MBA events are an amazing opportunity to connect with business schools. Virtual events, like those hosted by The MBA Tour this year, convene business schools from all over into one event, making it super easy and convenient for you to engage with and assess your fit for your target programs.
Here’s our best tips for what you can do before, during, and after your event to ensure you maximize your experience and put your best foot forward with the admissions reps you’ll speak with.
Beforehand: What to do before an MBA admissions event
Maximizing what you get out of your virtual MBA event experience takes some forethought and preparation. Devoting even just a small amount of time to preparation can make a big difference in terms of how you come across to schools.
Take these steps in the weeks and days leading up to your event to make sure you’re ready.
1. Make yourself discoverable to your target schools with GMASS
One of your key objectives for your MBA event should be to get on your target schools’ radar. We’ll talk more about the best way to do this during the event, but first there’s a very easy step you can take before the event to make yourself discoverable to your target schools: opt-in to GMASS right here on mba.com.
GMASS is the go-to recruitment tool for more than 500 of the world’s leading business schools. MBA and business master’s programs use it to actively seek out prospective applicants like you to share program information, invite you to admissions events, and share scholarship and financial aid opportunities.
Opting-in only takes a minute and instantly puts you on the radar of your target programs. Knock this first item of your checklist now!
2. Develop your MBA story
Next up, you need to be prepared for when you’re inevitably asked during the event to “tell me about yourself.”
Will you just say the first thing that comes to mind, or will you have a well thought out elevator pitch that captures who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go? Having a crystal clear “personal brand” is what separates the prepared applicants from those who still have some work to do.
Our free guide, How to Get Started: Your First Steps to a Full-Time MBA, provides you with step-by-step, expert guidance on how to position your personal brand in your interactions with admissions reps and for your applications to ensure you tell an authentic and compelling narrative that differentiates you from other qualified applicants and sticks in the minds of the admissions committees.
3. Read all the pre-event content
In advance of an event, expect to receive emails about it. They are likely to be a mix of logistical information and helpful tips and advice. Yes, it’s tempting to hit delete, but read it all to be sure you’re up-to-date and ready to go.
And don’t overlook school emails! These are a great way to discover schools and programs you may not have initially considered but can meet at the event.
4. Review the event details and make a personal schedule
Building your personal agenda in advance helps you maximize your time and get the most out of what’s offered. And don’t forget to block the space in your personal calendar!
5. Prepare thoughtful questions
One of the best ways to make a positive impression on admissions staff at business school events is simply to ask good questions.
❓ Not sure what to ask? Check out our 7 Questions to Ask During Business School Admissions Events
Ideally, with your questions you want to communicate that you’ve done your research and reflected personally on how being a part of their program aligns with your goals. The admissions reps’ time is limited at these events—as is your facetime with them—so it’s key that your questions be smart and strategic. Use your time to get personalized insights that you won’t be able to get anywhere else, which ultimately should help you determine if a program is the right fit for you.
During the event: How to make a positive impression
Keep these tips in mind for showtime!
6. Dress the part (on your top half, at least)
It can be tempting to dress casually for an event that you won’t leave the house for, but don’t make that mistake!
Dressing the part signals to the schools you’ll interact with that you’re taking the event seriously and value their time. Looking your best will also boost your confidence and help you get in the right mindset to have professional interactions.
7. Check your tech in advance of the start time
Plan to log in to the event a few minutes early to be sure your video and audio are working properly. Not only should you be able to see the presentation and the presenters, but you’ll also want to make sure that if there is time to ask questions or get any one-on-one facetime with a school representative, that you can do so without difficulty and not miss your opportunity.
Bonus tip: Make sure you have a quiet space in your home to use during the event. If you live with family or roommates, let them know in advance if you’re going to be using a common space. Minimize distractions as best you can and be present.
8. Keep in mind virtual etiquette
Let’s be honest: virtual interactions can be awkward. Without the benefit of being face-to-face, it’s easy to accidentally talk over someone or miss unsaid social cues, like facial expressions or body language. Here are some simple things to keep in mind:
- Stay positive. Keep things upbeat and you’ll make a better impression. Be patient and remember that everyone is doing their best to manage the virtual environment.
- Be on time. Always arrive on time to sessions, or even a little in advance if you can.
- Try to not speak over others. It’s sometimes easier said than done but be courteous about jumping in to speak. If you and someone else try to speak simultaneously, a good approach is to allow them to speak, and make clear that you would like to speak next.
- Don’t stress. Understand going into the event that you may not get the opportunity to speak as much as you would like to. Rest assured that you will have plenty of other opportunities to engage directly with admissions staff in the future.
9. Don’t be shy! Get in there and mix it up
Maximize what you get out of the event by engaging as much as possible. Post questions in the chat, explore the environment, and don’t be afraid to connect with other attendees. Schools are eager to engage with you, so come into the event ready to reciprocate.
After the event: Don’t forget to follow-up!
You’re not done yet! Continuing your engagement after the fact can help separate you from those who don’t take that extra step. Keep the conversation going.
10. Follow up with your target schools
Meeting a school representative at an event is only the beginning of your interactions and relationship with them. After you’ve had a chance to introduce and “pitch” yourself, ask for their contact information.
The rule of thumb is to send a thank-you email within 24 hours of meeting. In your email you can identify yourself, thank them again for their time, and tell them you want to stay in touch. After that you’ll want to maintain the conversation through the application process.
Find your best fit MBA program
Virtual MBA events are a great way to engage with a wide range of business schools, all in one place. Your ultimate goal for these interactions should be to assess your fit for their programs… but do you know what information to look for and what to ask to get a sense of your fit?
Our free guide, Finding Your Best Fit Full-Time MBA Program, gives you the expert tips and guidance you need to confidently narrow your options and identify the programs that make the most sense for your needs, preferences, and career goals.