Today right around noon Eastern time, many souls will be crushed.
A few will rejoice – but as we covered previously, those numbers are likely to be super low. For the majority of you, you’ll be getting a “No thanks” from a school that you thought you had a chance at.
(Actually, the choices are bummed, smug, or glum, if we want to be precise.)
We warn you all over the place about how competitive Harvard is, how most people don’t have a shot at it. We give you posts about “the Harvard type” and try to set expectations. Still, we know for many that it’s not real until it’s real. The perennial optimism of the BSer.
To perk you up – or not: Here’s some great advice on rejection and trying hard enough . (No, we do not recommend “trying again” at Harvard Business School – at least, not this season. If they just said “no” to you, then you’re not going to get them to reverse their decision with a phone call or a video submission. That’s not why we’re linking to that article. Please read the whole thing.)
A trend among MBA essay questions a few years back was to ask applicants to talk about their failures. One school even asked you to describe your “best” failure (can’t recall now who that was – wanna say Haas but could not confirm it). A fascinating article in the New York Times about charter schools several years ago asked, What if the secret to success is failure? . (Yes, that article is very long, but what else are you going to do with yourself to pass the time today? Go read it.)
We’re not suggesting that getting rejected would make for a good application essay topic next year. In fact, we hope that you definitely do not ever try to do that. Instead what we’re trying to remind you of is that a) this process is hypercompetitive, and lots of extremely strong candidates are turned away each year – especially this year, when app volumes are said to be up at many schools; and b) you’ll likely look back on this and have a different perspective, in time.
None of that is going to help much when you’re on the receiving end of a rejection in real time. Most likely you have other apps still in play at other very good schools. Remember, being persistent and enthusiastic and doing your research will take you far in life (it can even get you a job at an early-stage Internet startup! ).
If you’re one of the lucky few who got the invite at HBS, then remember we have interview prep resources – including the especially helpful Custom Interview Questions. If you’re looking around at a possible Round 3 strategy, we can offer input into that decision, too, through our Late-Season Targets Review. In our experience, motivated candidates who put the work in always end up somewhere that’s just right for them! Don’t give up hope, Brave Supplicant! There’s a home for you in a great MBA program.