Tag Archives: MBA admissions

MBA Admissions Tip: Navigating the Waitlist

Here’s another weekly MBA admissions tip from our friends at Clear Admit. For more advice about the b-school application process, check out their blog.

While the past few weeks have seen a number of admits and rejections handed down to round one MBA applicants, the fate of many remains uncertain. There is no reason for waitlisted candidates to lose hope, as the top programs admit a fair number of individuals from the waitlist in round two and thereafter, but we know that cautious optimism does not make the wait for an answer any easier. To help those in this situation make sure that they’re doing all they can, we wanted to share a few waitlist tips:

1. Know – and follow – the rules.
Schools vary in their stances when it comes to interaction with those on the waitlist; some shun communication from applicants and even go so far as to discourage on-the-record campus visits, whereas others welcome correspondence and assign waitlisted candidates to an admissions office liaison. We know that the natural impulse is to reach out to the adcom and update them on that recent promotion or the final grade from that accounting class you took to bolster your academic profile. At first blush, it might seem that there’s no harm in sending a short letter or making a call, but no matter how exciting the information you wish to communicate, ignoring the adcom’s instructions is ultimately going to reflect badly on you. Though such a policy may seem frustrating or unfair, it’s important to respect and abide by the preferences of each school.

2. Communicate if you can. For those programs that do permit or encourage contact from waitlisters, it’s absolutely a good idea to send an update. In addition to the obvious news items mentioned above, it’s beneficial to read over your essays and reflect on whether there is some piece of your background or interests that you haven’t gotten across yet. Taking the time to write about your relevant recent experiences, positive developments in your candidacy and ways that you’ve enhanced your understanding of the program is a nice sign of your interest in the program, and is a good strategy for telegraphing your commitment to attending. It is, of course, also in your interest to make sure that the adcom has the most up to date information so that they can make an informed decision the next time your file comes up for evaluation.

3. Keep in touch. Don’t disappear after an initial note to the adcom or phone call to your waitlist manager (if applicable). If you have plans to be on or near campus, for instance, send a quick email to alert your waitlist manager (or whoever you may have interacted with on the adcom) to alert them to this fact.  In many cases you’ll find that the adcom offers to have you stop by for a friendly chat about your candidacy – something that can go a long way towards helping your case.  Beyond a visit, sending a brief update every few weeks or so is another way to reaffirm your interest in the school and keep you fresh in the minds of the adcom – something that could work to your advantage in a discussion of which candidates to admit from the waitlist.  In all cases, it is important to remember that there is a fine line between persistence and pestering, so please use good judgment!

4. Have a contingency plan. While it’s important to do be consistent and enthusiastic when waitlisted and communicating with staff at your target program, it’s also wise to have a backup plan. With the round two deadlines for several top programs about 1-2 weeks away, there’s still time to put together a solid application to another school. Even if you’re waitlisted at the school of your dreams and intend to reapply if not admitted, it’s also never too early to start thinking about the coming year and what steps you might take to enhance your candidacy before next fall.

For valuable guidance about being on the waitlist, check out the Clear Admit Waitlist Guide.  This guide will teach you to understand the ground rules of a program’s waitlist policy, formulate a plan to address weaknesses in your candidacy, craft effective communications to the admissions committee and explore every opportunity to boost your chances of acceptance.  This 26-page PDF file, which includes school-specific waitlist policies and sample communication materials, is available for immediate download.

Best of luck to those of you playing the waiting game, and feel free to contact us at info@clearadmit.com to learn about our application feedback and waitlist counseling services. Hang in there!

MBA Admissions Tip: Avoiding Common Pitfalls, Part II

Here’s another weekly MBA admissions tip from our friends at Clear Admit. For more advice about the b-school application process, check out their blog.

