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Making the Most of Your Campus Visit

Aerial photo of the Simon School located on the University of Rochester River Campus

By: Dana Eagle

So you’ve researched business schools, met with representatives at recruiting events, emailed with current students and alumni…what’s next? The most important part of your business school search process still remains…the campus visit. Here are a few things to keep in mind before gassing up the car or booking your flight to visit your top business schools.

1.) First impressions count: As a prospective student for business school, you want to make sure that you are making a good first, second, and even third, impression. Whether it is your first encounter with the school, or you are there for your long sought after admissions interview, putting your best foot forward is critical. Keep in mind that everyone you meet during your visit could be an influential contact. This includes, but is not limited to, the receptionist at the front desk, the admissions representative you are sitting down to chat with, the student who is taking you on a tour, and the professor who has welcomed you to sit in on a class. From the moment you step foot on campus, all eyes are on you.
2.) Dress the part: Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. This certainly holds true in your MBA search process as well. It is never a good idea to show up for your campus visit like you just rolled out of bed, or are running late from an appointment with your fitness instructor. Dress to impress. Be professional, wear business attire, and leave the weekend lounge clothes in the closet at home. Dressing smart will also help you feel more confident and professional, allowing you to carry yourself in a way that is appropriate for interactions with faculty, staff and students alike during your visit.
3.) Know your resume: When meeting with an admissions professional, they will likely want you to share your story with them. It’s a great way for admissions folk to hear your interpretation of the text on your resume, and allows you the opportunity to bring your resume to life with anecdotes or accomplishments you may have left out to keep within the 1-2 pages of formatted script. But, knowing is half the battle. You must also be prepared for the questions that follow. Have answers prepared before your visit to avoid sounding caught off guard during an informational meeting, or formal interview. Be ready to discuss that gap in employment, or why you chose your course of study in your undergraduate or post graduate academic career. These questions, and more, are fair game and likely to come up during your conversation.
4.) Silence your cell phone: Sure, mom, dad, your spouse, or a close friend will be eager to know how your visit is going, but getting that call in the middle of your interview or while sitting in on class is not going to help your efforts towards securing a good first impression. Be sure to keep you cell phone silenced, or, to be safe, turn it off altogether.
5.) Be observant: Talk to as many people as you can while you are there. These interactions will give you a good idea of what the culture of the school is like. Pay attention to how others around you are interacting as well. Do people look happy to be there? Are the students and faculty communicating? Are people helpful? Graduate school is a big investment and you are likely going to spend a lot of your time on campus whether it is in the classroom, working with your teams on projects, studying, eating, studying some more…you get the idea! You want to make sure that you enjoy the atmosphere. You should also consider driving around the city while you are there. This place could be home for at least a year or two, so be sure to find out what there is to do in the area, and assess whether or not you feel safe and contented in these surroundings.

I wish you all the best of luck in your search, and hope to you see you touring the halls of Simon in the near future. Safe travels!

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