The MBA Tour presents an incredible opportunity for you, as a prospective MBA student, to gather information, make contacts, and advance yourself in the admissions process. But to make the most of the event, you will need to consider it a targeted mission rather than merely time to explore. The MBA Tour will have many booths distributing information, including school tables with admissions representatives expounding on their latest and greatest offerings. It is an easy environment in which to get distracted. As such, prior to the event, you should carefully consider your preliminary school list, the programs that are most compelling to you, and information you’d like to collect at the tour to help you finalize a sound school selection strategy. This preparation will help you to stay focused on your own priorities, rather than ending up overwhelmed with extraneous information.
We recommend utilizing the following three criteria to compile a list of ten schools’ tables that you want to visit at the event, and to prioritize your top choice schools (3-5), which you will likely want to spend additional time researching and networking with while there.
1. Rankings/Prestige: While we would discourage you from judging schools on rankings alone, US News & World Report’s list of Best Business Schools, for example, is still important to consider when gaining an in-depth understanding of how potential employers will view your investment. Many rankings are also based on algorithms that incorporate various factors of interest to students such as quality assessments, placement success, and student selectivity. As such, you might want to research various rankings and find the one that most closely suits your interests.
2. Geography/Network. The second, and perhaps somewhat surprising aspect to consider when putting together a school list is geography. Place will play a crucial role in your ability to network. Thus, we often encourage students who know they want to end up in a certain location to consider the top MBA programs in that city, or within the geographic region. Similarly, if your goals are related to a certain industry, it can be invaluable to attend a school near one of the industry’s hubs.
3. Career Placement. The last, but perhaps most critical component, is to develop a thorough understanding of which companies are recruiting and hiring employees from the MBA programs you are interested in. We suggest prospective students gain a thorough knowledge of the information contained in each school’s career placement report and engage with the school’s counselors in the career center to learn more. It can also be helpful to look for student clubs or associations within a business school relevant to your goals (e.g., Finance Club, Luxury Goods Club, Marketing Club), as they will often host events connecting potential employers with interested students, as well as providing other resources.
Enjoy The MBA Tour! If you’ve thought through your goals and school selection priorities, it will likely be a memorable experience.