MBA Applicants: What Should You Do Now?

By - Dec 4, 01:45 AM Comments [0]

A few bits of communications this week reveal the uncertainly among 2010 MBA applicants now and the new opportunities provided by the earlier Round 1 deadlines/notification dates set by certain schools.

Here's what I'm referring to:

  • On the BusinessWeek Forum, Todoubled started a fairly active thread with the title "Denied from Wharton/Chicago, what next?"
  • I received an email from an applicant who is waiting for an interview invitation from his top-choice school. The deadline for interview invitations and decision notifications is mid-December. He asks if he should give up hope for this school since he has not yet heard from them.
  • In the MBA admissions blogosphere, Dreamchaser struggles to maintain her enthusiasm and focus as she prepares round 2 applications for Harvard, Stanford, and Haas after having submitted applications during round 1 to Wharton and Kellogg -- and interviewing at both.  She is also waiting to hear back from MIT Sloan, to which she applied R1.

If you have been denied, like todoubled, at your round 1 schools, you are not in doubt. You know you need to apply to additional schools or you are not going to business school. First, you need to evaluate whether you:

  1. Simply weren't qualified for those target programs,
  2. Failed to present yourself well,
  3. Were the victim of the numbers at intensely competitive programs, or
  4. A combination of all three.

(If you would like an experienced, knowledgeable, and objective admission professional to provide the evaluation, please see MBA Application Evaluation.) Once you determine if the first two factors played a role, then you know what you need to change. If it's the third factor that you feel is primarily to blame, decide if you want to risk a similar outcome or apply to less competitive programs. (Hint: Frequently, #3 is combined with #1 and/or #2.)

If you are more like the MBA applicant who emailed me, then you are in limbo. I wrote him, "Still, time is marching. If I were you, I would not give up hope of acceptance until the decision date.  I would, however, develop alternate plans including preparing applications that you can submit for the January deadlines as if you knew with 100% certainly that your target school is not an option. In a nutshell, hope for acceptance and act as if rejected."

Dreamchaser is in better shape. Her application efforts were rewarded with interview invitations at both her target schools. She has reason for optimism. She writes,

"...writing has become easier for R2 for sure, especially when you have 3 applications worth of materials to cut and paste. But I felt that my creative juice has been zapped out through R1 and so was my energy and intense concentration. I found myself hard to focus on R2 apps when sitting around computers and kept going back to the dreaded online forums during my writing period. I have been keeping track of the time I spent on preparing MBA applications since early April (research school counts too). And I am definitely spending less time on application these days. Hopefully I am just getting better at it and not sacrificing application quality. Considering the last two applications I will write are my "reach" schools, I probably should focus more and spend more time really fine-tuning my essays as much as could."

Dreamchaser is doing what she should be doing given her target schools and the absence of 100% certainly that she has been accepted anywhere: She's working on her essays, visiting schools, and striving to keep her eyes on the prize. For those in similar shoes, she sets a good example both of self-awareness and dedication to her goal.

To those of you lucky enough to know you are accepted to your target programs or reasonably secure of your success and not interested in applying to additional school, celebrate! Enjoy the holidays! You have finished your MBA application process.

Other resources:

By Linda Abraham, founder and president of Accepted.

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