Ok so there’s lots to talk this time of year regarding school selection, application strategy, essay writing, recommendations, and resumes, but let’s daydream for a minute that you have been accepted into your school of choice.
Have you considered yet how you will make the move to business school and where you will live? It’s not a bad idea to start thinking about this lifestyle choice early in the process. Often relocating to a new city is not a quick and easy proposition.
For most b-school candidates, it has been a while since you have darkened a college campus, so you may have forgotten what it’s like to be a full time student.
Relocating is never an easy undertaking, and becoming a student again may complicate things further. It’s likely you have amassed a lot of “stuff” these past five or six years, and where you live as a student could determine how much of it you can practically take with you. If you are single, you might even consider living in dormitories (imagine!) and harkening back to the earliest of your undergrad experience, where space was (and still is) very tight.
Living on campus has clear advantages, since you can commute to class on foot or via bicycle and can also stumble home after those long company-sponsored cocktail hours.
Besides the obvious space constraints, however, it can sometimes be a disadvantage, since there are likely few others in the b-school doing their MBA who also live in the dorms. If you are single, you should begin to surf the blogs and connect with students and alumni once you are accepted to find out where the center of gravity is for student housing. If there are students living in the dorms, try to find out which specific hall is popular for the MBA candidates and whether or not you can request living there too. It is more likely you will discover the center of gravity is somewhere off campus, such as in a local apartment complex which has a strong history of b-schoolers living there. The great thing about business school, is that it’s two years instead of one, so there is a low risk of the “traditional” b-school apartment complex of choice changing before you show up, because all the second years are still living there!
Of course dropping yourself in the center of b-school animal house apartments can also be a distraction, so examine yourself and decide how you would prefer to spend off-time.
While it’s easy to get together for a quick study group meeting if you’re all living in the same place, it can also get a little claustrophobic when you need to get away for a few minutes to decompress from the stress of business school. I have known people to rent houses, whether with roommates or for their family, and even heard of someone building a house near campus thatthey sold after their two years! The options are unlimited, but you should make your decision early and stick with it. Trying to move while you are in school can be a horrible mess and prevent the kind of focus you will need to succeed in the classroom.
One final tip: factor in your time away for your internship when figuring where you want to live.
Most students leave town to do their summer internship, and most leases won’t let you out for the summer (and also won’t let you sublease), so paying double rent during your internship is not uncommon. If you are creative and can negotiate something with your landlord from the outset, you may can avoid having to do this.