The MBA Tour

I visited the MBA Tour in Hyderabad, India on Wednesday. It started at 4:30 pm but I could only reach by 7:30 pm, as I was stuck in an office meetings. I missed most of the Alumni Panel Discussions, but the fair just started at 7:30 pm.

Anyway, I won't say I benefited a lot from the fair in terms of knowing about schools. The schools I am applying to did not participate. I had not heard the names of many schools even. But nevertheless, I thought of visiting the stalls. The popular names visiting were Stern, Cornell, Duke, Georgetown in the US, and then there were others like RSM Erasmus, Queens Canada, HEC Paris, SDA Bocconi among the internationals. Not many alumni members participated but the ones that did were quite impressive.

Impressive Alum
I was particularly impressed by the Rotterdam School's (RSM) alum. He was a quite senior person in the business development of Satyam. First, his was quite an impressive personality, and the person was talking sense and not BS which can be found on any B-school's website. Second, he believed in what he was saying and thus sounded quite confident. He had a very strong pitch for RSM sounded committed for the school.

The usefulness of MBA Fairs
Others worth talking to were Cornell and Stern's representatives. I did came to know quite a bit about the school after talking to them. The one thing that is worth taking from MBA Tours is getting a feel of the school by talking to its alums and admissions staff. For international applicants who cannot visit the school personally must make sure that they visit these fairs and get the feel of the schools they are planning to apply to.

If you are sure where you are applying and are also sure of the fit to the school, these events are a way to show your love to the school. If you have applied, you can talk to the admission staff and talk about your application. If you are yet to apply, you can use this opportunity to resolve any queries that you have about the school. This will certainly help in answering the "Why this school" question.

What I did not like
There was very less participation from the top-tier schools. I know they do not need to market themselves in India, but at least they should participate just to show their support towards the applicants. Anyway, since the maximum international applicants are from India, I'm sure they are earning a lot from India in terms of application fee. This should be their chance to give back. ;)

On a serious note, prospectives visiting these events should also be well prepared in terms of what they ask the admissions staff. Visiting these fairs and just to gain some airtime, people ask questions like "My GMAT is so-and-so.. should I apply?" Come on guys, show a little professionalism, do some homework. Another category of questions that I guess shows no homework on the applciants' part is "What is your average GMAT score?". The best conversation I overheard:

Applicant: "I am an IT Applicant"
School Staff: smiling. "I guess everybody here works in IT"

A: What is the average GMAT in your school for people from IT background?
SS: I guess all engineers want some formula to calculate their chances of admission based on your background, GMAT, etc. But believe me there is none.

And then the general advice follows.

Anyway, overall it was a good experience for me. But I still wish my dream schools should have participated.