Meeting insiders from top business schools – admissions directors, professors, current students and alumni – is a winning strategy for identifying the best programmes for you and improving your chances of admission. The question is: What should you do to secure in-person meetings?

One-to-one meetings offer the opportunity to learn more about individual MBA and Executive MBA (EMBA) programmes directly from the source, discover all the details that matter to you most, and compare different perspectives and experiences.

In addition, you will benefit from expert feedback on the strengths and areas of improvement of your MBA profile, expert advice on how to select the right programmes, and what makes an outstanding application. You can also get practical tips on test preparation (GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS) and scholarship application.

Whether you sign up for a school presentation, a campus visit or an MBA event, the tips below will certainly help you secure meetings with the right schools and get the most benefit from your discussions with business school representatives.  

1.    Register as early as possible

Opportunities for individual meetings would typically require you to sign up and schedule meetings well in advance. For one-to-one MBA events, such as Access MBA, orientation experts will take the time to evaluate your profile and settle on the group of schools that you should meet. Early registration benefits you because your qualifications and preferences are looked into carefully, which increases your chances of meeting those schools that are in the best position to help you achieve your goals.

Check out: Access EMBA Tour

2.    Provide most current information

When asked to fill in a registration form, make sure to provide accurate, detailed, and up-to-date information about yourself. Providing outdated, sketchy and inaccurate data will be misleading and will undermine your goal of identifying the best MBA opportunities.

3.    Offer your most detailed and up-to-date CV/resume

Before submitting your CV, please check it again to ensure that it doesn’t contain any gaps. Go carefully through your employment history, education, and credentials. Think of any experience that you may have omitted to mention that may be relevant to the orientation experts and business schools. Also bring several copies of your CV to the meetings in case a school representative wants to examine it.

4.    Always include the scores and the date of tests taken

If you have taken the GMAT, GRE or some other tests, you should always provide the scores and the exact dates you sat the exams. The fact that you have taken the tests, or that you are preparing, testifies to your commitment to pursue further studies. The actual scores help determine where you stand as a business school aspirant and experts can advise you of your school selection and application strategy. In addition, some types of scholarships are closely tied to exam scores and the experts reviewing your profile can give you better advice on your financial aid opportunities.       

5.    Describe clearly all your preferences

To be able to describe your preferences you should first know what your preferences are. Devising a plan for the future does not happen overnight, so it is worth spending some time considering carefully, and at length, your motivations. You could make a list with all your preferences to make sure you don’t miss something important in your conversations with orientation experts or school representatives. Be thorough and do not spare any details. The more you share, the better.

Read: When Should You Start with MBA Networking

6.    Be ready to provide further details on your preferences and qualifications

Sometimes, even if you think you have provided all the necessary information, it may turn out that business schools or orientation consultants need more details to complete your profile evaluation and understand how you stand out among other prospective MBA applicants. In this case, you are very likely to receive an email or a phone call requesting more information about your qualifications and preferences. Ultimately, this process will enable you to make the most of the one-to-one meetings with business schools that offer what you aim for.

7.    Be open to new opportunities and learn from orientation experts

As noted above, orientation experts are there to help you. Sometimes they may spot opportunities that you have missed and give you advice that will improve your experience during meetings with admissions officers, professors, students or alumni. Selecting MBA programmes is a learning opportunity so, at this stage, it is in your interests to stay receptive to new ideas and a change of plans. 

8.    Respond promptly to communication related to your meetings

When you have expressed interest in individual meetings with MBA programme representatives, keep your communication smart and effective. Make sure you respond promptly to emails, reminders, and phone calls, so that you make a good professional impression, show your interest and ensure the smooth process of setting up your meetings.

9.    Specify your preferred channel of communication and availability

When you register or during your first conversation with the organisers of your meetings you can specify your preferred channel of communication and availability. This will ensure the efficiency of the communication and your convenience. 

10.  If you have any questions, always ask

Do not refrain from asking questions. If you need clarification on some issue just write an email or call the orientation expert and they will be more than happy to help you out. Actually, asking questions signifies commitment and the desire to do things right. So if you want to know something, just fire away.

11.  Make sure you know in advance what is expected of you and how to make the best of all opportunities

One-to-one meetings with business schools offer a lot of opportunities, but to benefit from them to the fullest extent possible you need to know what you are getting into. You can start by reading this article, which offers a lot of useful information about such events and even suggests questions you can ask during your in-person meetings with business school representatives. In addition, take the time to review all instructions that you will receive before your meetings. Your responsibility and preparation will pay off.

12.  Be straight to the point, detailed and avoid clichés

During communication with the business schools or MBA orientation experts be direct and outline your wishes in plain language. Do not beat around the bush and do not use clichés or generalisations. It is in your interests to communicate your desires clearly so that you can discover all the details about MBA programmes that correspond to your true potential and specific career plans. 

13.  Show your best side

Be polite, be quick to respond, know what you want, and exercise good judgement and common sense. If you succeed in making a good impression during the preparation for the meetings by showing yourself as responsible and reliable, you are more likely to impress the business schools as well.       

14.  Respect the rules and schedules

Individual meetings require that you stick to specific rules and schedules to ensure a worthwhile experience. Make sure to arrive on time to make yourself comfortable for your meetings with business schools and networking with any other participants. Adhere to professional business conduct.

15.  Do your homework – take time to prepare

Use the time in the run-up to the event to prepare for your meetings with the business school representatives. Take a look at the descriptions of the programmes, get in touch with alumni or try to get information about the environment in the specific school. In the course of your research you will certainly come up with more questions to ask during the meeting and the business school representatives will be pleasantly surprised that you have taken the time to prepare.

Responsibility and dedication will help you make the most of your MBA experience. Individual meetings with MBA representatives can be the first step in your journey to a stellar career and a dream-come-true lifestyle.