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Eduardo Research Stealth Applicant

'How did you hear about us?'

I got this question in all my interviews for my MBA. It seems like somebody prescribed this phrase as mandatory. Everybody seemed curious about my journey as I "came out of the blue," as one of my interviewers stated. They didn't have a trace of me until they received my application. 

Of course, this was somewhat intentional. Before deciding, I wanted to ensure I explored a wide range of MBA programs. I didn't rely on the popular ranking tables but cast my net much wider. My career goal was clear, and I knew that some highly specialized institutions in my chosen field might not necessarily be concerned with their rankings.

So, I took the initiative and contacted numerous schools aligned with my career aspirations. I wanted to gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision. Little did I know that my proactive approach would result in an overwhelming influx of emails. It wasn't technically considered spam since I had requested this information, but I was taken aback by how unrelated the content of these emails was to my initial information request.

Instead of receiving tailored and relevant information about their MBA programs, I was bombarded with generic emails and newsletters. It seemed like these institutions were trying to fill my inbox without taking the time to understand my specific needs and interests. Seeing such a disconnect between my initial inquiries and the information I received was disappointing.

Consequently, for the second round of research, I stayed away from reaching out to the institutions themselves. I automatically discarded almost all of the first-round schools for their disinterested behavior to connect with a potential candidate truly. 


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I based my research on the following: 

Alumni

LinkedIn is an amazing source of information, and it's easy to connect with graduates with a career direction similar to mine. I reached out, and most of them were very welcoming. They shared many "unfiltered" insights about the program, faculty, staff, and the atmosphere on campus. 

Interestingly, they were not surprised by my outreach. It seems that I'm not the only one taking this approach to explore the fit of the university into my career goals. 

Faculty

An interesting detail of universities is that all established institutions publish all contact details of their faculty along with very curated and detailed information on their expertise. It makes sense, as research is one, if not the most crucial, reason for the existence of a university. 

So, I connected with some of the faculty to understand how cutting-edge their research is and how those outcomes trigger down to the classroom. What is important to me is that I have the privilege of being impacted by the research when I join the university. If this information stays in papers and is discussed only in peer-to-peer faculty conferences, it doesn't help me or benefit the university. 

External News

While it may not immediately impact my MBA aspirations, let me share my perspective: If the university I'm considering is at the forefront of cutting-edge research, it naturally needs to establish connections with the industry. This, in turn, will catch the attention of industry-specific news outlets. Even if it extends beyond research and encompasses various other connections, it will leave a lasting impression. When I eventually graduate with a degree from this university, I can be confident that companies within that industry will have already heard about the university. This awareness instills them with a sense of trust and confidence.

Are you curious how I answered, "How did you hear about us?"? I created my standard answer: "I did my research" and left it there. 

 

If you are asking the same question, feel free to explore our Admissions workshop to learn about the importance of personalization. For more bespoke services, contact us