Dealing with Rejections in MBA Applications
So the MBA result finally came out, and it wasn’t a good one? Just as you had your dream Business School within your reach, it slipped through your fingers. You must be thinking, “All those months of hard work gone down the drain.” Feeling confused, angry and even sad is completely normal during these times. It can be quite hard to see the silver lining in the clouds during situations like these, but we assure you, it exists. According to this study, MBA applications increased in 19 out of 25 top B-schools in 2020-21.
While many MBA schools, including the top guns, increased their class size (partly owing to the pandemic), and the acceptance rate has been increasing, the truth is only about one in five students gets accepted into a top b-school. As you can see, many students face rejections. Should the rejection stop you- we say no!
So after pulling yourself together, it is time to reflect, for it is only through self-reflection and understanding of what went wrong, that we begin to think of a solution to it. We are here to tell you the several reasons your MBA application might have been rejected and why it’s not the end of the world.
5 Major Reasons for MBA Application Rejection
- Essays not Upto the Mark
This means that either your essays were not well written grammatically, or you failed to stick to the rubric. If an essay has a particular question, you must stick to it during the length of the entire essay, and all your points should lead back to the question. If you keep beating about the bush, the essay examiner will think that you do not have the required quality that was asked for in the essay.
Also, your writing does not need to be flowery but make sure your essay is interesting. It must have a hook in the beginning- something that grabs the reader’s attention, and then you must go forward with that.
Read this post to get some tips to write a fantastic GMAT essay.
- Inadequate Experience or Gaps
The candidate might not have been in a high leadership position, but there must be some sort of experience to prove that the candidate knows how to manage people and work with them. If you have quit many jobs and have changed various companies over a short period of time, that might show your inability to stick around people and your instability as a candidate. If you have been working for quite some time and have not been promoted, that might also be a place of concern for the examiners.
For some inspiration, read this success story of an MBA applicant who got into Columbia after a gap of 1.5 years and a low GPA.
- Unclear Goals
The most important thing while applying for an MBA is that you should know what you are going to do with the MBA, and your application must reflect that. If your application comes across like you are doing an MBA because you have no other resort and not because you are really passionate about it, you are bound to be rejected. So keep in mind that whatever you have done throughout your life needs to link to the MBA you will be pursuing to show the examiner that you have been working towards it with a focussed approach.
Read this article for tips on writing a good MBA goal essay.
- Average Recommendation Letters
Glowing recommendation letters are very important for an applicant. A recommendation from your previous employer, which says you have been a great asset to the company, could work wonders. Still, if your recommendation letter does not highlight your excellence as a candidate and bring out your different good qualities, you can ask them to change or tweak it. Moreover, you must be sure to get recommendation letters from people who know you well. Be it an ex-professor or a manager, ensure that you have personally worked with the person, and they will be able to bring out your good qualities in the letter and submit it on time.
This post can help you in procuring the best letters of recommendation.
- Bad Interview
Even if you get through the initial stages, you can get rejected in the interview round. This may happen due to many reasons. I made a video on this, and you should definitely watch it. Here, I share the top MBA interview mistakes applicants tend to make.
How to Cope With Rejection?
First of all, you must realise that rejection from Business School does not in any way mean that you lack aptitude (for MBA or otherwise) as a candidate but just that you are not a correct fit for the Business School or the program they were offering. Maybe you did not do your research properly, or maybe there was something lacking in your essay or your grades. Whatever it is, try to figure out the reason. It might be one of the reasons mentioned above or something else altogether. In this situation, do not feel defeated, but you must self-reflect to analyse what might have gone wrong.
What are Your Options?
- Continue or Quit Trying
The first question is whether you would want to continue with your dream of pursuing an MBA program in the same school or if you want to switch schools. If you wish to continue with the same school, start researching about it again. Since now you know about the mistakes you made, it would be easier to correct them and not make them in your application. Also, do not worry about what the admission committee will think about your reapplication, as most admission committees are impressed by it and consider it a token of your hard work and perseverance.
- Change your Preferred B-school List
If you wish to switch business schools, then check the ethos and culture of that school, check if your academic scores align with what they require and if you are a fit candidate for their program.
- Re-take GMAT
If your GMATs don’t have a good enough score, retake them. If your extra-curricular are not up to the mark, add more to the list. Take as much time as you want to brush up on your skills and make yourself the ideal candidate.
- Hire a Consultant
There may be many gaps in your MBA application that could have led to your rejection. While you can find out those gaps and try to fill them, let’s face it- it’s not a walk in the park. A professional MBA consultant will help you analyse your MBA application and the gaps to help you ensure you can fill those and get admitted to the top b-school.
The bottom line is–do not give up after rejection. Think of all the brilliant men and women who rose from the ashes after rejection, and you can too! With the right guidance and commitment, you will surely get into your dream school this second time. Best of luck!