Which Waitlisted MBA Applicant Would You Admit?

Questioning student

Imagine you’re the Director of Admissions at Harvard, Stanford, INSEAD or another highly selective business school. Your job is to allocate a finite number of seats to the most qualified, motivated and value-added candidates.

Realizing that some of your initial offers will be turned down, and not wanting to leave seats in the class empty, you build yourself a buffer called the waitlist. This is where the applications of other deserving candidates remain in limbo for an indefinite period. While there is usually no feedback for those candidates about your process, you assess these applications subjectively from time to time as seats become available.

Now, let’s say you have just one open seat to fill – but two nearly identical applications remaining on the waitlist. They both have strong undergraduate GPAs, stellar GMATs, blue-chip resumes, impressive extracurriculars, solid recommendations, and compelling essays. How will you go about choosing the winner?

Well, there’s still one important question to answer: how did these candidates distinguish themselves while on the waitlist?

“Applicant A”
She followed a clear strategy for success. This included strengthening her profile, assuming a new leadership role, and getting a letter of endorsement. She also engaged with alumni and current students. And, with support from her trusted admissions consultant, she submitted periodic, enthusiastic, succinct, substantive updates.

“Applicant B”
She waited. No improvements to her profile. No interaction with the school community. No updates since her original application. She just waited.

As the Director of Admissions, eager to fill that last open seat with the best possible applicant, which of these two candidates will you admit? Based on their respective approaches to being waitlisted, the decision is now an easy one. Welcome aboard, Applicant A!

If you’re currently on the waitlist at your dream business school, wondering how you can maximize your chances for admission, The MBA Exchange is here for you. Our amazing team of former adcoms and savvy grads – some of whom were actually waitlisted themselves – have a proven, customized approach that has helped hundreds of waitlisted applicants advance from the waitlist to the MBA class roster at top b-schools worldwide. Just give us a shout. We won’t keep you waiting.

After all, that last open seat won’t stay open forever.