3 Reasons Why You Got Rejected From Business School

Getting rejected by a B-school is the last thing that any MBA applicant wants. 

But rejections are a normal aspect of the admissions process. It’s understanding why you got rejected and what to do next that are important. Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at U.S. News, recently spoke to experts on potential explanations for an MBA rejection.


One of the potential reasons that experts say MBA applicants get a rejection letter is because they fail to show interest in activities outside of work and the classroom.

“Oftentimes, it is the personal story aspect that shows resilience or a unique hobby that shows a level of depth that can set a candidate apart,” Michelle Diamond, CEO of Diamond MBA Admissions Consulting, tells U.S. News. “For example, if you have two candidates from top investment banking firms with the same level of experience, the one who also practices and won awards in let’s say archery (this was from a past client), will have a better chance of acceptance because it is not only unexpected, but makes them stand out.”


When an applicant is too on brand with a B-school and its values, admissions officers will typically pass on their application. Experts say that applicants who tell authentic stories tend to catch the eye of admissions officers.

“No matter how qualified you may be on paper, authenticity counts,” Rebecca Loades, director of career accelerator programs at ESMT Berlin, tells U.S. News. “The biggest mistake we see candidates make is when they tell us what they think we want to hear, rather than showing us who they actually are. The essays and interview are a great opportunity for you to present your true self.”


Often times, a rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified. Rather, it may just mean that competition is at an all-time high. 

“This is the top reason why qualified candidates are rejected – there are a limited number of spots open and hundreds of qualified candidates are vying for those spots,” Mallory, vice president of marketing at Motivosity, a software company, tells U.S. News. “Choosing a less popular school increases your chances of getting in, and many schools have excellent programs, not just the big name schools.”

No matter the reason for rejection, experts say, the best next step is to do some self-evaluation.

“Spend some time and evaluate your application strategy and submitted package,” Cecile Matthews, director of MBA admissions consulting at Veritas Prep, tells Top MBA. “You want to determine whether you put together the best application package you’re capable of. If you feel there may have been some issues or there may be other opportunities to improve your profile, take action. “

Sources: U.S. News, Top MBA

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