Being placed on the MBA waitlist at your target school enters you into a fresh hell of never-ending speculation about how things will end. What are you doing to remain sane?
Despite the name “waitlist,” there are several things you can do besides simply wait for your dream school to call. From a strategic standpoint, sitting in a state of limbo gives you the opportunity to improve your profile or status as a candidate, and such improvements can and should be communicated to the admissions committees.
This time of year, many applicants find themselves stuck in the waitlist process at one or more schools, which can be a very slow and painful waiting period. Not only are you competing for fewer and fewer seats, you are doing so against everyone on the waitlist all the way back from round one as well as any fresh, new applicants from the final rounds.
Unlike Columbia and Stanford, HBS did not make any changes to its essay from last year. As explained by Dee Leopold in her blog, they were quite simply happy with the content that this prompted generated. Those handful of people who have spoken to me on consult calls this year know that I predicted HBS would keep this essay and that it would be for this reason - I had a feeling this experiment worked well. This is because I watched the MASSIVE (all caps are necessary here) gulf between good and bad use of this space, among candidates.
Today is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines. Nevermind that the Kellogg Round 1 deadline is tomorrow or that some people found out today that they were admitted to MIT - no, it's all about the HBS Round 1 notification deadline. Interview or ding? Rather, interview or ding or deferral, as that appears to be a popular option this year as well. Let's make sense of things and offer some advice on how to respond from here. We'll group it result-by-result.