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Admissions Tip: Post-Rejection Reflections

school rejection

While we always hope reports of success will dominate MBA LiveWire, the reality is there are only so many seats in a class, and that leading MBA programs reject many more applicants than they admit.

This Admissions Tip is here to help you move forward in the MBA admissions process if you did not receive good news in Round 1.

Reconfiguring Following Rejection

If there is any good news when it comes to being rejected in the first round, it’s that it’s still early in the application season, and not too late to re-adjust your strategy and target appropriate programs for Round 2. Round 2 application deadlines generally fall in the first couple of weeks of January, which leaves a bit more time to prepare a new set of applications. It is also often the case, that your first applications are not the strongest. You learn through this process, and could potentially submit stronger applications for Round 2. Or it might be the case that you need to re-evaluate your goals, and then target a new set of programs that are appropriate for those goals.  You could also adjust the competitiveness of the programs you target. So if you struck at all of your R1 targets, you may need to shift your target to slightly lower ranked programs.

Rejection Reflection

You also might want to take a hard look at what the schools which chose not to interview you, might have found lacking. If you failed to make a compelling case for the degree or to properly showcase your experience in your essays, it might be a good time to get a fresh perspective from a third party on your materials.  If your recommendations may have been lacking, speak with your writers or seek out new colleagues who might be able to better support your candidacy.

Of course, if there isn’t something as tangible as a poor test score, shoddy essays, or subpar letters of recommendation, you may need to take a longer view. For instance, if you lack professional experience, leadership accomplishments, or outside activities, it might make sense to delay your MBA ambitions, and reapply in a following year. Reapplicants are generally looked upon favorably in the admissions process.

MBA Motivations

Finally, you might want to reassess whether the MBA is the right, next step for you. Perhaps the admissions committees are doing you a favor, and nudging you in a different direction.

Chin Up!

There’s no doubt that receiving negative results can be painful, but it’s how you handle the situation that will determine your future. Don’t lose site of the fact that news of rejection(s) is actually useful feedback in a process that can be quite opaque.  Take the feedback to heart, regroup, reassess, and devise a plan to help you reach your goals.