How to Research a Business School Online
When you meet someone, you probably wonder what’s real and what’s an act about them. Face it, no one wants to deliberately come off as fearful, inept, or unscrupulous. It takes time to really get to know someone. And we form opinions based on gut instincts, watching their actions, and listening to others.
The same is true of business schools. You can pore over their website, attend fairs, and consult the rankings, but the question still remains: “Do they really follow through on what they promise?” Alas, the internet has turned many students into detectives. Question is, where do you go for information that you can trust?
You’ll find some answers in a recent Q&A conducted by Mansoor Iqbal for TopMBA. Here, four school administrators shared their insights on how to get the lowdown on a business school. They included: Pilar Vicente (director of admissions, IE Business School), Michael Moses (assistant director for full-time MBA admissions, Rotman School of Management), Michel Lemay (MBA director for program promotion and student recruitment, HEC Montréal), and Nancy Granada (senior associate director of marketing and communications for admissions, Tuck School of Business). Here is their advice for gaining more insight (and potentially standing out in the process):
Watch Pre-Recorded Classes: “Prospective students may also be able to learn more from a school’s community from that community itself via content published on social media channels such as student blogs, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Additionally, information sessions and sample classes are often recorded and made available to students online to watch at their convenience, wherever they may be. In the case of information sessions, they may also be run by a school via a webinar, giving prospective students the opportunity to sit in on an information session from the comfort of their own home and ask questions (and receive answers) by chatting with the school as they conduct the information session over the internet. Finally, some schools offer virtual tours of their actual campus, letting students explore the campus even if they are not physically there. For example, the entire interior of the Rotman School of Management can be explored via Google Maps.”
— Michael Moses, Rotman
Talk to Students: “The priority should be to talk with a student already engaged in the program. There is no better way to understand the philosophy of a program, the areas of focus and the key differences with other programs than to talk with a student who is actually living the experience, ideally at the end of the curriculum. A visit of the campus will normally give you a sense of the atmosphere in the building and the classes. Nowadays, infrastructure plays an important role in the quality of teaching – how modern are the classrooms, how easy is it to reserve a small room for teamwork, how rich is the library and databases available to students, how intense is student life and how diverse are the activities organized by the school and student associations… these are all better perceived through a campus visit, but can be felt by talking to a current student. The prospective MBA should also make a virtual tour if available, and look at pictures available on sites like Flickr or Pinterest. This gives a ‘feel’ of the atmosphere on the campus.”
— Michel Lemay, HEC Montréal
“Tuck offers student and alumni-hosted events including informal coffee chats throughout the year and Tuck Connections, which is an online program that matches prospective students with current students and alumni based on the best profile match. Check online to see if schools offer ways to connect with students or alumni, whether it be through online chats, local networking events in your area, or at formal school-hosted events.”
— Nancy Granada, Tuck School of Business
Connect Through Social Media: “To learn about a school through social media, prospective students should ensure they subscribe to the feeds of those schools. That way, if for example, a school has just released a new blog post, the prospective student will know right away and will not have to worry about missing any content that can potentially help in making one’s b-school decision. Prospective students can also use social media as a platform to interact with a school and its admissions committee. For example, a prospective student can tweet to a school’s admissions team, a question they have. For schools that actively monitor their social media feeds, this can sometimes mean the prospective student will then receive a response in a matter of hours rather than days. Because social media platforms are so open and visible to others, prospective students should avoid sharing anything on social media that they wouldn’t otherwise share with the admissions team in person. Before posting anything on social media, prospective students should ask themselves if they would be comfortable sharing this with the admissions committee.”
— Michael Moses, Rotman School of Management
Comment on School Blogs: “Reading official school and student blogs are a great resource. One of the things prospective students could benefit from is posting well-informed comments or questions to blog posts that resonate with them. While we see plenty of traffic coming to the Tuck 360: MBA Blog, we rarely see comments or questions posted. Not only is the blog a good place to ask specific questions about a topic a student or staff member has written about, the questions and comments we see often provide ideas for future blog posts.”
— Nancy Granada, Tuck School of Business
For additional insights, click on the TopMBA link below.