It’s vital to find the best MBA community for you. The business school clubs and societies, as well as the MBA network you’re able to create, will have a direct impact on your post-MBA career.
This week Angela Guido will help you in choosing the right MBA program for you, as well as how to do some MBA networking in advance and direct a strong personal statement at the MBA campus life of your dream business school.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript.
I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, and you are reading the final installment of our deep dive into MBA school research.
Get To Know the School’s MBA Community
We've already covered how to understand which schools offer the best career opportunities for you and which schools offer the best learning experience for you. Now we're going to talk about how to decide which is the best MBA community for you. This is really important because you're not just getting the MBA to get your next job, you're investing in an MBA community that is going to form the foundation of your professional network for the rest of your career. These are the people that you're not only going to spend two years learning with, but they're the people that are going to help you get your next job and the one after that and the one after that. So you really want to be sure that the MBA network you choose is the one you really want to be a part of when choosing the right MBA program for you.
Start MBA Networking!
There are a lot of ways to really get connected to MBA school communities and to figure out which one is the right one for you. Visiting campus is the most obvious and important thing you can do. School communities and cultures are affected a lot by geography. The schools that are like out in the middle of nowhere have a very different feel and culture than the schools that are in the middle of a big city where everyone is living in a dispersed environment. So go to campus, see what MBA campus life is all about, figure out where to get the best coffee, where's the best donut, where do students hang out after class? Really get to know the environment of the school and in the process, talk to current students, talk to faculty members, look into business school societies and MBA clubs, talk to the admissions committee and ideally, like I said before, talk to career services so that you can really get to know what campus life is like. In the process, you'll be getting to know the people that comprise the community that you're going to be a part of and that's going to really help you discern the differences among the different cultures, and really hone in on the MBA program that is best for you.
A second really useful thing that you can do is connect with students, alumni and other school representatives in your area. So, most schools have a way that you can have coffee chats with alumni. If you don't know anyone who went to your target schools, the admissions committee can sometimes facilitate coffee chats with current students or with alumni, so that you actually have the chance to start building your MBA network with this community and really get to know the differences among them. You should definitely attend events in your area. So, if the schools are coming to a conference or to forums, go and get to know the people that are part of your community. Don’t forget that a great way to expand your MBA network is to join business school clubs and societies!
Do Some Online School Stalking
And then the smallest thing you can do, the very smallest thing you can do is it is Internet stalking. Follow the schools on Instagram, follow them on Twitter, follow them on LinkedIn, read student blogs, read MBA club websites. But at the very least, be sure that you're engaging with your target schools online so that you can just kind of get a feel for what are the cultural differences among them and at the same time signal your interest in the school, because you probably know that everything we do on the Internet these days is tracked and you can bet that MBA programs have CRMs that are tracking your activity on their website and their social media. So they know whether you're stalking them or not and that's a signal not just of your interest, but also of your depth of fit with the school.
Once You’re In, Meet the Gang
And then finally, if you're admitted to more than one school – and even if you're only admitted to one school – definitely go to admitted students weekend. This is really, really important because it's going to start to form the base of your MBA network and it's going to give you really firsthand information about the specific people that you're going to be spending the next two years with. For my clients who are down to the wire deciding between two different schools that they've been admitted to, the best way to decide is to go and meet your future classmates. And usually, you'll have a pretty strong reaction. Even if you like both schools and you like all the people you meet, there will be one group that feels more like your people and that's an instinct to trust.
So that's it. We talked about how to assess career opportunities, how to research the learning experience, and how to understand if the MBA community is the right fit for you. And if you focus your MBA research on these three areas, you should be able to efficiently research even up to six, seven, eight schools if you're applying to multiple schools, while really getting to know schools deeply and making good decisions about which schools are right for you, and then later building very powerful personal statements when you create your application itself.
So have fun, do your research and join us for our #MBAMonday weekly YouTube episodes or blog post! For even more great tips on all things MBA, make sure you check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Get Into Business School!