Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to one or multiple business schools. I know when you received that call or checked your account online you were thrilled! Now the fun part begins.

In an ideal situation you will have applied in the same round for all of your schools, would have gotten into all of your schools, and the Admitted Student’s Weekends at each school will be staggered so that you can attend all of them. I tell everyone who is deciding between multiple schools that they SHOULD NOT make a decision as to which school to attend until they have attended the Admitted Student’s Weekends at each school.

By the time you get to this part of the process you’ve already done a lot of due diligence on each school. Contrary to popular belief, the process does not end there. Now another part of the process is beginning. In order to proceed you must fully understand the magnitude of the decision that you have to make. You will be spending about 15,000 hours with your classmates if you’ve applied to 2 yr Full-Time programs. It will be a life altering experience and you want to make sure that you end up at the school, out of the ones you’ve been admitted too, that will be the best for you.

If you’ve only been admitted to one school then you probably have three choices that you can make.

  1. Do you go to the school that you’ve been admitted too?

  2. Do you not go to business school at all?

  3. Do you wait another year to apply to schools again. (This shouldn’t really be an

    option if you’ve done the correct amount of “pre-work” because you would have only applied to schools that you would go to if you were admitted.

If you’ve been admitted to multiple schools then in addition to the three choices above, you have an even harder decision. Number 1. now gets altered to – Which school, that you’ve been admitted too, do you go to? That’s a huge decision.

I will say that the way to NOT go about making that decision is by attending the school that is CURRENTLY ranked the highest. Assuming you’ve read this whole book up until now, you know how I feel about the rankings. Since the rankings are very dynamic it’s not something one should heavily consider when deciding which school to attend.

With that being said, by attending the Admitted Student’s Weekend you will get a sense for the culture at the school. Each school calls these weekends something different but they’re essentially “Sell” weekends. The tables have now turned and you no longer have to impress the school or admissions committee. You’ve already been vetted and now they have to convince you that their school is the best. It’s actually quite fun.

It’s also an opportunity for you to ask questions related to anything about the school without feeling that something will be held against you. Trust me, the administration staff, professors & students all want to make sure that you have all of the information necessary to be able to decide which school is best for you. Of course they want you to come to their school, but if possible try not to be swayed by all of that. Just get the information that you feel that you need and then make your decision.

Contrary to popular belief, the Admitted Students Weekends are not just one big party. They are very long and tiring – albeit fun. There will usually be a lot of panel sessions about the school, career services, classes, and life at the school. You will also have ample time to meet many of the current students.

When you do attend these weekends and are speaking with current students ask them things about student life at the school. The way that you should go about it is ask these students the same questions. That way you can confirm what other students have said. If you notice consistency in what they are saying then you can assume that it’s a quality that’s true of the school. If you notice inconsistencies then you should probe further. It’s my belief that there may be more inconsistencies among students at a large school vs. a school at a small school. Inconsistencies are not necessarily a bad thing when put in context because it just means that there is a wider range of experiences.

Helpful hint: Because you will have a lot of contact with current students, I feel that there is a certain way to ask questions that will help you make your decisions. When I was a student I hated when people would ask, “How do you like it here?” or “Tell me about your experience.” As with emails, these types of questions are incredibly open ended and are frankly annoying to answer. Any time I was asked that question, I would simple say, “I love it here, but tell me about yourself, what are you interested in?” That way I could then tailor my answer to things that may be useful to them. My experience at business school could be different from how another people – especially a prospective student – would view the same experience at business school. A better way to ask a question to a current student is, “I sat in on the current students panel and they mentioned X. Have you found that to be the case in your time here? Can you tell me more about that?” That would be a great way to ask a question because you will get an answer that is tailored to what you’re curious about.

Another good proxy for how well you think you’d fit with the school is by how you feel about the other people who were also admitted. If you feel comfortable around the type of people who are there who could potentially be your classmates then that’s a good sign. Sure, there may be some “bad apples” or just people who you don’t “click” with in the bunch who have been admitted, but if that’s the majority of people who have been admitted then you may want to think twice about whether or not you want to attend a school like that. It’s my belief that if you properly vetted the schools that you applied too, during the application process, that by the time you get to the Admitted Students Weekend then you should feel comfortable at ALL of the schools. Some schools will jump out at you and it will be because of your potential classmates.

DO NOT DISCOUNT this experience or your intuition. You have intuition and a gut for a certain reason so try not to suppress that. What else will happen at these weekends is that you will talk to the other admitted students about other options that you or they may have. Yes, you will be at these weekends and will be talking about other schools. It’s going to happen and honestly, it’s okay that it happens. I will say that it’s kind of weird as a current student who has volunteered at these weekends and you hear students talking about other schools, but it’s all a part of the process right? Me – personally – I never interjected in these conversations, although I wanted too. I knew that there was something to be said for swapping information with other applicants.

What I will say about this though is, if you feel strong about the school that you’re currently visiting or one that you haven’t attended yet, and another applicant is speaking poorly about the school, do not get upset or let it get to you. I would always just think to myself that this negative nelly is not the type of person that I want to surround myself with and then I would just not be near them during the event. I’m a positive person and like to think positively about things so to be around someone who is outwardly bashing

other schools is a reflection of themselves. There is a way to talk about other schools in a polite manner.

Why do you think this matters? Well, remember, you’re the guest at the school so you don’t really know the type of people who are around you. You don’t know if there’s administration around, staff members, current students etc etc. Even though you’re there to evaluate the school, you’re also being evaluated. I can say that at small schools, the word about a rude candidate spreads quickly. Sure, if a 2nd year student hears you, he/she won’t be around by the time you matriculate. But, if you leave a bad taste in the mouth of a 1st year student, then they MAY remember you should you decide to attend that school. It would be a shame to alienate someone before you even arrive on campus. I know first hand because I did that even before the Admitted Students Weekend. (INSERT EXAMPLE W/ ROB HERE)

Another thing that goes on during these Admitted Students Weekend are a lot of parties. I feel like there are parties every night during these weekends. Surely, not everyone goes out and gets wild, BUT there is a contingency that does. All I will say is that this is not the time to go overboard and embarrass yourself. You are STILL being watched during these events. You should definitely go and have a great time but also know that you shouldn’t show up to events smelling like alcohol. You should show up to the events bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – on time - and ready to evaluate the school sans hangover.

During these Admitted Student Weekends you will be lucky enough to speak with current students. Keep in mind that if current students are around, they’re all free game to ask questions too. You should definitely ask them whatever is on your mind but you should also get their contact information and stay in touch with them. This is simple networking tactics. You never know when you’ll ever have to reach out to someone or when someone may cross your path again. Sure, if you go to that school, you’ll have your 2nd years (The 1st years at Admitted Student Weekends) to use as a resource, BUT the 2nd year’s at those weekends will not be around when you get to school because they would have graduated.

These students are incredible resources to you and not many people realize this as they’re evaluating schools. Think about it: You go to a school’s weekend and there are people who are 2nd years there talking about their internship experience and where they may be headed full-time. Now cut to you’re a 1st year and are looking to connect with someone at a certain company and that 2nd year that you spoke to at the Admitted Student’s Weekend actually works at that company. If you have kept in touch with that person then you already have a soft introduction to that person. While these people will forever be in your network going forward, you’ll want to be able to use them as a resource. Even if it’s a simple connection on LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, or even simply via email. A thank-you letter goes a long way and then you can just use that in the future.

THE DECISCION PROCESS: DEPOSITS

Congratulations, you’ve been accepted to one or multiple business schools. I know when you received that call or checked your account online you were thrilled! Now the fun part begins.