‘The first step is always the hardest.’
From halftime speeches to PowerPoints, the ‘first step’ is the go-to proverb to stir the room and kick off a comeback. That’s the intent, at least. In reality, it has become a tired cliché, a call to action for the tired and jaded who’d rather be somewhere else. That’s because many have already taken that first step – or even committed down a path. Most times, it was taking that step in the wrong direction – driven by the wrong reasons – that left them dissatisfied.
That’s certainly true for MBA candidates. Where do you even start when it comes to picking a school? Is the first step taking the GMAT to know where you stand? Do you consult blogs or school sites to unravel that ever-changing and ever-elusive sense of ‘fit?’ Why not just go to the source and hold heart-to-hearts with students and alumni? Each approach holds its own merits, but it can be hard to beat admissions events for meeting people, building networks, and identifying potential red flags.
AN ALL-IN-ONE LIST OF EVENTS WITH ALL THE TOP MBA PROGRAMS
These events are already running for future members of the Class of 2022 and beyond. Take the MBA Tour for example, which hits five continents annually. This month, the MBA Tour stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington D.C. The Chicago event, held July 17th, features 34 programs. Headlined by Northwestern Kellogg, Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School, the event also includes representatives from top international programs (London Business School, IESE, Toronto Rotman), local favorites (University of Wisconsin, Notre Dame Mendoza, Indiana Kelley), and national powerhouses (UCLA Anderson, Emory Goizueta, Carnegie Mellon Tepper). Held in the Chicago Hilton, the event includes school presentations, face-to-face meetups with admissions representatives, advice panels, and an informal networking fair to chat with alumni and fellow applicants alike.
On one level, admissions events enable potential MBA candidates to introduce themselves, show interest, and potentially stand out from peers. On another, they offer an inside peek at different school cultures. Here, prospective students can pose questions and measure how different schools stack up. Just as important, they can observe school representatives for clues on how well the message fits the reality. In short, these events are a perfect first step to start a conversation, humanize the decision-makers, and de-mystify the process.
Where will you find your favorite MBA programs this school year? Business schools tend to dedicate a page on the websites for upcoming events. To help readers quickly access these events, Poets&Quants has included links to the events pages for nearly 50 top schools. These continuously-updated listings are far more diverse than large convoys sponsored by the Forté Foundation or The Consortium. They also include school-specific info sessions, coffee chats, webinars, panels, affinity groups, and meet-and-greets. Some schools, such as the University of Maryland, even include dates and times for one-on-one sessions to help with campus visits.
Looking to save time and travel costs? Click on the “Upcoming Events” links below to find out where and when your target schools will be near you.