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Should You Reapply If You Were Cut After an Interview? Some Advice…
Many candidates struggle with what to do after they were invited for an MBA interview, but were not granted admission. This is never a happy outcome, but the bigger question looms: Should you reapply?
The blanket answer is that every situation is different. Because each person’s candidacy varies so greatly, I prefer to review a rejected application before giving advice. This helps me see how strong the application was – or what was lacking¬ – so that I can offer more tailored advice. However, in general, I believe that if you got so far as to receive an interview from an MBA program (for schools that do not interview all candidates, of course), you received a clear sign that the school was interested in you — but something was lacking that prevented them from deciding in your favor. Given the fact that the school demonstrated a strong interest in you, it could be quite reasonable to re-apply after reviewing any potential weaknesses in your application, and to add some new schools to the mix as well.
The first step to a successful re-application is to identify possible weaknesses in your candidacy or application, and attempt to fix them before you re-apply. In some cases, it is simply a matter of timing: an applicant in Round 3 might have fared much better in Round 1, so the key step would be to re-apply in Round 1. In other cases, there are fixable weaknesses like a low GMAT score, mediocre recommendations or mediocre essays, all of which can be improved before re-application. To maximize your odds of gaining admission, your re-application itself should be put together beautifully—from the resume to the application form. There should be no sloppily written job descriptions, no dull resume. Your essays should be solid and compelling. Your recommendation writers should amplify their efforts to convey your outstanding skills and performance. After all, this is your chance to prove to the admissions committee why you would be an excellent choice.
Your new application should be an embodiment of the work and efforts you are willing to put in to show that you truly want to attend the school, and that you possess the work ethic to present an excellent application. Under such conditions, the school to which you are re-applying is likely to view the re-application as a sign of perseverance and strong will, and as evidence that you truly believe that their program is the ideal fit for you. In my experiences, when candidates re-apply after making great efforts to fix any weaknesses and present an outstanding application, they receive positive outcomes.
A subsequent question you might have is, “Well, if I did not get an interview, should I bother to re-apply?” I will answer this in another post.
Dr. Shel (Shelly Watts)
President, MBA Admit.com