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The Ding and the MBA Reapplication: What NOT To Ask

May 19, 2014 :: Admissionado Team

MBA Reapplication HeadacheWhen you get dinged, it’s hard to stop the questions swirling around your head. And the self-doubt. And the anger. And more of the self-doubt. And a lot more questions.

We hear ya. But the truth is, you’ve got work to do… and not much time to do it. And it’s VERY easy to get caught up in the wrong headspace, preventing you from moving forward on your MBA reapplication the right way.

So, we’re here to help you get out of your own way so you can get on your way to an MBA. [Oooh! Rhymes!]

Check out our list of questions you SHOULD and absolutely should NOT be asking yourself as you prepare for an MBA reapplication.

NOT TO ASK: What’s wrong with me?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with you, so cancel that pity party. The admissions process is complicated and it’s definitely not a science, so that ding may have nothing to do with you as an applicant. There could be a whole slew of reasons for that rejection. Maybe they hit their “quota” for “McKinsey guys” this year, or “future NGO CEOs.” Or maybe they had an influx of international students last year, so they had to pull back this year. Or maybe you didn’t apply early enough. It could have nothing to do with your GMAT or your essays or your undergrad GPA. At the end of the day, the MBA admissions process is a numbers game and sometimes those numbers just don’t work out in everyone’s favor.

TO ASK: How can I improve my profile?

To be a successful MBA reapplicant, you need to show PROGRESS. How are you better this time around? So instead of sitting there, drinking whiskey straight from the bottle, get out there and start improving that profile. Take on more leadership experience. Get more involved in stuff outside of work. Improve that GMAT score. You don’t have much time, so make the most of it.


OK, so, feel free to ask this one. But ONCE. You’re not helping yourself by harping on what happened. Dust yourself off and move on.

TO ASK: Do I Need an MBA?

You may know the answer. And it’s a big, fat yes. But this is definitely something worth thinking about before you start your MBA reapplication… all that hard work, time, etc. Do you need to do it all again? Do you actually NEED this degree? Are there other ways to achieve your goals? You’ve got the moment to consider it. So do it. Done? Great, now let’s reapply.

NOT TO ASK: Are schools even open to reapplicants?

Here’s a fun secret: they wouldn’t have MBA reapplication questions on their apps if they weren’t open to it!

TO ASK: What did I miss in my last application?

Be honest with yourself, and if you can’t give your app an unbiased review, ask someone else for help. But in order to have a successful MBA reapplication, you need to be better than the last time around. And you can only be BETTER when you know exactly where you stood the first time.

Things to consider: limited work experience, limited leadership experience, limited extra-curricular experience, a narrow list of target schools, not making a strong case for why you NEED an MBA, and disjointed career goals.

NOT TO ASK: Why did I even try?

What? Are we still having this pity party?!?! COME ON!

TO ASK: When should I start this process again?

Answer: NOW. When you’re reapplying, the game changes. You’ve gotta develop a different strategy (yup! one that shows how you’re BETTER than the first time), and you gotta…erm… be a better applicant than the first time. So there’s lots to be done. We know you are exhausted, you JUUUUST finished, after all. But you gotta get back in the saddle. You’ve done it once and now you know what went wrong and what you need to focus on. So this time is gonna be a LOT easier.

As G.I. Joe [always] said, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” So, really, you only have to fight HALF the battle this time. That’s not too bad, eh?

So now that we know the answers to all our questions, let’s start the actual work. Need some help? Check out these 4 tips to a successful MBA reapplication, and then fire up our “Dealing with a Ding” webinar recording hosted by the one and only, Jon Frank.