Don’t Play the MBA Comparison Game
It can feel pretty devastating if Round 2 results from your dream school have come in, and you didn’t get good news. After months of hard work on your application and a few more months of anxiety-ridden waiting, finding out that you weren’t accepted stinks. That’s when many dinged applicants start to play the MBA comparison game.
When you already feel confused, down, or angry, learning that a friend or co-worker did get in feels like having salt poured on your proverbial wound. If you believe you’re more qualified than that person, it’s even worse.
Why do scenarios like this come to pass? How can two people who work at the same place or are similar “on paper” meet such different MBA fates? How can a stellar candidate receive a ding when a seemingly so-so applicant gets admitted?
Let’s break it down.
The MBA application process is subjective.
Admissions committees consider thousands and thousands of qualified applicants each year. They’ve developed a strong sense of who will best fit their program. While you may think you’d be more of an asset to a particular school than an acquaintance who got in, the admissions committee felt differently.
You don’t know absolutely everything about your friend or co-worker’s candidacy.
If you did your homework on the MBA process, you know that AdComs are looking for what makes applicants tick. They want to understand your personality. They are interested in more than just your career experience and “stats.”
Even if you read your friend’s essays, you probably don’t know every detail of their applications and recommendation letters. Nor do you know they performed in their interview. Maybe your demographics, backgrounds, and motivations don’t overlap as much as you thought. Perhaps the AdCom saw something they were specifically looking for in your friend.
You may not have even been competing with your friend for a spot in the first place.
As mentioned above, we know that each program strives to put together a diverse class of impressive people. However, no one knows the magic formula any given AdCom uses to fill open spots.
But what we do know is that it’s not as straightforward as most applicants assume. Everything from your gender to your industry to your nationality, career aspirations, community service, and personality comes into play when an AdCom attempts to build a graduating class.
We know how tempting it is to play the MBA comparison game.
But unfortunately, doing so won’t change anything or make you feel any better. The best thing you can do is try to be objective about how you could improve your candidacy if you reapply next year—or consider additional programs that might improve your odds.
Finally, consider this advice:
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