Before I went to business school, I spent my life in the luxury sector where I interacted with people from all over the world. I was very happy in this industry but I always felt deeply passionate about enhancing my overall leadership potential by attending an international business school. I found the research conducted at these schools really interesting and often applied the learnings to my work. These experiences eventually motivated me to begin my search for an international business school in the U.S.
Extensive research and soul searching led me to the Global MBA program at Temple University’s Fox School of Business in Philadelphia. So far, my experience has been rich and rewarding, replete with immensely talented faculty and students from around the world who have chosen interactive learning in a dynamic setting. LinkedIn was a powerful partner in helping me identify my short list of business schools. If you’re considering going back to school for a graduate degree, here are some tips that helped me in the process:
- Clarify your short and long term goals, then identify the schools that can deliver explicitly on those goals. I created a portfolio of achievements both work and non-work related, included my future career aspirations, then saw how those aligned with each business program. This portfolio helped me determine which country, school, and program best aligned with my goals, and my short list helped me compose my personal statement. I also talked to people who knew me well, including teachers, trusted colleagues, friends and family to make sure I covered all my bases.
- Reach out to current students and alumni. I used Advanced Search to find current students, recent alumni who graduated in the past two years and alumni who graduated more than four years ago. By upgrading to a LinkedIn Premium account, I gained access to many features including complete profiles, InMails, as well as the ability to use the robust advanced search feature. I then leveraged InMails to contact them and they were all happy to help. After speaking with alumni, I gained an intimate understanding of each of my target schools, including their strengths and weaknesses. I considered this expense an investment in my future.
- Find out what alumni from your target schools are doing now by using the powerful LinkedIn Alumni tool. I researched all the areas that alumni are now working in after their time at the business school. I used this amazing feature extensively and found it to be extremely useful for considering dozens of career possibilities.
- Follow up your research on LinkedIn by contacting the school directly. I contacted the admissions office to verify the information I received especially as it related to tuition, living costs, and career services. This helped me be much better informed and balanced my judgment.
- Do not rely solely on published materials. Since business school admissions is a widely discussed topic, I found that there are tons of resources out there with varying facts and statistics. To be sure about my most important criterion, I had many layers of checks in place and took feedback from friends and family, colleagues, LinkedIn connections, and the school admissions committee before I arrived at my decision.
Your relationship with your business school, much like your relationship with LinkedIn will continue long after you receive your degree so do your research and choose wisely. I wish you the very best.