Tips for Getting Into Business School: The "Soft Side" of Applying
Getting into business school is not all about your work experience and accomplishments – there's also the human factor. Sometimes we forget that institutions are not abstract entities, but a collection of people like you and me. Building relationships is the "soft side" of business school admissions and can sometimes make the difference between receiving an acceptance or rejection letter.
One of the best tips for getting into business school is to visit schools' campuses and contact admissions staff and faculty. All of a sudden, you've expanded your perspective on the school and are no longer an applicant on a piece of paper, but a living, breathing human being, with dreams, aspirations, and interests.
Below are some guidelines on visiting campuses and the different types of people that you can meet. Remember to be enthusiastic, professional, and courteous in all of your conversations. Your interactions may be de facto mini-interviews, so treat them as such!
Most business schools allow applicants to visit campus and sit in on classes. This is an effective way to learn more about the school and reference what you learned when writing your application essays. You're also sometimes given the opportunity to meet with current students and discuss their experience and how they went about the application process.
The admissions staff is in charge of reviewing applications. When you visit campus, swing by the admissions office and try to meet with them. You can learn more about the admissions process and inform them that you'll be applying and are excited about the prospect of attending their MBA program.
Business school professors are not involved in the application selection process. However, if you're able to meet with them, you can learn more about the school and their research interests, and this may be a reason for choosing one school over another. This and other tips for getting into business school will help differentiate you from other candidates, particularly in schools with heated competition.