Once you’re accepted by the Great Business School of Your Dreams (or more accurately, once you’ve paid the deposit and you’re officially part of the school community), then your business network suddenly expands by an order of magnitude. This is great. You’ve been accepted. You’re part of an elite group of people who go to That School.
If you’re thinking that this is going to afford you untold advantages because you’ve now got all these other hugely successful and important people primed and waiting to help you with all your future business ambitions… sure, that’s true. To a degree. Fellow alumni are generally willing to help. The bschool name can grease the skids among other bschoolers. And there’s infrastructure to support it – all the schools have alumni portals and many have LinkedIn groups and there’s alumni clubs all over the world. There’s plenty of ways to get involved and meet other graduates.
But the reality is, the bulk of the activity among the alumni network will be from your current cohort. The people who are IN SCHOOL right now, or who just graduated and are still drunk from the Kool-Aid.
For schools that use alumni for admissions interviews, you may have more overall involvement by the alum in the community at large. Dunno if that’s true, it’s just a hunch that we have. Someone who’s bothering to do the interviews maybe will be also involved with some type of mentoring program – and that participation is more likely if they’re local to the school.
Schools in places like NYC and Boston and Chicago tend to have an obvious advantage then, based on the greater concentrations of people who stick around after they graduate, many times for life. You’re going to benefit from a deeper pool, and probably a better-connected pool, of alumni while you’re a student in one of those cities.
These connections are obviously of greater value when you’re trying to do something big: Get a new job – particularly that first job out of bschool, but also any job subsequent to that. Launch a company. Get funding. And just as big sometimes: Hiring a new employee for a critical role. You know, when your amazing new company is through-the-roof successful and you scout a new VP to take over some of your work so that you can spend more time on the golf course.
As we mentioned before, the actual relationships you get out of bschool – which is obviously what EssaySnark places greater value on – are mostly going to be formed DURING bschool. The lifetime value of that alumni network that you touted as so important in your admissions essay? Meh.
Certainly ours is a jaded view, and certainly there are a gazillion tales to be told by alums who have made some significant connection through their bschool networks that brought them to an incredible place. We’re not dissing the value entirely. What we’re saying is, the people who value these “alumni networks” the most might be the ones who aren’t in them.
In other words, you, the Brave Supplicant, knocking on the door, trying to get in*.
*You and Mark Zuckerberg, who clearly found value in the network.