The Tuesday Q&A: For The MBA Reapplicant, Does a Ding Hurt Your Chances?

Got a question about those MBA applications? Stuck on an essay? Need a little clarity? Chances are, you’re not the only one.

Thankfully, Admissionado founder and Harvard MBA Jon Frank has an answer… for everything admissions-related. And he’s going to share all of his answers with you, right here, every Tuesday.

This week’s question is all about taking risks. Is it worth it when your future is on the line? Jon weighs in…


I am working for 18 months in the IT industry and wish to shift to finance. Another year of IT experience will not take me anywhere in that direction. Just wanted to give it a shot this time and see where I stand. If I don’t get in, I am planning to try again next year.

I’m just wondering: If I apply this year and don’t get accepted, will it hamper my chances of applying again next year?


I feel your pain, man!  Why stick it out at a job you don’t like that is taking you no place?

Here’s the catch, though. To answer your question: YES, if you get dinged the first time around, it will make it harder to get in later as an MBA reapplicant. Your odds go down after you’ve been rejected.  Also, you will be hard-pressed to prove that you’ve changed and become a better candidate.

After you’ve been dinged, that’s what they’re looking for: how has this person changed his candidacy, and become a much stronger MBA reapplicant?  It’s tough to prove.

Here’s what I think you should do. Keep at it at work (as hard as that may be), but do your best to PROVE yourself. Get promoted. Take on RESPONSIBILITY. 18 months is still a preeeeetty short period of time to work at a job. Take one more year and make it SING, dude!

Now, also try to dig into other aspects of your life – extra-curriculars, extra projects on the side, sparking up new committees, etc.  Could you make your job more palatable?  Maybe and maybe not. But it will set you on a path for improvement and give you more to work with when it’s time to apply next year.

At the end of the day, if applying now is something you HAVE to do, yes, you have a shot. But if you can wait, I’d focus on making yourself the best candidate you can be right now…and apply only when you’re absolutely sure you’re putting your best foot forward for the adcoms. Why take a risk when you can play it (and play it WELL) safe?

We want to maximize your options here, friend.

Hope that helps,
— Jon Frank

For more information on re-applicant strategy, click here.

Does this help you? Got a question of your own?
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