Strengthen a Rejected Round 1 MBA Application

Speaking with a recruiter, not an admissions officer, can help applicants determine the right time to apply to school.

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A mentor can help applicants figure out where they went wrong in their applications.

Many round one MBA applicants got something they didn’t want this holiday season: a rejection letter.

Business schools that have multiple admissions rounds, which are various times in a year that prospective students can submit applications, usually ask round one applicants to apply by mid-October or November. By the time holiday parties are in full swing, applicants usually know if they’ve been admitted or denied.

If prospective students​ didn’t get in, they still have a chance at starting a full-time MBA program in the fall.

“For the applicants rejected right now, in December, it’s an opportunity to apply to schools during the second round,” says Michael Cohan, founder of MBAPrepAdvantage, which helps prospective business school students with their applications.

Many schools don’t permit a rejected round one applicant to also apply during round two, but prospective students can always apply at a different school. Applications for round two are usually due in mid-January, giving applicants just a few weeks between rounds to submit.

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Business school experts encourage applicants to consider three ways to refine their admissions strategies before submitting round two applications.

Do some self-reflection and research: “A person should be really honest with themselves and ask ‘Did I apply to schools that I wasn’t competitive for? Was there​ a weakness in my application that I didn’t address?’​” says Cohan, who received his MBA from the University of California—Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management in 2000.

While thinking about these questions, applicants can do some research to find the answers.

“It’s on the applicant’s best interest to study their profile against the profile of what the school has advertised and self-identify areas of weakness or where you could change your application,” says Laurie Wilson, director of graduate business degree programs at the Baylor University​ Hankamer School of Business. “That also shows more initiative on the applicant’s part.”

Find a listening ear: Prospective students should discuss their application materials with someone who can offer guidance on next steps, experts say.

“I would talk to a mentor,” says Wilson. “Have all the information about the school that you applied to and then bring it to a mentor or somebody you trust.”

 

Admissions consultants, such as Cohan, can also give an applicant direction, he says. Many offer free consultations that allow prospective students to discuss where they want to attend and their qualifications, Cohan says.

Ask tough questions: Some schools allow applicants who have been denied to meet with an admissions team to ask for feedback, while others don’t.

Prospective students should first find out if schools they’re interested in have an open-discussion policy, experts say. If they do, applicants should ask specific questions that will help them learn how to be more competitive.

Wilson suggests asking about the career development and career management aspects of a program and where students find jobs. Prospective students can compare their goals with​ those ​of accepted students​ to gauge if perhaps they weren’t a good fit or they failed at simply presenting themselves as a good fit.

They can phrase the question as “What industries and what functional roles do your graduates typically enter into directly upon graduation from the MBA program?” Wilson says.

“You can kind of judge, also, as an applicant, is this the right school that has the program that’s going to get me where I want to go? Do I need to continue to pursue this?” she says. ​

 

Because MBA admissions have a lot to do with timing – ​since applicants are accepted on a rolling basis – denied applicants may be tempted to ask when is the right time to apply.

Applicants should think twice about bringing this topic up with an admissions officer.

“I’m not the right person to ask,” says Earl Raehsler, associate director of admissions for the full-time MBA program and military liaison for the Graduate School of Management at University of California—Davis, which does not permit denied round one applicants to apply in subsequent rounds during an admissions cycle. “My job is to fill seats in a class.”​

Prospective students should instead ask people in the industry that they hope to work in.

“The person to be asking that are the recruiters hiring for that position that you want to hold post-MBA or people that are actually holding that position that you want to hold post-MBA.”

These conversations can help applicants learn about when’s the best time to get an MBA that will lead to their ideal job.

They may learn, for example, that they applied to an MBA program too early. Many programs favor applicants with a few years of work experience.

If applicants are​ speaking with recruiters, it’s important to ask about what they’re looking for on someone’s resume and what they’re looking for from an MBA graduate, Raehsler says. If they’re having this conversation with people in a job they want, applicants should ask about what they did to get the position.

There is, however, one surefire way that first-time or denied applicants can determine when to submit applications. ​

“The best time to submit your application is when it is at the best it can be,” Raehsler says.

[Source:-U.S. news]