Tag Archives: rejection

4 Bad Reasons to Skip Applying for B-School

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. Self-sabotage is any behavior or emotion that keeps individuals from going after something they want. This mental safety mechanism keeps them in their …

MBA rejection

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

Self-sabotage is any behavior or emotion that keeps individuals from going after something they want. This mental safety mechanism keeps them in their comfort zone and protects against disappointment, but it also prevents people from stretching and growing to reach their highest potential.

If you really believe that going to business school is the key to unlocking a more fulfilling and lucrative professional life, then don’t sabotage that goal by letting yourself get swayed by these four bad reasons for not pursuing an MBA degree.

1. I have too little or too much work experience. While business schools used to have a requirement of previous work experience – often averaging five years – that has changed considerably over the past decade. Limited professional experience is no longer a hindrance in many cases, since schools actively court applicants of different ages, genders and backgrounds.

Earlier entrance to business school would allow women who plan to have a family to establish their careers first. Also, younger applicants can make the case that the MBA degree is crucial to attaining their already crystalized career goals. Most students would be financially better off in the long run as well if they didn’t delay too long in seeking an MBA, particularly when taking into account the opportunity cost of forgone salary – and schools are aware of this.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have more than eight years of work experience, there’s no need to fear that your MBA ship has sailed. It’s not about chronological age – it’s more about maturity, readiness and where you are in your career.

If you’re contemplating business school in your mid-30s, the key is to demonstrate confidence, how you’ve progressed professionally and what you’ve contributed on the job. Both younger and olderapplicants get accepted into top programs, so your age and experience level should never be the sole deciding factor of whether to apply to business school.

2. I was denied admission last year. Some people have a hard time dealing with what they perceive as rejection. If you’ve been feeling down ever since you received rejection letters, remember to keep your chin up.

First, elite MBA programs are extremely selective. At the top schools, out of every 100 applications, only around seven to 12 are accepted.

In other words, it’s very much a numbers game when you’re applying to such competitive programs. Only so many spots are available for an overwhelming number of extremely talented candidates.

Applying to an MBA program is seriously hard work. Give yourself some time to recharge from the last go-around, but then get ready to take a critical look at where you can enhance your candidacy before applying again. Make sure every aspect of your application is as polished as humanly possible.

Whether it’s retaking the GMAT to boost your score, taking a calculus course to prove your quantitative skills or looking at what you can do to strengthen your profile professionally or within your extracurriculars, everyone has room for improvement. We’ve seen many triumphant cases of reapplicants receiving offers of admission from their dream school, so one unsuccessful season should never deter you from trying again.

3. I haven’t done anything amazing to get into a top school. It’s hard not to feel intimidated when you read the admitted student profiles at many of the elite MBA programs, which might include Olympians, successful entrepreneurs, decorated military officers and candidates with outstanding public service experience. However, don’t get psyched out of applying just because you can’t list anything similarly noteworthy on your application.

To stand out in the eyes of the admissions committee, you just need to provide hard proof that you made a difference. But it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints. Show that you’re solutions-oriented and provide evidence of situations where you have applied your analysis, formulated an action plan and, most importantly, executed the plan.

Community service is very important to the admissions committee because it provides insights into your deeper interests and the causes you care about. It also shows that you are the type of person who devotes energy to making a community stronger.

Again, it’s not about demonstrating the most compelling act of service. Just show what you care about and how that activity or involvement enriches your life while helping others.

4. Business school is expensive. I won’t try to tell you that an MBA degree from a top business school isn’t pricey. Not only are you spending money on tuition and all of the other associated costs, but in many cases you will forego salary during the length of the program.

While figuring out how to pay for it all can be challenging and intimidating, look at an MBA as a long-term financial investment. Fortunately, schools are deeply committed to working with students to find a solution to financing school through a combination of loans and scholarships.

I strongly believe that where there’s a will there’s a way and that the MBA degree pays off in many ways, both quantifiable and priceless. So shake off those self-sabotaging thoughts and get started on creating your own path to the professional goals you seek.

 Image credit:: Flickr user Yuwen Memon (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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3 Reasons for Rejection From a Dream MBA Program

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.com If you’ve been feeling down since receiving a rejection letter from your dream business school, I want to offer some insight into why …

rejection MBA admissions

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

If you’ve been feeling down since receiving a rejection letter from your dream business school, I want to offer some insight into why it happened, and remind you why you should keep your chin up.

