I live and work in China and am applying to US MBA programs. Do I have to make a campus visit during the application process?
We here at Admissionado get this question much more regularly than you may think. Folks from China, India, and other countries who might have never stepped foot on American soil and are spending weeks toiling through the long and challenging bschool application process are nervous about having to spend valuable money and time crossing an ocean or two to spend a couple of days at a school they might not end up getting accepted to. We get the anxiety and confusion, but we’re here to tell you… yes, you should make a campus visit.
Why? Well, let’s get real here for a minute. We hear many people say how they can’t afford to make the trip to a few campuses in the US. You’re thinking of spending many thousands of dollars on a two-year degree program in the hopes of advancing your career, boosting your income, and maybe starting your own business. You’re spending hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars on APPLYING to these programs. If you’re already laying this much cash on the line, why not spend a little more to make sure you do it right?
Setting cost issues aside, just think about it. You’re planning on moving to a country you may have never visited before and spending two years of your life studying, networking, working, socializing, and just outright LIVING in a new place. Don’t you think going there to figure out if it’s even the right fit for you is a good idea? Maybe the climate isn’t your taste. Maybe you get the wrong vibe from the campus community. But it goes beyond that. When writing those app essays or have that MBA interview and they want to know how you will “fit” with the school and the program, having actually set foot on campus and talking to students, staff, and even professors will give you a MUCH better sense of how you belong.
At the end of the day, it’s a small investment and expenditure to really maximize your bschool experience. If you absolutely CAN’T do it, then reach out “virtually” to the campus, talking by phone or online to campus representatives, alumni, current students, and faculty. But if you can do it, you should do it.
– Jon Frank