If you’re just starting the process of applying to bschool for the first time, this post is not for you. Today we’re mostly talking to those who are either still on the waitlist, or who will be reapplicants, and who will be informing the adcom about an updated GMAT score either in a waitlist update…
As we started to say last week: If you’re going to be a reapplicant to an MBA program in the Fall, we’ve got some stuff for you to think about. One place to start is to do some self-analysis around those career goals that you pitched. Today we invite you to analyze the goals from…
So Round 1 happened.
And now Round 2 is like really far along.
And you’re sitting here going, what happened?!?
If you have this nagging sense of doom creeping into your gut, thinking that after all that, it’s not looking like you’re going to get in anywhere, then leave it to EssaySnark to
make some snarky comments about it try and help you figure out some next steps.
- If your first apps went out in Round 2 and you’re doubtful they’re going to pan out, well… now you know! Round 1 is better, not only because it’s easier to get in, but because you have time to regroup if things don’t turn out well. (Life lesson #1: Don’t put sh!t off.)
- If you didn’t get invited to any interviews at all, well… now you know! Something was off on your apps. In most cases, it should be pretty easy to debug the situation (or you can get some help from EssaySnark if you are stumped on the reasons why).
- If you tried in Round 1 and in Round 2, you did everything right — except, perhaps not. Something was flawed along the way. Now’s your chance to take a REAL honest look at the situation.
- If you’re on the waitlist – this post is not for you! There is STILL HOPE for you! You have no right to be depressed. Go outside and play and come back to us in a month or so, and we’ll talk then.
If you’re still reading, and looking for us to try and cheer you up after feeding you that buzzkill list, here’s what you can do:
1. First: Make sure you really WANT an MBA. If you aren’t that committed to this process, then you’re probably not putting your heart into it — and if you’re not putting your heart into it, then it probably shows.
2. Next: Make sure you really NEED an MBA. Are you just enamored of those three little letters? Or is this something that is actually required for you to get where you want to go? One way to answer this question is, when you were first faced with writing up your career goals for those essays this year, were you completely clueless as to what to say? If so — if you had to cast about for something to talk about, or even worse, if you just made stuff up because that’s what everybody does — then you do not need an MBA. Maybe in the future you will need an MBA, once you figure out what you actually want to do with your life. But for now? It maybe makes sense that the adcoms didn’t say yes to you.
So, first assignment: Re-examine your career goals. Are you passionate about them? Are you invested in them?
Spend some time thinking about that today. Do some soul-searching. Be honest with yourself. This whole bschool thing is not trivial. You gotta want it.
(To be continued…. HERE)
Wanna get our take on where things may have gone sideways? Our Post Mortem App Review will give you the lowdown and help you create a plan of action for the coming months, so you have it all in gear when the next season opens up. It won’t be long, either – Harvard and Columbia should be announcing Class of 2020 info in May! Just around the corner.
If you’re reapplying to business school then by definition that means that there was something off in your original application. The schools give you different essays to lay out for them your explanations for what you’ve addressed and how you’ve improved. We cover a whole bunch of advice for self-assessing your original apps and determining…
We got a question submitted through our “Ask for free help on an essay” form that we’re only sort of going to answer today. Dear Essaysnark team, I am a reapplicant to Haas (was rejected after waitlist). Though Haas doesn’t speciafically asks to submit new essays, I am planning to do so. The catch is…
Yes, little snowflake, everyone in the world is unique… yet Harvard and Stanford only accept those who show themselves as exceptional. With many rounds of essay revision, and even more cycles of introspection and reflection, this BSer ended up in the enviable position of multiple admits.
We’ll let them tell the story:
I applied to the GSB in the fall of 2014 (R1) and was waitlisted and then released when R2 decisions were announced. I re-applied in the fall of 2015 (R2) and was accepted into the Class of 2018.
So what changed?
