Cover Your Bases

Lots of planning goes into business school applications.  Even more goes into your actual return to graduate school.  But what if you don’t get in?

So much work goes into b-school preparation that sometimes clients forget to have a backup plan.  Of course it’s obvious that you need an alternate school selection if you don’t happen to get into your first choice, but beyond that safety school, there’s often a black hole.

The worst case scenario is not getting into any of the schools you apply to--this is situation that nobody wants to consider.

Having an alternative to going back to school next year or even at all is important…just in case.  The options are almost limitless.  Do you keep your current job and try again next year as a re-applicant?  Often re-applicants are given extra consideration in the admissions process, so this could be a good plan B as long as you are comfortable delaying your return to school by another year.  Another option might be to re-calibrate your expectations for which programs you are considering.  This is particularly important if you fail to gain acceptance into your safety school.  Time to reconsider what is truly a safety school for you.

There are hundreds of AACSB accredited MBA programs out there, so if you are having trouble getting in, just broaden your scope.

Another alternate plan may be to change the kind of graduate degree you get.  Don’t get so dead-set on the MBA if a Masters in Finance or a Masters in Data Analytics will get you where you want to go professionally.  These programs are easier to get into and might set you up for the exact same success that an MBA would have.  The bonus is, they are also shorter and less expensive than an MBA.

If you are still dead-set on getting the MBA, you might consider alternate program formats.

Evening (part-time) programs are often more forgiving on the admissions side, as are one-year MBA programs.  Willing to go overseas?  Sometimes the geographic diversity you can provide by going to school in a country other than where your home citizenship originates can tilt the admissions decision in your favor.  Executive MBA programs are also easier to get into as long as you meet the professional experience requirements. 

The only negative about exec programs is that they are even more expensive than full time programs. 

Whatever options you consider know that not getting into b-school on your first attempt is not uncommon and can be leveraged to position you even better for your long term career by potentially allowing you to get an additional year of work experience.  Enriching your perspective is always a good backup plan!


To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at or contact us via