We started on this topic yesterday with our Bschool is what you make of it post.
Today we’ll give a few practical tips specific to those who are tormenting themselves over which school to choose.
We mentioned Welcome Weekend yesterday which is an obvious excellent resource and opportunity — but there can be a showstopper there: Sometimes two schools’ welcome weekends occur on the same dates!
Several years back, we did a study of this problem internally, because it truly sucks. The whole point of the Welcome Weekend is to give admits more information to make decisions on. It’s also for bonding, and culture, and getting your MBA experience going, since you worked towards this goal for like years and now that you’re admitted, you may as well begin, right? From the schools’ perspective, it’s really about closing the deal. From their side, you’ve switched roles completely. Originally you were begging them to admit you, now they’re (semi)begging you to say yes. Welcome Weekend is where they try to improve their yield, where they get as many of their admits to actually enroll.
But how can applicants decide when their schools have their admit weekends on the same weekend?
So we looked at the calendar and mapped out the schedules and we realized that it wasn’t their fault. When you have so many schools and a limited number of weekends, it’s inevitable that some will conflict. That was one call-out-the-adcoms post that we ended up not publishing.
If there’s a schedule conflict on Welcome Weekends, we suggest attending the school you’re NOT currently thinking of choosing, just to give them a shot and validate the decision. Or, if even the idea of going to that school’s Welcome Weekend feels like a turnoff, based on the opportunity cost of missing out on the weekend at the school you’re leaning towards, then that right there can be your answer! You can think through which school’s weekend you would rather attend, and if you feel FOMO about not going to one of them, then maybe that school is the school that your heart is tugging you towards.
So smetimes the schedule does not cooperate, but even if Welcome Weekends conflict, you can still visit both schools in the coming weeks if you haven’t done so yet — or even if you have, you can visit again, as an admit, to see what more you can experience there now that you are on the other side of the fence. Coming into a school as a buyer as you are now is very very different than coming into it as a seller as you were before, where you were hoping and praying for someone to say yes. Now, the tables are turned and the schools that have accepted you are (you may have noticed) falling over themselves to convince you to take their offer. It’s likely to provide a different experience to get back on campus again in the new position of admit instead of applicant. We encourage this before making a final decision.
On a practical level, school choice also needs to consider post-MBA opportunities, and geography. For example, if you want to be in the Bay Area after bschool and only one of your schools is in California, then that school is the obvious choice. Overall school location also matters in the opposite direction. If you got into Haas, yet you’ve never visited the city of Berkeley before, then DEFINITELY do that before choosing that school. The City of Berkeley is an acquired taste; it can be a turn-off to some people. Or, if you’ve never lived somewhere cold, then perhaps the recent polar vortex and news of record-breaking winter in the Midwest has given you pause. It gets cold in, say, North Carolina, but nothing like what Chicago has experienced of late.
These are just some of the obvious/not-obvious points to be considering when you’re trying to figure out where to spend the next two years of your life. We have a gazillion more posts about this in the “Deciding on a school” category here on the blahg, and anyone we’ve worked with in the past is invited to share their
dilemma opportunity with us on the School Targets of My SnarkCenter and we’re happy to give whatever input we can. Or, this situation is a perfect fit for our Private Consult service, which is super inexpensive and a great way to run a situation past the ‘Snark to get some ideas and reactions.
In the end, it’s all about YOU and as we said before, bschool is what you make of it. There truly are no wrong decisions in this case!! But making any decision can be grueling since it seems that the stakes are so high. We get it, and we’re here to help if we can!!