Tips for Reapplying to MBA Programs

So you've had the axe swung on you during your initial attempt at business school applications. 

While it's tough, as a re-applicant to top business schools you need to get back on your MBA application horse and solicit feedback from the admissions committee, alumni or even current students.  This move is the first step in successfully getting in the subsequent year.

Assess your feedback efforts through this questioning framework:

  1. What programs did you apply to and for what rounds?  How well did you fit the median profile?
  2. What schools were you accepted?  Rejected by all?  Admitted by some?
  3. Were you wait-listed and the rejected?  How did you follow up after you were rejected?  Did you try and appeal any of the decisions?  Had you applied to the program in years prior?
  4. Do you seek out advice from each of the schools that rejected you?  What did they say?  How long was the feedback session?  In phone, email or in person?  Did you know the person giving you the feedback?  What questions did you ask?  Did you have the questions handy and essays reread?  Was the person generally positive or negative sounding?  Did they neglect to give you any feedback?
  5. In what month did you solicit the feedback?  After May and before September? Timing is everything as adcoms will be swamped.
  6. Did you implement their specific advice into this year's application?  What was the specific advice?  What does each website
  7. Was there a consistent theme among the schools?  What was the theme?
  8. Did you work with an admissions consultant?  For all schools?  What company?
  9. Gut check: What do you think are the reasons for your rejection are?

Now integrate this feedback into the subsequent applications:

  1. How are you a stronger candidate? What has substantially changed year over year?  Professionally and personally?  Tough for R3 and then next year's R1.
  2. Why did you reapply and why to this school?  What have you learned from the rejection experience?  How did it make you more determined to succeed?
  3. How much overlap is there between essays?  Have they substantially changed? In what ways?
  4. Did the school offer you the chance to only re-write on essay?  You should rewrite them all.
  5. Did you use new recommenders or recommendations that can address to your recent strengths?
  6. Did you emphasize the new project work on the resume?
  7. Did you take additional classes if you have academic deficiencies?  Re-take GMAT?
  8. What is your story during the interviews as to what has improved year over year?  What specific reasons do you have to tell about being a stronger candidate?

This is how we think about  our clients' profiles - from every angle. It's not enough to know yourself and the story you want to tell, you have to understand the challenges, obligations, and desires of your audience as well. We're here to help with all that and we do it at a higher level than anyone out there. If you are interested in our ding analysis or any of our consulting services, please contact us at or at

Are you a business school re-applicant?

Check out our other advice on reapplying to MBA programs.