You probably wouldn’t buy a car without seeing it in person, so why would you pay upwards of $100,000 to attend a school you’ve never visited? Though we know that there are extenuating circumstances, we recommend that everyone applying to business school take the time to see at least a few of their top choices. With that in mind, here are some things to pay attention to when visiting schools.
MBA career placement is one of the most important factors in choosing a program. You can probably find most of the statistics if you dig online, but in-person is the best way to figure out if this school would be able to give you the career resources you need. What’s the career placement office like? What’s the median starting salary? What’s the placement rate? How heavily involved are alumni?
Get a second opinion. And a third. Ask students what they love about going here and what annoys them. Ask them what they do with their free time. Try to get a strong feel for the community. What do they love? What do they do on a free weekend or to unwind? What are popular clubs and activities? How much time do they spend with other classmates?
Different schools have different styles, and you need to find the right fit. If the professor seems especially bad or especially good, pay attention to the other students’ attitudes. If you can, ask students what they thought of the professor in relation to other professors they’ve had at school. Are their opinions passive or active? Are the students contributing insights of their own in class?
You can’t live in a vacuum. Where do MBAs normally live? How’s the neighborhood? How close are you to the business community? Are there companies in the area for whom you would want to work?
Forget about impressing them. Focus on letting them impress you. Scrutinize their campus and ask questions about their median graduation salary rate. You’re trying to get information, not look good. What are the downsides to the program? Why don’t they offer a program or a perk that other schools of their caliber offer?