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MBA Reapplicants: Play It Again, Sam

July 27, 2010 :: Admissionado Team

It didn’t work out last year. Not what you were hoping for undoubtedly, but all is not lost. Are you determined? Are you motivated? Is an MBA still your dream? Something you need in order to succeed at your goals?

Then everything is possible.

This early in the season, MBA reapplicants have a lot of work to do. First, look at your application again (and we mean everything – resume, recommendation letters, essays, application form) but don’t fall into the trap of admiring the phrasing it took days and weeks to NAIL. Don’t smile at the story you’ve told a thousand times that has traditionally FLOORED your listener, or earned you a promotion, etc. Look at it with a red pen in hand, and imagine you’re explaining to someone why this candidate DIDN’T get in.

Clearly there was a reason (or reasons). Decide as best you can what they were. Don’t guess and wonder “Did they not like this? Did they not like that?” Instead, explain to someone USING YOUR APPLICATION why this candidate (i.e., “you” from one year ago) didn’t make it.

Now that you’ve buried yourself in self-critique and no longer have any capacity to feel worse about what could have been, take a look at a calendar. And smile.

NOW ask: How can I further boost my application this year? What do I need to DO right now to show the school that I really am the right choice of candidates, in spite of a ding one year prior?

Retake the GMAT? Absolutely. Unless you just crushed it the first time around and shanked your essays, a stronger GMAT can say something. If nothing else, it can demonstrate a commitment to want to improve, with the ability to follow through. If you earned a 700 or so, and in practice tests are topping out around 680-710, it isn’t worth the time and effort. That time would be much better spent beefing up other areas.

We’ll leave you with these tips:

1. Apply to your top few reapplicant choices (two or three at most). Let the rest go.

2. If you were waitlisted, definitely apply! The school WANTED you, but you were in a tough pool; you may have been edged out for reasons other than weakness in your actual candidacy (they were assembling as diverse a class as possible and maybe your profile was overrepresented, etc.). They’ll be looking out for you a second time around for sure.

3. If you earned an interview, consider applying. Here too, you’ve passed stage one. It means that there was something they liked about you last year. Crank up the essays (always), but spend lots and lots (and lots) of time in front of a mirror, grabbing friends/family, talking to yourself… practicing the living hell out of your interview. The only way to grow more and more comfortable is through practice. Muscle memory. Repetition. Doesn’t mean you need to be rehearsed, you need to be comfortable though. [We’ll tee up a special post on this soon enough, stay tuned.]

If you still have questions that are too specific for a general post like this, shoot us an email and we’ll hand you off to our re-applicant expert.