Getting Ready for Round 2 Admits

It’s Round 2 admit time for the MBA Class of 2017! The Wharton School released R2 decisions on Tuesday, March 24th, and Harvard Business School, UV Darden School of Business, and Stanford Graduate School of …

It’s Round 2 admit time for the MBA Class of 2017! The Wharton School released R2 decisions on Tuesday, March 24th, and Harvard Business School, UV Darden School of Business, and Stanford Graduate School of Business are just a few of the top schools notifying successful candidates today. Future Chicago Boothies, meanwhile, will have to wait until Thursday to hear the news they have been waiting for from the admissions team.

We want to say good luck and send our best wishes to all the applicants out there waiting anxiously for good news this week; we hope your journey thus far has been both enlightening and exhilarating—and not too exhausting! For those who are waitlisted, or unsuccessful in this round, it’s time to turn your focus to the three P’s: stay positive, be proactive, and above all, persevere. As the saying goes, few things worthwhile come easy. And also…

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Reapplying to Business School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com Many business schools, even the most elite and well-ranked ones, welcome re-applicants. Reapplying to school shows you are very serious about your interest in …

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com

Many business schools, even the most elite and well-ranked ones, welcome re-applicants. Reapplying to school shows you are very serious about your interest in the business school program.

The best way to approach the reapplication process when you’re targeting the same schools is to highlight how you have improved your candidacy. Take a closer look at the following aspects of the MBA application package to determine where you should focus your energies to improve your odds next time around.

Decide How Many and Which Programs to Target

If you received multiple dings in your first application attempt, add new schools next time in case the problem was that you applied to schools that didn’t match your profile. Make sure your focus is on fit over brand strength, and match your preferred learning style to the school’s style of instruction.

Do: Apply to at least four schools to maximize your chances of success. These programs should represent varying levels of competitiveness.

Don’t: Apply to too many schools – usually six or more – believing that hedging your bets in this way will guarantee admission somewhere. While that strategy sounds logical, in reality your efforts will become so diluted with each successive application that there just won’t be enough passion there to sway the admissions committee.

Do: Include your dream school in the mix. It may be a real reach, but go for it anyway and you’ll have no regrets later.

Tweak Letters of Recommendation

Unsuccessful applicants sometimes don’t realize that they were rejected because their letters of recommendation came across as weak endorsements at best.

Do: Make sure whomever you ask is willing to write a very compelling recommendation for you. Since it’s not a given that you’ll see the letter once it’s written, it’s perfectly OK to come right out and explicitly ask for what you need.

Don’t: Choose a recommender for superficial reasons. I’ve seen too many applicants dinged for committing this mistake. Asking the president of a company, an alum of your dream school or any other bigwig won’t do you any good if they cannot speak intimately and enthusiastically about your many virtues

Do: Remind your recommenders to address specific examples of your accomplishments and leadership abilities, and to discuss your work ethic or team-building skills. Writing a strong endorsement requires some effort, so make it easy for your recommender by providing a list of the accomplishments you want to highlight.

Pump Up Your GMAT

Business schools always stress that test scores are just one metric of admissions decisions, but they are important because the admissions committee has to make sure the people they accept can handle the quantitative work. If your initial scores don’t come close to those of an average student’s at the schools you’re applying to, you need to make significant gains on your GMAT score in subsequent sittings or have other, extremely impressive qualifications.

Do: Allow time to take the exam again. Nerves or lack of preparation might have torpedoed your first effort, and the familiarity of taking it a second or even third time will often lead to a higher score.

Don’t: Wait until the last minute to take your GMAT. Take care of it early in the year, before you have to juggle the other aspects of the application.

Do: Consider alternative preparation methods to see if they yield better results. If you studied on your own last year, see if a formal class or working with a GMAT tutor helps you improve your weak areas more efficiently.

Don’t: Cancel a score when the option appears upon completing the test, even if you’re pretty sure you’ve blown it. Schools will evaluate your highest score, so don’t worry about a low score reflecting negatively on you.

