It’s important to reach out to current students and/or alumni of the MBA or EMBA programs you’re interested in applying to before you submit your application. This will allow you to get a first-hand account of the school, program, student body and post-MBA value of the degree.

This due diligence process helps ensure that you’re allocating your time/money wisely AND demonstrates to the admission committee that you’re interested in more than just the school’s brand name. The information you gather through conversations and/or email exchanges with students and alumni will provide you with valuable material that you can use in your ‘Why MBA? Why this school?’ essay and mention during interviews.

Here’s an email template that you can use to reach out to current MBA students or MBA alumni.

Hi FirstName,

My name is FirstName LastName and I’m currently in the process of applying to School’s MBA Class of 2018. School has such a great MBA program and is my first choice school.

I saw your profile on LinkedIn and noticed that you’re currently an MBA student at Columbia / you recently graduated from Columbia and that you have a background in the media industry. I was wondering if you’d be open to a 10-minute chat about your experience at School or if you’d be able to answer a few questions via email? I’d love to get your insight and hear about your experience at School!

Note: this paragraph is optional. I saw that you switched your career from sales in the media industry to consulting. I would love to hear about your transition and how your School MBA experience helped facilitate it. I currently work in sales and marketing at GE Healthcare. Post-MBA I’d like to work in management consulting with a focus on healthcare. Your MBA journey at Columbia and your internship as an Associate at Bain would help me better understand my options and how to best navigate the next few years.

I would appreciate your input and respect your time.

Kind regards,
Jane Smith