You’ve probably heard it a zillion times. Ensure FIT with the MBA program. Schools encourage you to evaluate it. MBA alumni from top MBA programs recommend the same thing. On many websites, blogs and discussion forums, you’ll find prospective students who’ve not even got into business schools talking about the same stuff.
So you roll up your sleeves and start doing your research. You check out the websites of top bschools and download their brochures. After a while they all start looking and sounding the same. Right?
You are not alone. Most schools look the same on paper. However there are differences and you’ve got to spend the time to find out what that is – from your perspective. For that you’d need to supplement the information you’ve got from the brochures, sites etc with other sources.
Alumni from top schools are a good source of information. You can get first hand insights into their experiences. Chat transcripts with Adcom are another. Be prepared to get a whole lot of diplomatic answers, though. Discussion forums would be another stop for you. Use your discretion to weed out the paranoid, hyper-aggressive, overly-pessimistic/optimistic opinions. Coz at the end of the day, they are just like you finding their own way around. If you are willing to shell out some dough, some good consultants might be able accelerate the process and reduce the learning curve.
However, all these will still not guarantee that you are getting the complete picture as the degree of credibility, authenticity and neutrality can vary tremendously across all these channels.
It can take weeks and months, sometimes years (try having a heart-to-heart talk with some re-applicants to see what we mean) to realise where and how that elusive quality of ‘fit’ fits into your story.
Ultimately after doing a whole lot of homework, it comes back to gut feel. But the more prepared you will be, the stronger you gut feel will become.