Last monday I was lucky enough to have an evening to spare…well, not quite, but I decided to take it and go sit at the UCLA Anderson presentation in Madrid.
And I made a wonderful choice.
As an applicant, when you attend these events you expect to “get in touch” with the school, hopefully make some contacts to talk to about it and, more than anything, learn something that you couldn´t if stayed at home (or, at least, it would be much more difficult). And, in this regard, alumni and students present at the event are what really make a difference. From them you learn not only about the program itself, but also lifestyle and even what to expect after you finish your MBA in that school (some of them might be doing eactly what you want to achieve).
In this case, the alumni present last monday were amazing. In fact, the Q&A part was quick, just a couple questions (yes, I took my opportunity to ask), and then they insisted that we join them for a couple drinks in a place nearby where there would be plenty of time to talk about everything. So we did, and once there even more alumni came and so there were more alumni than future applicants in the place. It was impossible for me to go talk to any single alumnus present, for they did not give me the oportunity: there was always one UCLA graduate who aproached you in order to ask if you liked/were interested in UCLA, ask about your goals, share his experience (in great detail), hand over his card prompting you to contact if needed help with the application… They didn´t mind to spend one hour talking to you about anything related to the school, the MBA in general, what would it mean to bring a partner with you… So, to sum up, I spent like three hours talking with countless people willing to share.
In the end, what you expect is that being there helps you understand and answer that famous question: “why this school?” In that regard, last monday evening was as successful as it could have been.