When Duong Pham, a human-resources manager in Hanoi at a technology company, began researching M.B.A. programs on the Internet three months ago, she came across the "MBA Networking" group on Facebook, which connected her to thousands of current business-school students, alumni and prospective students. She fired off all sorts of questions, ranging from how easy it was to get part-time jobs at various campuses to whether Virginia, the site of a student massacre last year, was a safe place to study.
One student at Oklahoma State University's William Spears School of Business told her she could land a job teaching undergraduates if she talked to certain professors. A Vietnamese alumni of George Mason University's School of Management in Fairfax, Virginia, told her the shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was a freak incident and that the state was a safe place to live.
Such social-networking sites are "a great place to do research. You can get very useful personal advice and opinions from a lot of people," says Ms. Pham, 26 years old. She hopes to apply to business school later this year.
Business schools are moving quickly to harness the power of cyberspace chats to tap students from around the world. Many M.B.A programs are setting up their own social-networking sites and blogs, making it easy for prospective applicants to contact both current students and graduates. The Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, for example, has set up blogs, discussion boards and a searchable database where prospective students.....