During MBA Admit Weekends Keep 3 Goals in Mind

MBA admit weekends
Wharton Welcome Weekend

If you’re an MBA candidate who has received multiple offers of admission to business school this season, congratulations!  Now you’re in the enviable—albeit stressful—position of making a crucial decision about where to spend the next two years of your life.  One of the best ways to decide is by attending the MBA admit weekends hosted by each program. Spending time on campus around current students and other admitted applicants will go a long way in helping you figure out which program is the better fit.

This is the time to pay close attention to your overall gut feeling about the culture and energy on campus. You should also keep three goals in mind during these events.

MBA admit weekends
Kellogg School of Management

Making the Most of MBA Admit Weekends

Goal 1: Network with potential future classmates.

A hugely valuable component of an MBA program is that, over the next two years, you’ll create a network you will tap into for the rest of your career. The intense nature of the business school experience bonds students and makes it a wonderful place to make lifelong friends.

During MBA admit weekends, gauge your comfort level with the current students. How do you feel about your potential future classmates? Did you develop a nice rapport with any fellow attendees? Did you meet someone who could be a possible roommate, if you are looking for one?

You’ll naturally gravitate toward people with similar professional or cultural backgrounds at this type of event. But remember to take advantage of the fact that your possible future cohort is an extremely diverse group. By making an effort to meet people outside of your comfort zone, your admit weekend experience will be greatly enriched.

Goal 2: Learn all you can about student life.

We hope you already conducted exhaustive research about your target schools during the application and interview process. Now that you’re admitted, bring on the burning questions!

This is your chance to find the answers to all the lingering doubts in your mind. Ask current students about everything from clubs, classes, and favorite professors, to travel opportunities and study abroad programs. These are the real experts who can fill in those remaining blanks.

The first-year volunteers seemed genuinely happy to be at [Blue Devil Weekend] and answer my laundry list of ‘real’ student life questions. They want to help me understand Fuqua and the larger Durham community by sharing insights like the best place to grab a drink with friends and which housing options might fit in my budget. — Charlotte Whittaker, Duke Fuqua MBA ’20

Do your research beforehand so that you know if there’s someone you want to talk with, a meeting you want to set up, or a location you want to explore. Keep your interests and passions at the forefront of your mind during the visit. You want to make sure the school in question can satisfy your nonnegotiable needs and wants.

If allowed, opt to stay in student dorms during your visit. Even if you have other housing plans, this is yet another valuable opportunity to meet current students and observe daily life on campus up close.

Goal 3: Get an authentic sense of the city or region.

Candidates often apply to business schools in geographic areas that are new to them. Think about where you want to end up working after graduation. Is the program in your desired city – or at least in the same overall region? Does it have a reputation for helping its students land jobs in the area you want to live?

Use this visit to get a better feel for housing options, too. Explore the neighborhoods where students live, and ask questions to clarify anything you would want to know before moving to a new city.

If location isn’t a major concern, then focus on what does matter most to you, whether that’s recruitment stats for certain industries, diversity or international opportunities. More than likely, you reviewed all of this information when deciding where to apply in the first place. But now it warrants a second, closer look.

For applicants attending multiple MBA admit weekends, keep an open mind and be prepared to reflect on the experience afterward. If you already accepted an offer and had visited the campus prior to admission, still attend the welcome weekend. That way, you can experience the school again without the anxiety you probably felt last time—especially if your visit was for an interview.

The decision where to attend business school are personal, and every candidate has unique needs to fulfill. Use the preview weekend visit to make sure that you’ve found the right school for you.

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The process of finding, applying for, and sorting out MBA financial aid opportunities can be tedious and confusing. If you have already received the admit to your dream MBA program and would like help with applying for financial aid as a US or international candidate, we are here to help with SBC’s Financial Aid Advisory service. Please email info@stacyblackman.com to learn more. 

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