3 tips for MBA Admissions "Etiquette"

Let me set the scene… You just completed your MBA admissions interview, the end to a very long day that has also included a class visit and lunch with a student ambassador.  You know you rocked the interview because a) you were well prepared, b) you had the right responses to the questions asked, c) you knew all about the entire MBA program and d) you prepared a good list of follow-up questions.  Your admissions application had no grammatical errors and you did not make the mistake of calling this school by another business school name to which you are also applying.  One month later, you receive your anticipated package from the business school.  You hurry with excitement to open it, only to find out that the school has denied you admission into their fall cohort class.

While there are many factors that contribute to students not gaining acceptance into the business school of their choice, I thought I would outline a few items that often get overlooked by many prospective students. While the information presented here might seem logical, I have witnessed the occurrence of at least one of these items more than once during my time here in the UST MBA Admissions office.  Realize that while you might have a formal interview on campus at a specified time, the interview process begins once you first connect with the school of your choice.

Initial Welcome/Greeting

When arriving on campus for an interview every interaction is important. You will likely first be greeted by a member of the admissions team, who  may be the gatekeeper between you and the interviewer or your host student ambassador.  It is important for you to not only be on time, but to treat this person with the same respect that you would treat your interviewer.  This individual might engage you in conversation and you might be nervous and worried about preparing for your interview, but don’t be afraid to engage in meaningful conversation.

Class visit

For many students, the best way to decide if a business school is right for them will be to visit a class.  While the class visit will provide great insight into the curriculum and academic experience for you as a prospective student, realize that it also provides great insight for other students and faculty to assess a prospective students’ “fit” into the program.  While you are evaluating the professor, his/her teaching style and the classroom discussion, the current students as well as the professor, are evaluating you and your body language, looking for visual cues of boredom, excitement, nervousness and more.  You will most likely visit the classroom with an admissions ambassador.  This ambassador will not only try to make you feel comfortable, but will also gauge your interest in the classroom/lecture.  After the class visit, the ambassador might also ask his/her classmates about their impressions of the prospective students’ behavior during the class period.

Coffee/Lunch with Ambassador

While not an official interview, having coffee or lunch with an ambassador  should be treated equally to the class visit as well as your formal admissions interview.  While the atmosphere is relaxed and laid back, the ambassador that you are speaking with may assess whether they feel you would be a good fit for the program.

These 3 guidelines of business school admissions etiquette, while small and not as direct as the formal interview and the application process, may have an impact on gaining admission into an MBA program.  The admissions committee takes all of these items into consideration, so remember – don’t overlook these business etiquette guidelines if you want to be successfully admitted into your school of choice.