Business schools put a lot of resources into reviewing MBA applicants against stringent and demanding criteria in an effort to accept the most suitable candidates to their programs. Are you being as rigorous in your MBA research and selection of the best-fit business school for your MBA study?
There are numerous resources available for prospective MBA students that are designed to alleviate what can be an overwhelming shortlisting process - when you consider the hundreds of programs on offer globally. Resources include school and third-party websites, business school rankings, program guides and social media. However, as shown by a 2015 report into how prospective MBAs research schools, many struggle to find all the information they’re after simply by looking online.
MBA fairs are an ideal format for focused MBA shortlisting
MBA fairs, like any one of the dozens run as part of the QS World MBA Tour, bring together as many as 100 different business schools all under one roof, making it a convenient way to meet school representatives from a number of institutions in person without having to visit the campus(es) yourself.
At an MBA fair, attendees can meet participating schools at their own pace by approaching tables to gather information over the course of a whole day or in as little as a couple of hours - and direct from the source! School representatives at MBA fairs, such as admissions directors and careers advisors, are well-equipped to answer applicant questions and can direct you to further contacts as required.
QS World MBA Tour fairs also include panels and interactive seminars that run on the day of the event. These bring in experts to discuss topics of high interest to MBA applicants, such as GMAC’s tips for scoring highly on the GMAT, alumni sharing their post-MBA career experiences, or schools showcasing their range of MBA-level study options, encompassing formats such as the dual degree or EMBA.
Attendees of QS World MBA Tour events in participating cities can also register their CV online for a chance to be matched with participating schools or to pre-book a more intimate, 30-minute one-on-one meeting with a particular business school – something which may prove more conducive for discussing particulars related to one’s own unique criteria, eligibility and suitability.
Face-to-face meetings ideal for finding the perfect business school match
However far you are in your MBA research – from, say, simply sifting through program options to making more informed decisions to shortlist schools based on your personal criteria – there is much to gain from setting aside time for face-to-face meetings with schools representatives.
In-person meetings allow you to get a better feel for the atmosphere you can expect at a particular school. You can also meet some of the other candidates a school attracts. In addition, speaking to administrative staff and alumni can help you gauge ‘cultural fit’ and your own suitability for a program’s learning environment or campus life. These are aspects that could prove essential in ensuring you get the most out of your MBA study.
Prospective students also get a chance to compare schools more directly at an MBA fair, intuiting around less obvious traits and asking more demanding questions that are not otherwise made clear in typical school profiles, brochures and program write-ups.
Who can you meet at an MBA fair?
Typically, admissions directors and career advisors are the go-to school representatives in attendance at MBA fairs. They can offer admissions advice specific to your individual circumstances as well as help you build a more competitive application. They also offer an opportunity to leave a strong first impression with those who may ultimately be reviewing your application!
You can also ask school representatives for more detailed information about information that is often difficult to find, such as that relating to study visas, scholarships and learning format. Select alumni are also often in attendance for an ‘insider’s perspective’ on a program as well as someone with whom you can speak about potential career plans and post-MBA opportunities.
MBA fairs are a useful means of streamlining your MBA research to arrive at a more confident MBA study decision. Meeting schools in person helps to eliminate guesswork and the uncertainties and information gaps that arise when gathering information piecemeal or online. So, what are you waiting for?