We know how tempting it is to rely on others’ advice.
Oh wait: We’re purveyors of said advice. We hope that you’re listening to what other people have to say, at least a bit! Otherwise, why would we be writing this, and why would you bother coming around to read it?
Our goal is for you to use our advice, yes – but we also hope that you’re doing your own legwork. When you’re trying to figure out which schools to target, it’s only your opinion that counts – and the only way for you to form your own opinion is to put in some effort.
Case in point is a note we received from a successful BSer some time ago. After they were admitted to a great bschool, we complimented them on the success, saying that we knew a lot of amazing people at that school. Here’s what they said in response:
It’s interesting that you say that about the BSers you know at [this school]. I visited gmatclub.com frequently, and the [school] forum is really, really dead. Yet when I went to a [school] open house/reception, I met other applicants who wanted to go to [school], and they were all very impressive (to the point that I felt a bit insecure!). In visiting other B-school websites, such as Poets & Quants, there really isn’t a lot of coverage of the “other” European MBA programs (other than IMD, LBS, INSEAD). I’m glad I did my own research because I feel confident in what I learned directly from [school] alumni and other applicants, and didn’t pay attention to the ranking-obsessed chatter on the forums.
Please take that successful BSer’s experience to heart. Visiting the schools is the most effective way to get to know them; visiting the Internet is the least.