B-School Campus Visits…Are They a Must?

You might have experienced a moment of panic as you began to work on your MBA applications for Round 2. It may have occurred after you took note of the January deadlines. And it could have gone something like this: “Wait a second—I won’t have time to visit any schools before my materials are due! Does that put me at a disadvantage?”

The answer is no. If you weren’t able to sit in on a class or take a campus tour of a program you’re interested in before it’s time to submit your application, you’re not going to be dinged for it.

International applicants really don’t have to fret over this; no admissions committee member is going to expect candidates to shell out thousands of dollars for a multi-day trip to their school before they’re even admitted. You’re going to be paying enough money for tuition as it is!

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The same logic applies for cross-country applicants in the United States. AdComs understand that it may be impossible for you to take time off of work—much less afford—to visit a campus that’s hours and hours away.

But what if you live in, say, Manhattan, and are applying to several programs within a fairly close radius? A campus visit would certainly help prove that you’re serious about the school and could help differentiate you from other similar applicants. However, it’s hard to believe that sitting in on a class could outweigh any red flags in your materials. The AdCom is going to judge you on your years of accomplishments at school and at work—not whether you were able to visit them in person.

That being said, if you live in or are otherwise going to be near a city that’s home to a program you’re interested in and you have time to spare, why not swing by? Even easier is if the school comes to you in the form of a traveling road show. Many top programs hold informational events in cities across the world, and their web sites list these schedules. Even easier than that is to dial in or log in to an online admissions webinar hosted by your dream school.

From diving into a program’s extensive web resources to talking to alums to experiencing a class firsthand, there are several ways to get to know a particular business school better. You certainly don’t have to stress out if you’re not able to make it to campus. That won’t be what’s going to ultimately determine whether you get in or not!

Remember: There is no substitute for hard work!



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