Some MBA programs—Chicago Booth and Harvard Business School, in particular—have gone on record, stating that class visits do not factor into their admissions decisions. But does this mean that you have nothing to gain from visiting those campuses?
Imagine that you are considering buying a $250–$500K home. Would you not want to visit it before purchasing it? Perhaps you would turn on the taps, open and close the doors and windows and walk around the yard, making sure your planned investment would be a good one, right? Well, your business school education—when you take into account tuition, living expenses, and the opportunity costs of leaving your current job—will probably cost you somewhere in that dollar range. So, visiting your target school(s) to ensure that your potential “home” for the next two years is right for you is just as important.
We feel that visiting the campus of the school(s) to which you plan to apply is a crucial step in the application process. Doing so allows you to gain a firsthand perspective into a program’s environment, pedagogy, facilities, student body, and professors. The dollars you will spend on transportation and lodging are the MBA program equivalent of hiring an inspector when buying a home. To the extent that your budget and available vacation days allow, make the effort to visit your target schools, whether doing so will help you gain a letter of acceptance or not. It will help ensure that the school you ultimately attend is a good fit and will increase your chances of a happy future there.