Should You Visit Business Schools?
Are you excited to move forward with your MBA applications? After narrowing down your search to a handful of programs, it is time to start thinking about visiting. Many applicants wonder if it is necessary to travel to each school, some quite far away, in the application process. But visiting a school can offer key insights not found in brochures or on websites – and also give you an advantage in the process.
When should you visit MBA programs? Be sure to get there when classes are in session. The summer offers more flexibility in your own schedule, but remember that life on campus slows down considerably and you might not be able to get a sense of the true atmosphere. Going to visit the campus while classes are in session is preferred, and you may even be able to sit-in on a class or meet with current students. (Some programs also allow you to interview while on-campus, so check particular policies.) In advance of your visit, you may want to reach out to a professor who teaches a class of interest. Or, maybe a current student that is the president of a club that you would want to be involved with. Then, when on campus offer to meet for a cup of coffee or have a quick chat.
The goal behind your visit is to give you a better sense of why this MBA program is the right fit, given your prior work experience and future career goals. These takeaways and experiences make for great essay fodder. But visits can also be a means for you to demonstrate to an admissions office that you are interested in their school. Be sure to sign in when visiting campus or go through the formal campus visitation program. Even if you know current students, it is important that the admissions office be aware of your visit so that this can be considered when reviewing your application.
If you cannot visit a program due to time or distance constraints, make sure you meet with alumni or local program representatives, if possible. Do your best to gain insight into why this business school is right for you – and express your interest in attending.