THE DO-OVER: 5 TIPS FOR BUSINESS SCHOOL REAPPLICANTS
If you did not get the news you wanted last year in the MBA Admissions process, you may be wondering how to approach the reapplication process. Once you have allowed yourself time to accept the disappointment, here are five tips for approaching this next application cycle to get the desired result.
1. Confirm Reapplicant Requirements.
Check with each school to determine how they define reapplicant and what is required in a subsequent application. Some schools will count you as a reapplicant only if you were denied in the previous year while other programs will classify you as a reapplicant if you ever applied to their program. The essay requirements can also vary. Some schools require new essays in addition to the reapplicant essay. Columbia Business School reviews ONLY one reapplicant essay. Harvard Business School, on the other hand, has no specific requirements for reapplicants.
2. Reflect and Rework.
Conduct a self-assessment and address how you have grown since your last application. Key areas to highlight include academics, work experience, and leadership. If admissions committee is willing to offer feedback, take their advice seriously. Could your goals be stated more clearly? Ask trusted advisors, peers and recommenders for insights and use this as an opportunity for personal growth and reflection. Think more broadly than just your own accomplishments. A big part of business school is developing the leadership skills to create effective teams. Providing an example of how you have worked with others to achieve results is far more powerful than just listing your own personal accomplishments in a vacuum.
3. Address Quantitative Readiness.
If your GMAT could be stronger, retake the GMAT or consider taking the GRE. If your undergraduate grades were poor or you lack quantitative readiness, take a quantitative class for academic credit.
4. Show the Love.
Connect with each program to learn more. Use this extra time to get to know the program better and develop more compelling reasons why this program is right for you. If you haven’t already done so, visit campus, sit in on classes and engage with current students. Make connections with officers of clubs that are of interest to you and build a network of advocates to demonstrate a deeper commitment.
5. Start Fresh with Essays.
Resist the urge to recycle last year’s essays. Even if the essay questions have not changed, you will hopefully be a stronger candidate because of the additional time you have had to devote to work and career introspection. One of the fastest ways to the ding pile is to try to pass off last year’s essays without including any new insights. Explain your growth as a candidate in every part of the application from updating your resume to strengthening connections with recommenders to developing thoughtful new insights in the essays.
While you cannot control what happened in the past, you have absolute control over how you approach the reapplication process. Let last year’s rejection serve as a resilience stepping stone to your goal of gaining a spot in your dream MBA program. After all, roughly ten percent of any HBS class is comprised of students who were not accepted the first time they applied. Why not you? The time to start again is now and take this opportunity to build a new chapter with a happy ending.