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The Importance of Networking for your MBA Application

Free advice from the world's top MBA consultants
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MBA candidates often cite networking as the top reason they want to go to business school. On-campus recruitment and rubbing elbows with professionals and faculty from notable companies are indeed a benefit of attending business school. However, networking shouldn't wait to begin until orientation or the first day of class. Reaching out to students, alums, staff and faculty are key steps in submitting a successful application.

So, why network? Meeting campus stakeholders (students, faculty, staff, and alums) is essential to the process. Conversing with these individuals who know the school and program intimately is sure to offer insight you won't find on the web site. These insights will prove useful in the application, whether in the essays or later in the interview, as you'll find yourself "speaking the school's language" - a skill that can't be faked. Remember, the top business schools receive thousands of applications each year: the candidates who demonstrate knowledge of the program and their own fit with the campus culture will stand out.

A valuable resource at the tip of your fingers is social media. However, before you start sending out dozens of connection requests and private messages, stop and consider how you can make more valuable connections. LinkedIn is a useful tool in seeking out contacts for your business school journey. Use the search tools instead to seek out student organizations and clubs on campus. Many will have designated LinkedIn pages, and often contain contact information for interested candidates to connect with student ambassadors or other individuals who are happy to tell you about their experiences in class and on campus.

Visiting the campus should already be high on your to-do list, and if it's not, networking is another reason to prioritize this step. Those knowledgeable stakeholders you want to meet are frequently hit up by emails and social media - physically coming to the campus demonstrates that you are a serious candidate. Most schools don't keep track of which candidates have visited, no, but your essays and interview will stand out when you can speak to specific classed you attended, students and faculty you've met, and other insider factors.

Make sure you are using your own resources. Talk to MBAs you know at work or through other activities. Even if they didn't attend the same school you are applying to, they can offer you real world insight into the process of applying to and attending business school, and their experiences since graduation. Better yet, they might know a student, alum, or other individual from your chosen business school, and help you make a warm connection.

For more networking tips, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnlJ_s9LCwM
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