 — Chicago
  • Feb.  4 — Boston
  • Feb.  6 — Washington, DC
  • Feb.  9 — New York

If traveling is a problem, The Economist hosts Which MBA?, an online MBA fair where you can chat with admission officials and learn more about selected U.S. and international programs.  The online fair takes place February 5, 6 and 8th.

Check these fairs for schools you’ve applied to or plan on applying to.  Whether you’re already admitted or are still in the application process, make the most of your time at a fair by asking focused questions that help you discover and take the next step in the admission process.

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