I am in quite a fortunate position in that most schools come to London for some kind of even whether it be an Info Session or having a current student host a Coffee Chat. Over the past couple of weeks I have attended info sessions from MIT Sloan and HBS, and a coffee chat with a current Wharton student. Here are some of my observations:
MIT Sloan Info Session
At this point, I have to confess that I only attended the presentation portion of the session. The reason being for some reason, Sloan and HBS decided to have an info session on the same day at opposite sides of town. Bearing in mind I was 80% sure Sloan wasn’t the school for me, I attended the first portion before leaving to get to the HBS event. However during the short time I was there, I did get to speak to alum and the admissions staff before hand. Even though it is a great school, Sloan has just never appealed to me and after the event I was 100% sure they would not make my short list. One thing to note is that there were only roughly 20 people at this event. More on this below.
HBS Info Session
So you’re thinking 20 people for a Sloan event sounds pretty weak. Well that’s because everyone else turned up to the HBS one. This was held in the Morgan Stanley auditorium and I estimate there were roughly 150 people. Unsurprisingly, due to the location, 90% were obvious finance people. After a thorough presentation from a member of the admissions team, there was a panel of 5 people consisting of 1 current student, a couple from the Class of 2013 and a couple of “older” alums. The panel gave some great insight into HBS life and details about the case study method. The highlight was Rytis Vitkauskas, the CEO of YPlan (which just recently secured its $12m Series A funding), who in fact is really quite young as he went to HBS straight after his UG. What was also apparent was the quality of the firms the alums were working for and the network in London. By the end I was definitely drinking the HBS Kool-Aid and I am definitely going to give it a shot.
Wharton Coffee Chat
The Wharton coffee chat was definitely the best event I attended. Hosted by a current student interning in London, it was reserved for small groups rather than the formal Q+A format of an info session. As it happens, only 2 prospective students (myself included) showed up, so it was a great opportunity to ask all the questions we had. The current student was helpful and refreshingly candid about the good points and bad points of Wharton. I left the chat feeling more confident about my knowledge of Wharton and that it was the right school for me. Therefore it is now solidly in my short list.