How to Make the Most Out of a Business School Visit

Business School VisitIf you can swing it, we highly recommend visiting the schools you are applying to before you submit your applications. Websites and school brochures are great for basic research purposes, but there’s no comparison to experiencing an MBA program in person. Your day on campus will inform your essays and help you craft authentic responses to interview questions. Therefore, when you’re on campus, make the most of your visit!

When you arrive, or at some point before you leave the school, visit the admissions office. Typically, the admissions department will ask you to sign in when you arrive. However, if you’re on a more informal visit, one that you didn’t schedule through the admissions office, make sure you remember to do this. Admissions officers like to see who has visited. While they don’t penalize students for not coming to the school, it never hurts to show your interest and dedication by visiting, so make sure you get credit for your visit! Additionally, the school may offer special activities or events for prospective students. You may only be able to learn about these opportunities through the admissions office. Make sure your visit includes a stop here for this reason.

Second, if you have time, sit in on a class that is relevant to your career objectives and professional interests. The admissions office can help you sign up, and you’ll usually be paired with a current student so you can accompany him or her to the class. This experience will be invaluable as you consider life as student at the school. We recommend you observe the interactions between students and the professor as well as the interactions among students. Is it a collaborative learning environment? Do people seem engaged? In addition to evaluating the environment for yourself, take stock of the content being taught. Is there a link between what the professor is teaching and your career goals or professional interests? This can be great fodder for application essays.

Lastly, when you’re visiting a school, make sure to socialize! Sometimes you can learn the most about an MBA program from just a casual conversation with a student. If you don’t know anyone in your own network who is currently at the school, ask the admissions office to help you connect with someone. Consider treating a student to coffee and picking his or her brain about the MBA experience and the school. Most schools have academic calendars chock-full of social events; don’t be shy about swinging by one of them or asking the admissions office if someone can escort you!

Today’s post comes from Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Lauren Thaler. Lauren received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Brown University and started working for The Advisory Board Company in Washington D.C. shortly after graduation. She worked in Business Development, Account Management and Marketing, and Business Intelligence Delivery. After a few years she decided to go to Wharton to pursue her MBA, and has since worked with dozens of business school applicants and founded her own business, Punchwell Press.