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Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
I’m shocked that the first month of 2011 is almost behind us and we are only eight months away from the first admission round for next application season.
All round one applicants should have received their admission decisions which would likely fall in the following three categories: Admitted, Rejected, or Waitlisted.
You are admitted, what next?
Congratulations if you are one of the 10-20% of the lucky few who have an admission offer in hand.
But this isn’t time for you to simply relax and rest on your laurels. Given the impressive price tag of the MBA (usually north of $100K) you need to reconfirm that the degree still makes sense for you given where you are in your career and your long term goals.
Should you decide that you will plunk down the cash and don’t mind the opportunity cost for pursuing the degree, then the other factor worth considering is the fit of the program.
This applies to those of you who have multiple admission offers to consider.
This is the time to dig a bit deeper to make sure the reasons you applied to the programs in the first place still hold true.
– Even if you visited the program before, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the program’s Admitted Students’ Day. I have had many clients change their minds about where they ultimately enroll after attending these events.
– Look beyond the red carpet admission frenzy to decide where you would fit best.
– Test the power of the alumni network, scrutinize the career placement statistics and overall resource that would be at your disposal.
You are rejected, what next?
This can be devastating news for many candidates. If you need to take a few days to mope around, then fine.
The trick is to rally back quickly and go to plan B. First step is to take an objective view of your application to identify what could have gone wrong.
You can have an admissions consultant assess your overall application to determine what your weaknesses were and to strategize on ways to mitigate them if you choose to reapply.
Your Achilles heel could be your weak interviewing skills, damning recommendations, essays that are not differentiating, weak academic profile or even unrealistic school selection.
Once you know what the issues were you can address them as you plan your next course of action.
The right decision varies from one applicant to another and is a decision an admissions expert can provide guidance on.
– For some applicants, it makes sense to select schools that are less competitive and to apply in the later rounds at new schools.
– For other applicants it may make sense to wait a few months and apply to a new set of school in early rounds or even to reapply to some of the previous schools.
You are waitlisted, what next?
If you are waitlisted it is not the time to become complacent. You will need to assemble an army, not just any army, but individuals who are genuine brand champions.
You may benefit from an expert evaluation as well to determine the weak spots in the application if you are unsure.
Remember that every school has a different waitlist policy so it is important to know the exact policy of the school you are dealing with.
For example a school like HBS has no formal process where you can submit additional materials such as higher GMAT score unlike schools like Tuck, LBS and Tuck where applicants have been able to submit such information.
Practical steps that you can take to be admitted off the waitlist are highlighted below:
– Improve on your GMAT and communicate this to the schools where you can provide updated information.
– Meet with adcom if possible. But go with an open mind, you never know when/how a connection could take place at an info session or during a visit to the school.
– Get alumni endorsement (they have to know you and have valid/tangible points they can make about why you would be a great addition to the MBA program.
– Be patient (you can be on the waitlist for a long time).
– Be realistic in case it doesn’t work out—make sure you have another program option in your back pocket.