Rule for Life: Do What Makes Sense

You’ll have the most productive conversations if you go in with some direction. Obviously questions will differ depending on what’s important to you and where you’re visiting, but here are some basic questions:

Your Checklist for a Valuable School Visit

2. Take the tour and attend the info sessions.

4. Prepare your questions in advance.

You want to get a feel for what life on campus is like, and you won’t get much of an idea of student life if everyone’s on break. Likewise, if classes are done for the term and everyone is cramming for exams and taking tests, you won’t get the full day-to-day campus experience (though you will get to see what b-school students are like under pressure!).

• How are interview slots assigned? Is there a bidding process? What is it?

Another good reason to go while class is in session is so that you can sit in on service classes – definitely take advantage of this if your target program offers this option.

Now is a great time for business school applicants to visit their top choice programs – classes are in session, students and professors aren’t yet stressed by exams, recruiting may be in action, and the weather is warming up (well, in some places).

While this won’t facilitate experiencing life on campus, you will still get to make an appearance before the adcom and speak with students/alumni/faculty – whoever is leading the event. You can also do some quality research by emailing current students and reading student blogs.

B-school students and adcom are generally more than happy to talk with prospective students, so don’t miss out on the valuable opportunity to chat anyone and everyone about their b-school experience.

6. If you can’t visit a school, visit info sessions closer to home.

• Choosing And Visiting Business Schools

Bottom Line

Related Resources:

Asking questions is good; asking questions that are answered on the homepage of your target school’s website…not so good. Do your research ahead of time that you can ask specific, unique questions that show that you’ve done your homework as well as done some good quality thinking.

• What to Do at an MBA Fair (podcast episode)

• How do professors view their teaching – as an integrated approach to business, as part of the interconnection of business functions (and if interconnected, how do they collaborate with other professors), or simply as a job? How do they balance teaching and research?

You will also, most likely, prepare a better application for admission after you’ve learned more about the school.

Once you’ve made the decision to visit, we recommend that you follow this advice:

1. Visit when class is in session.

Our #1 tip for visiting schools is that you should definitely visit your target b-schools if it makes logistical and financial sense. Programs understand that geography and financial resources can prevent a visit, but if it is possible to visit the schools on your list, then you certainly should – not because of imaginary “brownie points” that the school may or may not award you, but because you will be a better informed applicant after you visit than before. You will know more about the school and its culture. You will know more about why it appeals to you, what about its style matches yours, and how it supports your goals.

Visiting a school is highly recommended, and if you go, you should take advantage of all of the school’s people and resources so you can learn as much as possible about whether you’re the right fit for the program. If, however, you’re unable to visit, then you should still do all you can to learn firsthand about your target schools so you can see how you’d fit in and optimize your applications to reflect that!

Again, your goal is to learn as much as possible about the program. Don’t brush off the official tours because you’d rather explore on your own; instead, take the tour, sit through the info sessions, and explore on your own.

School visit tip #1: Do it!

3. Talk to everyone!

(Note: Like we said above, this is why now is a great time to visit.)

• What is a typical day like for a first or second year student?

• MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips (free guide)

5. Review the school’s website before you go.