1. 3 Reasons Why Attending an MBA Info-session Might be a Good Thing for You
This might be how you feel about MBA Info-sessions in this day and age: Why would I need to attend an MBA info-session? Why can’t I just read up about MBA programs and schools on the website? Or look-up on social media? Especially since MBA admissions events held in cities such as Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad involve a lot of travel (considering many such events are held in 5-star hotels in the central business districts during workday evenings)? Simply put, MBA info-sessions can provide you with valuable information that you cannot otherwise get from the website. We will give your 3 good reasons to attend an MBA Info-session, and you can decide for yourself how attending one is so much better than reading up about it online:
A. Compare various MBA programs on offer and choose the one that’s right for you.
We have had many students tell us that MBA information sessions are sometimes like a blind date—there will be colleges and programs that you can’t connect with, and ones that you will fall in love with almost instantly! An MBA info-session will help you decide whether you want to pursue an Executive or a Global MBA, because you will be given the opportunity to talk to school representatives and even alumni, and get information on different programs. When you talk to a school alum, you get information about the school based on their experiences during and post their MBA. Make sure you ask questions that do not have a yes/no answer, ask questions like how did their experience at the school help them in their first post-MBA job, how intense the course work was, how did they fund their MBA, what kind of questions can you expect during the admissions interview, what are the industries or companies that usually take placements from the school and the like! You can ask a B-school representative all you want about MBA admission requirements, the course fees, among others. You can also learn about the student visa rules and regulations for different countries and make an informed decision. Make sure you are asking specific questions about both ease of getting a student visa as well as the opportunity to convert it to a work visa post the program. Remember to get information on placement opportunities if you want to continue working abroad as well as all the criteria you need to fulfill to get a work visa. Moreover, a lot of the times you get a “feel” of the school based on your conversations with the alums and representatives. It is also important to get a sense of the school culture if you are keen on spending your time there. You will find it easier to pick a school or program after such invaluable conversations.
B. Explore networking opportunities
As stated before, an MBA fair is a brilliant opportunity to network with admission officers and MBA alumni. While admission officers can provide direct assistance with your applications, ex-students will be able to tell you what campus life is like. Remember to ask for the college representative’s contact details, so that you can contact them at a later date to stay informed of other info-sessions/open houses, and visit the campus if you get a chance. We recommend that you request the alumni present at the event to put you in touch or introduce you to other alumni, preferably those who work in the industry you’re interested in or who did the same MBA program you want to pursue. This way you can get more information relevant to your course and what you want to do, and build a network that will definitely prove useful to you post-MBA.
C. Learning how to finance your MBA
An MBA info-session can be a great place to learn about different financing options. This is also an opportunity to know how other students who have been admitted in the past have dealt with financing. In most cases, this might have been through loans, so you can dig a little deeper into that. You can find out whether or not the schools at the fairs offer scholarships and information on the same. Apart from the colleges, you can also connect with financing companies such as Avanse, Credila, and Prodigy Finance to learn more about the loans they offer. *Prodigy Finance, Avanse, and Credila are finance companies that provide educational loans to students wishing to do their post-graduate studies abroad. For instance, Prodigy Finance provides up to 80% Cost of Attendance (as provided by the school) with a minimum loan size of Rs 15,000 for MBA students. The interest rate varies from 5.0% to 7.5% (fixed) over the three month GBP Libor or USD Libor Base Rate (variable). Rates are dependent on individual applicant profiles. You can do more research on your own after getting the basic information from these finance companies. If you need more help on this particular topic then you can check out our article on How To Finance Your MBA. Now, let us look at some simple tips to help you make the most out of an info-session.
Also Read: 7 Reasons to do an MBA
2. How You Can Get the Most From an MBA Information Session
While you prepare yourself to get the most out of an MBA info-session, you should also remember that the AdCom members are keeping their eyes open for people who are smart, articulate, and who are the best fit for their programs. There have been instances when they have started a conversation at an MBA info-session and have ended with an offer once the candidate applied. Here is a list of the 7 things that you can do to make a great first impression to the admissions committee and how this will help you in getting very useful information:
A. Assess your MBA goals and needs
Before you attend an MBA fair, ask yourself the following questions — What are your short-term and long-term goals? Why an MBA? How will an MBA help you achieve your academic and professional goals? What are you looking for in the ‘perfect’ business school? How will you contribute to the school, as a student? See Learn how to get into a Top B-School on how you can present your profile to the Admissions Committee. Once you have your answers to these questions, it becomes easier to assess the resources you have in hand, your academic and professional eligibility, your budget and then to decide on the kind of schools you’d like to pursue.