That initial score provides valuable feedback about your testing strengths and weaknesses. You may also find out that your performance was not as bad as you imagined.

Rock Those Essays

Sometimes applicants get hung up on writing the perfect essay, when in reality they should focus on writing a compelling essay instead. MBA blogger Scott Duncan applied to five schools last year and was rejected by all of them. This year, he wrote, he let go of perfectionism and changed his strategy to deliver a simple, clear message and add color to his application where possible.

The new tactic worked, and he’s been accepted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, wait-listed at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and awaits news from Harvard Business School, where he recently interviewed.

Do:  Use the additional essay question to explain what’s changed in your situation to make you a stronger candidate this time around. Make sure to address both professional and personal advancements, but show that you are realistic and self-aware. Revealing your humanity in the form of quirks, weaknesses and flaws can often help the admissions committee to like you.

Don’t: Recycle essays from the first time around, and don’t use the same essay for multiple schools. At best, the byproduct of being all-inclusive is that you will sound generic. At worst, you might accidentally leave the wrong school name in the essay and be rejected out of hand for your lack of attention to detail.

Finally, take comfort in knowing many people in business school right now were dinged the first time they applied. The MBA admissions process requires resilience, so take some time to recover, reassess and dive back in.

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Cornell’s Johnson School Bolsters Admissions Team

Cornell University’s Johnson School has further strengthened its admissions team as part of the school’s recent revamp of the two-year MBA curriculum.  This week, Johnson announced it has brought Judi Byers on board as the …

Cornell University’s Johnson School has further strengthened its admissions team as part of the school’s recent revamp of the two-year MBA curriculum.  This week, Johnson announced it has brought Judi Byers on board as the new executive director of MBA admissions and financial aid. Johnson New executive director Judi Byers

Byers comes with over 10 years of admissions experience, and received the 2013 American University Alumni Eagle Award for her significant contributions as director of admissions at the Kogod School of Business in Washington, D.C.

These curriculum changes, already in effect for the Class of 2016, place a strong emphasis on collaboration, leadership, and analytical skills that will prepare students for a technology-driven global business environment.

“It’s clear the revamp of the Two-Year MBA program includes impressive enhancements and will make these offerings even more attractive to prospective students domestically and internationally,” said Byers in a statement.

Johnson is a consistent leader in adopting the latest innovative advancements in programs, and Byers noted that the new LinkedIn feature, which allows prospective students to populate portions of their applications directly from LinkedIn, has received positive feedback from applicants over the past six months.

Byers succeeds interim executive director of admissions Ann Richards, who took over last July when former admissions director Christine Sneva become senior director of enrollment and students services at Cornell Tech in New York City.

Rounding out the Admissions team are newcomers Admissions Director Gail Wolfmeyer from NYU Stern School of Business and Admissions Manager Chris Lind from American University.

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Advice from an Early Career MBA

Whether or not Chicago Booth School of Business is on your short list, the recently revamped Booth Experience blog, written and managed by students, regularly offers guidance on subjects that are universally interesting for all …

Whether or not Chicago Booth School of Business is on your short list, the recently revamped Booth Experience blog, written and managed by students, regularly offers guidance on subjects that are universally interesting for all MBA applicants.

This week, second-year student and frequent blog contributor Alex Simon concludes a three-part series with a post on three things for early-career MBA candidates to keep in mind as they research business schools.

Simon was 24 when he started at Booth, and with just two years of work experience, he worried he would be at a serious disadvantage with classmates five to 10 years older than he. That’s why he says younger applicants should give serious thought to answering the question of why an MBA and why now; figure out how to demonstrate their competency among more experienced classmates without giving attitude; and gird themselves for dealing with the inevitable setbacks that will occur.

If you’re an early career candidate who is motivated and can show strong leadership and managerial potential, make sure you invest plenty of time into researching which MBA program is the right one for you. Follow the link above for Simon’s take on these issues, and be sure to check out his previous articles in the series as well.

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