My 2 cents about MBA tours

Amidst all the thanksgiving buzz that is happening, B schools are gearing up for the next MBA tour. In Bangalore where I work its happening next weekend (5th December) and I plan to attend it and attend it meaningfully.

MBA tours and fairs are a great way to learn about B schools, specially so for international students who cannot do a campus visit. But it may not always be true. My last experience of attending a MBA tour was bizzare where I couldn't gain any new value outta it and strongly felt that it was a waste of my time and money. But whom to blame ? I think the problem is the sheer number of people who choose to attend these fairs. These fairs should ideally be open for people who
  1. Really want to do MBA or atleast considering it in short term. I have seen people who are not very keen on MBA but just turn up for some purpose which I haven't understood till now. 
  2. Done their basic research about GMAT, MBA and B schools. I mean we need to respect the fact that the B school reps have traveled a great distance and spent a lot of effort before making this fair happen. It will be a great waste if they need to answer questions like, where are you located ? Can you tell me if I can be accepted at your school (of course without giving any profile). No really. People do ask such super basic questions which can easily be answered by websites and sometimes by sheer common sense. Come on guys, learn to google instead of bothering adcom !
The major disadvantage of a big crowd with people in all stages of their MBA process is that people who really want to meet the target B school adcom and want to really know few useful things cannot really get a chance.

I cannot really think of foolproof solution to this problem because MBA tour organizers cannot really tell which participant is serious about MBA and who is not. But individual attendees can take some steps to make some real value of out of it. Here are those.
  •  Please please please do your basic research about GMAT, MBA and B schools. In today's digital age, googling can give any information about any topic under the sun. So take some time and do the basic research. Get to know the list of participating schools and shortlist few schools which you might be interested in. Don't use MBA fair to get to know name of schools !
  • Most participating schools send out mails to attendees few days before the MBA fair. Some also offer exclusive consulting sessions for interested candidates. Make the best use of it. See if you can book such sessions with your target schools. This way you can be sure that you will have some quality time with the desired B school rep. This post about MBA informational interviews can help you out in having a useful session.
  • Time your MBA tour activity. This is a interesting take away from my last MBA tour experience. Though mornings will see a flood of attendees, this initial fizz will soon die. If you stay for long till afternoon session, you stand a good chance of meeting people. This is because people with superficial interest will most choose to leave the venue. 
  • Network with other participants as well. This is the most important part. Though you can not always be talking and networking with adcom, you can always reach out fellow participants and network with them. This can give you a good perspective about the competent pool and can also lead to valuable personal/professional connections. 
  • Always follow up with people who met with you. It might be a good time to make the 1st impression on the adcom. 

With these learnings, I hope to make my next MBA tour experience bit more fruitful. Does any of my readers from Bangalore planning to attend the MBA Tour ? I look forward to network with you all.

What do you all think about this ? Be sure to leave a comment !


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