One of the best ways to learn about the various MBA programs that you are considering applying to is through school visits. These visits can often provide you with invaluable insight not only about the application process and the MBA program (such as the courses offered and resources available), but also about the culture and the community. Note that the best times to visit are during the school year when students are on campus and classes are in session. To get the most out of your visits, make sure to plan your trips in advance.
Clients and prospective candidates often ask how they should go about approaching campus visits – below are our thoughts.
Sign up for an information session
One of the first steps that you should take once you have made the decision to visit a school is to sign up for an information session. Because there may be limited spots for each session, you should sign up in advance to ensure that you will be able to attend (you don’t want to visit campus only to find out that the session is already full)! Information sessions are conducted by representatives of the school who will typically provide an overview of the application process and of the MBA program. There may be opportunities to speak with the representatives and/or to ask questions. Therefore, it’s important that you know your story and why you are interested in getting an MBA from that particular school. Also take some time to think of thoughtful questions before your visit; don’t ask questions where the answers can easily be found on the school’s website.
Research the school before your campus visit
Take some time to peruse the school’s website before visiting campus. This will provide you with basic knowledge about the school and the application process so that you can have a more productive visit. If you are able to, try to speak with friends, family members, or colleagues who may be alums of the school to get a clearer understanding of the program.
Visit a class
If classes are in session, definitely sign up to attend a class; this a great opportunity to gain firsthand experience of the learning environment. For instance, Harvard Business School utilizes the case study method, which is highly interactive; students are asked to put themselves in the case protagonist’s shoes and discuss how to solve business problems. On the other hand, some schools are more lecture focused, while others use a combination of case studies and lectures. Attending a class will give you a feel for the teaching methods utilized and how they resonate with you.
Interact with students
Finally, take some time to interact directly with students (this will only really be possible if you visit during the school year). Students are typically very open to speaking with prospective students about their experiences. By chatting with students and immersing yourself on campus, you will get a better sense of each school’s culture. You can even try to schedule some meetings with students before you arrive on campus (for instance, if there is a club you are particularly interested in, you can reach out to an officer of the club). In addition, see if there are conferences of any other events on campus that you can participate in while you are there.
Campus visits provide prospective candidates with invaluable insight that can be woven into essays and mentioned in interviews – once on campus, be yourself and have fun!
About Ivy Groupe:
Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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