Almost all the top b-schools provide you with networking opportunities both during your time as a student and after the completion of the course as an alumnus.
However, in my opinion, networking is something you have to get started with even before you begin the application process. As soon as you start the school research, you also need to focus on connecting with the right set of people to get appropriate information.
You will find it useful to connect with the admissions staff, current students and alumni to understand more about the program.
The question is – how do I get started with the process? Here is how I went about it.
- Check in your linkedin network to see if you have any contacts who have studied in the b-school of your interest.
- Check current class profile and also look for alumni to see if there is any:
- Student who worked in your organization in the past
- Student who is from the same industry as you
- Student with your nationality
If you are successful with any of the above checks, send a add request including a brief message on why you want to connect with them. Make sure you don’t send the standard request without any personalized message. It only indicates that you are making a causal connection without a serious purpose.
Its not a big deal if you are unable to make a successful connection. Just give your best in a professional manner. You always have multiple sources to learn about school as I mentioned in my post #2 – ‘how I learned more about the school’.
Once you have made a successful connection, please do the following:
- Take an appointment for a discussion
- Send them your questions/agenda in advance. This helps in two ways i) You are well prepared for the discussion ii) Alumni/Current Students also can provide good insights if they know what you are expecting out of the meeting.
- Respect their time, be on time and stick to the time slot you requested for.
- Keep them updated on the progress of your application from time to time
Remember that Linkedin is not the only way to connect with alumni. You always have the option to request the program coordinator to put you in touch with an alumnus. You can also attend information sessions where you can meet the admissions officers and alumni.
It worked well for me and I ended up connecting with an alumnus who was working within my organization and who had similar career goals as mine. That’s the power of professional networking, good luck folks!