You spent months planning your application strategy, studying for the admissions exam, writing essays, and wrangling recommenders. Then you hit the submit button for your business school applications in round two. Now what? You’re probably wondering what to do with yourself during what we call the MBA waiting game. Here are five tips to pass the time while waiting for news from the schools.
Come up with your Plan B.
It’s tempting to start planning out your first few weeks on campus—the clubs you plan to join and the apartment you will hunt for—but reminding yourself that you have alternatives is healthy. You’re young, intelligent, and accomplished. If you didn’t go to business school in the fall, what career shift or huge dream might you fulfill?
Maybe you would flee to Paris and take art lessons. Learn Mandarin (in China). Perhaps you would hike the Appalachian Trail. Fantasizing about plan B is more practical than you think. When you start receiving those acceptance letters, you’ll have a head start on your summer plans!
Avoid discussion boards.
Commiserating with strangers over the Internet may seem like an attractive outlet for your anxiety. But focusing on an outcome you can no longer control will only add to stress in your life. While it’s certainly positive to network with your potential future classmates, make sure you approach any rumors or myths with a balanced perspective.
It is natural to search for certainty in an uncertain process. With admission rates hovering at 10 percent for the most competitive programs, many candidates feel anxiety about the final decisions. However, if you have put together the strongest possible application you can and worked to impact every factor under your control, it’s time to relax and wait for the results.
Prep for interviews.
If you absolutely must remain focused on your MBA plans, starting your interview prep is a good outlet for your energy while you’re waiting for news from the schools. Working on your communication and presentation skills can be an ongoing challenge.
Practicing common interview questions with friends and family will both make you more prepared when the interview invitation arrives and minimize your anxiety.
Stay in touch with the schools.
Demonstrating continued and genuine interest in your MBA program of choice is one of the best ways to show the admissions committee that you are strongly committed to attending their program. How to do this? Reach out to alumni for an insider view of the program, and perhaps some interview pointers as well.
If the school plans to hold an information session online or in a city nearby, sign up or show up. You can never have too much information about your target school. The more opportunities you create to connect with the program, the better you can judge its culture and community to determine if it’s the right fit for you.
Waiting for news from the schools can feel excruciating. Distract yourself things you enjoyed before essays and GMAT scores became the focal point of your life. Take this opportunity to relax a bit, read a book, or go for a run.
It’s likely your social life has languished on the back burner for the past few months. Spend some time reconnecting with your family and friends before every waking minute is spent job hunting and networking with your fellow MBA classmates.
Although accomplishing a huge goal such as gaining admission to an MBA program will feel good, friends, exercise, and relationships are the path to longer-lasting happiness.
And finally, if you do receive news that you’ve been placed on the waitlist at your dream business school, take a look at this blog post on how to handle MBA waitlist purgatory.