Profiles of Round 2 Successes After Round 1 Rejections

Posted By SWatts on Nov 30, 2011 |

2 Examples of Candidates Who Gained Admission to Great Business Schools in Round 2 Following Rejections When Applying on Their Own in Round 1.

Some of you may have received disappointing news regarding your Round 1 applications. But, you should try to keep your spirits up. Success can be possible in Round 2. Read my prior posting about important steps to take when composing a Round 2 application following a Round 1 rejection. Equally important, find some inspiration in these success stories:

Gender: Male
Age: 29
Citizenship: India
Industry: Manufacturing/ Technology
Job: Senior Engineer
GMAT: 700
GPA: First Class Honors

Situation: This engineer had applied on his own to many top business schools in Round 1 and had been rejected without interview by most of the schools. He had interviewed with only two of the schools before receiving rejection notices from them also.

Assessment of Rejection: After reviewing his qualifications, I believed this candidate could have had good outcomes to the schools to which he had applied in Round 1 if he had put together a stronger set of essays and recommendations. Granted, the nature of his work was pretty boring (I don’t say this of most engineers – it had to do with his particular sector of manufacturing). But with great editing, it would be possible to make his work look much more exciting. His Round 1 applications also suffered from a lack of business-relevant content. They came across as applications from an engineer, not from business person who happened to be in the manufacturing/technology field (big difference!). There was far too much tech talk in the content. His recommendations were good, but not great. Given how competitive the general profile of “Indian male foreign national engineer” is when applying to top U.S. and European business schools, my opinion was that this candidate needed to put forward a much stronger application in order to fare well. The candidate chose to move forward with a Round 2 application.

Main Improvement in the Application: helped the candidate to put together extremely strong essays and garner excellent recommendation letters, and we guided him in presenting a very compelling long-term goal, which helped distinguish him from other applicants.

Outcome: This candidate gained admission to INSEAD in Round 2.

Gender: Female
Age: 28
Citizenship: Country in East Asia
Industry: Real property
Job: Director
GMAT: 720
GPA: Strong

Situation: This candidate had applied without the assistance of MBA in Round 1 and was rejected from all top schools, including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Columbia.

Assessment of Rejection: After reviewing her qualifications, it was clear that the candidate was highly qualified and must have put forward a poorly crafted MBA application. The candidate chose to have us assess her rejected application and we conveyed to her in great detail – including essay-by-essay and recommendation-by-recommendation – what we would have done differently. There was a tremendous amount of room for improvement. This candidate had, unfortunately, received advice about what to put in her essays from an unreliable source, and the results were disastrous for her essay content. Her essays presented extremely ill-chosen content and squandered the opportunity to highlight her most important strengths and achievements. My opinion was that this candidate was fully qualified to gain admission to the same schools from which she had been rejected, and I urged her to wait until Round 1 of the next year and to re-apply with excellently crafted applications. However, for personal reasons this candidate wanted to go to business school immediately, and so she asked us to work with her to prepare Round 2 applications for five additional schools.

Main Improvement in the Applications: We helped the candidate put together extremely strong essays and garner excellent recommendation letters. She was a simple case because she had excellent qualifications and simply had not put together a set of great essays.

Outcomes: She gained admission to all of the schools to which we applied in Round 2 and she chose to attend Yale.

Success is possible!

From: Shelly Watts,