For many who are just embarking on their B-school journey, attending an MBA fair like The MBA Tour or the QS Top MBA World Tour is a stellar way to meet admissions representatives from several programs and impress them with your thoughtfulness and preparation…in other words, stand out from the crowd.
If you want to successfully navigate this invaluable MBA networking opportunity, make sure you follow these simple rules of fair etiquette:
1. Don’t ask questions that can be found in FAQs
2. Come with a resume if you have one handy
3. Don’t ask whether the GMAT is absolutely necessary at the first meeting
4. Don’t wear sandals–first impressions count
5. Don’t be a brochure–nabber
6. Try and attend the panel discussion and seminars
7. Ask whether you can meet alumni
8. Do your homework
9. Trust your instincts
10. Have fun
Lack of preparation is the kiss of death at MBA fairs. A small amount of time researching a school can ensure that representatives are intrigued with applicants, rather than bored by questions that can easily be found on an institution’s website. Naturally, this means that coming up with queries that are fresh and original will be vital in making sure that you stand out amid a sea of would-be applicants.
Our first bit of advice is to ask any questions that you actually and honestly have. Keep in mind, however, that not all representatives will know every last detail about their school—but they may be able to connect you with someone who does.
Another option is to really listen during any presentations that are given, take notes, and then ask a related question to show that you were engaged. Or dig deep into the program’s website beforehand and jot down a few questions based on what you found there.
Also, try to narrow your choices down to a few business schools before attending. This allows you to focus your research and prevents you from wasting your time talking to schools that you may later find out cost too much, don’t offer your preferred electives, or expect a higher GMAT score than you can deliver.
Remember, from the adcomm’s perspective, the most memorable candidates they meet are those who have obviously done their research on what their specific program has to offer, and why it is the best fit for your career needs.