Duke has this great opportunity to get on campus and do a pre-application interview – which is highly recommended. For some American candidates it’s actually required, based on the geography you’re coming from and when you’re applying. The tricky part is how the timing works if you’re doing an Early Action application.
Here’s some advice for any school that offers the on-campus interview to anyone who’s interested in having one – this is the ideal sequence you should be attacking your application if a pre-app interview is part of the mix:
- figure out career goals
- get essays to at least draft 2 or 3
- prep for interview
- visit campus/interview (you need to have your career goals buttoned up for this)
- revise/update essays with new info from campus visit
That exact sequence can be tough to pull off at Duke, given that the first open interview is on September 9th and the EA app is due on the 18th. So there’s some logistical questions for you to juggle as you figure out when is the right time to make your trip to Raleigh-Durham. It’s a similar story with Tuck: The Early Action deadline is early October but you don’t have to have your interview done until early November. If you can pull it off such that you interview BEFORE you finalize and submit your essays, you will be setting yourself up for the best of all possible worlds.
Just make sure that you have those career goals figured out before you go on to the interview.
And also note the separate step in the list above: “#3 prep for interview” – this is not a trivial exercise. You need to plan for this critical showing of your MBA goodness.
If you are visiting a campus and sitting in on a class but not interviewing, there isn’t much “prep” that needs to be done. In all cases it doesn’t hurt to know why you want an MBA before you start to visit the places where they are earned. Formal interview prep should be done only in the lead-up to the interview itself; those skills will grow stale and it’s important to be primed and fresh for the moment.
If you want some excellent advice from a Tuck first year on how to handle your on-campus experience, read this.