How to Talk to the MBA Admissions Committee

Where can I talk to the adcom? What questions do I ask the adcom at the business school I want to go to? Wait, should I be talking to the MBA adcom?

Yes, you should. Networking (sorry!) with the MBA admissions committee at the programs you want to apply to is a great way to make yourself known and learn more about the culture of the school. Angela Guido is here with the whys, hows, dos and don'ts as you start building connections with your target school.

And remember, as you gaze into business school, the business school gazes back.

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YouTube video

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Good morning and welcome back to MBA Monday! I am Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, and I am here to help you make the journey of applying to business school easier, more fun, and more successful. Today, I'm going to tell you how to connect with members of the admissions committee at your favorite schools. It's a little-known fact that in my days at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, I was a member of the dean's student admissions committee. I don't talk about this very often because I personally believe that being on the admissions committee doesn't really qualify one to give admissions advice. At least, all of the admissions advice that I have learned did not come from my days on the adcom, and it came from my days afterwards, helping people communicate who they are more effectively and connect with other members of the human race. And those are really the two things that you need to do when you are meeting with members of the admissions committee at your favorite school. You need to keep two things in mind. Number one, they are human. And number two, people want to work with people they like.


The Importance Of Connecting With The Admissions Committee


Before I tell you how to go out and connect with the admissions committee, let's talk about why it might be really important. Every school is really interested in admitting students that want to be there. School fit, as it might be labeled, means that you can demonstrate that you know what this program is all about and that it is one of your top choices — if not your very top choice — for your own MBA experience. Part of how schools are going to know that you're really serious about their program is that you're going to show up on their website, show up at their events, and ideally, you will be a living, breathing person that someone on the admissions committee has met and interacted with and liked. Now, different schools make the members of their admissions committee accessible to varying degrees. General rule of thumb is that the admissions committee members at the top, top schools are playing much more of a decision-making function than a marketing function. You're not going to see a lot of members of the Harvard and Stanford adcom, or Wharton for that matter, walking around at various events worldwide and schmoozing and trying to convince you that you really need to be applying to their school because they already have more applications than they can handle. So at the very top schools, most of our clients find it's pretty challenging to connect with members of the admissions committee in an organic way. If you can do it at events (and in a minute I'm going to tell you some great events to go to to connect with members of the admissions committee) then by all means do it. But a rule of thumb is that the lower you go in the rankings, the more marketing the schools are doing, and therefore the more they're making themselves available to you for conversations.


Where To Meet AdCom Members


If you're looking for a great place to go to connect live and in person with members of the admissions committees from some of your very favorite MBA programs, I have great news for you. Our friends at Access MBA are hosting multiple live events where members of the adcom are going to be there waiting to talk to you. If you live in Los Angeles, you can attend their event September 17th, San Francisco is September 18th, Chicago September 20th, New York September 22nd, DC September 24th, Miami 26th, and then there will be west coast and east coast online events in October. It's really an abundance of rich opportunities to connect with members of the admissions committees at your favorite school. So scroll down into the comments, click on the links to join the Access MBA events near you. You're going to have a great time. Many of our clients have attended these events and they have great things to say about them because they're really designed to give you personal, up-close connections with members of the admissions committee so that you can really get to know the schools that you're applying to. So, sign up for those events and then get ready to make a great impression when you're there talking to the admissions committee. A lot of our students, a lot of our clients get very confused about how to talk to the adcom. It's a little bit awkward when you think about it, because there you are, like, really hoping they're going to let you in, you're nervous, you want to make a great impression, but at the same time you have questions. Big questions, legitimate questions, questions, questions based in your insecurities about your profile. What are you going to talk about in the ten minutes or so — or even more — that you are face to face with the member of the admissions committee who's there just to answer your questions? So remember, I started this video by talking about the two things you need to keep in mind about the admissions committee. They're human and people like to work with people they like. So your goal in the admissions committee interaction is to make a genuine human connection. You want the person you're speaking to to walk away feeling good about who you are, feeling like you are a competent but most importantly, good and kind and thoughtful person who is serious about your future and interested in the program that they represent. So there are two kinds of types of questions that you want to prepare for admissions committee members that you meet on your journey in applying to business school.


The 2 Types Of Questions To Prepare For Admissions Committee Members


1. Questions About Yourself, Your Candidacy, & Your Profile

The first set of questions is questions about yourself, your candidacy, and your profile. Not every school will make admissions committee members available to give you advice on how to be successful in their application, but for the schools that do you want to prepare really thoughtful questions. So these are questions like: I'm concerned about my GMAT score; Here are some other aspects of my profile; Do you have advice for me about how to present the strongest quant profile in my application? That's a really thoughtful question because it shows you're aware of where you might be weaker, you're putting forward other strengths, and you're asking for constructive feedback. You're not making them do all the work of reading your profile and telling you what they should think. You're giving them the concrete boundary of where they can give you advice that's going to help you be more successful in the process. Most schools will be really honest with you about whether or not they feel that the aspect you're concerned about is in fact something to be concerned about. They will let you know honestly and they will give you really good feedback.


2. Questions About The Program

The second type of question that you want to be prepared to ask the admissions committee are questions about the program that show that you know a thing or two already. You've done some research, but you're seeking for them to share their own experiences with you, and this is because people love to talk about themselves, their experiences, and what they know. So, if you give the admissions committee the chance to share their expertise and share their wisdom and then you listen thoughtfully and ask intelligent follow up questions, they're naturally going to feel a sense of rapport with you. You are creating a very strong impression of you as a professional. You know how to listen, you know how to ask questions, you’ve thought about things, and you know their school and you've done some research. So for example, here's a really good question that you might want to ask this year. Oh, I read that Tuck has just recruited a brand new dean. What do you think are going to be the major changes in the campus and the culture this year at Tuck, given that there's a new person guiding the ship? You see how that shows that you're up on the latest information about the program and you're not just trotting out what you know, showing that you're so smart about the school? You're asking a really thoughtful question that will actually impact you as a student if you matriculated Tuck and that gives the admissions committee the chance to talk about something that is very clearly top of mind for them because, as you probably know, whenever management changes, everything changes. So undoubtedly members of the admissions committee at Tuck right now are all very excited, potentially even nervous about the changes that are coming. So they're going to be keen to share their experiences with you and that's going to give you really useful information about the school. But most importantly, it's going to help build a connection with the person that you're talking to. This is so important because the people that the admissions committee will choose to admit when push comes to shove or the people that they like, the people they feel a connection with, the people that they feel will genuinely add value to the culture of their program.

So don't forget that when you speak to the admissions committee, you are being evaluated. These are the people who are going to make a decision on your profile at some point or another. So, make a connection with them while still showing that you know about their program and that you're genuinely curious and interested in this community for your MBA. If you do that, you'll be doing the very best that you can do to bolster your MBA candidacy by connecting with members of the admissions committee. And like I said, one of the best ways to do that is to meet them in person. So check out the Access MBA events down in the comments. And while you're down there, please subscribe to our channel so you don't miss a single MBA Monday. I will see you next week. Happy networking!

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Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder of Career Protocol

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