It's normal to feel upset if you didn't hear the news you were hoping for after your target business schools announced their admissions decisions. Finding out that you weren't accepted is difficult after spending months working diligently on your application and then enduring several more months of anxious waiting.
The good news is that many business schools welcome repeat candidates, so if you're willing to carefully analyse where you could have made mistakes the first time around, it's definitely worthwhile to apply again. You'll need to reevaluate and concentrate on strengthening your candidacy unless the admissions team told you that the denial was merely a result of too many qualified applicants with your same profile this season.
Every year, admissions committees review thousands of talented candidates and have a good idea of which candidates will match their programmes the best. To decide whether it makes sense to reapply to a school that has already rejected you, find the answers to these questions.
You can enhance some aspects of your profile, such as your exam results and employment history, but you cannot edit or enhance other aspects, such as a subpar college GPA or a 15-year absence from school. A second try can be justified if you just need more time to develop your objectives or if you want to take on more responsibility at work to demonstrate your leadership or teamwork in different contexts.
For instance, when a prospective MBA client applied to the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with less than a year of professional experience, the school rejected her application. She did, however, succeed when she applied again four years later and this time, the institution accepted her.
Pay attention to ways you might improve your candidacy. Depending on the area of weakness, it can take you another year or more of work to significantly enhance it to the point where the admissions committee would be impressed.
It makes no sense to reapply to the same programme if you have extremely specific or unusual career goals that a school finds too difficult from a job-placement standpoint, as happened with a different prospective MBA client who wanted to work in arts management. It is unlikely that the response will change in a year.
Or the admissions committee may have determined through your essays, interview, or recommendation letters that the institution is not the best fit for you personally and culturally. Perhaps it's time to look elsewhere for MBA programmes that value your contributions and are better able to support you in realising your particular professional goals.
When one of our clients applied three times to the University of California—Berkeley Haas School of Business, that is exactly what happened. He also applied to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business on his third attempt. He was turned down by Haas once more, but Stanford accepted him. It appears that Haas was simply not meant to be.
Additionally, don't reuse things from the previous season and expect a different outcome. You must approach the entire application process as a brand-new, novel experience influenced by the difficulties you overcame and the knowledge you gained since the previous admissions cycle.
Finally, do an honest self-assessment to determine what you are truly looking for. Consider your preferred method of studying and the cultures of the various MBA programmes. It may become clear during this process that some of the institutions you had selected weren't a good fit. After considerable introspection and personal development, many of our customers have come to the conclusion that they would prefer to enrol in a very different kind of graduate school.
There is a reason why the business schools first turned you down, despite how difficult it may be to hear. You must be aware of these factors and determine whether you can change them. Resubmitting your application to those schools is pointless if you are unable to.
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