Werner Horn, Global Executive MBA alumnus, about getting most out of alumni's insights
Many applicants overlook the fact that talking to graduates of the program you are interested in can be extremely helpful. After all, not too long ago, they were in the same situation you are in now, and, what's more, they are able to give first-hand insights from a perspective that faculty members and program managers cannot offer.
Events such as info sessions or MBA fairs are great for meeting alumni and learning more about their personal experience—be it in terms of the actual amount of time it takes to complete assignments, the interaction between faculty members and students, the quality of classes or simply the friendships and business contacts resulting from the program. Take these opportunities to ask the alumni specific questions: What has changed in their careers as a result of the MBA? What sorts of difficulties did they experience in the course of the program? What would they have liked to know before the start of the program?
Keeping in mind that alumni successfully completed the application process, you should also ask for application tips and clues: What did they focus on when it came to writing their letters of motivation? How did they wow the interview panel? Over the years, alumni have come to better know the managers and academic directors of their programs. Thus, they are usually able to give you a very good idea of what these decision-makers specifically look for in applicants.
It is also advisable to approach alumni who come from the same industry or country as you. Besides being able to point out cultural peculiarities that you should be mindful of, they can give you organizational advice and practical tips.
Simply contact the program management or the alumni services team. They will be more than happy to help you get in touch with the right people. Give it a try—you won't be disappointed …