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For those who have attended school's information sessions this year -- what has the attendance been like? Attendance at the information sessions hit record levels last year, with some students not even being able to find chairs. Has it been like this so far this year?
I'm just not seeing as much buzz about business school this year. Not anywhere the amount I saw last year.
I've never been to an information session where I couldn't find a chair, but maybe I go outside of peak times.
USC and UCLA had scheduled sessions, but Booth had a daily thing where they just met with whoever had scheduled an appointment for the day. Booth's was by far the most interesting, but you can attribute most of that experience to the "rhyme factor." I visited all of these schools last year, but I haven't been to any this year yet. It seems pretty early in the season to be doing visits since students are just getting back on campus now.
A lot of schools ask you to RSVP to make sure they can accommodate everyone. I have never been to a info session or school event where people couldn't find seats so he or she had to stand up the entire time.
I have read that number of GMAT appointment is an indicator of subsequent application volume, and the number of appointments has been relatively flat from last year. I can't recall the exact source where I heard this however...
I went to Information sessions at Harvard, Columbia and Wharton this past July. Plenty of open seats - they all averaged about 20-25 people. By my reckoning, a little more than half present were serious applicants, given the mandatory introduction we all had to do.
- Harvard was held in a section-sized classroom and was only about 1/3 full. I got the feeling that while most of the people there were serious, a few came for the free parking in Cambridge and a good campus tour. A quality but quick information session.
- Wharton's was quite good - held in a conference room in the admissions department. A Wharton grad and ADCOM member sat us down, and actually provided some keen insights to the process. The attendees were the most "professional", judging by their backgrounds, questions and dress. Only about 20 here - the room would not hold any more.
- Columbia was definitely the most crowded - and about 20 minutes into the presentation, a steady stream of about 25 (!) Chinese nationals streamed in at roughly two minute intervals, periodically interrupting the presentation and standing in the back. Mandatory tour stop, I guess. Even without that addition, there was at least 30 present, and they really ran the gamut of backgrounds - with 6 or so "starving bankers" by my count. The ADCOM presenter was excellent, and like all the others, they answered questions as long as people asked them after the presentation.
I definitely did NOT get the vibe that the place was buzzing with focused applicants in a standing-room only environment - far from it. Plenty of people in sandals and sunglasses who just got back from Quincy Market were on hand. Derive what you want from my account, but if I had a nickel from every guy I saw show up with their grubby Euro-trip Backback and unironed clothes, I'd have at least 40 cents.
A (somewhat) silly question, but, for information sessions held at nice hotels, is business professional dress expected / appropriate?
i'd like an answer to that as well. how much of these information sessions are tracked? I had one appointment for Stanford's a couple weeks ago in Orange County, but had to pull out literally hours before due to a family emergency. I emailed through the official chain, but you never know. Sure don't want to be seen as a flake.
Plus, that leads into the question of dress. It may seem silly, but if I'm out working in the field, getting into "Professional Dress", takes a lot longer due to the fact I have to get home, shower, shave, and put on clothes that requires dry cleaning. This takes much more effort than a guy coming from an office. Granted, I wouldn't show up looking like I just came off of an oil derrick, but it would be nice to be able to throw on a Polo or Button Shirt and a pair of clean jeans, and head down.
I would personally go with business casual at the minimum if you can. Remember: The real value in these sessions is not necessarily watching the PowerPoint presentation, but interacting with the admissions committee, alumni, and fellow applicants at the reception afterwards. You want to fit in and make a good impression.
From my experience, 60% of people are business casual, 30% are business professional with a suit (this 90% comes directly form work) and 10% are casual (usually undergrads and creative types).
And yes, information sessions are generally tracked witha sign in sheet but many people definitely flake on them. I have no clue if it has any impact on admissions.
I'm curious to know as well how the attendance at the information sessions inpacts admissions. Is it equivalent to a campus visit? My guess is probably now, but if it is, then I might be able to save a few dollars by going to some info sessions in the west for schools located in the east.
My opinion is that almost all campus visits or info session attendance have no impact on the admissions. The positive of doing either would be a credible way of relating why a school is a good fit in an essay or interview. The exception might be if someone goes to extraordinary lengths to visit and someone on the adcom has personal knowledge of it. Also, I'd think that someone lives close to a school (i.e. driving distance) and never visited, it might come off as laziness or indifference.