Try, Try Again

 Were you rejected last year trying to get into b-school and decided not to settle for your backup school? Are you jumping back into the fray this year?  Here’s some things you should know.

Reapplying to business school is similar to applying for the first time, but the subtle differences can make or break your success this year if you are not aware of them.  For starters, you should know that your target school will still have your application on file from last year, so don’t get any crazy ideas about making radical changes in how you present your background.  While schools may not actually compare your new and old application side-by-side, they do have that ability.

A good starting point for any re-applicant is to undertake an honest assessment of what you lacked before. 

If you were lucky or savvy or both, you may have received some feedback last year about why you didn't get in, but most top tier business schools these days do not provide such specific feedback. It's more likely that you will need to either seek feedback from someone you know who has insight into b-school, or get it from your consultant.  If you can be objective, you can sometimes inform yourself on why you didn’t get in.  Often, it comes down to work experience.  Were your professional endeavors lacking in responsibility or achievement?  Did you fail to move up or progress in other ways towards significant impact at work?  How have you remedied this?

The key thing to focus on in as a reapplicant is: what have you done over the past year?

Since schools obviously know what you did up until your last application, your having failed to make the cut will make them mostly focused on what you have done to make yourself a better candidate since then.  Hint: simply adding another year of the same work experience will likely not be enough.  Hopefully you have either earned a promotion at work or impacted your community in a measurable way.  Impact is the key phrase for re-applicants. Demonstrating that you can dig deeper, climb higher and make a difference when it counts is what impresses the admissions committees.

Embellishing your core qualifications can help.

If your reason for getting dinged was related to your GMAT score, for example, the fix is simple:  get a higher score.  Even if it’s just a slight improvement, taking the test again and doing better communicates to your target school that you are serious about getting in and willing to work for it.  If you don’t re-take the test, you risk coming across as lazy or indifferent, neither of which will impress anyone.  Was your academic background lackluster?  Take some classes online or at a local university and get a good grade.  Just like the GMAT, demonstrating you are willing to put the time in to better yourself will go a long way with the adcoms.

And here’s the best news:  business schools generally give extra consideration to re-applicants. 

The act of returning itself will usually get the admissions committees’ attention.  Loyalty, dedication and determination are all good qualities and are not lost on top schools. So if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The second time might just be the charm!


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