It may be intimidating to some, and exciting to others, but networking plays a large role for prospective students looking to discover MBA programs. Having the opportunity to talk with current students about their work-life balance, favorite classes, and shenanigans at the Midway Club go an extremely long way in helping determine if business school is right for you, but also if Booth is the right place for you. Were it not for the events I attended, it is tough to say whether I would have gone forward with the GMAT, admissions interview, and countless late nights perfecting my essays, however, Booth's exploratory events provided me with the clarity I needed to answer many lingering questions. Whether you are set on getting your MBA, dealing with a mid-career crisis, or just looking to learn more, I hope these tips help to better inform you on your MBA discovery.
Tip #1: Show Up!
After a long day at work, it can be difficult to muster the energy to make it to a networking event, but trust me when I say that you won't regret it. You will be surprised to learn how well info sessions, dinners, and specialized recruitment events cater to those working full-time. The discussions are extremely pertinent to the questions you have, they do not take up the entire evening, and the Wolfgang Puck catering is better than anything you'll microwave at home. Whether or not you have questions to ask coming in, you will find that the information you gather will be valuable. Knowledge is power...and at Booth, it comes with dessert.
Tip #2: Keep it Casual, but Professional
We've all been in that situation where we want to leave a great first impression at a networking function, especially one as important as an MBA recruitment event, however, you'll learn fast that there's no one you need to impress. Current students and the Admissions team are not concerned with every accolade on your resume, but rather they want to learn more about your goals and passions. They are not job interviewers, but rather a valuable resource at your disposal. We have a very transparent and open culture here at Booth, and from your first few minutes inside of Gleacher, you will understand that this is an environment where you can be yourself.
Tip #3: Get to Know Your Fellow Prospective Students
Meeting new people with common interests can be tough, but take advantage of getting to know the fellow event attendees. You all already have something unique in common by way of being at the same MBA event, so use it as an opportunity to learn about someone new. Some may say that our similar interests bring us to Gleacher, but our differences are what truly make Booth special. And who knows? That person you say "hello" to at your first event may very well be someone you see in the classroom in the very near future...and in my case, that person is my study partner two and a half years later!
Tip #4: Leave With a Next Step
Whether you are at the event twenty minutes or two hours, make sure that you leave with a better understanding of your next steps. From committing to following up with an Admissions Team member for more information or finally hitting send on your application, it is important that you leave Gleacher with an action item that you can confidently move forward with. Even if you come to the determination that the time is not right for your MBA, it's better to know that with certainty than to have it linger. If I learned anything from my Managerial Decision Making course this quarter, it is that we cannot make informed judgments without proper information, so don't let any barriers get in the way of receiving the info you need!
Mike Sharifi | Evening MBA | Class of 2018