jueves, abril 19, 2007

MBA applicant waitlist management advice

A friend just told me that he has been waitlisted in his application to a top-notch MBA (the other school that he applied to dinged him after the interview), so here are some thoughts on how to manage the waitlist process:

- first and foremost, review why you want to do an MBA. Sometimes people are waitlisted because they don't have enough work or international experience, or because they don't manage to pull out a convincing story in their application. So review it!! Did you sound convincing? are you convinced that an MBA at this point in your life and career is the right thing?

- have a backup plan ready. Again, think of the different possibilities, along the lines of "what would happen if I don't get into school XXXX?" Check alternative schools' admission dates: some have pretty late rounds (visa problems might apply here, so the best strategy is always to start early with your applications!). Last year, my backup plan was based on some Spanish schools in Madrid and Barcelona that have a last round in late june (luckily I didn't have to use them! ;)

- consider the possibility of delaying your MBA for a year. In the midst of the application process, it is difficult to even think of this option, but better to be mentally prepared for an eventual ding that would kill all our options.

Once the above is ready, it is time to start the action. You have been waitlisted, so the door is not closed. What could you do to possibly maximize your chances???

- Be polite and don't lose your nerves. Send an email to AdCom reconfirming your interest in the school and its programme.

- network, network, network: most schools have outreach or ambassador programmes in which current students liaise with applicants. If you have visited the school already, you might know some of those: ask their advice and support! Most probably AdCom will take students' opinions into account.

- if you haven't done so yet, visit the school. Go for a drop-in session (usually monday or friday), try to meet with current students. It will boost your motivation, and most probably will help you (see the point above).

- Of course, if there are any changes in your career to date (e.g. promotion offer, change, increase in responsibilities, etc.) let AdCom know. Don't bother them by sending them a weekly email, but do send them a short note with the info, and reconfirm again your interest in that particular school and that specific MBA programme.

Even if you follow this advice, remember that it is very competitive and that there are many people who are rejected. Especially now: I heard that MBA applications are up this year 50% compared to last year, at least here in London. So it is very difficult.

However, the MBA application game is all about keeping your options open and maximizing your chances.

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