Congrats on Submitting Your MBA Application—What to Do Next? – Part 2
Congratulations again on successfully submitting your Round 1 MBA applications. It is not an easy process and you deserve a lot of credit for getting them in on time. For many of you, now is the time to start preparing for your MBA interviews; we have provided you with some interview in the previous blog.
While interview prep is always valuable, you need a strategy for applying to additional MBA programs in Round 2.
Here are some tips to help you get this process started.
1. Get ready to be disappointed.
By early November, you will have heard if you got an interview or not. Even if you know the numbers—with some schools only awarding an interview to one-in-three or even as one-in-five or applicants—not getting an interview still stings. That is why now is the time to have a Round 2 application strategy in place, if only to lessen the pain by knowing you are already working on Plan B.
2. Get existential.
Now that the smoke from Round 1 has cleared, take a step back and ask yourself, “How serious am I about actually going to business school?” If you don’t get into any of your Round 1 MBA programs, what would you do? Would you wait a year and reapply? Would you wish you had applied to other places? Or give up the dream completely? Knowing the answer to this question will allow you to formulate a strategy for Round 2.
3. Add more “likelies.”
In an age in which even a top 50 MBA program is accepting less than ½ its applicants, there is no such thing as a safety school. Though there are MBA programs that you really do have a better shot at based on your above average GPA, GMAT or compelling work history. If you have decided that you want to be in business school come next September, NOW is the time to figure out which MBA programs are for you, get to know them, and then produce great applications.
4. Shoot for the moon.
All of us have dreams that have been pushed to the side because of some extenuating circumstances. For you, it may have meant not applying to your dream school in the first round because you had to spend much more time on MBA applications for schools at which you actually had a shot at being accepted. Well, Round 2 is exactly the right time to admit that though you may not have a real shot at some schools—Stanford, let’s say—you want to apply because it is your aspiration. In that case, go for it! Who knows, sometimes lightening does strike.
5. Might as wells.
Through your research you may have come across some MBA programs whose essays and applications look an awful lot like schools to which you have already applied. In that case, it may just be worth it to throw an application their way. Sometimes it’s easier to repurpose some essays and complete that one more application than even thinking about if you want to attend. It is amazing how the world changes when you are holding an acceptance letter in your hand…or maybe even a scholarship offer.
Of course, there is one big constraint when thinking about applying to many more schools, and that is your recommenders. As you probably know, writing a recommendation is a lot of work, and asking a recommender for even one more—let alone a lot more—is a big ask. Only you can gauge which recommenders would be up for writing additional recommendations. If the answer is none, now may be the time to find other folks who can be your champions so that you can apply to as many schools as you want. Of course, only you can tell if it is going to be one more school, or ten more.
Most importantly, don’t consider applying Round 2 as a defeat. Realistically, Round 2 may serve you even better by connecting you with the school that is right for you. A place that not only you will like but that will also like you. And it is still possible to find such a place during Round 2, now you just have to go out and get it.
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