When it comes to applying to business school, connecting with a school's admissions team can be a key part of the process. For prospective students, this connection often happens at admissions events.
School representatives travel to Chicago, Denver and dozens of other cities to attend business school fairs where they can meet applicants. Aspiring MBAs can learn about curriculum offerings, class sizes and experiential learning, often without having to visit the school. For those who are able to travel, admissions staffers also host on-campus open houses throughout the year.
While applicants can learn about a school online or through a brochure, there's an advantage to attending one of these meetups.
"The dialogue that occurs is often much richer if you are present with somebody in person," says Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. "I can get a better sense for who a candidate is in person, I believe, than I can over the phone or via email."
Prospective students can also use these occasions to learn key tips about how to boost their applications. Applicants often have five-minute, one-on-one chats with a member of a program's admissions team during school fairs and can use the time to learn how to improve their personal statements or other application components.
Below, admissions experts outline four questions applicants should ask to make sure they're selling themselves to schools in the best way.
1. What's an appropriate length for a resume? Many MBA programs prefer applicants work for a few years before applying and like to see resumes with a certain look.
"I would say no more than two pages for their resume," says Stephan Kolodiy, a senior admissions officer for the business school at Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyNewark and New Brunswick. "Sometimes we get a resume that's five to six pages long, and that's way too much information," says Kolodiy, who works for the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Applicants can also inquire about which work experiences to list.
"They can ask how far back should they go in regards to listing their professional experiences, and that all depends on how long they've been working," Kolodiy says.
"Every applicant is a little different, so that could be something that we discuss during the course of the conversation."
2. What is the strength of your program? Every school has something that it considers brag worthy, says Jim Deranek, director of admissions for MBA programs at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management.
Applicants can use what a school representative says is the program's strength in a letter of recommendation. If an applicant learns that a school is especially proud of its offerings in marketing, for example, he or she should share this information with the letter writer.
"A lot of times, subconsciously, they'll include that in the recommendation," he says. Applicants can also mention these strengths in an application essay, Deranek says.
3. How can I meet others connected with the program, such as current students or faculty? Even as an applicant, it's important to build relationships with people from the school, says Wilson from Tepper.
"When they write their essays, they want to be able to demonstrate their fit," she says. Applicants should ask about opportunities to interact with current students, alumni or staff, she says...