Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
After visiting campus or interviewing, many business school candidates choose to write thank you letters to their respective hosts. But what makes a good thank you note?
1) Personalization: When writing to your host/interviewer, show sincerity by personalizing your letter. By handwriting your letter and mentioning specifics about your conversation and experiences, you will continue to foster your connection with your interviewer and show that your interaction truly made an impression.
2) Brevity: Your letter should be no more than a few sentences long. If you write several paragraphs, you run the risk of creating the negative impression that you are trying too hard or that you simply do not respect limits (possibly even suggesting that you might carry on too long in class). By being brief and sincere, you will instead make a powerful impression that will yield results.
3) Speed: Ideally, send your letter within 24 hours of your visit and within two days at the most. Most interviewers must submit their reports very soon after the interview, and your thank you note will have a better chance of positively influencing this report if it is received before the report is submitted. Also, after too long, your interest may logically fall into question, or your host may simply forget some of the details of your conversation that you are trying to reinforce. By writing your letter immediately, you will create the impression that you have been energized by the experience and are eager to maintain your connection.
Thank you notes are generally not a “make or break” aspect of your candidacy, but they can establish continuity and demonstrate your continued interest to your target school’s representatives. We encourage candidates to follow up with such notes because they are a low-cost way of reinforcing a positive impression and relationship.