MBA tour in Asia
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MBA Tour in Asia

A few tips for prospective international students planning to attend a fair

Each summer, Earl Raehsler, Assistant Direct of Admissions for the GSM travels to Asia with a group of top schools to attend International MBA Admissions Fairs. Earl sat down with me to tell me about his trip, the admissions fairs, and provide some tips for prospective international students planning to attend a fair.

About the International MBA Admissions Fairs:

Each city’s fair hosts admissions panels, school presentations, and test prep advisors, and also provides prospectives an opportunity to meet admissions directors directly.

Earl sits on the admissions panels and makes the school presentation for the GSM. The admission panels consist of 4 to 5 admission directors, each from different schools. Panelists give a broad view of what schools are looking for, MBA trends, and advantages of pursing an MBA in general. The school presentation provides an opportunity for prospective students to get a more personal view of the school and get information that they can’t simply find on the GSM website. This presentation is full of insider tips and information about what the GSM is looking for in candidates, and prospective candidates can ask questions about the school.

Why should prospective international candidates attend an Admissions Fair?

International MBA students tend to rely heavily on school rankings, location, and other people’s opinions of MBA programs and less on determining if a school is the right fit for them. Attending these fairs and speaking with admissions directors gives prospectives the chance to see if a school is the right fit, which is important because they’ll be spending 2 years at the school, and some students will have to move their whole family with them.

Tips for prospective students attending a fair next summer:

Presentation. 

Present yourself so you’re NOT memorable. Earl meets so many people during the admissions fairs that if a person is memorable, that is most likely not a good thing. Think about how you dress, how you present yourself, and the questions you ask. Think of it as a job interview. Admissions directors are looking at you as a candidate and evaluating you the whole time.

Questions. 

Ask intelligent questions. Ask questions that are meaningful. Ask questions that you can’t find the answers to on the internet. Don’t ask what the average GMAT score is for the GSM.

2-Minute Me’s. 

These are less necessary than people think, and Earl generally won’t remember what you say. Your one-on-one time with Earl is your chance to get your questions answered, and he will more than likely remember that you asked insightful questions and can show that you’re interested in the program. So don’t waste all of your time giving your life story.

Again, spend less time trying to sell yourselves and more time trying to find out if the school is the right fit for you.

Favorite stop on the tour:

Taipei — beautiful country, awesome people, love the city and country, and very green.