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MBA Admissions Tip: Make the Most of Your Welcome Weekend Experience

mba welcome weekend

In the spring months, many MBA programs host business school welcome weekends for candidates who they’ve admitted during their first two admissions rounds. Over the course of a few days, there will be a series of events on campus for admitted students. These usually include a special greeting from the admissions team and dean, as well as sample classes, activities, meals, and social events. These “sell” weekends are very important for the schools as part of their push to encourage those that they have admitted to enroll. They know that many of their admitted students have options to go elsewhere, or are now considering the financial aspects of the program and concerned as to whether it is an economically viable option.

If you were fortunate enough to gain admissions to an elite MBA program (congrats!), this tip is for you. Read on for our perspective on why you should absolutely attend these events, and what you should make a point of learning.

1. Attendance Is Strongly Recommended – Even If You Have Already Committed

Attendance is important regardless of whether you have already selected the school in which you will enroll. For that group, the events provide an early networking opportunity with your future classmates; the importance of this cannot be over emphasized, whether it is to help find roommates, organize a summer trip before school, or to begin brainstorming ideas for a business startup. The events will also help answer some practical questions of attendance. For those admitted students who are still deciding where to attend, or to attend at all, then attendance should help add insight towards making this decision.

2. Show Up With Questions You’d Like Answered

Attend your welcome weekend event with a list of questions that you want answered. Now that you are admitted, you can ask the tougher questions and really ‘kick the tires.’ Questions might be targeted to career management, does the school bring the recruiters to campus that you are seeking, and do they hire candidates from your pre-MBA industry or geography? For the elective class that has really piqued your interest, how often is it offered, and is it easy to get a seat in the class? You should also balance the practical events, financial aid and housing for example, with the fun events. If possible, set up some side conversations with club leaders, current students, and any faculty that you have been in contact with/hope to work with.

3. Gauge Your Fit With Future Classmates

Throughout the weekend, assess your fit with the current students and your future classmates. Do you see yourself hanging out until 2 in the morning working on a finance project with these people, a project that needs to be presented at 9am? Can you see yourself taking a leadership role in an industry-related club that fits your career goals? Do the current students seem to be really engaged, is the culture collaborative, or is there a sense of competitiveness among the student body?

4. Have Fun – But Don’t Let the Festivities Overly Influence You

These events are a reward for all of the hard work you put into the process, and are often the first step along the path as you transition from work to study. Remember to have fun, but also that this is a “sell” weekend; this is not representative of the day-to-day experience of the MBA program. It would be rare for an admitted student to attend a weekend and not leave more impressed with the school and its communities. It is important that you remain very objective in your decision making.

5. Double Booked? Go to the Admit Weekend for Your Top Choice

The reality is that because schools need to schedule these events before their Round 2 deposit deadlines, but after releasing those Round 2 decisions, a few of the events will fall on the same weekends.

Some will plan to go to the school in which they are least familiar, or convinced about, to make sure that they have not missed anything. The risk of this is you get so enamored with the sell aspects of the weekend, that you lose focus. We would recommend you actually attend the event of the school you most prefer. The sell aspects of the event aside, you want to focus on the practical aspects of the MBA welcome weekend, as well as the important networking opportunities.

Good luck to those of you making these final decisions and attending these MBA welcome weekend events. Enjoy the process, and once you have made your final decision, we hope that you will add it to MBA DecisionWire.

You can also listen to our detailed podcast on attending admitted student events.