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Ask Three Critical Questions at MBA Fairs By Dr. Don Martin
Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert Dr. Donald C. Martin -- Graduate Study Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Friday, July 7, 2023

According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), there are 876 accredited business institutions in 57 countries and territories. With such a large number of options for pursuing a graduate business degree, prospective students do not have the opportunity to visit very many of their top choices.
One way to start researching program options is by attending an MBA fair. Typically, 50 or more business schools participate in these events. In the past, these candidate fairs began in late September or early October, but no longer: Many organizations, such as Access MBA (https://www.accessmba.com) and others, host fairs in various cities year around.
To get the most out of an MBA fair, there are three essential questions to ask business school representatives:
  1. What is the school’s most important admissions criterion? The answer to this question tells candidates how the admissions committee manages the evaluation process and what it values as an institution. If grades and test scores are most important, there is most likely a minimum requirement for both. Candidates with strong GPAs or test scores are in good shape; other candidates may be denied before their essays are read. Regardless of grades and test scores, applicants need to consider whether they want attend a school that focuses almost entirely on numbers. Nevertheless, knowing a school’s #1 admissions requirement provides great insight in determining a target program list.
  2. Does the school conduct a student satisfaction survey? Remember, MBA students invest tens of thousands of dollars paying for graduate school, up to two years of their lives, and take on the rigors of an academic program.  So knowing if the administration and faculty care about what students think is important. If the answer to this question is no, or if the institution does conduct student satisfaction surveys but is unwilling to share the results, it is a major red flag, and begs the question, “What are they hiding?” Conversely, if a school is willing to share the results, that is worth noting.
  3. Does the school provide a list of students or recent grads? Student and alumni testimonials on a school’s website are useful, but it is even more beneficial to speak directly with current students and recent graduates. Why? Because it lets applicants know how actively involved students and alumni are in helping to promote the school, and what they have to say about the program.
Simply relying on what the institution provides on its website, what a family member says, or how a school is ranked won’t tell the real story from enrolled or recently graduated students. Two key questions to ask students/alumni:
  1. What do/did you like most and least about your student experience?
  2. If you had it to do over again, would you choose the same school?
One final tip: Visit at least 20 schools at an MBA fair. This is golden opportunity, and there may never be another chance to meet with so many MBA program representatives. Candidates can always drop a school from their list after checking it out. Conversely, prospective students may be pleasantly surprised from learning more about a program they had not previously considered.
Check out Dr. Don’s MBA blog series on U.S. News & World Report: https://www.usnews.com/topics/author/dr_don_martin?offset=50 
Be sure to check out Dr. Don’s book, “Road Map for Graduate Study, A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students,” right here on the GSRM website. For a reduced price CLICK HERE, go to The Book page, scroll down, click on the Order Now box, and use discount code GSRM.
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Name: Dr. Donald C. Martin
Group: Grad School Road Map
Dateline: Chicago, IL United States
Direct Phone: 773-549-7639
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