3 Tips for Networking as an MBA Applicant
The network is perhaps the biggest benefit of an MBA.
But you don’t have to wait to step onto campus to start building your network. In fact, you can start building a network as early as the application phase. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered a few tips on how applicants can start building their B-school network before they even begin their MBA experience.
UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
When used effectively, social media can be a powerful medium to connect with others and build a network.
Blackman recommends following your target MBA programs on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook as well as checking out official B-school blogs.
“Use these online vehicles to learn about the school and to connect personally,” Blackman writes. “Friend people who can be your peers. Once admitted, you can take all of this social networking one step further. Don’t attempt to friend any of the admissions folks on Facebook. But do feel free to follow them on Twitter. Engage by asking thoughtful questions about the admissions process, and learn all you can from them.”
However, experts also recommend connecting on social media with discretion.
“If you’ve only met virtually, I recommend asking permission and getting the green light first,” Sharon Joyce, a director at Fortuna Admissions, writes for P&Q. “I do not, however, recommend reaching out to alumni or students with whom you’ve not had a personal interaction or met face-to-face. Once you’ve crossed the acceptance threshold to become a member of that school’s community, it’s a different story. This is a murky area in terms of social media norms, but it’s also where your good judgement matters.
CONNECT WITH CURRENT STUDENTS
Blackman also suggests visiting campus in person, once they open, in order to meet with current students and learn more about opportunities.
“For example, if you’re interested in finance, ask someone to introduce you to the head of the finance club,” Blackman writes. “Also, find out who is running the women’s association if you’re a female candidate targeting that school.”
ATTEND MBA ADMISSIONS EVENTS
It’s a good idea to also attend as many MBA admissions events as possible. These events can be a great opportunity to gauge fit and build your network.
“As a bonus, attending an event shows your interest and that you have done your homework,” Blackman writes. “It makes a school feel loved. Everyone likes to feel loved, even admissions committee members.”