Getting dinged on your MBA application (you know, that thing you just poured your heart and mind into for the last few months) is well… no fun.
Okay, so you got KO’ed. It happens to the best of us so don’t throw in the towel on your MBA dream just yet. It’s time to take a step back, breathe deep, and work it out so that in Round 2 it’s YOU who’s delivering the knock out.
The first thing to remember: DON’T PANIC
Yes, you got dinged. But it’s only Round 1 of 3. You have at least two more shots to make it happen this year. And you know what? Worst comes to worst you can even reapply next year.
As awful as that may sound, keep in mind that you only attend an MBA program ONCE in your life, and it changes your life FOREVER. Sooo, dudes and dudettes, it’s totally worth it for you to put all the energy you have into the next round. Like we say around these parts when we talk about school selection:
It’s as simple as that folks.
Alright, so now that you’ve chilled in your corner for a while, we’ve got some Gatorade for you to chug and a towel for you to wipe away the sweat. Are you ready to get back in the ring and start throwing some uppercuts? Great!
Here are some tips from the manager’s corner on how to approach the next rounds:
1. Re-evaluate your school list
It’s time to take a long look at the list of schools you applied to and ask yourself a couple of questions, folks.
- Are you being realistic?
- Do you know what you are going up against?
- Have you selected your list with a view of your strengths and weaknesses?
- Have you applied to a broad enough range of schools?
- Have you come up with a balanced school selection strategy?
- Have you written enough applications?
Take another look at the footage of your footwork, and take an honest look at yourself in comparison to the successful applicant pool of the previous years, and see how you measure up. If things are a bit screwy you may be boxing in the wrong weight class.
For Round 2 consider adding some schools that are more in line with a realistic evaluation of your profile. And if you don’t know if your target MBA programs are realistic, ASK someone.
2. Improve what you can about your profile
It is NEVER too late to improve what you can for Round 2. It may be to late to whip up a new startup or found that NGO you’ve always been dreaming about, but you probably have enough time to retake the GMAT or TOEFL (if that’s a weakness of yours), add some extra community service, or push through one final fantastic evaluation at work. So step up folks, and go the extra mile. Trust us, it’s worth it!
3. Re-align your goals
We see a lot of folks applying to B-school fail because they are presenting unrealistic or uninspired goals.
- Are you a media guy aiming to join a PE firm, simply because those people make heaps of cash?
- Are you an athlete dreaming of getting into Oil and Gas, just becasue… you’ve always dreamed of working offshore?
Your goals should be clear, concise, well-thought out. If not, well then, your punches probably aren’t falling on target. Once again, if you have any doubts as to the logic or reasoning behind them, or you just aren’t sure how to figure out if yours are ACTUALLY on point, ASK someone. An admissions consultant, a friend in B-school, your mom, your significant other, etc.
4. Rework your story
If you took some hard punches in the last round, it’s also a good time to have another look at the story you’re telling and the essays you are writing. So many applicants are not fighting at their maximum potential and never realize how much more they can get out their candidacy.
- Maybe you’re simply making the wrong story choices
- Maybe you’re not highlighting your fantastic leadership and teamwork as well as you could
- Maybe you just aren’t succeeding in telling an engaging and dramatic story
Once again, even if you’re the one fighting for admission here, you could actually be part of a team who stands behind you. So, don’t go at it alone! Consult people for advice.
5. Get up and fight!
Most importantly, don’t give up. Don’t get dejected. Don’t take it personal. The B-schools, especially top programs, glance through thousands of applications and miss out on lots of gems. In this case you’re one of them. Yeah, maybe you could have fought a better match, or ate a bigger bowl of Wheaties the morning of the fight, but this time around you will be wiser, faster, better and sharper.
So maybe you took a bit of a beating in round one.. that’s okay! You’ve still got fight in you, we know it! You’re just like Rocky. He always gets a bit battered before winning the belt. Before you head back off into round, think think think and then train train train.
The first point of attack is your school list – yeah we all want to get into a top school, but make sure you have the profile for it. Your goals should remain lofty, but let’s hedge those bets a bit and make sure that you are reaching your REAL goals, therefore fulfilling yourself with your career.
It’s true that time between now and Round 2 is short, but you can still lace up those boots a bit tighter, and give those gloves a good polish. Do what you can to improve your profile, and then take another deep hard look at your application with an objective eye (or better yet, the objective eyes of others), figure out what went wrong, and what you need to improve.
Drill down those goals, hone those essays, and come raging out of that corner like a fighting machine!