Attending MBA Fairs

MBA fairs are held all over the world, and provide potential students an opportunity to meet with admissions personnel from multiple schools over the course of the day. These events are a great way to get a feel for each school, as well as begin to networking with alumni and key decision makers.

How to make the most of an MBA fair?

  • Prepare. Do your homework and create a list of programs you believe will suit your individual goals, abilities and circumstances. If you have time, order a copy of each school’s prospectus and bring it with you to the fair — it shows you’re serious. At the fair, focus on the schools you already know are likely to be a good match, and come prepared with a list of questions to ask, such as teaching style, mix of students, academics, areas of specialization, future career options and cost of living.

  • Be concise. You won’t have much time with each prospective school, so you want to make the most of it. Keep your questions focused and relevant and prepare an “elevator pitch” in advance to give the admissions personnel a quick snapshot of your background and goals.

  • Connect with the alumni.  An increasing number of schools now bring alumni to fairs alongside their admissions personnel. Probe them for insights about the pros and cons of their b-school experience.

  • Look the part. While you certainly don’t need to show up in a suit, remember this is your first opportunity to make a good impression. It makes sense to look and act in a professional manner.

  • Ask about funding options. Business school can be expensive. Find out what scholarships the school offers, if they have special loan opportunities with local financial institutions, and inquire about fellowship opportunities as well.

  • Trust your instincts. A lot of successful MBA students say they knew the right school as soon as they talked to its representative, so trust your gut as much as your research. Make sure you assess the people you meet — are they interested in you and your questions? Do you feel a certain chemistry? Remember, this is your opportunity to interview them as much as it is a chance for them to get to know you.