Some MBA programs—Harvard Business School, for one—have gone on record stating that class visits are not a factor in their admissions decisions. But this definitely does not mean you have nothing to gain from visiting your target school’s campus.
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 will 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, even though doing so will not have a direct effect on whether or not you ultimately gain a letter of acceptance. It will help ensure that the school you ultimately attend is a good fit and increase your chances of a happy future there.