Should You Change Your Application Strategy?

If you applied to MBA programs in Round 1 and are continuing to submit materials to other schools in Round 2, you may be tempted to mix things up for a couple of applications—especially if you’ve already gotten a few dings.

But before you position yourself in an entirely new way, scrap your essays and embark upon a drastically different strategic course, you need to take an objective view of the materials you already submitted. Or better yet, ask someone else who’s familiar with the process to do so.

There are certain things that cannot be changed: where you went to college, what classes you took over those four years, what your GPA is, what your GMAT/GRE score is, where you’ve worked so far, what volunteer activities you’ve been involved with, and so on. If there are major red flags across those areas, you need to be honest with yourself that even the greatest essay set in the world may not be able to offset those issues.

In that case, if you thoroughly planned how to best position yourself with your Round 1 materials but have received dings, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your strategy was faulty. It may just simply mean that you need to consider less competitive programs.

Actually, the same thing goes even if there are zero red flags across your materials. As we’ve pointed out before, a rejection does not mean you are not accomplished or deserving of a spot in School X’s incoming MBA class. It only means there wasn’t enough room to accept everyone, so perhaps you need to widen your net a bit more.

That’s why we recommend staying the course with your MBA application strategy between Round 1 and Round 2—unless you never actually created a strong plan in the first place. Then, by all means, reassess your efforts!









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