Scott Edinburgh
December 8, 2023

What to Change in Your MBA Application If You Are Reapplying

If you were previously rejected from your target business school, it may be tempting to scrap your applications, essays, and letters of recommendation and start from scratch. However, you may harm yourself by doing so. You want to show consistency with your MBA and post-MBA aspirations, so Personal MBA Coach encourages you to think strategically about what to change in your MBA reapplicant profile.

Here are some tips on what you should improve upon, what you should tweak, and what should remain consistent on your business school applications the second (or third) time around.

What You Should Consider Improving in Your Application

1. Letters of recommendation

If you are not confident that you had the best LORs last year, consider asking someone else to write a letter for you this year. Some schools may require you to submit at least one new LOR regardless. Watch this quick-tips video from Personal MBA Coach for LOR advice:

2. Evidence of analytical skills

This is particularly true if you are compensating for a low GPA. Look for options to prove your analytical abilities—for example, taking local or online math classes. Earning a top grade in a class such as Math for Management at Berkeley is a great way to demonstrate that you have what it takes to keep up in business school. Finally (and most obviously) consider trying to improve your GMAT/GRE score this time around.

3. Interview skills/preparation plan

It takes practice and training to master the art of the interview. If you were rejected after receiving an interview, revisit your preparation (for tips on how to ace your MBA interview, head here). Ask yourself what went wrong. Consider a mock interview with a consultant or an experienced coworker to identify any weaknesses and improve your skills. Personal MBA Coach offers interview prep services with former M7 admissions interviewers: find out more here.

What You Should Tweak in Your Application

1. Extracurricular activities

Have you added any new activities since the last time you applied? More importantly, do your activities align with your long-term goals? Have you demonstrated initiative and leadership in your extracurriculars? If not, consider how you can improve upon the activities you have or what activities you can add. To get started, check out Personal MBA Coach’s Enhancing Your Extracurricular Profile blog.

2. Work experience

Highlight new projects you have tackled at work that demonstrate your leadership, analytical, or risk-taking skills. If you felt your last application was weak in a certain area, have you strengthened it this round? Consider new responsibilities you can take on to improve your MBA resume.

What You Should Generally Not Change in Your Application

1. Goals

In almost all cases, goals should remain the same. You want to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are focused and consistent. Instead, re-examine how you laid out your vision. Ensure that you demonstrate that you understand the skills you need to achieve your goals. Make sure to watch this quick-tips video and learn how to articulate your goals.

Of course, sometimes goals change because of life or work circumstances. If this is the case, make sure you carefully explain how your goals have evolved so that you do not appear indecisive.

2. Your story

As with goals, you want to demonstrate to the admissions committee that you have a clear sense of self and purpose. Therefore, your overall story should not change. However, you may find it necessary to address any large holes or weaknesses in your resume, such as a dramatic career shift without an accompanying explanation. Personal MBA Coach’s Articulating Your Personal Story blog is here to guide you.

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