From Coffee Chat to BC...
Last year, when I was applying to Business school, I never expected that a coffee chat would be the deciding factor in which B-school I would attend. During the interview process, I chose to fly up to Boston from North Carolina for an in-person interview instead of a Skype interview because I wanted to see BC's campus. A few days before my interview, it occurred to me that BC had options to check out the school- coffee chats, class visits, information session etc. It was last minute, but I emailed the Graduate Admissions Office and asked if I could meet with a student. Luckily a First-Year student was free one hour before my interview for coffee.
There's a lot you can learn about Business schools from their websites, promotional materials and third party sites. However, you gain so much more from talking to a current student. What would life be like as a BC MBA? Could I imagine myself there? BC is a small program, would I like it? How could I leverage the BC network? Would I be happy at BC or would I be happier somewhere else?
The First-Year MBA I met for coffee answered all of those questions. And honestly. She told me what she liked and what she didn't. I felt comfortable asking her every question I could think of (I wanted the truth!). After 45 minutes, I felt like I had a pretty clear understanding of what it was like to be a BC MBA, the strengths and weaknesses of BC, and what I would get out of the program. (Thanks, Jaclyn!)
In the end, I had to choose between two great business schools and relied heavily on my coffee chat. I knew how the two schools looked on paper, and I could see myself at either one, but which one was the right choice? Luckily, I had met with students at both schools I was deciding between and compared their feedback on both schools and my gut feel from each.
After a few weeks of deliberation, I chose BC. At the time, I felt confident that BC was the right school for me and that I was making the best decision for my career because of my coffee chats. Now almost one semester in, I have no regrets and am even more confident that I made the right choice.
Who would have guessed that coffee would decide which B-school I would go to?
|Chocolate Bar in Stokes Hall|
Just as Jaclyn met me for coffee, I've been meeting prospective students for coffee at the Chocolate Bar in Stokes Hall (so delicious!) to answer their questions about the program and help them decide if BC is the right school for them. I valued honest feedback, which is what I try to give during my chats. I didn't want to meet with someone who would give me canned answers on how great the school was- I wanted to know what I was really getting into!
Advice for Coffee Chats: Come with Thoughtful Questions
Everyone has different concerns when they look at schools: community, specializations and classes, clubs, social activities, leadership training, field learning, and of course, careers. All of these areas are important, and to get the most information from a coffee chat, make sure you come prepared with thoughtful questions! It's hard to get a meaningful answer from generic questions like "What's the community like?" and "How are classes?" Although these are good starter questions- I'll tell you that I love the BC Community because the people are friendly, motivated, fun, and I learn a lot from my peers. But what are you interested in getting out of a community? Think about that when you go into the chat and ask follow up questions. Do you have X because I'm really interested in __? The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of the conversation.
So go grab a cup of coffee- it's worth it!