School Visit : The Difference it can make

Here is a fact. Indians already living in America are four times as likely to get into a US school as someone with a similar background living in India. There are three reasons for this:

  • Accepted students living in the US are more likely to enroll than someone in India.
  • Students already living in the US have already assimilated culturally.
  • These students are far more likely to have visited the school

Let?s face it. The odds are really stacked against someone applying from India, if there are going to have competition from candidates that are already in the country.

A visit to the US can really swing things in favor of the Indian candidate. Making the effort to come all the way will play in your favor, when viewed against all those other candidates in India who did not make the journey, as well as the many candidates in the USA who did not make the trip. The visit will also teach you enough about the school to make a significant difference in your application.

You will have met many international candidates, adcom members, faculty, and hung out at watering holes and favorite haunts of the locals from the school. When you write your essay about say ?Why Fuqua?, you will write with a passion and conviction that will not be replicable. During an interview, you will be able to speak about the most interesting classes, the best professors, the best parts about the curriculum.

This first-hand information will set you apart. Importantly, it will also help you make a choice. When you get accepted at two or more similar schools, the visit will allow you to crystallize your choice and make an informed decision.

My recommendation when you visit any business school, plan to spend a full day there. As part of your visit, make sure you visit the cafeteria in lunchtime. You will find Indian students sitting in clusters. Walk up to them and ask to join them at their table.

Especially seek out and talk to students who are currently in their second year who can give you an experienced perspective. Ask them about the school?s culture, the drawbacks, advantages and the job scene. Ask these students what they did in the previous summer and how their job searches are going.

When you return home, don?t forget to pen a thank you note (either by email or card) to every single person you met. Once you apply to the school, do tell these students that you have submitted your application. Also stay in touch with them if you get accepted: begin to build your network.

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