Questions To Ask Alumni When Exploring B-School
When it comes to picking an MBA program, prospective students consult the rankings, pore over the stats, query the consultants, and meet with the adcoms. Sometimes, they even visit the campus and talk to students.
But if you want to know if a school is right for you, let alone a good investment, there is one group who holds many of the most credible answers: Alumni.
Yes, they were once hopefuls like you are now. The difference: They got in and lived what you can only imagine. Now, they’re putting that education to work. With the benefit of time and distance, they can weigh in objectively about the rigor (and relevance) of the curriculum, the value of the network, and the real nature of the school’s culture. They can give you an insider’s view of the right clubs classes, mentors, and internships. And they can show you where to live and what you can do outside of class.
Bottom line: They’ll help you prepare for the program…and show you how to maximize your time (and avoid the mistakes that many of your peers will make).
When you approach an alumnus, you probably have so much to ask. Question is, how much of it is truly pertinent to making a decision? That’s where Paul Bodine comes into play. As president of Paul Bodine Admissions Consulting, Bodine has helped clients get accepted into programs ranging from Harvard Business School to INSEAD. What’s more, he has authored a series of books on admissions, including Great Applications for Business School. Recently, Bodine shared his insights for asking questions that get answers that you won’t find on any business school website. Here is an excerpt from his piece in Beat the GMAT:
“How difficult is it to get into choice electives?
This is a crucial question, because all the electives in the world won’t make up for the one that you need but cannot get into. Again, if the alum has experience with electives in your concentration area (and ideally you will seek out alums who share your track or specialization), then take your questions even further.”
“How useful is the career services team?
Every university will have recruitment fairs and a team dedicated to finding potential employers or internships. How involved or how useful these departments are, however, varies. Unless you plan to return to your current employer, you should ask alumni how much help the career services team really was.”
“What would you change about the school?
Hopefully, you’ll receive a superficial answer, such as, “Winters are cold,” or, “There’s no wine club.” But if you get a response that indicates the career services office is terrible, meeting with professors is difficult, or financial aid is paltry, you must dig further to confirm or disprove.”
“Why did you choose this school?
Each alum will have gone through the same decision-making process you’re experiencing. Perhaps they uncovered something about the school that you simply don’t know (yet).”
For additional alumni questions from Bodine, click on the source link below.
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Source: Beat the GMAT