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Thinking About a Harvard MBA? Plan a Campus Visit!

Dee Leopold, director of admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School, took a moment on her blog Friday to answer some of the many questions coming in from prospective applicants who want to visit the school.

Although Leopold says the admissions office always welcomes visitors to the campus, she reminds applicants that visiting HBS has no impact whatsoever on how your application is reviewed. "It may have a gigantic impact on how enthusiastic you are about US - that's where the value-added comes into play," she admits.

When prospective applicants sign in to an information session, Leopold assures this has nothing to do with an evaluation process; it's simply for standard market research to track whether the sessions have an impact on whether attendees later choose to apply to HBS. "If we found out that no one who attended an info session chose to apply to HBS," she says, "you'd better believe that we would make some changes!"

Although everyone loves to include a class visit while on campus, unfortunately, that isn't always possible. Leopold explains that those applying in Round One (deadline October 1st) won't have the opportunity to sit in on a class because students are still getting settled in and the faculty likes for the first few weeks of the first semester to be "students only."

Therefore, class visits will begin in mid-October; information about the sign-up process will be posted on the Harvard MBA website.

"Applying to business school(s) is expensive and stressful," Leopold writes, adding that the last thing applicants should do is to make it a scavenger hunt in which you need have "visited campus" checked off the list.

If you can swing a campus visit, terrific! There's really no better way to get a feel for a program than walking the hallowed halls, so to speak. But if circumstances prevent you from making the trek, there are plenty of ways to research a school and make connections that will help shape your decision.

About the author: Stacy Blackman
Stacy Blackman

Stacy Blackman, has been consulting on the Master of Business Administration degree application process since 2001. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy has worked with the admissions committees at both schools, conducting alumni interviews and evaluating applicants.


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