Following the initial GMAT score excitement and the quite decision of ‘yes I will apply’ you realize how useless any research you did before actually was.
The problem is, its incredibly difficult as an international student. Every school ‘strongly recommends’ you visit. Great. Thanks. I’m going to have to pay probably many thousands of dollars in fees, so I’m going to struggle to commute back and forwards across continents as well.
Its amazing considering international students are at least 30% of most intakes (and probably a far higher % of applications) that there’s so little to cater for them. In several cases the best video tour I can find of some facilities is an amateur video on Youtube. I logged on for an ‘information session’ at MIT. It was basically an internet chat room, with hundreds of potential applicants firing off questions in rapid succession with answers that were easily found on the MIT website. I wasn’t impressed and didn’t learn a lot, doubting whether this actually is the ‘Information Age’ after all.
On the other end of the scale Harvard seems ahead of the curve, yet I’ve seen their website critiqued for being flashy! (Read: Modern) They seem to embrace video rather than text where possible and I find it all a lot more helpful, it gives a much more personal touch. They also had an online session with an interactive slide show and a Q&A section at the end that was quite informative and covered areas not discussed on the website already
I’m also gradually realising that my primary aim for an MBA is a gateway to some international experience. Somewhere in Europe just won’t cut it, I’m already well traveled there. Asia would be great but with my GMAT score I want to make sure I get the best possible return on my investment, and Asian schools don’t seem to be sufficiently developed yet by Western standards. That leaves North America – the US and Canada.
With my score and experience I’m targeting a top 10 US school as a primary aim. The cost is so high I don’t think it’d be worth it unless I made it to the top. It simply commands more respect and if I want to stay abroad to work I want to make sure employers will be falling over themselves to pay for a Visa in the US.
But you can’t just aim at Top 10 in the world. It makes sense to have somewhere with a slightly better chance of admission. Canada’s Visa system is far more welcoming for you and your family. Its a wonderful place to live, so I think its a viable option too.
Obviously this is all a personal choice, it will vary hugely depending on your own circumstances. I can’t imagine a better place to live and study than London. I love it and can’t recommend it enough. But I’ve already lived here for 24 of my 28 years.