Scott Edinburgh
February 21, 2018

Rejected? Now What?

As interview invitations and decisions roll out, many candidates are not receiving the news they had hoped for. While this is no doubt disappointing, do not give up hope. Personal MBA Coach has some tips on developing a strategy that will help you realize your MBA and career dreams.

By starting now to plan for round 1, you have plenty of time to make key changes. We have broken down our advice into 3 categories; find out where you might have gone wrong and what you should change in each.

School Selection:

Unfortunately, not everyone can earn an MBA from HBS. In some cases, it comes down to a numbers game: perhaps your profile is great but there were simply too many qualified former consultants from your native country in this year’s pool, making it even harder to stand out. This is why my average candidate applies to 5 schools. For some, this means having schools from a range of tiers. For others, this means spreading your eggs across multiple top-tier schools.

Of course, for all candidates your target list must match with your candidate profile. Personal MBA Coach prides itself in offering open and honest feedback on your chances of success at any given school. We want our candidates to reach high, but we also won’t sugar coat it for you.

Be sure that you not only have a wide enough list, but one that is reasonable based on your GPA, GMAT/GRE and professional experience.

Candidate Profile:

Every candidate will benefit from strengthening his/her candidate profile. In fact, for many schools, re-applicants are asked to specifically address how they have improved. Now is the time to consider which areas you can beef up before applications are due. For nearly everyone, I suggest focusing on 4 key items:

1) GMAT/GRE Score. Consider re-taking the exam. Remember, depending on your profile and background, you might need a score above the average to be competitive. This is particularly true if you had a lower GPA. Did you get help last time around? If not, consider a professional GMAT/GRE tutor.

2) Extracurricular Activities. Step up your involvement outside of work. Seek leadership positions within your existing organizations or consider joining a new activity or group. For more details, check-out our recent blog: Improving Your Extracurricular Profile.

3) Leadership At Work. In any way you can, take on more at the office. A promotion is of course ideal, but even if that is not possible, look for way to stretch yourself within your existing role. Check-out our: Make Your Career Work Harder blog for more specific suggestions.

4) Addressing Skill Gaps. Think about where you are weakest and see what you can do now to close these gaps. Is there a course you could take to improve your analytical skills? Perhaps you got an interview but didn’t get accepted? If so, consider options for improving your presentation and interview skills. Everyone has a weakness. Take the time now to address yours.

Application/Interview Preparation:

Naturally, re-applicants should also focus on improving all aspects of the application itself this go around. As you develop a new plan, take an honest look at your application (or we offer a ding report service to do this for you) and think about whether your story clearly and consistently came across. Some questions you should consider include: Have you shown your unique value add? Did you share what truly makes you shine? Were you career goals clear? Did you actually answer the question? Did you show passion? If you received an interview invite: How did the conversation go? Were your adequately prepared?

By starting early, you can truly take the time to fine tune your story, re-think your LOR strategy and ensure all aspects of your application work together cohesively.

Every year we successfully advise re-applicants on what to change (and what not to) to increase their chances of success and ultimately get them accepted.

Personal MBA Coach is here to help! Whether you would like a ding report, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring or a comprehensive MBA package, let us help you finally achieve success! We have been guiding candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for over 10 years with a 96% success rate.

Call us today at 617-645-2424 or email at for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your career dreams a reality!

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