When preparing to apply to business school, sifting through the abundance of information across websites, blogs, conferences and from peers can be overwhelming. Business school will be one of the largest investments you make in your life, so use a long-term approach while assessing your business school decision.
>> Learn more about the Full-Time MBA program
To help simplify the process, try boiling the factors down into how they impact your MBA investment. As they say “hindsight is 20/20,” so I thought through what I wish I had known before applying. The factors below encompass what I tell friends and colleagues to consider when applying.
- Career: Understand each school’s recruiting scene. Spend time reviewing the top industries and companies that recruit at each school you’re interested in. This information is often found on the school’s website, as well as third-party MBA blog sites. During this process, don’t overlook the companies on the list, especially those that are recruiting multiple students from a school. This often means the company has alumni from the school, and go on campus for company presentations, interviews and other recruiting activities. Companies that come to campus provide exceptional access and insights into the company, increasing your odds for landing an interview. If you’re interested in a company and they don’t recruit on your campus, be prepared to put in the extra effort recruiting off-campus to give yourself the best chance for an interview.
- Network: Get a true feel for the culture. Building your network is arguably the most valuable asset you gain from your MBA experience. Try visiting campus before applying to get a sense of what it’s like to live there, what the people are like and whether you can envision yourself as part of that community. Additionally, set up meetings with students and alumni to deepen your understanding of the culture. It’s fun and can be extremely informative.
A few questions to consider during your discussions:
- Does it seem like students have strong relationships with classmates and/or alumni?
- Is it a collaborative environment or self-centered?
- Do people spend time together outside of the classroom or is everyone solely focused on the rat race to land their top job?