MBA Application Plan B: 5 Things to Think About
As Round 1 MBA decisions start rolling in, both in terms of admits and invitations to interview, now is the time to think about a Plan B, including MBA programs that you now wish to target for Round 2.
Let me begin by reassuring you that there is time to create a compelling application for nearly all of the new schools you will be looking at. But the time to start is NOW.
So here’s some things to consider.
1. Is Plan B, just Plan A … next year?
If you don’t have to be in business school in 2018 but are comfortable starting a year later, figure this out now. Being a reapplicant can be an advantage (10 percent of HBS students didn’t get in on their first try). But remember you have to have something new to say to each school you are reapplying to, so make sure you are a better candidate in a meaningful way.
2. Maybe you should fix that fatal flaw.
If your GMAT is less than stellar, or your GPA needs some work, there is still some (maybe only a tiny) amount of time to fix that before the deadline for Round 2. Beware though, if you can’t work on addressing both your fatal flaw and writing a stellar application, one will have to go.
3. Try a different mix.
For many, Round 1 means only applying to their dream MBA programs. If that’s the case with you, then Round 2 is the time to broaden your list of schools to include a healthier dose of “target” and “likely” schools. At Stratus, we recommend applying to 6 to 9 schools: 1/3 reaches, 1/3 targets, 1/3 likelies. Is this what you did in Round 1? Maybe this is your Plan B for Round 2.
4. Do more research.
Whether you are applying to an MBA program in Round 1 or Round 2, you must really get to know the school, so you can explain why that school is a great fit for you and you are a great fit for them. Now is the time to do just this, if you can’t visit the school, connect with some current students and recent alumni. Don’t stop at the website. The most compelling applicants are the ones who are dying to go to a particular MBA program and can explain why. BE that applicant.
5. Find other schools.
During Round 1 you may have focused on your dream schools but there are a ton of great schools out there that are waiting to be found. These are schools that share a lot of the same characteristics as your number one choice and will get you all you need from a business school education, but aren’t quite the same reach for you. These we call the doppelgänger schools, and we will discuss them in the next blog post. By the way, a doppelgänger is a double or twin, though for our purposes it might mean the perfect business school for you.
No matter which of these next steps you want to follow, hopefully all, NOW is the time to get started.