There are only three possible outcomes for business school applicants: admission, denial or waitlist. Regardless of which decision a candidate receives, there are immediate steps to consider that can deliver significant value if planned thoughtfully and executed promptly.
From having advised nearly 5,000 MBA applicants over the past three decades, here are some observations and advice for applicants from The MBA Exchange:
Woohoo! Your hard work has paid off bigtime as your dream school has just invited you to enroll. Your instincts tell you to say “yes” immediately and begin the process of registration. After all, this was your goal, right? Not so fast. There’s no benefit to accepting an offer of admission before the school’s official deadline. So don’t rush, especially if there’s no offer of financial aid or you’re still waiting to hear from other programs to which you also applied. Even if you don’t plan to attend one of the other schools, their offer of admission and – even more importantly – merit-based financial aid could give you leverage to request financial aid from your top-choice program. However, orchestrating this can be a delicate matter as you don’t want to offend your dream school or, worse yet, jeopardize your admission there. Having an expert in your corner, who knows both admissions and financial aid, is a wise step that could put thousands of dollars in your pocket.
Ugh! Today feels like the worst day of your life. You put your heart and soul into that application, had the unwavering support of family and friends, dreamed about attending this school, and then – wham – in one moment, all of that turns to dust. It’s only human to feel deeply disappointed, dejected and disoriented. But it would be a big mistake for you to declare this outcome as the end of your MBA potential. The first questions to ask yourself are: “Are there any other b-schools I’d consider attending? Is there time for me to apply to those programs before their next application deadline?” If the answers are “yes,” then enlisting a top admissions consultant can help you immediately re-start your campaign and aim it in the right direction. Or if the answer to either question is no, then ask yourself a third question: “Even though it would mean enrolling a year later than I had planned, am I willing to reapply to the school that just denied me?” If that answer is “yes,” then getting an expert ding-analysis of your rejected application would be valuable. If the “answer is “no,” then considering having a conversation with a career services advisor to help you frame and pursue your best possible professional path without an MBA.
So, which of the three outcomes have you received from your dream b-school? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it?