McCombs School of Business | Ms. Second Chances
GRE 310, GPA 2.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. IT To IB
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Stanford GSB | Mr. Entrepreneurial Bassist
GMAT 740, GPA 3.61
Kellogg | Mr. Green Business
GMAT 680, GPA 3.33; 3.9 for Masters
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Account Executive
GMAT 560, GPA 3.3
NYU Stern | Mr. Military Officer
GRE In Progress, GPA 2.88
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Commercial Banker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
IU Kelley | Mr. Construction Manager
GRE 680, GPA 3.02
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65

The Three Hardest Things About Navigating The MBA Waitlist

advice about navigating the hardest parts of the MBA waitlist

I have written before about how to optimize your chances of getting off the MBA waitlist, and about why you are likely there in the first place. Consistently, people struggle to strike the right balance between being proactive and telegraphing disinterest. Here is additional advice about navigating the hardest parts of the MBA waitlist.

  • Waiting for so long.

Although some schools reevaluate waitlisted candidates with each successive round, many don’t – and in either case, waitlist decisions often extend into the summer. One of the most frustrating parts of the MBA waitlist process is the need to make alternate plans while also staying flexible. Nevertheless, it’s important to go ahead and deposit at your second-choice school, pursue that appealing job option, etc. People who can wait, and who can accept offers that come later in the cycle, are at an advantage.

  • Not overwhelming the committee.

Many candidates have a natural desire to convey their passion for the school. This understandable impulse can backfire, though, if you overdo the communication. Follow their directions and don’t ask for individual feedback unless it’s offered. Same with visits, don’t decide to pop in unless they invite waitlisted applicants to do so. I would also avoid weekly “update” emails – wait until you have something substantial to convey.  Finally, don’t have everyone you have ever met send in “endorsement” notes. Volume is much less important than quality.

  • Taking their advice.

Some business schools do offer meaningful feedback to waitlisted candidates. This guidance can be incredibly helpful, but there is a hidden pitfall – if the committee tells you to do something specific, you need to do it. If the feedback is that you should write a new goal statement, clarify your interest in their program or re-take your GMAT or GRE, it’s crucial to follow through. Ignoring the committee’s guidance will hurt your chances.

Finally, remember that you wouldn’t be on the MBA waitlist if there wasn’t a chance of getting in.


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. Clients have been awarded more than 24 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 97% have gotten into one of their top-choice schools.