COVID-19 forced business schools to rethink how they engage with applicants. For many program, that meant either reinventing or repackaging.
Just look at admissions events. Two years ago, you’d find your friendly neighborhood adcom bouncing between cities and continents to provide that ‘personal touch.’ It was a time-consuming, exhausting, and costly exercise. As the world migrated online, MBA admissions discovered something new: they didn’t necessarily need to meet people where they were. They could come together online. Here, they could talk to more candidates without really sacrificing the intimacy of a one-on-one dialogue. More than that, adcoms recognized this platform provided a better way to better support their applicants.
STANFORD STEPS UP
Take the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In August, the school will kick off its Application Week, which walks applicants each part of the GSB application process. Starting on a Monday, attendees will be introduced to Navigating the Application. From there, they will be exposed to how to start, write, and speak their story, with panels also exploring traditional areas like preparing for testing and requesting letters of recommendation. The week concludes with an “Office Hours” Session with Kristin Moss, the school’s assistant dean for admissions and financial aid. In a recent interview with P&Q, Moss notes that Application Week is just one part of the admissions process.
“We want each applicant to have support in the application process,” says Moss. “Some may rely on our programming, others may rely on friends and family and still others may use admissions coaches. Our best advice to candidates is to reflect on their journey (past and future) and share these insights with us. Strong applications demonstrate self-reflection that only the candidate can discover and communicate.”
A similar admissions boot camp approach is also available from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Its forthcoming workshops explore Crafting Your Narrative: Using the Application to Tell Your Story on June 28th, Darden’s Application Process: Tips for Getting Organized on June 30th, Researching Business Schools: Strategies for Finding Your Best Fit on July 1, and Take a Turn as AdCom: Application Review Process on July 12. Students can register for each of these workshops here.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
“Well begun is half done” may be a tired cliché, but it reflects an eternal truth for MBA applicants. They’ll waste less time and motion — and ultimately increase the odds of acceptance — by conducting the right due diligence. That process starts with attending school-sponsored events. And there is no better time to identify target schools and build relationships than the summer.
There is no shortage of options. Typically, you’ll find information sessions, where applicants can absorb the basics of the admissions process and financial aid before posing questions in Q&As. Virtual Coffee Chats and Virtual Office Hours are increasingly popular, as are “Ask Anything” sessions with current students that go beyond the website fluff.
As always, there is Poets&Quants‘ CentreCourt MBA Festival which brings together business schools from all over the world. The July 27-28 event will have schools from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Indonesia and the Netherlands. CentreCourt features panels, workshops, and networking among would-be applicants from every conceivable part of the world. Poets&Quants also holds other admissions events for applicants searching for an MBA experience in Canada (July 7) or online (July 13).
Better yet, many MBA programs are sponsoring niche events online in the coming months. Northwestern Kellogg, for one, is hosing Club Spotlights that focus on its various student organizations. At MIT Sloan, admissions is running an Identity + Inclusion series, along with alumni networking sessions targeting areas like Brazil and North Asia. The University of Virginia’s Darden School may boast the most diverse admissions content. Aside from the usual fare, Darden is offering Virtual Coffee Chats for Women, Office Hours with Faculty to learn about their ideas, and even a webinar on the joys of living in Charlottesville.
Michigan Ross is holding virtual admissions events by country, from India and Korea to Brazil and Taiwan, while HEC Paris virtually gathers prospective students by world region from the Middle East and Africa to North America and South and Central Asia. Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business puts a unique twist on Internet outreach: Virtual Roundtable Discussions allow applicants to join a small group of prospective students for a discussion led by a member of the admissions team and student ambassadors dubbed “Hoosier Hosts.”
Looking to meet with admissions rep at Harvard Business School? Hoping to tap into the experience of an alum from INSEAD? Wondering when you can meet with a student who can give you a taste of a school’s culture? Click on the links below to find the upcoming schedule of admissions events for prospective applicants for the coming year.
U.S. MBA Programs: Admissions Events
International MBA Programs: Admissions Events
DON’T MISS: 2021-2022 MBA APPLICATION DEADLINES