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Improve your chances for MBA admission by adding one more school to your target list

August 27 2019 By The MBA Exchange
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4 timely questions for applicants who think they are ready to submit their b-school applications

If you’re applying in the current round for MBA admission, you’ve probably nearly completed the applications to your dream schools. As their deadlines approach, you’re eager to submit those applications. Then it will become a matter of waiting to see if they invite you to interview.

But instead of just standing by, crossing your fingers and passively waiting to hear whether your candidacy is still alive, what if you use the next few weeks to improve your overall odds for admission success by applying to just one more business school?

Even though you’ll likely attend one of your dream schools if admitted, the operative word is “if.”

What if you are rejected? You won’t have any other option except to re-apply next year.

What if you’re interviewed and waitlisted? That’s still not a guarantee of admission.

So, before you declare your current MBA application campaign is done, take a step back and answer the following questions from The MBA Exchange, based on three decades of advising over 5,000 applicants:

  1. Is there one more “very selective” school that might admit you?
    Maybe you aimed too low with your school targets, believing you have zero chance at any higher ranked business schools. So, you took a safer route by applying to MBA programs that are “good”; places you feel are most likely to accept you. Getting admitted there will feel satisfying, but won’t eliminate any future doubt that you might have done better. Isn’t it worth putting that uncertainly to rest by submitting one more app to a truly great school where your stats rank you at bottom of – but still within – the middle 80% of admits? Worst case is you’ll get some closure as to your higher potential.
  2. Is there one more “less selective” school that might offer you merit-based aid?
    Perhaps your applications are strong enough to get you an interview and ultimately admission at your top choice program, but your GPA or test score is not of the caliber that motivates the admissions committee to extend a five-figure scholarship. You may still have a shot at getting some merit-based aid. Admitted applicants who can tell their dream school they’ve been admitted elsewhere with substantial aid have a chance of scoring some big bucks. Why? Schools are very protective of their “yield” – the percentage of admits who actually enroll. A high yield helps schools earn higher rankings. So, if you can present evidence of a substantial scholarship from a somewhat less selective school, the coffers at your top-choice program could “mysteriously” open for you. This is valuable leverage available only if you have another acceptance with available aid.
  3. Is there one more school that fits as well – or better – with your background and goals?
    Your preferred schools align very well with your profile and objectives. But are these the only MBA programs in the world that match your priorities and preferences? How much research did you do up front when determining your target list? Candidly, there are more similarities than differences among top-tier MBA programs. So, it’s likely that at least one additional school offers resources and outcomes comparable to those of your dream schools. So, go for it!
  4. Is there one more school that would be better to attend than NOT attending one of your dream schools?
    Here’s a strong dose of reality. Elite MBA programs admit only 6-10 of every 100 applicants. Even the least selective top-tier schools accept only 25 of those 100 applicants. Say you’re among the majority of MBA candidates – motivated, qualified but ultimately denied. Yes, you can reapply and maybe get in next year – maybe. But if waiting a full year for the mere chance of admission doesn’t sound appealing, you can level the playing field by applying to one more top-tier school this year. Consider it as a “rejection insurance” policy.

Assuming you’ve already prepared several MBA applications, the incremental time, effort and cost required to apply to one additional school is minimal compared to the potential upside. If you’re in doubt as to whether this step makes sense for you, we invite you to get a free, expert evaluation of your candidacy and target schools. Or if you’re uncertain about which MBA program(s) to add, we can customize an admissions consulting engagement to fit your needs, timeline and budget.

One more application could make the difference between the success and failure of your business school campaign. We’re ready to help you win!