MBA Fair events provide an opportunity for candidates to efficiently learn about a variety of MBA offerings. Some Fairs might include as many as a hundred programs, in a trade fair type setting. We’re offering five pointers in terms of the best way to use these events as part of your application strategy.
Events that include multiple MBA programs can be overwhelming. The natural inclination is to come away from the event with as much information as possible, which can mean, visiting as many schools as possible, to gather that information. This approach really means you will end up knowing little about any of the programs. It’s much better to do your online research first. Go to the event’s web page. Look closely at the list of schools attending, and do your initial research online, narrowing down a list of target schools. Know your career goals and objectives for pursuing the MBA, and come to the event prepared to talk to each of your selected schools about those goals.
Bring a notepad
While it would seem obvious, take lots of notes during the event. Summarize your conversation with each of the schools you meet with. You might find yourself returning to a school, later in the day, after your knowledge of the MBA program space evolves, through your various discussions with the different school’s admissions teams. Your notes from the event will be useful as you draft your application essays, they also may prove an important guide for your interview preparation.
You may need to wait a few minutes to talk to a specific school, especially one of the more popular ones. When it’s your turn, ask thoughtful questions (see point 1), don’t just try to get unnecessary facetime. You will annoy the admissions officer if you do this. Rarely will you be able to make a positive impression during an MBA admissions fair, but the reverse is not true. You can easily leave a bad impression, and this might get noted.
If you feel comfortable in a suit, feel free to wear a suit. If you feel comfortable wearing business casual dress, that’s good too. Don’t attend a fair in your beach wear, shorts and a T-shirt. Again, you don’t want to leave a negative impression. Look like you fit in, not stand out.
Collect contact information and follow up
Most admissions officers will have their contact information available for interested candidates to collect. Make sure you do this. Follow up with the admissions officer within 24 hours. Your follow up should include a thank you for their time, as well as some acknowledgment of the specific conversation you had. You will be helped in this endeavour by the note taking you did during the MBA fair (point 2.)