To be honest, not much. I had decent GPA/GMAT scores so I didn’t retake. I worked at the same company, and I committed to the same volunteer and activities that I had been passionate about outside of work. [Well…. this we actually take issue with. While it’s true that THE OUTSIDE had not changed, this applicant took a totally different approach with the essays and what they shared; the inside that was revealed in the application the second time around was much, much different. -ES]
But then again, a lot did change. I was promoted for doing good work and led a critical project at work; I was elected to serve a much bigger volunteer role, and I made remarkable progress in the hobbies I pursued (btw, my hobby relates to my long term career goal).[All good improvements for a reapplicant, but we are highly skeptical that these are the factors that contributed to a different decision this year. -ES]
This second time round, the real difference was that I had one more year under my belt, and I was lucky that many things I enjoyed doing offered me experiences that I previously wasn’t able to contemplate on, and stories that I previously wasn’t able to share. These moments were invaluable gateways for me to venture into the past to draw out the answer to the “what matters most” essay, and they were equally important as I looked forward to crystalize what I intended to do post-GSB (i.e. career goals). [The second time around, you took a different approach to the essays. You were much more authentic this time. -ES]
I did not apply for R1 for I was tied down by work commitment. Also, I had other commitments outside of work that required my attention and time. I didn’t want to do things so I could add them to my resume. I wanted to do things that resonated with my beliefs and aspirations. When I was fully immersed in those experiences, I discovered more about myself and saw a path to the future and why an MBA was needed at this time of my life. But again, I’m not saying that everyone should wait to apply for R2. R2 made the most sense for me, and that was what I did. To say this in another way, I didn’t reinvent myself within this extra year – keep doing good work and follow through on my commitments, and good things came my way. Of course, I did a lot more self-reflection on many things as a result.
I came to ES for a GSB application sanity check, and was blown away by the feedback I received. It was a multi-page write up (single-line) with pros and cons specifically outlined. The comments were very direct. I loved it. ES is not for everyone, and it is important to exercise judgement on what we do with those feedback. I didn’t agree with everything ES wrote about my application assessment. However, they offered much great advice on resume, essay, positioning, recommender strategy, etc., and I took them to heart as I refined my application. In hindsight, would I be able to get accepted to GSB without ES’ help? Probably not. But was ES the reason why I got in? Probably not either. [Totally agree with this assessment. -ES]
The GSB application is one that requires significant reflection – not just on our story, our career goal, but also on OTHER people’s feedback. No one knows us better than ourselves, so be grateful of the advice we receive, but be very mindful on how we utilize those feedback.
Finally, I was in an extremely lucky position when both GSB and HBS offered me a spot in their class. [FWIW, we did do a full Essay Decimator cycle with this BSer on their HBS essay and also the resume. -ES] And here is my very short explanation on my decision to enroll at the GSB…
To ME (others might not agree with my assessment, but this is how I view the two programs):
HBS offers unparalleled resources and network to accelerate an “external -> internal” transformation;
GSB offers remarkable diversity and flexibility to induce an “internal -> external” transcendence.
I am a touchy-feely person and I chose the GSB to intentionally embark on a more spiritual journey for the next two years. But really, no one could go wrong with attending either schools. At the end of the day, our life is measured by what we leave behind, not what degree we once hold.
And good luck to you! Definitely inspiring to see that yes, people do make it into these schools as reapplicants. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for offering those insights along the way. Not surprised at all to know that you ended up choosing Stanford, given what you shared with us while helping you with your strategy. Exciting stuff – maybe you’ll touch base with us again at some point in the future to let us know how it goes! You’re going to love it. (Obviously, right guys? :-D)
Here’s an inspiring story of resilience with an unwillingness to give up! Congratulations to this former BSer who veritably cleaned up with his apps in Round 1 2015!
Thank you EssaySnark for the invitation to blahg. I am honored to be able to write about my reapplication experience.
A quick summary of my background: I am an international, with five years of work experience in finance, and my GMAT score is 710. Round One has been a fantastic experience for me, and I am fortunate to have received admit decisions at Kellogg, Fuqua, Darden and Johnson. I have also been waitlisted at Tuck (tough luck) and denied at Yale (oh well!)
I am absolutely thrilled to be matriculating at Kellogg in Fall 2016.
