Re-applying to Business School? Here’s How To Boost Your Chances
Optimists will tell you, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’ But if you truly want to turn things around, you’re better off steering clear of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” And that bit is particularly informative when you take a second run at your dream school.
No, you didn’t get in. And you probably tortured yourself to figure out why. If I could’ve only scored 10 more points on my GMAT, you lamented. With the benefit of time, you can probably see spots in your essay where you could’ve been more polished or profound. Deep inside, you know the clock is ticking. And the competition will only get tougher. So what can you do to better your odds?
Recently, Admissionado’s Yaron Dahan shared his strategies for how candidates can re-position themselves after being rejected. The head consultant for Admissionado’s MBA admissions – and a former lecturer at several European universities – Dahan counsels clients to focus outward. Instead of dwelling on where you fall short, he advises, look for opportunities to improve yourself and collect some new accomplishments and credentials in the process. In particular, Dahan poses this question to would-be applicants: “Has anything about your portfolio and experience CHANGED, and even better yet, IMPROVED, since your last application?”
“It’s time to impress the admissions committee with how much progress you’ve made since the last time you applied,” he adds. “That means that you’ve got to display an enlightened understanding of why you failed last time around. You’ve got to show them just how much effort you’ve put into making yourself into a better business leader since the last time your application.”
And here’s how Dahan proposes how applicants can do just that. First, he encourages prospective MBA students to focus on their job. And that includes raising their performance. For example, Dahan asks readers if they have landed any new promotions. “Promotions rock,” he exclaims in the piece. “They are amongst the strongest things that you can write in your reapplicant essay because they show true advancement. Bonus points if you were promoted at a younger age than others, or quicker than others on your team.” In itself, a promotion still isn’t enough, Dahan warns. “Don’t forget to explicitly write how this promotion has positively affected you and is bringing you yet one step closer to your goals.”
Of course, promotions take time (and are rarely in your control). No problem: They aren’t the only means to impressing an adcom, Dahan says. He also counsels readers to seek out new responsibilities at work, whether it is spearheading a new initiative or joining the committee handling the firm’s annual fund-raising event. “Any and all additional responsibilities, at work, at school, in your volunteer organizations, and beyond, will show that you are always moving forward,” Dahan observes.
And he adds that candidates will score extra points if applicants are launching something new or making something better. “The admissions committee wants to see that you’ve stepped up in a big way, that you’re taking charge. Indicating this will not only boost your candidacy, but it’ll also show that you have the makings of a leader in you.”
Dahan also touts earning additional certifications, so students can show that they are life-long learners who are committed to beefing up their skill sets (a benefit that can be further exhibited by completing classes or MOOCs). At the same time, he recommends that students visit the school and talk to faculty and students to reinforce how interested they are in a particular school. Finally, Dahan promotes taking a second look at career goals. “This year, you have the opportunity to reconsider your goals, and to present new ones that are better, more plausible and more interesting. If you do though, don’t forget to explain WHY you’re revised them. That part is key.”
In other words, it will probably take far more than a better GMAT score or a supped up essay to get a different result from a school. “The admissions committee wants to see that you have thought about your weaknesses,” Dahan concludes, “and taken concrete steps to address them to both become a better candidate and move yourself closer to your goals.”
To read additional tips from Dahan, click on the Admissionado link below.
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