A BSer who ended up with multiple waitlist offers but no outright admits shared this with us recently:
I just started a new job with a consulting startup focusing on pre-revenue biotech and medical devices startups. I am planning to inform the ad com regarding this. I hope they do not take this negatively as ultimately it is not ethical considering I do not have an admit and I need to live my life considering the uncertainties.
Please let me know what are your thoughts on this.
While we very much appreciate that BSers are looking at their decisions through the lens of ethics, we fear that in this case, it’s possible that our prior statements have been misconstrued. There are no ethical issues involved with this situation from the perspective of the adcom.
In posts discussing the ramifications of switching jobs during the MBA application process, we point out the ethical considerations and obligations that you have to a new employer if you’re planning on applying to bschool or have active apps in play at the time you take on a new job. Hopefully this BSer disclosed this to their manager during the interviewing process at the new consulting startup. Being upfront about being on the waitlist is the right thing to do, since there’s a chance that you may be pulling out in a few short months.
We may be misunderstanding things, but from how this note was phrased, it doesn’t sound like the BSer is worried about ethics and their boss. It sounds like they’re worried about how the adcom will feel about the fact that they’ve taken on a new job.
There are no ethical implications to that. The adcom will 100% understand. You need to live your life and do what’s best for you given the circumstances that you’re dealing with today.
The only implication that we can see with this in the context of you and your apps would be how to handle it if you end up a reapplicant. In that case, you’ll need to put some plans together in showing how this new job is advancing your cause and getting you closer to whatever you’re saying is your post-MBA goal. That type of juggling can be difficult for some candidates, so it really depends on what you pitched in the original app, and what the career history was to that point, and then what this new job is and what types of opportunities it affords you for pursuing those goals that you told the adcom about originally. Or, it may mean that your goals make no sense, in light of this new role, and that you’ll need to rethink things as a reapplicant. If it comes to that. Which we hope that it does not! Hopefully, you’ll make it into this school from the waitlist and all will be hunky dory. (Except for that difficult conversation with your new manager at your new job, if you failed to mention this bschool thing to him when you interviewed.)
Or, more likely, you’ll need to put together this plan right now, at least in high-level sketch form, since you’re going to be informing the adcom of this news.
The adcoms typically do want to hear about a significant change in status or circumstance when you’re on the waitlist, and a new job is totally in that category. Depending on the details, it could even potentially be a boost to your candidacy as a waitlister. Or, if it is not obvious why you took this job, in light of what you were doing before and what you pitched in the essays, then that could be a drag that weighs things down. It’s impossible to say without a full review of the situation. The adcoms won’t see this new job as an ethical decision; they will already know that you have to live your life and do what’s best for you. In your current reality, you have not been accepted, and you owe them nothing. There are no commitments made thus far. It is completely understandable that you’d be doing what’s right for you to get where you want to go. So from the adcom’s perspective, ethics will not be a factor here.
The new job absolutely can have an impact on your chances of acceptance right now, but that comes down to the actual new job that it is, in the context of the actual essays that you submitted, and everything else that they know about you. It’s not the fact of changing jobs that matters; it’s which job and why and all the circumstances around your quest to move up.
So, ethics does play a part in this scenario, but not in how this BSer seemed to think.
And yes, this new job does play a part in you chances, but again, it all depends on the big-picture view.
We hope that you make it in off the waitlist, BSer! If you or other waitlisters want input into the specifics, we’ll be around to assist.
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