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Succeeding in Round 2 After Round 1 Rejections: Success Practices
Each year after Round 1 admission results are released, I receive emails from many candidates who applied on their own in Round 1 and did not gain admission to a top business school. They are usually disheartened and apprehensive about their odds for success in Round 2. But, success in Round 2 can be possible. Here is some advice:
Go forward with confidence. As you approach your Round 2 applications, remember that many candidates gain access to great business schools in Round 2. While you may want to add in more sure-shot schools if you are intent on attending business school this upcoming fall, try to avoid selling yourself short. Following a rejection in Round 1, your odds of getting good outcomes at other business schools in Round 2 can be enhanced if you take some important steps, as identified below.
Correct your mistakes. Identify the problem. If you did not get into the business schools you were aiming for in Round 1, you will want to identify the primary reasons for the rejections. Sometimes you need an objective pair of eyes to look at your old applications and help you identify the problem(s). Did you present weak essays? Was your long-term goal reasonable given your qualifications? Did you present an attractive long-term goal? Was your GMAT score too low? Was there a problem with your recommendations? Were there a lot of glaring typos in your application form? Do you have sufficient work experience? A key first step is to identify the problem.
Address the problem(s). Strive to improve your next applications. If your GMAT or GRE score was too low, improve your GMAT score or select a range of schools that accept a broader range of GMAT scores for your profile of a candidate. If you presented weak essays, consider working with someone to strengthen how you are presenting your candidacy through the essays. If you believe there was a problem with your recommendations, try to secure copies of your previous recommendations and, if necessary, choose different writers for your new applications – writers who will support your candidacy fully.
Choose your target business schools with care. In Round 1, you might have applied to schools that were not ideal given your profile and credentials. Were all of your schools reach schools, given your profile? Did you apply to business schools where the admissions committee may not have perceived a “fit” (i.e., the finance candidate applying to a heavily technology-focused business school)? Did you apply to a school that is known to have a bias that does not favor you given your profile (i.e., the 33-year old candidate applying to a school known for favoring much younger candidates)? As you apply in Round 2, make sure to try to select schools where you have a strong “fit” and where you are reasonably within range in terms of your basic profile (stats, experiences and background). Also consider schools that are less sensitive to “Rounds”. (Some schools admit candidates more evenly by round, rather than “filling up” with candidates of a particular profile in Round 1.)
Learn from others. Take advantage of the fact that in Round 2 you will have access to a wealth of information in reputable MBA and GMAT chat rooms where candidates share insights about things such as the questions they were asked in MBA interviews in Round 1. Consider drawing on this information if you find it credible.
Success is possible!