I am writing to you as many of you are struggling to continue networking. See, it is not a rocket science and our reasons to throw you into networking is to actually make you do the Primary research as opposed to spending time on the internet , forums, websites and coming out with an expression that is too generic. Speaking with people really helps.
Here is what you need to do:
- Make an excel sheet with different tabs for different schools.
- Under every tab, you will make five columns
- S. NO
- Email of the Student
- Email I( The first introductory email that you sent over: Highlight this cell after you have sent the email to him)
- Email 2( The follow up email for people who have not responded yet. You will have constructed this email ahead of time. You do not have to wait for people to not respond to you before you send this email out)
- Responses of the conversation
- Right after you have sent the first draft of emails to people, highlight the cells in the columns. If you have sent out 20 emails on Monday, wait till Thursday to see how many people respond. You will experience different response rates from people from different schools. You might experience a high rate of response from Tuck and Darden as compared with Columbia. There is nothing right or wrong about it. It is just that they are different people. However, you will take the responsibility to wake them up again, and write the follow up emails.
- If you experience a 20% response rate, you can still have 4 + conversations within two weeks. For the remaining ones that have not responded, you do not have to think too much. Simply send them another follow up email( Email 2) and mark the cell in the Email 2 Column( See above categories).
It is important to have this mechanism working with you while you are networking with people. Without this mechanism, you will not know how to manage communication with so many people. You cannot send out 20 emails on one random day without charting this out on a sheet. If someone has not responded to you, it is your responsibility to wake him up. They are occupied with cases, internships, job search, and many other things. So, it does not matter. Just follow up with a structure.
See the previous note on networking. This not below is primarily for people who have started working on the admissions essays already. For those who are still on GMAT, you can go through the steps below and start networking calls ahead of time. It will really help.
Previous Note on Networking:
You and I will very soon be starting over with the school essays and networking with the schools will certainly help you in framing the right responses, and will provide you with a deeper understanding of why you want to join a particular school.
The whole idea of this networking exercise is to bring up that level of communication that will help us create a degree three of our expression for “Why do we want to join a particular school?” (Please refer to the third degree of expression in this article). It will prove to be a very strong and effective tool in helping us frame the right responses.
Our goal is to help you in reaching out to the right connections and make your applications more comprehensive
Q. Why is networking important and what kind of schools are we talking about?
A. Most of the candidates applying through us should actively make it a point to reach out to the school community and engage them in to multiple rounds of communication. You could be applying to Harvard or Smith or even Notre Dame. Networking with the schools will help you in all the tier one schools that will read your applications in this admission cycle
Q. Will not networking affect my chances to make it through to a good school this year?
A. Let us take it this way: If you are applying to any of the top 50 schools, it is very likely that you have made up your mind to consider that school seriously. You have already spent numerous hours in building a flawless application and are now prepared to submit it. What do you think are the odds that you were not even curious enough to speak with just one alumni or an existing student to find out more about the opportunities at that school. If you look at it from the school’s perspective, schools will always be on a look out for the interested candidates as opposed to the ones that just do a CTRL + C , CTRL + V to replace the names of their clubs and submit the new essay imposed on the previous school’s application. Some of you did not even submit the application with the right name of the school though, I will get to that later.
Q. When is the best time to network and speak with the students?
A. While it is never late to reach out and ask for help and information, we will normally encourage around a month’s lag between your submission and the time you start hitting them with emails. It normally takes around 2-3 conversations with different people before you really get a good perspective of that school and get your notes handy.
Step 1: Develop an elevator pitch ( Also known as “Walk me through your resume). Follow the directions given in the “Elevator Pitch” attachment. As you start your networking call with anyone, you should normally tell them “Is it fine if I tell you something about my background before getting started with the questions, as I believe it will give you a better perspective while you are addressing my questions?”
Step 2: Develop a set of emails that you plan to send out to them. Normally, it is not advisable to send a 15 line email as no one has time to read them. An email should be around 7-8 lines long, with a crisp agenda in the beginning, 4 lines about the background, and then a conclusion. Just like “Tell them why you are writing the email, then tell them more about your background, and then tell them why you wrote the email and will look forward to hearing them”. Be polite in your tone, and express interest in knowing more about them
Step 3: What questions to ask: In order to develop the set of questions, spend time on the websites of these schools, and understand in what ways can that school help you in achieving your short term and long term goals. Also, think about the other soft factors such as networking, international environment and other aspects related to job search and careers that might affect your decision to join that school. ( Remember: It is not a good idea to throw those question on the email: The idea is to get an appointment over the phone, and engage the alum/adcom member, or a current student on the phone).
What is a bad question during a networking call? If you can google the answer and are asking a fact based question, you are essentially wasting your time and that of the student or the alum too. Not to mention that you are also leaving a bad impression about yourself and setting an example of anti-networking( when networking works against you). If you are not smart enough, it is better to keep quiet and think about hitting something with luck rather than opening your mouth and telling the world that “ You have no clue of what you are doing”. Some of the bad questions:
1. What were the placement statistics for the school last year ?( You can easily google the answer to this question and you do not want to give an impression that you have not even bothered to look at the school’s placement statistics and are not well researched.
2. What is the school popular for ?( Please don’t ask this question as they expect you to know what you are getting into and this question will work against you )
3. What are the courses offered in the first year and when do you get introduced to electives? ( Again: You can get responses to these questions on google or the school’s website)
What is a good question during a networking call?
Any question through which you are seeking their opinion is a good question. It also gives you a chance to tell them that you know a lot about the school, and have researched very well. Any question where you are seeking opinion of somebody on some of the things that will help you in understanding the school is a good question.
Example of good questions:
1. I had a chance to learn a lot about the practical assignments and industry projects that the students in XYZ club get to work on( The XYZ club will be related to what your career goal is). Can you talk more about the recent projects, and the roles played by the students in those?
2. Your schools is truly diverse in many ways and has a strong focus on bringing people from diverse nations. Can you talk more about how do the career services help the internationals in the initial stages to transition them well in the placements.
3. Any other question that will showcase your inquisitive nature to the school, and will also portray that you have been actively involved in knowing more about them, their culture and the significant advantages that they hold for you.