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i cold called several people within my firm at each of the schools i applied to. worked very well, but im not sure about those you have no affiliation with, but id be inclined to say alumni are usually very welcoming to promoting their alma mater. go for it.
I work for a very small company in a very scalable business, and there are not any alumni for the schools I wish to apply to within my business. Did you have the opportunity to contact any of the alumni associations in your area?
I contacted the alums in my area by either using my engineering degree school's alumni society, or contacted students first and asked them to refer me to alums. Both worked quite well for Stanford, Haas, and Kellogg. UCLA was harder, but zakk helped me find a UCLA part-time alum who referred me to a full time alum who I could speak with.
all of them have been very friendly and helpful to an applicant. _________________
I actually used linkedin (google search the school name and linkedin) to find targeted alumni in the specific industry I was interested in. I just sent them an email and pretty much 100% of them replied to me.
One of my most important criteria when applying was that I wanted a school that would give me a strong chance of coming back and being successful in Cali (preferably SoCal). I asked a lot of alumni in LA what they thought about networks and likelihood/difficulty in specifically targeting coming back to the area.
I was surprised and found that the alumni were super honest (probably because I wasn't contacting them through a formal school channel). Local alums from the Chicago GSB and MIT Sloan talked about the extra difficulty and hustle required to find a job in LA (of course, it's a lot easier if you're following the trad'l IB/MC route) and complained about the lack of a deep local alumni network and breadth of industries alumni were in. HBS people mentioned that there was a significant alumni presence in socal..so I guess it depends on the school
I contacted the alumni of all schools I applied to (i.e. Stan, Wharton, Chico, MIT Sloan) and almost all of them were very friendly and eager to help me get through the admissions' hurdles. Many kudos to Stan's and Wharton's
Ask them about their application experiences, about your chances to get into this particular school, about pros and cons of your background (you want to mitigate those cons).
If they are recent alumni, they may advise you on the most efficient strategies for applying to b-schools (R1 vs R2, 4 schools vs 6 schools etc. etc.) and current b-schools' trends.
Re: Contacting Alumni in your Area -
22 Apr 2008, 15:21