We say this all the time and we even went through it again recently:
Please don’t paper the country with apps.
Submitting a large number MBA applications does not increase your odds of getting into business school. It just wastes money and makes you feel like a complete and utter failure when all of them get rejected in a few months.* A reasonable handful of high-quality apps is what you should be aiming for. Given that it’s Round 2, which is your last chance this season for a good school (since Round 3 is really tricky and not advisable), then yes, you probably should be doing more than if it were Round 1. However “more” still does not mean “all of them.”
Get expert feedback on your essays for one school. Then you’ll know how well you’re doing with this essay-writing thing. Then you can tackle 3 or 4 more apps on your own. This will likely boosting your odds of success by a factor of 10 over your previous play-the-lottery shoot-first-aim-later submit-everywhere plan.
Over and over, year after year, we get BSers coming to us in March asking for the Post Mortem. “Why didn’t I get in?” And we discover that not only did they muff up their essays on one app, but they used the same non-strategy strategy on multiples. Like, lots of them.
Which means that they’ve screwed themselves over next year. Many schools are open to reapplicants, but it’s ALWAYS easier to pitch a school fresh. A reapplicant strategy needs to be handled with care. It needs to do more than just fix the issues of poor essays. It needs to show improvement and progress from the original submission. It’s even harder to do a good job on reapplicant essays than it is to do a good job the first time through.
If you’re going to go through the struggle of writing these essays, you want to do it once and be done with it. Some things are a lot of effort and pain and it’s worth it to go through all of it again – things like running a marathon or having a baby. Applying to bschool is not one of them. You get NOTHING out of the process if you’re not successful – well, except perhaps for a dose of humility, which for some people is useful indeed. 😉
Three apps in the time you have remaining? Totally doable. Four apps? Yeah, sure, probably. More than that? Hmmm. Possible, but… wethinks you may be fooling yourself on how much work that really is and how good they’re going to end up being when you’re done with them.
The goal is not to submit a bunch of apps. The goal is to pitch the schools on why they should admit you. It’s a big task. The essays are your big opportunity.
You may want to ask your boss if you can have a couple days off.
That is, after you’ve made sure she’s submitted all those recommendations for you. Yeah, all ten of them. Because if you’re doing that many apps, you’re asking her to do a lot of work, too – and yeah, she’s gonna cut some corners, you know it. One more reason why your apps aren’t going to be that good if you’re trying too many.
We hope you’re getting your boss a nice holiday gift this year. Like a big bottle of scotch. She’s gonna need it after wading through that mess of a project for you.
Four sounds like a good number.
Get done with four, and then you can see how you’re feeling.
*”Dang, EssaySnark! You be harsh!”
Yeah, well, when we see someone cram in 10+ apps in the last two weeks before deadline, we’re not likely to hear them come back with reports of admissions success two months later. There is an inverse correlation between the number of apps and the level of quality. Someone submitting a high number of apps in a short period of time gives us a pretty easy way to predict outcomes sight-unseen.
Tell us what you think.