Have you attended your first virtual MBA fair yet? Today, many business schools are using online platforms to connect with candidates, and this is a great way to explore your MBA options. Online events like Forté’s MBA Forums for Women can have a big impact on your future. They offer opportunities to meet with admissions reps, learn what sets each school apart, and clarify your career goals. Forté holds virtual MBA events on a regular basis, so we put together a list of tips that will help you make the most of them. Before the event, take time to prepare: Most of the preparation for a virtual MBA fair is very similar to what you would do for an in-person event, but at a virtual event, there are technical considerations, too. Test your setup. Find out what platform the MBA fair is using and download it in advance to make sure it works on your computer. If you have a personal profile on the platform, log in and fill it out in advance. If there’s a tutorial, watch it. Make sure you know how to do anything you might want to do during the event. Check how you look and sound on video. Are your camera and microphone working properly? Test them and adjust your settings if necessary. Have a professional background. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to be in a professional setting for the event — you can use a virtual background. Choosing a virtual background that says something about you can make you more memorable. Be sure to test it ahead of time. If you don’t have a professional-looking virtual background, download one of Forté’s! Know which schools you want to talk to. Participating business schools will typically be listed on the event platform beforehand. Familiarize yourself with their programs to determine if they’re a good match for you. Not sure what kind of MBA program is right for you? Forté’s free MBA Prep webinars offer insights on program format, program length, and more. Reach out a few days in advance. If there are a few schools that really interest you, email them beforehand and request a one-on-one conversation. This shows initiative and puts you on their radar. Perfect your "pitch." Be ready to mention two or three ways you would add value to an MBA program. When they say, “Tell me about yourself,” they’re really asking, “What do you have to offer?” Highlight your key strengths. Prepare a few questions. Try to get a sense of what each school is looking for, so you can package your experience and skillset to align with those needs. That’s how you move from being a strong candidate to an ideal candidate. Update your resume and LinkedIn. Even if the event organizers compiled a resume book that includes your resume, you may have a few updates since you submitted it. Be sure your resume and LinkedIn profile reflect your transferable skills and show that you’re ready to succeed in this increasingly virtual world. What to do during the event. Log in before the fair is scheduled to start. Even if you’ve tested everything, last-minute technical issues may come up, and you don’t want to miss the beginning. Shut off any potential distractions. If you’re participating in the MBA fair on your laptop, silence your phone for the duration. Participate. Take advantage of the platform’s features to chat, post, and ask thoughtful questions. (It’s easier to ask good questions when you’ve prepared them in advance, so have your list handy.) Take notes. To avoid forgetting someone’s name or a key piece of information you may want to refer back to, write it down. During one-on-one connections, take note of a few points of connection during the conversation, so you can be specific in your follow-up message. What to do after the event. Send a thank you email. Time your follow-up message strategically; it’s not always best to contact a recruiter right after an event. They often get flooded with messages at that time, so waiting 24-48 hours can make the difference between being the only email in their inbox and the 50th. Ask follow-up questions. In your message, share specific points from the conversation and ask a follow-up question or two. This will encourage an open and continuing conversation. Connect on LinkedIn. If your new contacts are open to it, connect with them on LinkedIn. Share a post about the industry or their firm to show your interest in a unique way. While you’re at it, be sure you’re following Forté! Get support throughout your MBA journey. If you leave the MBA fair motivated to work on your b-school applications, Forté MBALaunch on Demand can help. Applying to business school is a complex process, and this self-paced program offers guidance every step of the way.