Thursday, June 19, 2008

School visits

If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be - wear sunscreen.
A notch after that would be, visit the schools you plan to apply to.
As an international, flying over the Atlantic, then airport hopping across the USA poses a financial and workplace challenge. Especially if you don't want people at work to know you're looking at an MBA.

I can't put my finger on what drove us to visit schools, but I'm so glad we did.
You can do all the research in the world and "know" everything there is to know about the school, but you won't know the school. The only way to feel the culture and atmosphere is to experience it. Talking to people from the school, alumni, students, cleaning ladies etc. helps, but you will truly know if you "fit" the school once you've visited.

So, once again, visit the schools you plan to apply to.

I found the value of the visit was tremendously increased by contacting current students and arranging to spend some time with them so you'd have the chance to ask questions, maybe go out together and experience what it's like being an MBA student there.

Schools offer class visits, usually followed by lunch with current students (some pay for it, some don't), maybe a Q&A session and some are even nice enough to provide parking for your cool (so 90's) rental.

At minimum you need a day at each school for the class visit and spending some time with students. If there's one thing I do regret is not spending 2 days (two full days, not land, find hotel, visit school 2nd day) at each school to have one day free to get to know the place and more importantly (much more) the nightlife.

It's also nice if you join one motel/hotel club membership and stick with it so you'd probably end up getting a night or two for free during your trip. I used and was fairly happy saving $100+ staying one night in Boston.

Prior to the trip, I thought I knew what schools I wanted and what they would be like (more or less). I found out that some schools I thought I'd fit right in, I didn't like and some I thought would be nice - I fell in love with.

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