More Business School Admissions Advice You Don’t Want To Hear

There is so much information swirling around about business school admissions that it can be hard to know what to believe. It’s also easy to find advice that supports what you want to hear, which can lead to trouble. In addition to the blind spots that I previously wrote about, here is some more business school admissions advice that you might not want to hear.

  • You probably shouldn’t apply third round.

For most people, third round is not the place to be. It’s unbelievably competitive, you need to have an incredibly strong application and under some circumstances it can hurt you to reapply. Yes, some people get in, and I have worked with successful third round candidates. Nevertheless, it’s usually not the right move.

  • Wait listed? Don’t visit uninvited or send tons of unsolicited materials.

This one is really hard for people to hear. There are definitely things that you can do to move the needle when you are wait listed, and those things vary depending upon why you were wait listed in the first place. Demonstrated interest is good, as long as it’s done correctly. However, it WILL backfire if you ignore the school’s rules and cross boundaries. Use good judgment, and even though it can be hard, sometimes the best way to enhance your candidacy is just to wait.

  • Yes, you should interview on campus.

I know that the MBA application process is expensive, long and time consuming. When schools offer you the option of interviewing remotely or locally it can seem like a great plan. If you are really interested in the school, I strongly suggest that you make the effort to go, especially if it’s a school like Wharton or Ross that offers a team-based exercise, or a school like Tuck, Duke or UNC, which offers applicant- initiated interviews.

For all programs it never hurts to go in person – you are demonstrating interest, which reassures them a bit about yield, and it’s easier to credibly articulate your passion for the school in-person. Plus, it’s harder to connect with your interviewer via skype, and alumni interviewers can be erratic. You have already put in a tremendous amount of work to get the interview, why take a chance?

At some level, you probably already know which business school admissions advice makes the most sense for your candidacy. Follow your instincts, find trusted advisors and use the information that’s available to enhance your applications.


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, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than 14.2 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.