Personal MBA Coach’s Tips for Getting Off The MBA Waitlist by: Scott Edinburgh, Founder of Personal MBA Coach on April 19, 2023 | 380 Views April 19, 2023 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit Getting waitlisted for admission to an MBA program is much like getting waitlisted for anything: It elicits mixed feelings. It is better than getting rejected, but it is not as good as getting admitted outright. That said, Personal MBA Coach advises applicants to look at this decision from a positive viewpoint. Getting placed on the waitlist means that while the Admissions Committee is not ready to offer you a spot, it also liked your application enough to keep your name in the running. That also opens an opportunity for you to take an active role and offer a little something that could sway the AdCom to offer admission. Before we look at things a candidate can do to turn this uncertain position into a win, let’s look at why you might have been put on a waitlist: You may be applying from an overrepresented pool. One of the main reasons applicants are waitlisted is because their profession or background places them in an overrepresented group, so the competition is greater. Schools care greatly about diversity because it enriches the educational experience in the classroom as well as the makeup of business sectors in which future MBA recipients will work. At Personal MBA Coach, we place purposeful emphasis on showcasing the singular story of each candidate, but sometimes it just comes down to numbers. The MBA Admissions Committee may have been concerned about whether you would enroll. It is possible that you were waitlisted because the school was not entirely sure that you would accept. This likely does not apply to HBS or Stanford GSB, but if an Admissions Committee thinks that its school might be a safety school for you, they might waitlist you rather than offer you admission. Fortunately, this is something you can address (more below). Your GMAT/GRE/EA score was low. You might have been waitlisted because of a low GMAT, GRE or EA score. While your applications might shine in every other way, some business schools will not offer a spot outright if the Admissions Committee is concerned about a score. The good thing here is that you can try to do something about this (more below). The Admissions Committee is waiting to evaluate the applicant pool in later rounds. Particularly in early rounds, Admissions Committees are unsure what the rest of the application cycle will hold. Therefore, they will place some candidates on the waitlist while they wait to see who applies in the following round. It is a way to hold onto you for a while longer until they review the applications in future rounds. So, what can you do to get off that waitlist and into the school? MBA Waitlist Tips While it is hard to cite a specific MBA waitlist acceptance rate, these are steps to take to improve your chances of admission. 1. Try to determine why you were waitlisted Based on the information discussed above, see if you can identify the possible reason for your waitlisting. Schools generally do not provide a reason, and we do not suggest asking! Instead, use the list above to help you identify potential holes in your application or areas you would like to address in a letter to get off the MBA waitlist. Personal MBA Coach offers waitlist support and ding analysis services for those who need help. 2. Develop a thoughtful waitlist letter Contacting the school with questions or bugging a contact at the school about the waitlist is not appropriate and will do more harm than good. That said, most schools are open to receiving an update letter after an appropriate period of time. 3. Keep the letter short. Do not use it to repeat information the school already has about you. Use the letter for two important purposes: Address any potential weaknesses: If you are aware of something that might have been lacking in your application, do something about it and share that with the Admissions Committee. For example, if you lacked volunteer leadership experience and you have since undertaken a new activity, tell them about that. Say what you have done since applying and how this experience has improved your candidacy. Highlight professional growth. If you have gotten a promotion, put your name in the hat for a position with greater responsibility, or pitched an important project to lead, tell the school. Show how this will better your candidacy and prepare you for the MBA experience. 4. Increase your GMAT, GRE, or EA score, or take a different exam. If your scores were low, consider retaking the same exam (or a different one) and sharing your improved score. 5. Engage with the school. Show your interest in the program by taking the time to engage with the school. If you have been in meaningful contact with the school—with students, faculty, or alumni—and learned additional information that substantiates your good fit with the school, include that in your waitlist letter while restating your interest in the school. Be specific and make sure the information adds something fresh to your application. If you find yourself on the waitlist for one or more of your target schools, Personal MBA Coach is here to help you develop your MBA waitlist strategy. From reviewing your entire application to editing an MBA waitlist letter, we are here to provide you with guidance and clarity. A Wharton MBA graduate with a BS from MIT, Scott Edinburgh has been an MBA admissions consultant and career advisor since he founded Boston-based Personal MBA Coach in 2008. Through his boutique admissions consulting and tutoring company, he and his team have helped hundreds of applicants around the world get into top MBA and graduate programs with a 96% success rate. Personal MBA Coach is the #1 most favorably reviewed consultant of all time on Poets & Quants. Last cycle, Personal MBA Coach clients earned over $10M in scholarships. Prior to founding Personal MBA Coach, Scott began his career in management consulting and worked across consulting, financial services, and strategy & corporate development roles. Currently, Scott also serves on the Board of Directors for AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and he is a speaker at events around the world on MBA application strategies. Scott runs Personal MBA Coach with his sister, Erin Wand, who is a former Bain consultant from the Boston office. Comments or questions about this article? Email us.