Many prospective MBA students wonder about when/if they should visit campus. Soojin Kwon Koh, Director of Admissions for Michigan/Ross, provided some timely advice for students wrestling with this question in a recent blog post.
We’ve summarized some of the key points below and included a link to the full post at the bottom of this page.
Benefits of Visiting Campus
MBA Prep School has long counseled our clients that they need to individually determine whether a particular school is a good “fit” for them. The degree of “fit” is a critical component in your decision process because it will impact your potential to thrive within a particular program and also how much you enjoy the entire MBA experience!
It is true that you can learn a fair amount about a program online — from curriculum structure to course offerings to faculty and their research to student clubs and recruiting results. However, there is simply no better way of determining whether a school is the right fit than a school visit. Soojin Kwon Koh sums this up very clearly:
Visiting the campuses will give you a clear sense of what the MBA experience will be like at each school you are considering – classroom dynamics, student interactions outside of class, the school culture, the feel of the city/town – all of the things that factor into fit.
Impact on Chances of Admission
Many applicants wonder whether visiting campus will increase their chances of admission. Almost all schools would answer “no.” The schools recognize that not everyone has the money or time to visit every school before they apply and don’t want to unfairly disadvantage those candidates. It almost goes without saying that a campus visit won’t overcome serious weaknesses in your application, either.
However, schools do look favorably on those who visit because the investment of time and resources to complete proper due diligence is a strong signal that a candidate is serious about that particular school.
Timing of Your Visit
The question facing potential applicants is whether to visit before or after they’ve submitted their application. The only “bad” time to visit is when classes are not in session. That said, it will be more beneficial to you if you can visit before you submit your application. The visit will help you determine whether a particular school is truly the right fit for you, and therefore help you build a strong answer to the “Why Our School” essay and interview questions. Soojin Kwon Koh emphasizes this point:
The Admissions Committee has seen countless interviewers sour on otherwise strong candidates because of their weak “Why Ross” stories…
Additionally, you might learn after visiting campus that a particular school isn’t a great fit for you and your learning needs. Figuring this out sooner rather than later will save you a lot of time and money!
What If You Really Can’t Visit Campus?
Despite the importance of campus visits, many students cannot make the trip for financial, personal, or scheduling reasons. If you really cannot visit campus, here are some steps you should take:
- Meet the admissions teams of schools you’re interesting in at information sessions in your area
- Attend an MBA Fair to meet multiple admissions teams at once
- Connect with alumni, current students, and/or others with personal experience of the school
While not a perfect substitute for a campus visit, these activities will provide much greater insight into whether a particular school is a good fit for you or not.
Although Soojin’s advice is targeted towards Ross applicants, we’d encourage all MBA applicants to read her entire post by clicking here.