Advice on re-applying to b-school

Finding out you got rejected from your dream school often raises interesting questions.   Should you settle for your second or third choice, or should you hold fast to your MBA dream and re-apply to the same school(s) again next season?

High achievers often try to go for their target school again.  Recognizing you are likely more knowledgeable about the process by now, there are still a few things you should know before diving in with a reapplication.

With a nod to your resiliency, you hopefully have first spent some time formulating a plan B for this go-round.  It’s fine to re-apply to your dream school, but you if you happen to get rejected again next season, you need to have a fallback, or really, a plan C — to go for a program you’d be satisfied attending even if it’s not your top choice. 

Life is too short to spend three years trying to get into grad school, and if you haven’t been able to impress the committee for two years in a row, it may simply not be in the cards for you to go there.  

Often we see clients becoming enamored with a particular school, when in reality, they could receive the same or very similar education and tools (and networks and contacts and jobs) from another school.  We are all for dogged determination, but at the end of the day, we want to see you get your MBA and not spend half your career applying to school.   

With that, let’s talk about a reapplication strategy.

One of the most valuable things you can use in this situation 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 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.

Assessing your weaknesses is critical to a reapplication, since you may find favor with the same admissions committee that rejected you in the past if you can somehow inoculate the concern.  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.    We’ll dive deeper into this area in the next post.

No matter the round, we have helped more than 1000 clients successfully apply to top business schools worldwide since 2008. Let us help you figure out your next step. Schedule a complimentary, one-hour consultation with a member of our expert admissions team. Email us at or visit us online at

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Check out our other advice on reapplying to MBA programs.