Yesterday we gave a thumbnail sketch of what you should be focusing on based on where you’re at in the MBA application process. Today we’re going to go into more detail on one specific and ultra-important case: The Round 1 applicant who’s been collecting some “no thank yous”.
If you’re a Round 1 applicant who’s actually been REJECTED from a number of schools already
No, it’s not necessarily Panic Time for you yet, as much as you may be starting to feel like it is.
Why not? Because you were a smart cookie and applied in Round 1. You still have all of Round 2 available to you – and you have plenty of time to figure out what’s gone wrong in those first apps and correct course.
Deciding what to do next totally depends on WHICH schools have rejected you thus far:
- If you’ve been rejected from Harvard, then it’s pretty much a non-issue. You can’t read anything into it. HBS rejects hoardes of well-qualified BSers. Just because you were turned away from Harvard does not mean you’ll be turned away from all your other apps. Wharton for example is a school that loves to collect Harvard’s rejects. You’ll see plenty of people who were turned away from Harvard get scooped right up by Wharton. An HBS rejection says nothing – assuming you’re qualified, of course.
- If you’ve been rejected from Duke, and/or Columbia, and/or Booth, or end up being rejected by Wharton next week, then you need to take action. These schools are not “easy” to get into but a qualified candidate should at least be in the interviewing stage. If you’re not, then you have an execution error in your application. You need to figure out what you’ve done wrong. Either the Comprehensive Profile Review or the Post-Mortem Reject Analysis are going to help you immensely. You canNOT proceed with Round 2 apps without making big changes to your strategy. Something you did in Round 1 simply did not work. Don’t repeat those mistakes or you’re just inviting history to repeat itself in a few months when those next-round decisions come out.
If you were smart enough to get some Round 1 applications out the door, then don’t squander the opportunity for learning from any that haven’t worked out yet. Maybe the first ones haven’t succeeded, which just means you’re in good company of those who’ve failed early. But it’s not a “failure” to be rejected from a top business school. What would be a “failure” is if you don’t learn from the mistakes and rework the strategy from here. Yes Round 2 is more competitive than Round 1, but plenty of people – plenty – make it in by submitting in January. You totally have time to pull this off, Brave Supplicant!