B. Make a list of schools to visit
Prepare a list of the schools that will be visiting in the seminar/fair. Do background research by Googling everything you can about the school and their programs. Check out the ranking of the school in a particular geography (you may want to check out Bloomberg or US News). Look at the geographic location – does it have any locational advantage? What are the various specializations offered – are these in your areas of interest? What does the program cost and does it fit your budget?
C. Decide on the criteria for choosing a B-school
Once you’ve done some basic research, fix certain criteria to further shortlist colleges of your choice. Ask a few detailed questions: What is the student profile like? Do you know anyone from that school on Linkedin who you can connect with? What are the companies that recruit from these colleges? Which industries do the students bag the most jobs in? What social activities do the colleges focus on? What is the grading system? Once you have a comprehensive checklist of criteria and schools, it will become easier for you to visit different booths and strike up an appropriate conversation on the day of the fair. See Learn How to select the right B-School.
D. Prepare to sell yourself
- Carry a 1-page business resume that will give the college representative a basic idea of you. Or, just carry a sheet that gives a high-level summary of your profile such as GMAT scores, Education & Experience, along with major extra-curricular activities.
- While you hand over a copy to the representatives, you can start talking a little more about yourself and why you want to pursue an MBA.
- Ensure that you get their business card, so you can write to them later.
- Thank them for their time, and always put in a word of praise (based on what you have read up) as it is courteous to do so.
E. Questions to ask MBA representatives at the event
Ask questions, lots of them! Don’t think too much about approaching a school’s AdCom. Their duty is to answer your queries the best way they can. As mentioned earlier, ask them questions that are relevant, well-researched, and insightful. Not just to impress them but also because these questions can help you choose a school that’s aligned with your requirements.
Also, remember: Don’t ask for data – ask for opinion. The value should be given to the person’s perspective and not to something Google-able. So try to pick their brains by asking about things that are specific to your case. Here is a table that can help you with more specifics:
F. What attire you should wear?
You don’t want to wear full formals and end up feeling uncomfortable and odd in the crowd. And you shouldn’t wear your pair of khaki shorts and sandals, because come on, you still need to present yourself well to the school representatives. The same goes to you ladies—that summer dress can be worn on another day 🙂 The key is to wear something that makes you look professional yet not overdressed. Step in Business Casuals!
Here are a few “thumb rules” that will help you decide:
- Would you wear this for an interview?
- Can you go to a fine dining restaurant after the event?
- Is this something you typically wear to meet clients at work?
Answer these honestly, and you’ll look your best. Bottom line: be comfortable in whatever you wear and look smart!
G. Post-event contact
Once the MBA fair is over, you need to make it a point to follow up with all the school representatives you’ve spoken to.
- Write an email with a short “thank you” and a summary of the conversation.
- Stay in touch by adding them on LinkedIn or following them on twitter.
- Visit more open houses/info-sessions that are conducted by the school.
- See if you get an opportunity to interact with them face to face.
- Request them to help connect you to the college alumni.
- If it’s possible, pay a visit to their campus.
CrackVerbal has been associated with various MBA fairs, MBA Information Sessions, and other Business school admission events since 2010, and we have closely witnessed how potential candidates interact with each other and with the school representative. Here is some bonus fun information for you to read! Mentioned below are the 3 main types of people that we have identified based on their interactions with the MBA admissions committee of various schools.
So we’ve explained in detail on why you should attend an MBA info-session—you can compare various programs, build a strong network, learn how to finance your MBA, and learn more about the admission requirements — basically stuff you can’t find on the internet. We also discussed how you can get the most out of an info-session by following this list— assessing your MBA goals, listing out the schools you want to visit, among others. Remember to prepare to sell yourself by impressing the school representatives with the questions you ask and how you present yourself! Now that you are all set to go, get going on that list of questions you want answered at an Admissions event. We hope you found our article helpful and if you have any more questions or if you haven’t taken our GMAT Online Course , feel free to comment; we’ll be glad to help you. Thank You!