Every year, even highly qualified applicants get rejected from the top-ranked MBA programs. With the pandemic-induced economic downturn, the 2020-21 application season was particularly competitive. If you were not successful in gaining admission this year, it’s important to first spend some time on self-reflection. Then seek feedback from multiple sources, and finally, work to improve your profile before beginning your MBA reapplication process in the fall.
Above all else, remember that admissions committees want to see substantial improvement from reapplicants. To be successful next season, it’s important to come up with a strategy before reapplying.
Evaluate your Applications
Before seeking feedback from others, it’s important to do your own soul searching. Ask yourself whether you could have improved any aspect of the process:
School Selection: How do you feel about the competitiveness of the schools you applied to? Would you consider expanding the list of schools and including a few less competitive programs?
Volunteering: Did your volunteer activities lack depth or breadth? Could you seek out a leadership role in your volunteer activities?
Academics: Is there room for improvement in your GMAT score? Would you have taken a business-related class before applying if you had more time?
Recommendations: Do you suspect that one of your recommenders gave a lukewarm letter of support? Do you think you could have chosen someone to represent a different side of your personality or profile?
Time Spent: Do you think your essays represented your best work? Did you have the time to go through multiple iterations of your essays? Did you rush through the process of filling out the online application?
Once you have identified a few areas of improvement for next year on your own, it’s important to seek feedback from a variety of sources.
Due to the high application volume at top MBA programs, most schools cannot provide comprehensive feedback to rejected applicants. However, if you do have a chance to speak with a member of the admissions committee, take advantage by asking for details about each area of your application and listen with an open mind. Make sure you walk away from any feedback session with action items for next year.
If you don’t receive feedback directly from the schools, seek advice from friends and family who have experience with MBA programs. Stacy Blackman Consulting also offers a Ding Analysis service to evaluate your materials and provide feedback you can use when you reapply.
Improving Your Profile is Vital to the MBA Reapplication Process
Once you have done some soul-searching, evaluated your previous attempt, and spoken to others about steps you can take now to improve your application in the fall, it’s time to get started.
Before essay questions come out in the summer you have time to take a GMAT prep course, take a class at a local community college, ask for a leadership opportunity at work or in a volunteer setting, and cultivate a relationship with a potential recommender. Take advantage of the time available now, and approach the process strategically. Good luck!