Last week we offered some advice to help applicants avoid common pitfalls in writing their essays for the Round Two deadlines.  This week we’d like to offer some more advice.  Although these tips might not apply to everyone or to every school, these are some good basic strategies to employ.  For personalized advice about your applications, contact Clear Admit directly.

1.    Think strategically when delving into anecdotes that are highly personal.
While breaking up with your college sweetheart may have had some impact on who you are today, you’ll want to be careful about using personal matters as the basis for an essay.   While there are certainly exceptions, we find that examples from the professional sphere or from extracurriculars typically make for stronger, and more compelling, essays, as they speak to the things that the admissions committee cares the most about, including qualities and skills that relate to professional success.

2.    Keep it current. In considering which examples to explore in an application essay, one should choose college and post-college experiences to elaborate on, as these experiences will appear to have the most relevance for your application and provide the greatest insight into the person you will be on the campus of the MBA program.  In other words, if your essays prominently feature stories from high school, you are likely making a strategic mistake.  Younger applicants may find examples from college their strongest, as they may not have accrued the same leadership and teamwork experiences that older applicants with more work experience have.  All applicants, though, should include at least one recent story in their set of essays.

3.    Put yourself at the center.
In talking about your future goals or in elaborating on your work experience to date, you will want to put yourself in the picture, indicating what you would like to do in the short and long term or what role you specifically played in the various projects or assignments at work.  Your application essays are meant as an opportunity to provide the adcom with greater insight into your candidacy and what sort of business person you are and will be in the future.  Thus, elaborating on what others have done or talking generally about the state of your industry of choice will not appear a meaningful discussion unless you can demonstrate how the material relates to you and pertains to your goals and interests.

4.    Follow the guidelines. Many times applicants attempt to tweak the font size, spacing, or margins in their application essays in an attempt to stay within the various schools’ page limits.  The admissions committee, however, will not be fooled.  Rather than playing with the formatting, focus on making your discussion clear and concise.

Best of luck to everyone working on their R2 applications!  For one-on-one advice and counseling, send your resume to info@clearadmit.com and set up a free initial chat with one of our admissions counselors.

MBA Program Resource Page

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu says that “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Although this quote is about warfare, the wisdom can easily be applied to b-school applications.

“If you know the school and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred applications. If you know yourself but not the school, for every acceptance gained you will also suffer a rejection. If you know neither the school nor yourself, you will succumb in every application.”

When it comes to MBA applications, it’s important to understand what qualities and experience admissions officers at individual business schools value most. Lucky for you, admissions officers are constantly sharing information online that can be incredibly helpful to applicants looking to make the right impression.

To help you get to know the schools, as well as the qualities the schools look for in their applicants, we’ve compiled a list of blogs, Youtube channels, and Twitter feeds from some of the top MBA programs in the world.

Now you can easily stay informed and updated on the school of your choice by a mere click of the mouse.

U.S. MBA Programs:

Harvard HBS: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

UP Wharton: YoutubeBlogTwitter.

Chicago Booth: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Northwestern Kellogg: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Stanford: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Columbia: Youtube, Student blogTwitter.

U Mich Ross: YoutubeBlog.

Duke Fuqua: Youtube, Twitter.

MIT Sloan: Student blog, Twitter.

NYU Stern: Youtube, Twitter.

Dartmouth Tuck: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Virginia Darden: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

UCLA Anderson: YoutubeBlog.

Berkley Haas: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Indiana Kelley: Youtube, Twitter.

University of Texas – Austin McCombs: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Cornell Johnson: Youtube, Student blogTwitter.

Yale SOM: Student blog, Twitter.

Washington Olin: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

UNC Kenan-Flagler: YoutubeBlog, Twitter.

Carnegie Mellon Tepper: Youtube, Student blogTwitter.

International Programs:

INSEAD: Youtube, Student blogTwitter.

London Business School: Youtube, Student blogTwitter.

Oxford University Said: Youtube, Blog, Twitter.

IMD: Youtube, YoutubeStudent blog, Twitter.