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Who Should You Speak To Before Applying To Business School?

How do I know if a school is right for me? What return will I get on my investment? There are myriad questions to answer before applying to business school. These people can help you answer them


Thu Feb 29 2024

The period before applying to business school typically involves one thing more than any other: a lot of questions. 

What are the professors like? Are there practical opportunities available? Do students go on internships? How big is the alumni network? Where’s the best place to live? 

Enrolling in an MBA or business master’s is such a large decision that you'll inevitably have a seemingly infinite number of unknowns that need illuminating before you can finalize your choice. 

Often the best way to do that is by speaking to those who have first-hand study experience, or those who are well acquainted with the intricacies of business school life. 

So, if you’re planning on enrolling at business school to take the next step in your career, who exactly should you speak to before applying? 

1. Students 

Your first stop on the journey of b-school discovery should be those who are currently going through the experience. 

Students already enrolled in programs are only one step ahead of you. They can therefore share insights on things like sending your application, preparing for the GMAT Focus Edition, understanding the admissions process, and maximizing the b-school experience. 

Finding students to talk to is usually straightforward. Your target business schools will often have student ambassadors who are happy to speak with people in the process of making their decision. 

You can even find handy tools to connect you with ambassadors at various schools. Unibuddy is a platform that allows prospective business school students to chat with student ambassadors at schools across Europe. Participating schools include the likes of France’s HEC Paris, Imperial College Business School in London, and Sweden’s Stockholm School of Economics. 

Unibuddy student ambassadors hail from a variety of programs, meaning that you can access relevant advice whether you’re an aspiring Master in Finance student or you’re planning on joining a top MBA program. 

Amir Khan is an international accounting and finance student and student ambassador for Bayes Business School. He advises prospective students on a range of issues. 

"As I interact with a lot of students who are looking to get admission into a top UK business school, I see that they do not do thorough research before choosing a business school or they choose courses that sometimes don't align with their future goals," he explains. 

"I'll advise them to do proper research about courses, business schools, the cities they want to go to, and to choose courses that align with their ambitions." 

 Abu Bakar Ali, a student at Stockholm School of Economics, also offers advice for prospective students to help navigate the various issues they face. 

"People are unsure about what to do in application process and where to find correct information. People want more information regarding life in Sweden so they can better take decision about what to do in their life," he says. 

Alternatively, another way to find out what students have to say is by checking out reviews of your target program. 

Many students take the time to give feedback on their business school as they go through the study experience. You can easily access reviews from students across many of our articles on the BusinessBecause website for a wide range of business schools. These reviews share insights on subjects ranging from curricular content, to experiential learning opportunities, to life on campus. 

2. Alumni 

If speaking with current students is integral to finding your right fit program, it’s no surprise that alumni are also included in this list of the people who you should talk to before applying to business school. 

While students are one step ahead of you, alumni have already been through the entire business school process. More often than not, they have also managed to achieve the next goal of embarking on a new career path after graduation. 

Alumni networks typically span countries and continents, with graduates entering a variety of industries and functions depending on different program types. Alumni can therefore be a useful resource, sharing insights on what you can expect from life after business school, as well as how to find employers and successfully navigate the recruitment process. 

If you’d like to speak with alumni from your target program, look on the school’s website to find events and networking sessions to attend. You can also connect with alumni who are working in your target industry using platforms like LinkedIn.

Remember, business school graduates have been in your shoes before and understand the challenges you currently face, so they’re often happy to share their advice. 

3. Admissions staff 

Understanding whether a business school is the right place for you is the first hurdle to overcome when considering who you should speak with before applying. However, once you have homed in on your targets, it’s also a great idea to speak with their admissions staff to find out any useful insights that can help during the admissions process. 

Of course, admissions teams are not going to provide you with all of the answers—they certainly won’t help you write your application—but they might be able to provide tips on the key values and characteristics they look for in potential candidates. 

If after reviewing a school’s website you still have questions concerning the intricacies of the application process or the requirements for admission, admissions staff should also be able to enlighten you on any key details. 

Before reaching out, you should make sure to check out the admissions page on your target school's website to find any informational blog posts, videos, or checklists that are already available. After that, find the contact details for members of the admissions team and reach out to them to see if they can fill in any gaps. 

There are a whole host of other people that you can speak to before applying to business school, including admissions consultants and GMAT Focus test prep organizations. However, reaching out to a combination of students, alumni, and admissions staff is a great way to begin acquiring the knowledge to land a place at the school of your choice.