My post-MBA goal is to return to banking in NYC, where I will tap into deeper institutional knowledge and greater client complexity to further develop my technical and interpersonal expertise. Despite growing into regional responsibilities at work, my experiences have been confined to Asia. The MBA would be my opportunity to build out my international exposure.
Things were definitely less rosy with my applications a year ago. I was denied without interview at Wharton, Columbia and Sloan. I was also waitlisted, and eventually denied at Kellogg and Tuck. Tuck provided feedback to raise my GMAT score, and I took the GMAT for a third time post receipt of their feedback. However, my score remained stubbornly at 710.
I felt a lot of uncertainty being on the waitlist. I was diligent with my bi-monthly updates to both schools, but knew that admission off the waitlist was going to be a long shot. The online forums were teeming with high caliber waitlisted candidates with astronomical test scores, quality work experience, and strong extracurriculars. I had to get realistic, and deal with the very real possibility that I would have to reapply.
With that possibility in mind, I started working to uncover the weaknesses in my applications. After speaking with several admissions consulting firms in the market, I managed to uncover three areas of improvement: my school strategy was poorly thought out, my applications lacked focus, and my recommendations were not personal. My only saving grace was my strength at interviewing, which was probably why I got waitlisted at schools which I interviewed at.
I knew that I needed to get help to overcome those weaknesses. For starters, I needed a road map for my reapplication, and a no-holds barred rundown of my candidate profile. I signed up for EssaySnark’s Comprehensive Profile Review. It was 19 pages of brutal truth, truth that I needed to start working on my reapplicant profile.
Last year, I made the fatal error of going with rankings. This year, I followed my gut, decided against applying to big city schools. I felt that a “commuter” culture prevailed in those big city schools, and I definitely wanted none of it. EssaySnark gave fair warning about my school choices in relation to my goals, but I was comfortable with the risks, and stood firm on my choices.
I must note here that EssaySnark accurately predicted the outcomes this season. They were uncomfortable about my decision to apply to Yale, and it turned out that Yale gave me my only deny decision this season. With EssaySnark’s blessing around my school strategy, I decided to press on with the essays and recommendations.
It has been said many times on this blagh, but I must reiterate that essay writing is very hard work! I spent an extraordinary amount of time determining what it was that I truly wanted out of business school, how I would contribute to the school’s community, and thinking about how I knew I would succeed at my post-MBA goal. Then there was the constant grappling with whether I was really answering the question posed. Fortunately, I gradually became more self-aware, and it became much easier to write about myself with each school.
I stopped speculating about what the Admissions Committees wanted to hear, and got really personal with my essays. If EssaySnark said my profile was good to go, it was. I stopped trying to be the ideal candidate which I was not.
When it came to the recommendations, I ordered EssaySnark’s instruction sets to help guide my recommenders. My recommendations last season were not ideal, covering my qualities and accomplishments in broad strokes. This season, I invested a lot more time sitting down with my recommenders, encouraging them to write in a very personal manner, and guiding them towards highlighting qualities which added to my overall candidate profile.
During the course of my reapplication, I was able to earn a promotion at work. This was the positive delta I needed. I also increased my participation in HR-related projects within my company, organizing internal mobility events, leading attrition studies, and conducting campus recruitment.
Interviewing was my strength, so I made the most of it by initiating campus interviews at Tuck and Fuqua. Most of the other international admits that I met recently did not interview on campus, so this is not a necessity. [Yeah, but it sure can make a huge difference at both of those schools – for everyone, domestic and ESPECIALLY international BSers! -ES] However, I felt that it made for a great conversation starter, and it created a strongly positive first impression on my interviewers.
The results truly exceeded my expectations. I hope my story will provide inspiration to waitlisted BSers out there. It has been a fantastic journey. The success factors have all been written about before: start early, get professional help discerningly, listen to the feedback given, keep writing, and enjoy the ride.
Good luck BSers!
And good luck to you! You ended up in a fabulous place. Congratulations, especially on using such a great attitude and focusing on improving what needed to be improved, and turning it into a win!