Now that you have finally applied to all of your target schools, what should you be doing now? Since it can take several weeks before you hear from schools, use this time wisely by continuing to explore MBA programs in an effort to find your best fit. Below, we offer some practical ideas to continue gathering information that will be valuable on the road to choosing your MBA program.
- Know your stuff.
Know the schools you applied to, and know them well. This is a perfect opportunity to experience programs first-hand by visiting campus or talking to students and alumni in person, if you haven't already. Visiting campus is one of the only ways to get a true feel of the culture, atmosphere and overall energy of a school. Most schools have campus visit programs that are meant to offer applicants the opportunity to slip into a typical student's shoes for a day. If you can't visit campus, participate in Live Chats, contact students, or attend local events sponsored by the school in your area.
- Know your top schools.
This sounds easier than it is sometimes, but it's important to learn where you are most likely to feel the strongest fit based on your expectations, values and preferences. Create your own ranking criteria for the schools you've applied to by deciding what is most important to you. Make a list of the pros and cons of each program that includes academics, career prospects, location, cost, social life, environment, culture, support groups, and whatever else may be important to you.
- Keep track of important dates.
As a busy professional, you probably have more than just MBA applications on your mind, so the sooner you make note of important dates the better. Seeing all of your key deadlines in black and white will help you stay on track and take advantage of opportunities to engage with each school. Knowing when events, presentations and decision dates are will help you plan ahead and know exactly what you should be doing and when.
- Start thinking about financing.
It's never too early to think about how you'll finance your MBA education. It's important to look at estimated costs and budgets so you can begin to think about what you'll need, when, and how much. Also school websites are a valuable source for financing options and information.
- Explore on-campus and off-campus.
Remember that you're not just choosing a school; you're choosing a city or town too. If you have time to make a campus visit, make sure to give yourself the opportunity to experience the entire community, including the surrounding city or town, for an overall picture of what two years there might be like, especially if you'll be moving with your partner or family. Investigating average rent prices, transportation, cost of living, entertainment and overall appeal will give you even more information with which to make a final decision.
At the end of the MBA application process, what you're really looking for is the strongest fit and the community that suits you best. By taking advantage of the time after application deadlines to explore your schools, you will be able to make the best decision for yourself. As always, if you have more questions about Chicago Booth, don't hesitate to contact us.