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Campus Visits

Figure out where you wish to apply
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Campus Visits

by chynaxdawl » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:38 pm
Hi,

I'm going to be taking a week or so to visit a bunch of business schools that are pretty far from where I live. I'll be doing the whole information session, building tour, class visit, and lunch with a student package, but I was wondering if I could get some advice on how to really make the most of my trip.

What questions should I be asking? Obviously I don't want to ask anything that can be answered by looking at the website.

Since I live so far and am investing quite a bit of time and money, I don't want to waste this opportunity. My purpose for visiting the schools is to help me decide on which schools to apply to since there are a lot that I'm considering but I know that I can realistically only apply to about 4.

Thanks in advance!

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by essaysnark » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:45 am
chynaxdawl, great to hear you're going to be visiting the schools! This is something we think is really (really!) important (we've written about it on our blog before: https://essaysnark.blogspot.com/2010/06/ ... chool.html). Hopefully your post means that you'll be doing this very soon, in the next few weeks; many schools will only have the full program of class visits etc available through the end of this month, then they go into finals (no class visits) and summer break (no classes to visit). (We just wrote about this, too: https://essaysnark.blogspot.com/2011/04/ ... start.html).

How to make the most of it? Here's a few tips that we usually recommend -- and it sounds like you're doing all of these things already:

1. PREPARE SOME QUESTIONS. Come ready with a list of the questions you want answered, about specifics at that particular school -- and as you rightly pointed out, these should not be questions that you could get answers to from the school's website. The best way to come up with such questions? Study that website. Or, you might even want to start networking with other students before you go to campus, so that you're already familiar with what the school's about. You might have one set of questions for admissions people and another set for students. Sometimes alumni are at these school events too, so separate questions for them (how have you used your MBA? what was the most valuable thing about this school?) might be good, too.

2. PREPARE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS TOO. Ideally, you'll come ready with your side of the picture too. Why do you want an MBA? What do you seek to gain from that school? Maybe you don't really know yet, which is fine; it's still early in the process. But at a minimum you should be able to talk about what you're hoping to do with your career in the future.

3. TIPS FOR CLASS VISITS: Turn off your BlackBerry. Don't even open your laptop. Be on time and don't leave early. And no matter how much you're enjoying the lecture and energized by the class discussion, remember that you're "just visiting" and refrain from participating.

4. WHAT NOT TO ASK :wink: Darden's admissions director Sara Neher can answer this one best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vpY6GID ... rofilepage

School visits are so so important -- and they can be really fun too! Have a good time with it! This is exciting stuff.

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by chynaxdawl » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:31 pm
Thanks, EssaySnark!

Any other input would be appreciated!

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by chynaxdawl » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:03 pm
What about how I should be dressed? Is there an unofficial dress code?

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by essaysnark » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:57 pm
Hi chynaxdawl,

You'll probably want to wear a suit for any campus visits. You may feel overdressed (particularly at some campuses, such as in California) though it's always better, in our opinion, to err on the conservative side. Most students will be in business casual; some will be *very* casual. As a visitor, though, we think it's better to step things up. Jeans are never recommended.

We wrote up some more details on this important question in a recent blog post: https://essaysnark.blogspot.com/2011/04/ ... visit.html

Hope you find it helpful!
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The Indians' Guide to Getting In maps out everything you need to evaluate your own profile and select your schools. https://essaysnark.com/ssguide/quicksnar ... ans-guide/
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by money9111 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:35 pm
chynaxdawl all of the previous information is great and definitely take it to heart.. but! there is definitely something deeper that you can obtain from a school visit.

as someone who has been on many many school visits there is something that I tell everyone with whom I speak with now regarding school visits. at some point during your trip, take 5/10 minutes to just sit in the common area of the b-school and just observe everything and everyone around you. do not talk during this time (obviously unless spoken too) but take notes about how you feel at the school and what you're witnessing. these notes will come in handy when you're writing your essays.

also, remember everyone you speak with and if they give you their business cards, follow up with them post-visit. when I started visiting b-schools last year I met current students and even other prospective students. Most of whom I still keep in touch with to this day. some of the other prospectives are my great b-school friends now as they complete their 1st year and i begin to enter mine.

also... on the visit remember that while it is the school's job to give you information on the school, do not feel embarassed at all to ask any questions you feel are important. you could be spending 2 years of your life at said school so it's your right to have everything answered to the best of their ability.

also...if you can do so.. prior to visiting reach out to a professor or two and see if you can grab some coffee or stop by his/her office to speak with them (come prepared though).

the mindset that i went in to school visits with was that "ok you want a 360 holistic view of me in my application...well I want a 360 view of your school when I visit" call it cocky or what have you but i think it's a fair outlook to have.

I definitely took schools off of my list after visiting them and having not so ideal experiences because I put a lot of weight on my school visits. it's not about just getting your name on the list so that they've seen that you've visited. you want to enter it thinking "ok if i like this school and will be applying i want to walk away from my visit with information and experience that i can use in my essays that will be different from the myriad of other applicants."

best, RBB
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