Dealing with dings: How to handle a rejection from b-school

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Dealing with dings: How to handle a rejection from b-school

Most people will receive at least one rejection letter over the course of the business school application process. It will be chock-full of cliches like “declined” and “appreciate your interest.” But if you haven’t gotten into any of your first choice schools, don’t take it to hard. We’re sure that we don’t need to tell you about all of the incredibly successful people that have seen more than a few rejection letters. This certainly isn’t the end of the road.

Give yourself a little bit of time to recover, and once you’ve cooled down, it’s time to get back to work.

  1. Take heart. While a rejection can feel intensely personal, it’s not a sign that you won’t or can’t improve. Take time to consider what you’re looking to get from your business school experience, and why you’re working so hard for that acceptance letter.
  2. Analyze your application. What were the weak points? Make sure to consult other people on this, forums like GMAT Club can be a helpful resource. You might find that others see a completely different (and hopefully fixable) whole in your application. If needed, ask a trusted friend or an MBA consultant to look over your essays.
  3. Broaden your horizons. The top 10 schools are not the be-all and end-all. There are many fantastic programs, some of which might be a better match for your MBA goals.
  4. Create a better profile. Once you’ve found the holes in your application, start working to compensate for them. Take extra classes, find a chance to display leadership, etc. By the next time you apply, you should be a more attractive candidate.
  5. Apply again. This might mean preparing to reapply to your chosen schools next fall, or adjusting your expectations and throwing all your energy into Round 2. As the old saying goes, if you fall two times, make sure you get up three times.

The most important thing is that you focus on your goals, whether it’s getting an MBA or what the MBA will add to your career path.


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