Rejected From Your Dream MBA? Try This
Nobody wants to get a rejection letter. But a rejection can offer an opportunity to better yourself when it comes to applying again.
Many b-schools offer that opportunity through application feedback sessions.
In one of her latest posts, Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, explains how applicants can take advantage of application feedback sessions.
“The Wharton School has shared with us anecdotally in the past that applicants who reapplied often have a slight edge in the applicant pool,” Blackman writes.
What To Do Before
Since the sessions are generally first-come first-serve, Blackman advises applicants interested in improving their application to schedule their session as soon as possible.
Feedback sessions are quick and short, so it’s critical that applicants come prepared.
Karen Marks, president and founder Of North Star Admissions Consulting, says applicants should review their application prior to their session.
“There is a natural tendency to want to move on from your previous application,” Marks writes for P&Q. “However, the admissions committee has just spent a great deal of time reviewing your file, and will expect you to discuss it in detail. Tuck, for instance, starts their feedback calls by asking candidates to list their strengths and weaknesses. It is important that you demonstrate self-awareness and perspective on your relative strength within their pool.”
Here are a few questions, according to Blackman, that applicants should write down prior to their session:
- Was there any concern about my quantitative abilities? If so, what can I do to demonstrate my capabilities?
- Were my career goals clear?
- Are my reasons for wanting an MBA sound?
- What were some of the biggest weaknesses in my application? Do you have any suggestions for how I can ease your concerns in those areas?
Making A Positive Impression
Blackman says these sessions tend to be brief and applicants shouldn’t expect that the meeting will reveal all the answers.
“It’s unlikely that members of the admissions committee will tell you flat out that you don’t have the stats, background or qualifications to attend their MBA program, even if that is the case,” Blackman writes. “Nor will they tell you to change your life plans just for the sake of the application. There’s an art to extracting information, but don’t expect to receive the secret key to success during this brief conversation. Take what you can get.”
Making a positive impression, Blackman says, is critical regardless of what kind of feedback you get.
“Think of this as one additional opportunity to build upon your relationship with the school,” she writes. “Maintain a pleasant, engaging and polite tone. The admissions committee also takes notes during the exchange that will go into your file and form a part of the evaluation you when you reapply next year. Make sure you don’t get defensive about their feedback.”
A good way to approach the session, Blackman says, is to treat it as an extension of your interview.
“Jot down the name and email address of the person you speak with, and remember to follow up with a thank-you note,” she writes.