Some MBA programs – Chicago and HBS in particular – have gone on the record, stating that class visits are not a factor in their admissions decisions. But, does that mean that you have nothing to gain from visiting those campuses?
Imagine you were buying a $250,000-$500,000 home. Wouldn’t you want to visit it before you bought it? Maybe you would turn on the taps, open and shut the doors and windows and walk around the yard? Well, your business school education — when you take into account tuition, living expenses and the opportunity costs of giving up your job – will probably cost you somewhere in that dollar range. So, don’t you think it is important for you to go and see if your home for the next two years (and a home that you may want to return to metaphorically for years) is right for you? Also, it is important to note that in the case of a home, if you find yourself in the wrong place, you can always move; but with an MBA program, you pretty much have to stick with it, whether your choice is the right or wrong one.
So, we feel that it is crucial for you to visit and gain a firsthand perspective into the environment, pedagogy, quality of student and professor and much more at your target schools. Dollars spent on transportation and hotels are the MBA program equivalent of calling in a home inspector. To the extent that you have the budget and vacation days, visit your target schools, whether it helps you gain a letter of acceptance or not. It will help ensure fit and, indeed, your future.