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Should I contact them and ask? Or Do I Wait?


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I went through the process (unsuccessfully) about 2 years ago to try and get into a Finance PhD program. 


My profile is (hopefully) competitive, in that I scored a 700 GMAT, already have an MBA. My undergrad GPA was low (still above 3.0), but the Graduate GPA was a bit better (3.5). I can also argue that I was active, in that I was a full time student athlete and worked a full time job during my undergrad career. 


The point is that I applied to a mix of some top programs, some middle of the pack ones, and a few "lesser" caliber schools just to keep my options open. This was back in the fall/winter of 2011. 


I didn't even hear back from those schools. I mean, I received rejection notices (went 0 for 8), but I never was even contacted about my background, never contacted about visiting the school for a recruitment weekend or even an interview.


I could understand that maybe with the higher ups I was one of the first cut. But for some of the lower schools, I wasn't even contacted let alone waitlisted.... 


This time around I am trying to be a LOT more prepared. I want to be as proactive as possible. So ... do I contact them? Do I (nicely) insist that I come visit and meet them? Do I ask them about recruitment weekends and essentially just show up or invite myself?


I am moving forward with all aspects of the applications, and have added more experience to make myself more attractable as a candidate. But, I'm worried that if I don't get some face time and (hopefully) have them fall in love with me, I'll see the same results as the last time through.


Any thoughts (or suggestions?) 



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hello pstu24, i am not in your field so i can't give any advice, but i think your can nicely insist that you come visit and meet them. just don't tell (stress) them that you are going only for them, but you are just going for holiday purpose or for fun, and meet them just as a passer by.


and for the self-invited recruitment weekend i think it is not a good idea. as in my field that kind of weekend they have packed schedule and thus they might not have time to accommodate you. 


after all, a face to face chat can essentially increase your chance. if you are determined enough, you should show your deliberation by showing up proactively. just don't be a bug before any form of acceptance. stay calm and sane, be patient, gentle and polite all the time. no rushing, don't give up. wish you luck, and you will need them all.

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I would contact them by email. Talk to whoever you are interested in working with and set up a base with that person so they recognize your name come application time. If they ask to talk to you over the phone (sort of a pre-application deadline interview), then take that opportunity! However, I would not under any circumstances force them to meet you or show up to a recruitment weekend to which you weren't invited. There is no problem with visiting, but you can't expect professors to make time to meet with you if they haven't already communicated an interest in you.

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I'm in a small field where my relationships with everyone in the field matters, so I visited most schools in the fall before getting in. Unfortunately, only one of the POIs had any say in admissions (small subfields in HUGE grad departments can be like that). I think one of the main impacts was that I got very, very nice rejections.   :rolleyes:  The POIs at 3 schools have strongly encouraged me to pursue a post doc with them when I'm done, and 2 have said that they will look for ways to collaborate on research from our different institutions (one actually suggested I do a semester or year long exchange with their program. 


The visiting was likely good career wise, but mostly because I am in such a small field. Admissions wise, not so much. 


One thing that helped is that I went to my field's major conference before visiting schools. I made sure to meet everyone at the conference, and so my visits were less out of the blue than they might have otherwise been. 


If you can afford it, I say go for it.

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