On the scale of big life decisions, deciding to get your MBA is up there. It’s been a long road for you already, working full-time to gain valuable real-life work experience, aligning your finances, listening to countless professionals with MBA’s under their belts tout their own experiences. Now, it’s your turn. But, what’s the first step?
Go to a Texas MBA Admissions Event and start networking.
Admissions Events provide an opportunity for prospective students to meet school representatives such as alumni, current students and admissions staff to learn about the program. These events can take place in your local area, such as Coffee Chats where current Texas MBA students share their experiences over a casual cup of joe. For a more formal setting, an MBA Fair is a great place to meet with admissions reps, compare schools and practice your networking skills. A wise choice for gauging the classroom environment and faculty character would be to attend a Class Visit. Another on-campus favorite is an Information Session where you learn specifics about the program and can enjoy lunch with a student and/or attend a quick tour of our facility. For a more specific recruitment opportunity, you can apply to attend the Women’s Forum or the Diversity Forum (these fun and information-filled weekend events are for prospective students committed to enhancing diversity in business schools and management and provide targeted info on the Texas MBA program.) Can’t make it to campus at all? A McCombs Roadshow brings the Dean, admissions and career management reps to you in select major cities. Or, if you’re really off the grid, take advantage of our helpful Online Events such as pre-deadline admissions chats and recorded webinars.
But how do you make a lasting impression when presumably there will be lots of prospective students with similar goals at these events? Easy. Be yourself and be memorable.
Mr. Rogers had it right: be true to yourself. Being genuinely “you” is a major factor of the elusive qualification of “fit” that Admissions Committees look for. We can’t get an accurate picture of how you’ll fit into the academic environment, student culture and professional network if you aren’t being yourself. Let your personality shine through; are you professional yet quirky? Or soft-spoken with a quick wit? Share your story as you would with a new friend, as almost all school representatives will try and picture you in their minds as a future fellow Longhorn. This shouldn’t be hard, as Longhorns are famously easy to talk to. And don’t forget to use your description of yourself to demonstrate your knowledge of the program, student organizations and ways you intend to get involved.
Instead of going for the extreme interpretation of being memorable by going for “shock-factor” (although in admissions we deal with our fair-share of TMI), provide a quick and unique fact about yourself as a part of your introduction: Grew up on a family farm? An energy trader that speaks 7 languages? A daytime CFA moonlighting as a tech-savvy entrepreneur? These are all totally valuable and memorable nuggets of info to share with us; just as long as you’re able to tie it all back to getting your MBA within the 30 second timeframe of an elevator speech. Months later when we’re reading your application, we’ll say to ourselves, “Ah yes, that lovely fellow who wants his MBA in Entrepreneurship to market his invention of silent Velcro” and boom. You are memorable.
What else wins us over?
- Do your research
- Ask questions beyond the FAQs on the website
- Tell us about a Texas MBA alumnus you know
- Ask how you can be involved in our community
Conversely, a few obvious no-no’s:
- Don’t forget our school’s name or how to pronounce it
- Don’t ask about scholarships right off the bat (it sends the wrong message). We’ll get to it!
- Don’t ask “what’s my chance of getting in?” after talking with us for 5 minutes (there are many factors which impact admissions decisions – read about our holistic application review)
- Don’t forget to register to receive program information, admissions updates and future event info.
So, you’re ready to attend your first Texas MBA Admissions Event armed with the above tips and tricks to make the most of it. If you’ve learned anything from being in the workforce in the last decade, you know relationships and impressions are just as important as who you are on paper, and the same is true for meeting your dream MBA program. It starts with the first (and hopefully lasting) impression.