Networking is likely to increase your admission chances in most of the top schools (except Harvard, where the value of networking is low).
Level of impact on admission chances: 2-3 out of 5 (5 is highest)
Within the coming couple of months, establish 2-4 contacts in each school that you are interested in (except Harvard).
What are the goals of networking?
1. Gather great answers for the “Why our school” essay segment.
Almost all top schools ask that you answer this question: “Why our school?” (or: “Why are you specifically interested in our program?”).
Most schools are more inclined to admit candidates who seem specifically excited about the school. Schools are concerned about yield (what percentage of the admits decide to join), because yield impacts some of the school rankings. The more excited and committed the candidate seems, that stronger the school’s feeling that the candidate will join if admitted. As a result, the school’s tendency to accept the candidate will be higher.
Therefore, specific, personal, fact-based and convincing reasons are likely to increase admission chances.
Moreover, by mentioning the names of students, alumni and school staff that you spoke with you show that you did your research and that you are focused on the school.
Immediately upon completing the data mining phase, it’s time to start working on developing your “Why Our School” answers. It often takes a few months of networking and researching to formulate very strong answers.
2. Get support-emails later on.
You may also want to get a letter of support (of your candidacy) from your contacts right after the submission of your application (you will get more Aringo instructions on this later on).
Who to network with?
Students, alumni, professors, school staff. In most cases (unless you are a particularly strong networker, or are particularly lucky!) it will be easiest to network with students, a bit harder to network with alumni, and hardest to network with professors and school staff.
What to do when getting in touch with a school contact?
1. Establish a relationship. You may want support-emails from some of these people later on.
Tell them about yourself and your plan to apply. Be in touch over time. Send them an update once in a while about your progress, developments in your plans/career, etc. Establish rapport.
2. Emphasize your enthusiasm about and focus on their school (if you are excited about it).
3. Explain that you will soon be writing the “Why our school” answer, and that you want to find out the most specific, deep and accurate answers. Tell your contact what reasons you currently have and see if they can suggest more reasons, or refer you to places (or people) where you can find more reasons.
4. After submission – ask for a support e-mail (you will get Aringo instructions on this later on).
Where do I find these people?
– Try to get in touch with students, alumni, faculty and school staff through contacts posted on each school’s website.
– Another source that you can use to get in touch with students and alumni is the Aringo Network.
– You may be able to get in touch with students and alumni through MBA forums like GMAT Club.
– Campus visits are usually a great way to get in touch with local students as well as with faculty and school staff. You may read more about campus visits here.
– School events, MBA conferences and information sessions are usually a great place to meet students, alumni and school staff.
Networking is likely to be effective in top-10 schools, and even more effective in schools ranked 10-30. Usually, the more contacts you establish in schools ranked 10-30, the higher your admission chances. On the other hand, networking is likely to have a relatively small effect at Harvard.
We hope this helps.
Much luck networking,
The Aringo Research Team