I don't know if anyone made it out to the MBA tour in NYC on Sunday, September 19th, but I did and I thought I would post a review.
For those who don't know what The MBA Tour is, it's essentially a big MBA fair that is held in various cities around the United States and i think abroad. More information on the travel schedule can be found at http://www.thembatour.com
. it's $5.00 in advance, $10.00 at the door. Everyone was asked for fill out a form with their name, e-mail address, mailing address, and phone number and this information was uploaded on to a barcode tag that everyone had around their neck. This came in very handy later on during the individual school presentations and the MBA fair as you didn't need to fill out request for more information cards, the schools had the ability to scan your bar code and add you to their mailing list and/or have your contact information!
Anyway, so the opening session was pretty early and went from 9:00AM-9:45AM, consisting for four concurrent sessions taking place in different rooms. Those who attended were directed into one of the rooms where a panel of admissions directors discussed the admissions process in a small setting, my particular room had about 10 people inside so we were able to ask as many questions of the admissions panel as time allowed. My panel consisted of the following people, each handling a different topic.
1. Lauren Capone - Assistant Director of Masters Admissions at Tepper. Lauren discussed GMAT/GPA and it's importance to the admissions process.
2. Jill Hutchko - Associate Director of Admissions at William & Mary, Mason School of Management. Lauren discussed admissions interviews.
3. Someone from UCLA Anderson (I don't recall her name), she discussed personal essays and letters of recommendation.
4. Someone from Wake Forest (I can't find his card), discussed work experience.
Basically here are some of the take aways.
- GMAT/GPA: You really need to check with individual schools on this one, as most of us know schools are primarily concerned with the highest GMAT score you submit, but a few schools that are very "quant heavy" want to see high quant scores as well.
- Interviews: Treat the entire school visit as an interview, even if you are having lunch with students. Many students are asked later on to give feedback about a particular candidate even though they weren't part of the actual interview.
- Work Experience/resume: Check with the individual schools, some schools actually have minimums for work experience, some don't care. Regarding resumes, try and support what you do/did with examples and if it involves financials try and give exact numbers (i.e. managed a 30mm account or managed a team of 10 junior associates)
- Personal Essays/Letters of Recommendation: Ask someone to read your essay and don't give them the question, if they can figure out what the question was you answered the questions. Also, don't simply copy and paste from one essay to another. With regards to Letters of Recommendation, select someone who knows you well and can provide you with stories to back-up their statements.
From 9:50AM-2:55PM there were individual school presentations. Now this was one aspect of The MBA Tour that i really liked as you were not in a huge room with hundreds of people at one time. There were a total of 12 different conference rooms, and 12 different presentations/school discussions taking place concurrently, each presentation lasted 35 minutes and you were able to go room to room to hear from admissions people from the schools in a relatively small setting. Obviously, some schools such as NYU and UCLA had larger groups than other schools but it was still a great opportunity to learn more about schools you may not have considered and gain some really good information on schools you already have. i personally am considering changing my original list of schools i am planning on applying to after some of these presentations as I made it a point to visit some schools i didn't know anything about. One thing i learned is that going to and selecting schools that are the right fit for you is very important and schools know this, they want people who are the right fit for their school.
Next, there was a large MBA fair that was fairly typical of these things (for those who have been to them) and ran from 3:00PM. Lots of tables, lots of different school and some alumni to talk to. The name badges with the bar code were a really great feature as i didn't have to carry around a pen and waste a lot of time filling out "please contact me" slips. Typical of these fairs, schools such as NYU, Cornell, and UCLA were the most popular...anyone notice how schools like MIT Sloan and CMU Tepper tend to attract a certain type of crowd? Let's just say if they weren't going for their MBA, they would probably have a Ph.D in neuroscience or something, Anyway...
From 3:00PM-5:00PM, there were three different sessions taking place.
1. GMAT Strategy Sessions by The Princeton Review
2. Earning and Financing your MBA by Dr. Donald Martin former admissions director of Chicago Booth who wrote a book called Road Map for Graduate Study.
3. Spotlight Reception for those candidates who took the online spotlight survey and matched with universities presenting at this event. I don't know much about this but from what I can gather candidates who paid in advance were able to fill out a survey and get matched with schools.. if anyone has been to the MBA tour and can post some more information about what this is that would be great).
I went to the Earning and Financing your MBA and over all it was a pretty good session. Dr. Martin gave some good advice such as making sure to send follow-up thank you notes (handwritten if possible, this is a nice touch!). Also, Don't try and play hardball when it comes to scholarship information from schools (i.e. don't say kellogg offered me X dollars, what can you do for me?) anyone who has been to a negotiation table knows how well that works out and there are much better ways to approach it.
This session was pretty good, bought the book for $10.00 from Dr. Martin, didn't get a chance to read it yet but i am planning on it.. He actually signed the book...i thought it was a joke when he said he was singing the book but he wasn't apparently, good for him though!
Hope this helps guys, if i posted this in the wrong place please move it to the right now. I highly recommend attending The MBA Tour if its in your city, definitely worth the $5/$10 and it's still early in the football season so you aren't missing much!