MBA Admissions

Reapplying: Is it Worth the Trouble?


A thumbs-down need not end the B-school dream

Photograph by Duncan Smith/Getty Images

A thumbs-down need not end the B-school dream

Deciding whether to reapply to business school is a personal choice. Many schools welcome candidate reapplications, though you should be sure to check each school’s policies, procedures, and requirements. Before making a decision, take time to understand the strengths and weakness of your original application.Rose MartinelliRose Martinelli

I would encourage you to review your application and any other information you may have sent subsequent to it (e.g., materials you may have sent if you were on a wait-list). Was your application all that it could have been? All that it should have been? Consider asking a friend or colleague to give you feedback, too. The objective is to understand how well you presented yourself in your original application in order to identify areas you can improve upon this year. In addition, take into consideration the school’s published profile. How closely did you match the incoming class in terms of GPA, GMAT, or GRE scores, as well as other factors?

Next, take stock of what you learned through the process of applying last year. Have your goals changed or crystallized? Are there things you can do this year to strengthen any of the main components of your application: academic preparedness, career progression, community involvement, personal/professional focus, and/or self-awareness? In summary, are there things that you would do differently now because you know the process—and yourself—better?

Once you’ve completed your review, it’s time to approach the reapplication process. Make sure you carefully follow all instructions. Just like a first-time applicant, know what messages you want to convey and map them into the different components of the application before you begin writing. I recommend that you take a fresh approach to crafting your application and avoid adapting old essays to new questions. Every part of the application should be considered “precious real estate.” Each question has a specific purpose, so take the time to be clear and concise in your answers. Let’s look at the different components.

Data forms: Take the time and effort to carefully complete the data forms—do not rely on last year’s application to provide the school with that information because the forms may change each year. Be thoughtful about your responses and make sure they are concise and relevant.

Recommendations: Carefully follow each school’s instructions regarding recommendations. While you may choose to use the same recommenders, ask each recommender to update the information with your progression.

Essays: Avoid regurgitating information you used last year. Be bold: Start from scratch. Here’s your chance to help the admissions committee understand how you have developed over the past year.

Your success in the admissions process will solely depend on how you approach your application, so take the time and make the effort to put your best foot forward in the process. The decisions is yours to make.

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Getting In guest blogger Rose Martinelli is the former longtime admissions director at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where she wrote a popular admissions blog, The Rose Report.

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