If you followed my first three steps in applying to MBA programs then congratulations! That means you completed the GMAT and it surely feels good to have that test out of the way. Now, you can move on to the extremely important process of creating a target list of schools.
I am going to break this step into 2 posts. The first post will be selecting target schools for part-time programs. The second post will discuss selecting target schools for full-time programs. I’ve looked at both part-time and full-time MBA programs, so I think it is important to make a distinction between the two when creating a target list.
Part-Time MBA Programs
If you are looking at part-time MBA programs, then it is likely that your list of schools is going to be limited. For me, I will continue working while I obtain my MBA. Thus, I need to find schools that are within the Pittsburgh area. (Note: I am not going to discuss on-line programs because I am not familiar enough with them to comment). Knowing that I need to attend a school in Pittsburgh already narrowed my list. For me, I have two target schools in Pittsburgh: Katz Graduate School of Business (Pitt) and Tepper School of Business (Carnegie Mellon). You may have more schools that are local, but regardless the process will be the same. The next thing you should do is immediately sign up for an information session for every school that you are interested in. Below is a list of reasons why you should attend an info session for the schools you are interested in.
1) You get information about the program.
2) You get to interact with admissions and find out more about the admissions process.
3) Faculty and/or students may be at the event to talk to.
4) You will have something to refer to in essays.
5) You can ask questions.
I can keep going, but I think you get the point. Additionally, you should talk to the admissions office about sitting in on a class. In my opinion, this is the best way to really get a feel for the program and the teaching method. Also, be sure to thoroughly read the school’s website before you go to the information session. That way, you will be able to talk intelligently about the program and come up with some questions to ask.
Here is a quick list of things to both research and discuss at information sessions:
- Are there any restrictions to using the career services office for part-time students?
- Also, if your employer is helping pay for the program you should confirm if that would be a restriction to career services.
- When are the classes?
- What is the difference in the curriculum between the full-time and part-time programs?
- What types of clubs are available?
- What is a typical class size and how accessible are professors?
- If I have to travel for work, is it OK to miss class?
- Are there any scholarships available to part-time students?
That is just a quick list to give you some ideas. Just be prepared when you attend and information session and you will have the opportunity to impress the admissions counselors.