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Leading Business School Admissions Directors Share Pro Tips for Applicants in Unique May Events

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Admissions directors from seven leading business schools convened last month for MBA admissions events in San Francisco and Washington, DC, giving prospective applicants an unusual opportunity to learn more about how to navigate the admissions process directly from the people who know best.

Clear Admit Editor-in-Chief Jeanette Brown peppered representatives from Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, Duke’s Fuqua School, Michigan’s Ross School, NYU Stern School, UVA’s Darden School, and the Yale School of Management (SOM) with questions designed to give attendees a head start on the application process. From which entrance exam to take to how best to approach the essays, admissions directors gave frank answers and offered tips not available on the school’s own websites.

Following this in-depth panel discussion, applicants got to pose their own questions to the admissions directors and learn more about student life and culture at each school from dozens of alumni who came to share their first-hand experiences.

The first event took place in downtown San Francisco on May 10th, and the second followed a week later in downtown DC. Hundreds of prospective applicants turned out for each, eager to dive into the 2018-19 MBA admissions season just as it got underway.

In conjunction with these events, Clear Admit also conducted in-depth interviews with each participating admissions director, which we will publish here in the coming weeks. So even if you missed out on meeting them in person, you can still benefit from all that they shared and more.

And if you are just gearing up to attend your first MBA admissions information sessions in the coming months, the participating admissions directors also shared some key advice on info session etiquette. Don’t miss these valuable dos and don’ts.

3 Pro Tips from Adcom Directors on MBA Applicant Etiquette at Info Sessions

  1. Be Judicious in Connecting with Admissions Directors on Social Media
    Many of the admissions directors we’re in touch with at top schools say they don’t accept LinkedIn requests from prospective applicants. It’s not practical or helpful for them to be connected to every applicant they’ve met at any of the numerous admissions events they take part in. They’ll be more than happy to connect once you’re a student at their school. Others will accept LinkedIn requests on a case-by-case basis from applicants seeking to learn more about their program or school. If you do connect with an admissions director in this way, however, it is not appropriate to use the channel to advocate for your candidacy if waitlisted or denied. The schools all have direct admissions office email addresses for this purpose.
  2. You Are Not Obliged to Follow Up with Adcom Directors After Events
    When applicants meet admissions directors at information sessions and other admissions events, many feel they must immediately follow up by email to reiterate how nice it was to meet or risk being rude. Not true! If you have a specific reason for following up, by all means, do. But otherwise trust that they know you were happy to meet them and vice versa, and leave it at that.
  3. Don’t Wave Your Hand Wildly to Ask What Makes a Particular School Unique
    That is something YOU should really be researching yourself. Especially among the schools featured in these recent information sessions, there is a great deal of parity across schools in terms of caliber of faculty, curricular offerings, student clubs, and support offered by career services. Instead of asking admissions directors to explain what makes their program stand out, start the question with what is most important to YOU in an MBA program—which allows the admissions director to tailor his or her answers and highlight the attributes of their individual programs that align with your specific interests.

Missed these early events in San Francisco and DC? Don’t fret. The summer is packed with many more opportunities to meet with admissions representatives, either in other joint events or in information sessions hosted by individual schools around the globe. And remember, check back here in coming weeks for complete accounts of our in-depth interviews with admissions directors from these leading schools and others.

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