How is Covid-19 affecting your ability to do an MBA campus tour ahead of your business school applications? Quite a lot! Networking with your target schools, like doing a business school campus visit, is an important way to make yourself known ahead of your MBA applications, but the pandemic has had a big impact on business schools this year: campuses are closed and most of the normal school events for MBA programs are not happening.
Angela Guido is here to help. This week, she gives some key information about changes to campus visits and how to network remotely with your target MBA schools, as well as how to act in those crucial online interactions, to network as best you can and make your successful MBA application all the more likely.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Hello, I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, and you've arrived at MBA Monday episode number… I don't even know.
If you're one of the many brave souls who has decided to pursue your MBA, despite the global pandemic the world is facing, you have a very unique challenge in front of you. How can you really get to know your target schools when campuses are mostly closed to visitors, to tours and class visits and sitting around in the coffee shop and chatting with current students? That's exactly the question I'm going to answer today.
Like MBA Mondays? Give us a thumbs up! It’d mean a lot. We'll say thanks. No, we won't, because we won't know it’s you, because it's anonymous. But I'm thanking you now.
Get Involved and Put Yourself Out There (Virtually)!
The first thing you want to do is go start your application to that program using a regular browser, not a shady incognito browser, but a full-on regular browser from your regular internet. Go and start your application. Give them your email address, enter your full name and check that little box that says, yes, please send me emails, marketing materials, announcements and any other things that you want me to know. Get into their system. This is useful because you're going to have to need to do it anyway, eventually. But what's great about doing it now is that it gets you into their CRM.
Schools have different levels of sophistication in terms of what they're tracking among their applicants and potential users. But to be sure, they can't track your activity unless they know you exist and you want them to track your activity, because this is part of how you signal that you're interested in their program. You spend a little time on the application. You click around a couple of student blogs. You read what the admissions committee has written on their website. You look at classes and clubs and all the different things that you're going to have to do anyway in your MBA research for key information. But let the school know that you're doing it to whatever extent they're tracking your activity with their materials.
When it comes to coronavirus affecting MBA study, the schools are really upping their game. They’re putting on all kinds of amazing online events in lieu of in-person events. There are virtual MBA campus tours, virtual coffee chats with students and alumni, panel discussions, admissions committee ask me anythings, all kinds of virtual events that schools are hosting. So, sign up for as many of those events as you can attend from wherever you are, given your work schedule and given all the other schools that you're trying to connect with. Go to as many of those events as you can. And here's a pro tip. If the event is in Zoom, I recommend that you really block off that time in your calendar and fully pay attention if you can engage and ask intelligent questions when they open the floor to Q&A, that's a really great thing.
The truth is, you're probably not going to make a really meaningful impression in a Zoom event that potentially thousands of other people are attending. That's not why you need to pay attention. You need to pay attention, because a little-known fact about Zoom is that they report the degree to which you're paying attention to the owner of the Zoom account. So that means that if you log into the Zoom event and then go off and browse and watch cat videos on YouTube, they will actually know that. Your engagement percentage will be rated high or low, depending on how much you're in the zoom window, actually watching and paying attention. Honestly, it's a little bit creepy that Zoom can track all this information, but they can, and schools can go back and look and see that, yes, you logged into the event, but then your engagement level was zero. You just were doing it to check the box. So be serious about taking time to get to know your schools in live online events to the extent that you can and really, really pay attention.
Go The Extra Mile Without Ever Leaving Your House!
And then in addition, you're going to have to take a few extra special steps to communicate with existing members of the school community. So that includes current students, alumni, faculty members, admissions committee members and any other member of the school community that's useful to you in the course of your research about this program? In the old days, you could just show up on campus and chat up the professor after class or pass someone in the hallway on your way to visiting a class and make a connection with current students. That's not going to happen this year. So instead, you're going to have to take the initiative to reach out to members of the community yourself. Basically, the idea here is to make yourself known by the community that you're hoping to soon be a part of.
These are all things that honestly you should be doing even in normal times. But in covid times, it's even more important to take small, deliberate, thoughtful steps to get to know your target schools and to help them understand that you're very serious and very interested in them. Basically, you have to become a total online stalker.