A Handshake is Stronger than a Tweet: MBA Tour
MBA Admission Directors want to shake your hand, in person.
“We’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way people communicate with one another. Interaction is increasingly
channeled through social media – Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and others”, says Mae Jennifer Shores (UCLA,nderson). “Yet when it comes to the critical decision as to who to admit to our MBA programs, we still largely rely on face-to-face interaction wherever possible. There is no substitute for the live, real-time exchange of ideas and energy that occur when people meet in person”.
A select group of the top business school universities is touring major cities throughout the world in September
and the Admissions Directors travelling with The MBA Tour want to meet students face to face.
The MBA Tour provides a venue for interested students to meet with top business school representatives one on
one – outside of the web. The final decision makers, the Admissions Directors, travel with the tour and take part
in events around the world where they meet with interested students considering an MBA.
As Randall Sawyer from Cornell notes, “We enjoy meeting potential future students in person and those who
make a great first impression will definitely stay in our minds. The internet may be a great tool for information,
but you still can’t shake someone’s hand through a computer screen.”
Universities and The MBA Tour both recognize the power of social networking to reach out to potential
students. “We get the word out in the arenas where our target audience interacts – and that’s online, but the
strength of our organization is in the personal, the actual rather than the virtual,” confirms Peter von Loesecke,
CEO, The MBA Tour. “We value online tools as a place to first reach out to students and learn about their
needs. For instance our Facebook group has grown to over 7,000 fans in one year alone. Pre-MBAs and alumni
are able to interact, network and get their questions answered. Admission reps are part of our group as well. It’s
a valuable resource through which they can communicate with students from around the world. But it can’t –
and doesn’t – eliminate the benefit of human interaction between school and student.”
The face to face interaction between applicants and Admission Directors is one that still counts. Students have
the chance to not only have their queries answered but make a lasting impression and one that will come to
mind when their application letters are being read by the same key decision makers later on.
So how do students make a lasting first impression? The best way students can make the most of The MBA
Tour event is to come fully prepared. They should conduct background research on the schools they would like
to meet and come with a list of questions ready. Using websites, blogs and key social networking groups
enables potential students to carry those online conversations into the personal exchange with the directors.
To sum up — if you are interested in business school, get out and meet school representatives! Not only through the MBA tour (www.MBATour.com), but through individual school events. Many individual schools are already touring non-US locales. September is the hot month for US admissions tours. By the way, these events are fun and — at the last Harvard Business School event — offered free brownies!