Stanford GSB | Mr. Financial Controller
GRE Yet to Take, Target is ~330, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Data & Strategy
GMAT 710 (estimate), GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. Surgery to MBB
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Foster School of Business | Mr. Tesla Gigafactory
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. PM to FinTech
GMAT 740, GPA 6/10
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Emporio Armani
GMAT 780, GPA 3.03
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
Columbia | Mr. Alien
GMAT 700, GPA 3.83
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Berkeley Haas | Ms. Jill Of All Trades
GRE 314, GPA 3.36
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Man
GRE 330, GPA 3.25
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Finance in Tech
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Energy
GMAT 760, GPA 7.9/10
Chicago Booth | Mr. Indian O&G EPC
GMAT 730, GPA 3.75
Tuck | Ms. Green Biz
GRE 326, GPA 3.15
Wharton | Ms. Female Engineer
GRE 323, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Global Innovator
GMAT 720, GPA 3.99
London Business School | Mr. CFA Charterholder
GMAT 770, GPA 3.94
Tuck | Mr. Federal Civilian
GMAT 780, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Texan Adventurer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
London Business School | Mr. Impact Financier
GMAT 750, GPA 7.35/10
Kellogg | Mr. Class President
GRE 319.5, GPA 3.76
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Upward Trend
GMAT 730, GPA 2.85
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Contractor
GMAT 730, GPA 3.2
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Work & Family
GMAT No GMAT Yet, GPA 4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Navy Electronics
GRE 316, GPA 3.24

Are You Making These MBA Wait List Mistakes?

Over the next few weeks business schools will start to admit people from their wait lists. I have written before about why you are on the wait list in the first place, and how to maximize your chances of getting off. In addition, it’s important to avoid  these MBA wait list mistakes:

Being Too Passive.

You already know to opt into the wait list promptly, and to submit any additional materials that they solicit from all candidates. Failure to do any of this, or to do so in a timely way, sends a strong signal to the schools that you aren’t serious about attending.  Also, if you get more personalized feedback suggesting that you retake your GMAT, write a new goal statement or provide another recommendation you need to do so.

Being Too Aggressive.

I have recently seen some truly terrible advice circulating that encourages candidates to do things like show up at the admissions office and stage a sit-in until someone talks to you. As a former Tuck admissions officer I beg you not to do this – you seem deranged, not proactive! There are less extreme but still damaging versions of this behavior, like calling every day or asking 15 alums to send notes on your behalf. It’s all bad – please use good judgment, follow the school’s instructions and avoid stalking activities.

Misunderstanding the Process.

There is so much confusion about what is actually happening behind the scenes throughout the admissions process, and the wait list is one of the least understood components. It really is true that the admissions officers can’t tell you how many people will be admitted, where you are “ranked” or when you will know. They don’t know themselves, wait lists aren’t ranked because people are admitted to round out the class across shifting demographics and you might be retained until the first day of class – or cut tomorrow. Pushing them for clarity will only backfire, so please don’t demand an early answer or ask for information that the school can’t provide.

It absolutely takes an incredible amount of patience to navigate the wait list. Take heart in the fact that there is still a chance of admission, and know that you wouldn’t be there if they weren’t impressed.


Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, MIT, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, Haas, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Wellesley, and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than 10.3 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.


Have you been waitlisted? Here is some inspiration for you: A WaitLister’s Successful Effort To Get In