Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Impressions

You may have heard the quote, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” As you begin the process of researching MBA programs, two things to consider are how you go about gathering information and how you present yourself to admissions staff. Every personal interaction you have with any MBA program is part of your evaluation process. It’s our job to remember you. It’s your job to thoroughly educate yourself about each program you are interested in BEFORE you call, email or walk in to an office. Why is that? Well, let’s use the analogy of walking in to a hair salon:

Salon owner (with customer): Hello, can I help you?
Walk-in: Yeah, I wanna learn about haircuts.
Salon owner: Do you want a haircut?
Walk-in: I’m not sure. I’m thinking about getting one. Can you tell me about all the types of haircuts you do?

Now, would you do that to a stylist? Not likely. Whether you are getting a haircut or an MBA, it’s important to be an informed consumer. If you take these steps BEFORE calling, emailing or walking into an MBA Admissions Office, you have a much better chance of making a great first impression:

  • · Review the information about the program and the application process on the website
  • · Prepare questions about anything you need to know that you CANNOT find online or in their brochures
  • · Find out if the school offers a visitation program that you can attend. Visiting a school through a formal program is often the best way to learn what you need to know about a school.
  • · If there is no visitation program, call the main admissions office number to ask your questions or make an appointment to meet in person with a member of the admissions staff.
  • · If you choose to walk in without an appointment, please be aware that there may be no one available to meet with you. Admissions staff travel often during the recruiting season and when they are in the office, they are often busy with other business.
  • · Dress and act appropriately. Perceptions matter. If you walk in looking like you just came from the beach, you don’t give the impression that you’re a serious candidate.
  • · Every person you meet in an MBA program is an opportunity to make a good impression. Introduce yourself. Be respectful of other people’s time. Be clear and concise in explaining what you need/want to know.

Remember, presenting yourself as a serious professional starts during the application process! If you want to be successful, then use the application process as preparation for the recruiting activities – and the recruiters you will meet – that begin during your first semester of school.

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