Tuesday, May 10, 2005

 

I Discovered...(Part IIa of III)

I would like to thank all those who responded so enthusiastically to Part I of this sequel. This post will describe the discoveries that I made during the B-School Application Process. This is further divided into

II(a) Pre-application         II(b) Application         II(c) Post-application

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II(a) Pre-application Tips

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The quintessential thing that one needs to address before he/she embarks on the MBA journey is “Why MBA?” Let me rephrase it a little bit: Honest to your heart, why do you really want to do your MBA?” I discovered that this is the one and only question that one needs to ask him/herself if he/she wants to play the MBA game. The answer to this question is what will eventually separate the leader from the follower. Only after you have answered this question to your heart's satisfaction will I advice you to march forward.

(1) I discovered that the best way to jump-start the admissions process prior to filling out the application is to pay a visit to the school that you think you might want to apply to. Schools usually offer school/class visits where potential applicants can meet up with current students/admissions staff/faculty. It is a great opportunity to make a lasting impression on these folks and believe me, when you apply a few months later, they will remember you (one may ask: how do you make a lasting impression with people? to which I would answer: Ask pertinent questions that make you look interested, intelligent and different (in a good way)). Keep in touch with them via e-mail. Schools typically expect interested candidates to make a reservation, so make sure you schedule one if you plan to visit the school.

(2) The second best thing to do prior to application is to attend an Admissions Event in a town near you (BW maintains a calendar for all B-school admissions events). I discovered that attending the Admissions Events organized by B-schools gives one a great opportunity to learn more about the school and its program. More importantly, it gives one an idea of what the adcom is looking for in prospective students. Follow advice given above and try to make a lasting impression. As mentioned above, you will need to make a reservation for the admissions event (link available on the school website). For prospective women applicants, Forte Foundation arranges the Forte Forum that I believe is awesome.

Four things to note when you make a school visit or attend an admissions event:

(a) Take notes during the presentation.
You can get tons of info that you can never get from the website. Take note of
keywords from the presentation, you may wanna incorporate these in your essays.

(b) Take information brochures.
These come handy for the “Why School X?” essay question.

(c) Make sure that you get all your questions answered about the school/program.
You can always ask questions like: what steps is the school taking to better position itself than school X? or how is the school better than school X? or how flexible is your curriculum? or do you have a sailing club? or what percent of students accepted last year got a GMAT less than 680 or when is the next admissions chat session on BW?

(d) Take business cards from the admissions staff.
Always, always, follow up such events with courtesy e-mails.

(3) For those of you who are unable to do either (1) or (2), I discovered that the best thing to do is to research blogs such as daveformba to get insight into schools/programs.

(4) Finally, I discovered the tremendous use of BW Forums, where you can post any question that comes to your mind (of, course relating to B-schools)...

I would really appreciate readers to contribute their own "I discovered..." in the comments section below.

Gosh, I can't believe it's almost 2:00! I have a meeting tomorrow morning that I need to attend, so I guess I will have to bid adieus. My next blog will address II(b)...the Application.

Comments:
great post bloghorn8 - eager to see the rest of the series. keep it going. cheers.
 
great stuff...!
keep up the good work!
 
I guess you got so much of experience you can as well write a book for prospective students who want to join B-Schools.
With the book probably you can make so much money you can drop doing MBA.
Hope this is not a bad idea!!
 
I discovered that really knowing what you want to do career wise isn't just enough - it needs to be packaged in a way that makes sense to the Admissions Folks.
 
Great post. I'm writing a similar re-cap, so I'll try not to plagiarize your wisdom :>).
 
I discovered that MBA fairs are good for a getting a first, general overview of what MBA's are out there, great for getting brochures and having quick chats with adcom. See www.topmba.com for more details.
 
Thanks all for your insightful comments. Anonymous-great idea! gives me something to think about before I join school. :)
 
I live in minneapolis and it seems that no MBA admissions event happen here. Also the schools that I plan to visit are either on east or west coast. Would be difficult for me to visit them. What are the alternatives? I do understand that its important to attend these. One alternative is what divinemissn suggested i.e. to attend MBA fairs, there seems to be one in Chicago, but thats in september end. Are there any other alternatives?
 
Anand Rao,

In your case, visiting schools is probably the best thing to do. If I were you, I would take a few days off and cover the schools in the east coast...the effort is really worth it (my opinion).

Look at it this way- few days off you busy schedule are not much when you are making life changing decisions that might facilitate your career choices...

The ad event is Chicago will help too.

Good Luck on your admissions process.

B8
 
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