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MBA Admit Weekend: How to Buy a $150,000 Lemon

Do you like lemons?

This article isn’t about ordinary lemons you find at your local grocery store.I’m not really a lemon person myself.  (I’m more of an apple person really.)

It’s about what happens when you end up paying $150,000 to go to the wrong B-school for two years because you didn’t plan ahead.

It’s about why you want to come up with a plan for your MBA admit weekend.

Let’s get started….

We’d Like to Get to Know You

Picture yourself in this scenario.

You just received offers from the top two or three B-schools you applied to.

Each school is doing their best to make sure you show up at their school in September. They each invite you to an MBA admit weekend at their school.

“Come get to know us better and meet your future classmates”, they say in their invite letters.

But you’ve got other plans.

You’re too busy doing other stuff.  You’ve read the brochures. You’ve visited the websites. You know these schools like the back of your hand.

So you ignore the admit weekend letters.

You decide to go to the #1 B-school on your list (insert your top b-school here).  You show up in September and in the first week you meet your classmates and professors.

And something’s not right.

Your heart says, “Head for the hills as fast you can and leave your luggage behind.”

But your brain says

“You just spent the past year trying to get in to this school. Where do you think you’re going? Please return to your seat and fasten your seatbelt.”

And so begins your first week in a two year sub-optimal experience at (insert your top B-school here).

This type of stuff happens to B-school applicants like you often. And guess what?

It could’ve turned out completely differently.

How Holly Got Her Groove On

Take Holly, for example.

Holly worked really hard on her MBA applications.  So when she got accepted into 4 out of 5 of her target business schools, she was excited.

But she really wanted to go to Kellogg.

She raved about the school in her application and her marketing experience made her a good fit. But she did something interesting right before she sent in her deposit to claim her spot.

She took a trip up to the school for the MBA admit weekend to just ‘check all the boxes’.

And that trip made all the difference. Why?

Holly found out that for all the great camaraderie at the school, she really wanted an environment where there was a little more “I” versus “We”.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the school.  Holly just didn’t realize that she wanted a little more “I” versus “We” in her B-school experience.

So Holly took another look at the other 3 schools she got into and decided to go to Wharton’s MBA admit weekend.

(Now isn’t it a good thing Holly didn’t reject the other 3 schools she got accepted to before she was absolutely sure she wouldn’t be going to those schools?)

For some reason, Holly didn’t really like Wharton all that much.  But when she showed up for the admit weekend, it was a whole different story.

She clicked with her future classmates and professors.  She felt like there was a bit more “I” versus “We” at Wharton. And that was just what Holly was looking for.

Now guess who loves Wharton?

Why Smart Buyers Take a Test Drive

So how do you make sure you end up like Holly?

By creating a plan that allows you to take a test drive before you buy. From attending admit weekends, speaking with students, and meeting with faculty and alumni.

To knowing which insider questions to ask about your target business schools.

You’ve got to take a test drive before you buy. 

Otherwise, you could be stuck with a $150,000 lemon.  That would be one expensive lemon.

And who wants to spend 2 years feeling stuck in an MBA program they don’t love anymore?

If you’re anything like Holly, or our other clients, you’ll want to come up with your own plan before you put your money down. Because that’s what the smart buyers do.

You want to avoid costly, embarrassing mistakes like putting all your eggs in one basket before you need to.

You want to have strategic advantages like having the time to make sure there’s a good fit between you and the schools you think you want to go to.

And if come up with the right plan? Then you’re set for the next two years. (Or more, if you play your cards right during those two years. More about this later.)

And isn’t that what you’re looking for from this whole business school experience? But this can only happen if you take the time to plan ahead.

Of course, you can always take your chances and hope that everything works out for you.

But after all your hard work, why drop $150,000 for a lemon?

Are you trying to decide whether or not to go to your MBA admit weekend? Did you find this article helpful in your thinking?

I’d love to get your comments and thoughts, so leave me a comment in the comments box below.

Your Success


PS – If you want more useful MBA admissions tips, follow @EXPARTUS on Twitter

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