Rejected MBA Applicants Have Choices

"Denied."



"Declined."



"Released."

Business schools have no shortage of euphemisms when it comes to informing an MBA applicant that he or she will not be invited to join the incoming class. Whatever terminology the adcom chooses, considering all of the time and effort you’ve put into the application process, it’s painful and frustrating to be told that you’ve been rejected.

Adding to the bitter disappointment is the reality that b-schools rarely explain why you’ve been turned away, describe what was lacking in your candidacy, or suggest what you should do to gain admission in the future.

So, what is a qualified and motivated individual supposed to do now?

1. Walk away with a smile.
If you’re unable or unwilling to identify and address the vulnerabilities in your app that contributed to a negative outcome, and if you believe that your career will advance just fine — thank you — without an MBA education, then you can simply say, "I’m done." Many rejected applicants go on to achieve great success in life without b-school. However, if your gut tells you that may regret not trying again, then don’t make this decision hastily. A smart step is to get a "ding analysis" from an admissions expert who can tell you how close or how far you were from success.

2. Reapply to the same b-schools with an improved candidacy.
This option makes sense if those are the only programs where you would actually enroll and happily attend if admitted. However, the mere act of "reapplying" isn’t enough to improve your chances. You’ll need to demonstrate that your qualifications, fit and desire are even stronger this time! In doing so, keep in mind that your original application has "anchored" your candidacy with certain facts and statements that can’t be ignored or changed. So, there’s a delicate balance when it comes to reapplying. Having the experience, guidance and support of a skilled admissions consultant can make this process a smoother and more strategic one.

3. Apply to new schools with a clean slate and high hopes.
For most MBA applicants, there’s a solid list of excellent schools that align well with their background and goals. If you didn’t have the time or motivation to pursue admission to those MBA programs during your first campaign, now is your moment! However, before assuming that the current candidacy will wow these adcoms, given prior rejections it’s important to consider tactics by which you can make an even better first impression. A great initial step is to get a free, objective, expert evaluation of your professional, personal and academic profiles. This will help you decide what to keep, what to change and what to add in your second campaign.

The only thing worse than being rejected, is being rejected twice. However, that doesn’t have to happen. The options are now yours to accept or reject.