First off, all of the top MBA programs are notoriously selective. It may be that out of every 100 people who submit materials, only seven to 12 are accepted. Harvard Business School – ranked No. 1 among MBA programs by U.S. News – rejected more than 8,000 applicants for its class of 2017. In other words, it’s very much a numbers game when you’re applying to such competitive programs. There are only so many spots for an overwhelming number of extremely talented candidates.

That may be hard to accept for people who have reached every goal they’ve ever gone after. So, here are three possible reasons why your target b-schools did not offer you admission.

Overrepresented demographic: Each program strives to put together a diverse class of impressive people. However, no one knows the magic formula that any given admissions committee uses to fill open spots.

The very elements that typically make up a strong candidate for business school – solid academic background, stellar test scores, work experience in investment banking, engineering or consulting – may not have strengthened your case because too many other candidates shared those exact same characteristics in this application cycle.

Everything from your gender to your industry to your nationality to your career aspirations, community service and personality comes into play when an admissions committee attempts to build a graduating class.

While you can’t do anything to change your basic profile, if you do apply again try to hone in on elements of your background, interests and experiences that set you apart. Even the most typical MBA candidate can find something that will enhance the experience of fellow classmates.

Lack of self-awareness: They say high self-awareness is the strongest predictor of overall success. Business schools love to admit applicants who appear dedicated to their personal development, which is why the “tell us about your greatest weakness” question is so popular in both essays and interviews.

There’s no such thing as a perfect MBA applicant, however. Everyone has weaknesses, and if you don’t acknowledge them, the admissions committee will make a judgement on how introspective and self-aware you are.

If your essays or interviews contain any excuses-making, passive-aggressive comments, outright bragging or rambling answers, they will question your maturity and fitness for their program. Any doubts will likely lead to a hard pass, so answer those questions honestly, but always with a positive tone focused on continual improvement and reflection.

Low stats with no explanation: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard members of the admissions committee express dismay over applicants who don’t make use of the optional essay to explain the common red flag of low quantitative stats or proof of quantitative proficiency. This isn’t the time to cross your fingers and hope for the best, no matter how many stories you’ve heard of applicants getting into the Stanford University Graduate School of Business with a 650 GMAT score.

If you plan on reapplying, you have a few options. The surest route is dedicating more time to studying so you can strengthen your score; then it won’t be an issue next time. If your stats still hover below the median at your target programs, take a college-level course in statistics or accounting and prove to the admissions committee that you know your way around a spreadsheet.

Yet another route requires more of that self-reflection I mentioned earlier. Make sure you’re targeting programs that line up well with your stats. Look at programs outside the top 15 and see if there’s a better fit with higher acceptance rates that will get you where you need to go, career-wise.

Once you’ve pulled together a strong application and submitted it, the process is out of your hands. You will never be able to do anything about who (or how many people) you were truly competing against for a spot, who read your application or what kind of mood they were in that day.

Developing resilience is incredibly important if you need to reapply, but it’s also essential in life. Even when you put your best out there, you might still fail. However, to be successful, you need to learn how to bounce back and try again.

Image credit: Flickr user Anne-Lise Heinrichs  (CC BY 2.0)

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When Your B-School Rejection Makes the News

A popular MBA applicant blogger this season who goes by the moniker Grant Me Admission woke up to a huge surprise earlier this week when he found out the profile about his journey to b-school …

A popular MBA applicant blogger this season who goes by the moniker Grant Me Admission woke up to a huge surprise earlier this week when he found out the profile about his journey to b-school originally published on Poets & Quants had found its way to Fortune online.

Over the past few months, readers of his blog have followed along as he decided to retake the GMAT after scoring 710, mulled over the mistakes he made last year applying to Tuck School of Business, and fell in love with Kellogg School of Management. We also felt his pain upon receiving ding after ding from all five of the schools he applied to this season during Round 1.

While wading through brutal anonymous comments likely required cultivating an especially thick skin, Grant also found much to gain from hearing these fresh perspectives. The plan now, he says, is to complete his post mortem on why he didn’t get into business school, do some serious self-reflection, and see how plans to go to a top school fit in with all that.

As any applicant will tell you, applying to an MBA program is seriously hard work. And with acceptance rates at the best schools as low as they are, applicants need to make sure every aspect of their package is as polished as humanly possible. Take a look at the original article as well as his reaction post. It really is illuminating for many b-school hopefuls out there.

You may also be interested in:

Should You Consider Applying in Round 3?

How to Cope with B-School Rejections

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