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Reaching out to alumni vs current students

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Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 03:09
I keep reading the suggestion "reach out to alumni of schools you're interested in." This makes sense for schools that I don't plan on visiting, but what about the schools I visit?
I make it a point to meet with at least one current student (contact through student club websites or GMATCLUB). Is there any advantage to meeting an alum or emailing an alum vs. meeting a current student? The only thing I can think of is they would have a better retrospective view, but I think current students are more in touch with happenings at the school.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 18:28
yes, you want to contact alums to see what "life is like" after graduation. Did the school's alumni network work for them? How were their job opportunities AFTER their first job out of school? What did they do after school? What were the top things they valued from b-school?

Current students may know more about the school and its offerings, but alums are the ones who will give you the big picture on what's most important in school, what to get out of it, and how good that school in terms of support, after you graduate.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 01 Jul 2008, 18:49
My take is that alumni were more honest. Students are in the moment and completely in love the school they are at...they are in the honeymoon phase. They also have no experience with how their MBA is really viewed in the world and how the network has helped them. I had alumni tell me that other schools were better for my goals, no student really likes to admit that. Its not that students are dishonest they are just wrapped up in their school and really dont offer the most objective opinions.

I would say someone 2 or 3 years out is a great person to talk to...even better is someone in the industry or job function you want to pursue. One of the most helpful alums I dealt with actually was from a school other than where I am going. He also was one of the biggest promoters of Kellogg's management education, he did not work with alums but his company had used consultants numerous times and said Kellogg alums were among the finest. Thats not something a student at the competition would tell you. Someone in who is already doing what your goal is, is also is very helpful with applications because they can tell you what from their education is useful in their job...and that can help with selling how you need an MBA. Honestly the hardest thing for me was finding folks with MBAs in roles I want to be in...thankfully since I want something so specialized I got positive response regardless of where I was thinking of applying.

To add to what Kry said, alums can give you the full two year picture and then some. Students have at most 1 year at school and an internship come this fall when you reach out to them.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2008, 06:25
Good points. I assume you guys both contacted alumni of the schools you were considering?

Is the local alumni association the best way to go, or is it easier to find somebody in consulting from School X using another method such as linkedin?
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2008, 10:16
i used local alumni association lists and asked students to refer me to alums. Both methods yielded some good alums to talk to.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2008, 12:47
The ones working in my desired field I got from industry resources and then those led to other folks...mind you the role I want in the industry I want makes up less than 10% of 1% of grads as far as I can tell. It was hey I know someone who went to such and such a school, shoot them an email. The regular alums were people I met or someone gave me contact info for.

Overall I think you could easily get into any school with zero interaction with students or alums...as long as you have the profile and can write strong essays. Well schools like NYU that ask about your interactions it would be tough but the rest...no problem.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2008, 12:57
riverripper wrote:
Overall I think you could easily get into any school with zero interaction with students or alums...as long as you have the profile and can write strong essays. Well schools like NYU that ask about your interactions it would be tough but the rest...no problem.


Don't forget, Haas has a question specifically asking what steps you've taken to learn about Haas (on top of the "Why Haas?" in the goals essay).
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2008, 13:02
kryzak wrote:
riverripper wrote:
Overall I think you could easily get into any school with zero interaction with students or alums...as long as you have the profile and can write strong essays. Well schools like NYU that ask about your interactions it would be tough but the rest...no problem.


Don't forget, Haas has a question specifically asking what steps you've taken to learn about Haas (on top of the "Why Haas?" in the goals essay).


Yeah Haas was the one I was thinking of. I assume adcoms hold talking to students in the same regards as talking to alums, i.e. they're both an equally good source of info about Haas (no advantage/disadvantage).

I figured talking to current students would give me a better idea about the happening at a school right now, compared to alumni who may be a bit out of touch but are familiar with the personality of the school and job aspects post graduation.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 02 Jul 2008, 13:15
soni, you are correct. As long as you've shown that you took steps to get to know Haas (students, alums, class visits, infosessions, etc...), you will be fine. Of course the more you do the better (with diminishing returns, of course). :)
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 03 Jul 2008, 12:58
kryzak wrote:
soni, you are correct. As long as you've shown that you took steps to get to know Haas (students, alums, class visits, infosessions, etc...), you will be fine. Of course the more you do the better (with diminishing returns, of course). :)


My take is talk to everyone and anyone. Here is what I think the difference is:

Current Students: interview fodder, read on the culture, admissions strategy (since they just went through it)

Alumni: how has it helped them, do they still see their bschool friends (a very telling question on the culture and strength of network - incidentally for Kellogg alumns the answer was universally "yes"), decisions (if you are so lucky)
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2008, 23:07
I am working in India, so a school visit in US would be difficult. How do i get in contact with the current students or alumni?

Last edited by pranavchudgar on 08 Jul 2008, 23:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students [#permalink] New post 08 Jul 2008, 23:09
you can find many email addresses on the student club officer lists. Most will have an "admissions" officer to help interested students.
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Re: Reaching out to alumni vs current students   [#permalink] 08 Jul 2008, 23:09
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