As MBA admissions committees release their decisions, some applicants are fortunate enough to suddenly find themselves with more than one option for the coming year. But how does a candidate choose between two or more schools? If you cannot determine a definitive “winner” based on specific academic or professional criteria, you may now need to make a campus visit or, for some, another campus visit. If you have not yet had a chance to visit your target school(s), we advise you to get to know the program(s) better before deciding where to invest two years and $100K or more. However, even if you have already visited your target campuses, this may be a good time for a second, more focused trip.
Many candidates go on marathon tours of business school campuses in the fall but have only a limited window in which to get to know each program they visit. After the admissions committees have defined your choices and shifted the decision power back to you, you can really devote some time to familiarizing yourself with your target schools and completing diligence that may not have been possible before. For example, as a nervous prospective student, you may not have truly pushed the students you met to define a program’s weaknesses, or you may not have felt that delving deeply into the recruiting situation on campus was appropriate during your initial visit. Similarly, you may not have experienced the social environment on campus, preferring to maintain a strictly professional profile. Although attending “welcome weekends” will allow you to meet and mingle with your potential future classmates, visiting campuses now—while classes are in session and the schools are operating as they will next year—will provide valuable insight that will facilitate one of the most important choices of your life.