The Dreaded Waitlist

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?

The holidays are stressful enough without the added distraction of limbo with your MBA target school’s waitlist.  Being on the waitlist is like proposing marriage only to be told, “maybe,” but without any details or definitive timeline from your would-be fiancé.

Recently, schools have shied away from the waitlist.

This was after a backlash of negative feedback from applicants who would rather just know up front that the ultimate answer is going to be “no,” versus riding out the list for months on end only to be told “no.” Apparently the months of uncertainty was driving everyone crazy, which is understandable.  Still,  many schools use the waitlist because having an empty seat in their program is lost revenue, and every dollar counts. 

But there are some practical things you can do if you find yourself sitting on a waitlist.

First and foremost, relax.  If you are half the b-school student your application says you are, then you have a backup plan.  Rest assuredly in your plan, knowing that if you never come off the waitlist, there’s a different direction you can take.  Secondly, remain in contact with your waitlist school, certainly updating them on any changes to your situation or profile, but in general, at least touching base with someone in admissions about every month or so. 

Staying top of mind never hurts when slots begin opening up. 

Finally, consider crafting a third round application to alternate schools if you are worried about your backup plan.  If a school is telling you “maybe,” then you likely have a good application to offer someone else, hopefully someone who will say “yes!”

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