Georgetown McDonough | Mr. Navy Vet
GRE 310, GPA 2.6
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Columbia | Mr. Infra-Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.68
London Business School | Mr. Indian Banking Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.32
Stanford GSB | Mr. Pizza For Breakfast
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Top Performer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Darden | Mr. Military Communications Officer
GRE Not taken yet, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Ms. Retail To Technology
GMAT 670, GPA 3.8
Ross | Mr. Top 25 Hopeful
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Qualcomm Quality
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Hotel Real Estate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. EduTech
GRE 337, GPA 3.9
Yale | Mr. Gay Social Scientist
GMAT 740, GPA 2.75 undergrad, 3.8 in MS
MIT Sloan | Mrs. Company Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Cross-Border
GMAT 780, GPA 3.7
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Career Change
GMAT Have yet to take. Consistent 705 on practice tests., GPA 3.5
HEC Paris | Mr. Introverted Dancer
GMAT 720, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. Safety Guy
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Danish Raised, US Based
GMAT 710, GPA 10.6 out of 12
Harvard | Mr. Aspiring FinTech Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Fill In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
INSEAD | Mr. Behavioral Changes
GRE 336, GPA 5.8/10
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Texas Recruiter
GMAT 770, GPA 3.04
USC Marshall | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Entertainment Agency
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7

How To Reapply To Business School

Not being accepted to business school when you first apply can strike hard, filling you with doubt, uncertainty and fear about trying again.  I want to reassure you that success can still be yours when you reapply.  Of course, success comes with careful reflection and self-evaluation so that your next round of applications stands out and best represents the “true you.”

Fortunately, there are three practical steps that you can take today to positively influence your MBA application the next time you apply.  Follow these and your MBA dreams will begin to fall into place.

Step 1: Find out why your first application was rejected.

Determining why the board passed on your application will offer insight into what changes or updates are needed when you reapply.  The following are the seven main reasons why applicants are rejected by business schools.

1) Unrealistic expectations. Sometimes applicants are adamant that they must attend a specific school without realistically considering the quality of their competition. If the majority of the admitted class has GMAT scores of 700 and GPAs of 3.5 and your numbers are significantly lower, you must broaden your list of schools. Similarly, if you don’t bring strong work experiences, consider looking at a school that may better suit your background.

2) Rushed applications. Applicants often underestimate how much work is required to submit a strong application, causing them to rush through the essays, under-prepare for the standardized exam and resort to cut-and-paste answers that don’t account for the nuanced differences of each school. For example, one sure way to be rejected is to recycle your Harvard Business School (HBS) essays for Stanford.  Rushing also leads to errors: applications riddled with typos or the wrong school name will significantly hurt your admission chances.

3) Weak rationale for needing a MBA. Remember that the board is concerned with admitting individuals who will thrive at their school and who will be employable after they graduate. Career plans that are not anchored in reality will likely result in a rejection. If you don’t have a vision for your career, the admissions board may reject your application. Do enough homework on each program so that you understand their interests and invest time in soul-searching to determine genuine career goals.

4) General red flags. Common red flags include arrogance, lack of team commitment, weak communication skills, or poor interpersonal relationships. These issues are often picked up through interviews, recommendations and your essays.

5) Lack of fit. Avoid the temptation to apply to popular programs just because everyone around you is applying. Instead, reflect on the type of environment that excites you.  Are you best fitted to a small, close-knit program away from a city (consider Tuck) versus large, urban programs (Columbia, London Business School, and Wharton) or a program with exceptional curriculum flexibility (Chicago) versus a program that has rigid first year requirements (HBS).  Consider whether you would enjoy being taught in a completely Case Method context (HBS, Darden) versus a combination of lectures, cases, and projects like you will find with most MBA programs.

6) Demonstrating poor judgment. There are many ways applicants reveal bad judgment. The first is not addressing a gaping hole, such as low grades, academic sanctions, gaps in work experience or termination of employment.  The second is the tone and topic of your essays, which may raise questions about your maturity. For example, blaming others for a project’s mishap instead of taking personal responsibility will make the admission board question your judgment overall.

7) Luck of the draw. Luck does play a role in the evaluation process. You may apply in the year when your school happens to be looking for candidates from a different industry than yours. For instance, HBS just disclosed the profile of their recently admitted class and it shows a decline in percentage of bankers and those from private equity backgrounds. I suspect that some bankers who would have been admitted a year ago were rejected this year.

If you continue to question why your initial application was rejected, an objective review by an admission expert will allow you to identify your Achilles heel. This can be done by an admission consultant who has served on a MBA admission board or by the school itself (Be aware that most schools do not offer feedback anymore).