Getting to Know Your Shortlisted Schools - Essaysnark
Now that you've narrowed down the full universe of business schools to a more manageable list of ten or so MBA programs, EssaySnark has a few more tips for taking your research to the next level.
Follow your schools on Twitter and Facebook
Many schools have multiple Twitter accounts – not just the admissions team, but often other accounts that broadcast school news, and for career services, and often different research departments and rockstar professors too. TIP: Consider creating a new Twitter account for yourself just for your bschool admissions project. You don't have to do that but it would allow you to have a more focused experience, and sometimes the schools follow back – if you're using a bschool-only account for yourself, then there's no risk that they'll see your tweets to your friends.
Attend any and all school webinars, Twitter chats, and especially any in-person events that you can.
Most schools send admissions staff around the world in the summertime so it's very likely that there will be information sessions happening somewhere near you. Other schools have virtual events and discussions. Look for online MBA fairs and other opportunities to interact with the schools. Webinars with admissions consultants are certainly also helpful (you can learn about those here on GMAT Club) but your priority needs to be the schools themselves.
Talk to current students.
Many schools have a way to contact students with questions. Look on their websites for email addresses and contact forms. Wharton, for example, has the S2S Discussion Forum
where you can post a question for current students and alumni to answer. There's only a few Wharton alumni who are active on that forum and keep in mind that they are not admissions representatives, so sometimes the answers given seem a little off (that's just EssaySnark's opinion). However, those forums and direct contact with students are a great way to get valuable information from the school community.
Reach out to admissions.
A few schools will let you do a pre-application consult with their admissions teams, to talk about your goals and whether their program is a good fit. The Duke Cross-Continent MBA is one such program that has this. Definitely take advantage of this if it's available (just to be clear though, this is not something that most top full-time programs do; it's the less-common programs and schools that tend to offer it). However, unless you have a really good reason, EssaySnark feels that it's best to avoid contacting the admissions people outside of their regular outreach channels like info sessions and chats. Most people's application questions can be answered through a search through the school's website. If you have an unusual situation that you need guidance on, then sure, you can ask admissions what to do. Often though, people contact admissions when they don't need to, and sometimes that can backfire.
The best way to learn about a school is to visit.
Obviously this is time- and resource-intensive so you wouldn't do it for just any school. However, once you start to narrow your list, there's nothing more valuable than visiting the campus in terms of the ROI it offers on knowing whether it's a good fit for you.
A quick warning about the advice above regarding outreach to schools and students: Make sure that your communication has a purpose! If sending an email to a student, you need to pose a question for them – and be sure it's a good one! Don't contact people just for the sake of contacting them, and definitely don't waste people's time by asking something that could easily be answered from the website. Many school websites are a little lacking, so it may require some digging on your part, but be sure to make that effort before you ask a question of anyone at the school (either a student or the admissions team).
The process of selecting schools can be a little daunting. Take your time with it, and be as thorough as you can. Just like with dating, it's the kind of effort you need to put in for yourself – nobody else can tell you what the right school for you is. You need to have some quality time with the school before you can decide if they might be The One.
EssaySnark invites you to read some of the applicant Success Stories on our blahg – almost all of them talk about how they found the school they applied to and the process (it's a little like falling in love – lots of fun but often some heartache!). Here's a great one to begin with: “How I discovered the IESE was the school for me.
We hope that you'll have an equally exciting Success Story to share with us soon!
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