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