Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
Around this time of year, we get many inquiries from MBA candidates who have just started the application process and are curious about whether or not they should visit their target programs. Is it worth the time? Will it impress the admissions committees? Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that a class visit has tremendous relevance beyond the formal admissions process—it is a chance for you to give the school a thorough “test drive.” You probably would not invest $30,000 in a car without driving it first, would you? So why would you commit to spending two years of your life, many years as an alumnus and hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct and opportunity costs without first knowing what you are getting?
We do not think that you need to visit at all costs. If you have limited funds or time, then you should not deplete your resources by visiting. There are certainly ways to get to know your target schools without traveling to campus (Web sites, podcasts, conversations with alumni, outreach events, etc.). However, if you do have the time and money, we strongly recommend that you visit your target schools and gain a priori experience—a brief trip could pay a lifetime of dividends.