Tuck’s open interview registration is live, and I am getting lots of questions about open MBA interviews. Is it really necessary to initiate an on campus interview at schools that allow applicants to do so? The brief answer: Yes, especially if you are a domestic candidate.

  • If you don’t take advantage of this opportunity, someone else will.

People fly to interview at Tuck (and other schools) from around the globe – Australia, Asia, the Middle East. If you are a domestic applicant and don’t bother to come to campus you risk telegraphing disinterest. (There are obvious exceptions, like if you are active duty military or can’t travel for medical reasons. If this is the case, please say so in your optional essay, so that the school understands why you didn’t initiate an on campus interview.)

  • Despite what they say, the schools DO hold it against you.

Look, I know that the official answer is that you don’t need to initiate an on campus MBA interview in order to be competitive. In reality, if you live in Boston and don’t travel to Tuck they aren’t going to take you as seriously as a candidate. At the very least, you suffer in comparison to applicants who are doing absolutely everything that they can to shine.

  • It’s much harder to sell your interest in a school if you haven’t been.

Credible school specific essays are already hard to write, even more so if all of your content comes from the website. The applicant who can talk about their affinity for the community after having lunch with students and professors and sitting in on a class will be much more persuasive than the candidate who regurgitates published data about student/faculty ratio.

  • Don’t you want to dazzle them with your personality, fit and preparation?

The best way to make a great impression is to meet the admissions committee in person. You have presumably invested a great deal of time, energy and money into the application process, and there are inherent limits to what your written application can convey. Your best bet to make a fantastic, lasting impression and to convince the committee that they want you, personally, in the class is to initiate an MBA interview.