Today we’re posting a series of links to articles that we have collected over the years, to help you learn about learning, understand your understanding, and deepen your ability to gain insight into yourself — insights that you can use in practical ways.
One of those very practical ways is figuring out what to do next with your bad self.
That means what to do if you get in — and what to do if you don’t.
You may think, “Heck, if I get in, I’m going!”
And yes, presumably that’s true!
We also often hear of BSers who get into bschool and then realize they don’t really need the MBA.
Or, they get into multiple places, and then what!?? Making the decision on which school to attend can be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever decided.
If you’re sitting here with literally no admits in hand yet, then that “problem” may seem like one you’d practically kill someone to have! It may seem impossible that it would be such a “challenge” to make that decision. Honestly though, it can be massively difficult.
And then of course the big one that may be looming a shadow over the hearts of some of you out there: What if you don’t get in anywhere?
If Round 2 was (were?) your first applications then you may have had that thought and you don’t even know if it’s a reasonable fear to have.
If you tried in Round 1 and didn’t make it in, and then had to scramble to try again for Round 2, that may be a more real fear that you’ve been experiencing.
If you’re in any type of job that has an expiration date — where you’re transitioning out of military service, for example, or coming up on your two-year commitment in a contract, where everyone else already knows that you’ll be leaving and yet you are not yet sure where you’re actually going to go, then these things can certainly cause stress.
IT’S WAY TOO EARLY TO BE STRESSING!! Today’s post is actually meant to let you start thinking through options before you’re feeling the pressure of time.
We’re still in a world of total possibilities with Round 2 schools — very few of them have even issued interview invites yet for apps that went in over the last 10 days, so it’s still in the Schrodinger’s Box of opportunity going any which way.
Which is the right time to be looking at your own values and doing some considered self-exploration.
Sitting here right now, do you have a sense already of what you will do if none of your apps pan out? Are you just going to go back to the same not-very-happy-at-this-job mindset that originally caused you to seek out an MBA as a possible means to escape into something fresh and new and exciting?
The experts are saying that it’s going to be probably late summer or maybe fall (or possibly even later) before we’ll all be able to resume “normal” lives again, where things like movie theaters will open and sporting events with people in the stands will be a possibility. At least, that’s what they’re assuming in this country, based on the very slow rollout so far of the vaccine. Depending on what type of work you do now, maybe by summer, offices will be reopening and allowing employees to come back and things like team meetings in conference rooms and morning standups will happen again. Will you want to return to the same job you have now?
Or will it be time to use that revised resume that you made for the purpose of your MBA apps, and go out on the job market in search of something different?
Things are still up in the air as to whether the U.S. economy will be headed into a recession, but as you’re likely aware, some sectors got hit hard already, such as technology with many layoffs in the Bay Area last fall. What do employment prospects look like for your current situation?
How about this: If your Round 2 schools don’t pan out, will you be trying in Round 3? There are some built-in challenges there, and in most cases, it means compromising on the level of school that you’re aiming for. Someone who was H/S/W or Bust early in the season may realize that dang, an MBA actually would make a lot of sense for me now and perhaps I’ll reconsider other options too. However, that would probably mean, by the time we’re in Round 3 territory, moving to much less competitive schools, like UCLA or maybe Cornell, or even the tier below, where we’re talking like McCombs or Tepper or McDonough — really great schools, still, but not ones that have the same prestige factor that lots of BSers are craving.
At what point will you have to decide?
Some schools are going to have extended seasons this year — at least, Ross is, modeled after their extended rounds during the initial coronavirus craziness. Ross now has four rounds, so even though their Round 2 deadline was ridiculously early in January, they have another round deadline at the end of March and then a final fourth deadline in early June. So there’s actually plenty more chances to try. Will they still have many seats left? They’re likely holding back spots in order to fill them for those rounds, so yes, though it’s likely also to be pretty competitive at that stage. Other schools also have late-cycle deadlines, or they accept applications on a rolling basis after a certain date.
Pro Tip: The schools that do this? They tend to be the less-competitive programs. You can’t expect Wharton or Stanford to be operating under similar rules.
And to that you may say: “But what about Columbia?!?? They have rolling admissions with apps accepted all the way till April!”
That is indeed true! However, it becomes incredibly difficult to get into Columbia if submitting an app anytime after like the end of January.
The other topic to honest-to-goodness be considering right now is: Do I even need an MBA?
There has been an overall shift in our culture, what with quiet quitting, and a re-examination of values caused by the pandemic and social changes and recognition of inequities all over.
Maybe you still want an MBA, but do you NEED one?
A lot of you don’t. You’re already in careers that have a nice steady upwards progression, or in some cases you’re in fast-paced roles and are doing some moving and shaking in what you’ve accomplished to date. An MBA is not necessary to go do more with your life. You maybe already are doing more than most others your age!
So, part of the Plan B questioning might be: What do you expect to gain from the MBA?
Didya see that?
It was kind of a trick, how we asked you that.
Because you probably have now spent months and months thinking of what to say to that exact question! If you applied to Wharton, you had to answer that literally.
But those answers were always crafted. You were writing for an audience. You were trying to come up with something intelligent to say, to convince an admissions person to want to meet you.
What if you asked yourself that question for real?
What do you expect to get from the MBA?
Knowing what you want out of it can help guide you through the possibly murky waters and unclear situations that will be facing all of us, in some way or another, as we figure out what’s happening in this economic situation.
Knowing why you’re trying for this can be liberating! It can gain new clarity on what is at stake, and help guide next steps and further decisions.
And it can make you that much more convincing when an interviewer asks you exactly that question in an MBA interview in the upcoming weeks.