Tips for reapplying to business school: Getting feedback, determining why you got dinged

If you have decided to give another attempt at a school where you were rejected, one of the most valuable things you can seek is feedback on why you didn’t make the cut last time.

Some schools will actually provide this information if you ask for it, so don’t be shy about reaching back to them. If you are applying to a school in the top 10, you may not be able to get specifics from the admissions teams on why you didn’t get in due simply to the number of MBA applications they receive, but you can still seek this information from outside sources by confiding in a colleague or contact who has their MBA, or perhaps some insight into the process. At the very least, you should sit down with your application and try as objectively as possible to see where you may have come up short. If you have trouble finding such shortcomings, it may simply be the case that there were too many applicants similar to you in the pool last year, and the resulting mathematical odds did not go your way. If you find yourself at a complete loss for why you were rejected—call us. We can likely help you get to the bottom of it.

Assessing your weaknesses is critical in a reapplication scenario, since you may find favor this year with the very same admissions committee that rejected you in the past if you can somehow inoculate their concerns.

Of course there are the obvious weaknesses such as a sub- par GMAT score or low GPA, or perhaps you went to a low-ranked state college (nothing you can do about that now of course except to maybe take a course or two at a better school). The tricky part comes in the more subtle components of the application. Perhaps your career vision was not clearly connected to what you did in your past, or maybe you failed to convey a passionate, compelling case for why you need the MBA. Often, it comes down to a failure of message. It could be that the overall picture you painted was not articulated in a way that captured the attention of the MBA admissions committee. How was the overall fit with your target programs? Was there something in your application that communicated a poor match with their culture or curriculum? These are the questions that can truly drive you crazy, since it’s largely guesswork, but they are vital to consider.

Once you have some clear thoughts on why you didn’t get in, you can then formulate a fresh approach to your current application.

Don’t forget, that of primary concern to the admissions committees this time around will be what you have accomplished since the last application that now makes you a better candidate. If you can clearly articulate such achievements, you will at the very least give the admissions committees a compelling reason to consider letting you in this year.

If you are a re-applicant to top MBA programs, let us help you start off the right way. Email us at

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.

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