Here are some tips for reapplicants (re-applicants) = candidates who applied last year and are reapplying to the same business schools, or in the MBA world language: reapps.
Getting into a top-ranked MBA program is not easy and every year even highly qualified applicants are rejected. As the seats are limited, the competition is fierce. In case this is what happened to you, and you didn’t manage to secure admissions to your top dream MBA program of choice, don’t get disheartened. Every year, all schools, offer admissions to candidates who are reapplying, the reapps.
Before applying again, take some time for self-reflection. Seek feedback from multiple resources to understand what went wrong. If you can diagnose your weaknesses, it will help you to identify areas of improvement and strengthen your profile for better chances. For some, the problem could be academics (low GMAT) or applying in a later round, or lack of professional skills or managerial experience, etc.
Here are some steps that you can take for increasing the probability of admission as a reapp:
- School list: The school selection should be well thought off. Think carefully about where would you like to live, and what your career goal aspirations are. Many schools might lead to the same jobs, at the same companies (At the same salaries) so try not to limit your list too much.
- Academics: When reapplying to schools, everything should stand out, and yes, also your academics. Just scoring at par with the class average might just not be enough. And if you are a part of an over-represented pool of candidates, you need to have a stellar GMAT score for a competitive case. So, if you think you have not applied with your optimal score, take the exam again and apply with an improved score. Also, in case you have a low GPA (for which you can’t do anything now), a strong GMAT score can help you compensate for that too.
- Essays: Revisit your essays. This is one area that might need significant improvement and the one is which can easily be improved (in comparison with a GPA that was set several years ago, or a GMAT score you can’t seem to overcome). When checking essays- ensure that you are sending out the message correctly and clearly. The essays are the best way to highlight all the aspects of your profile- personal, professional, etc. So if you think it needs a major revamp, write it from start again.
- Career Goals: Your career goals should be well articulated. The essays should reflect both your short-term and long-term goals in a logical manner. Your plan to reach the goal and the vision you have should be clear. The goals should neither look niche nor general. They should be well structured. Not only this, the schools you are targeting should sync well with your goals. The essays must highlight how the school in question will help you achieve your goals. And as a reapplicant, you should also highlight what steps you have taken to achieve your goals –
- Career Trajectory: The school wants to see your professional growth. The lack of promotions, too little or too much experience, not working on demanding projects, etc. could be some red flags. Hence, when comparing the last application to your reapplication you should continue building your credentials. In addition, your resume should indicate your professional growth in the past year.
- Extracurricular activities: Sometimes candidates focus too much on professional and academic achievements, while the schools look for a well-rounded profile. So, it will really help if you volunteer for new activities at work or outside work. Try to get into activities that you are passionate about. And do not just volunteer, take initiatives 😊.
- Apply in early-round: While one must apply when all aspects of their application are at peak, try best applying in early rounds. The chances are best in Round 1- not only for admission but also for scholarships.
- Re-evaluate resume, application form, interview, videos, recommendation, etc.: While essays and the above-mentioned points are important, the other aspects of your application are equally important. A resume for example is the first thing that adcoms look at. So, it should capture all key points of your profile well. It should be an impactful document making a good first impression. Also, the short essays and other questions (including the video essay) in the application play a crucial role. Give due respect and time to them as well. Also, the interview holds a lot of weight in the final decision. Take mock sessions, research about the school, practice your interview skills, etc. well.
Letters of Recommendation provide a third person’s perspective to your profile. Choose people who can vouch for you and bring a new positive angle to your application. Also, ensure that you have explained the extenuating factors/optional essays well.
- Try receiving feedbacks from the schools you applied: When seeking feedback from the schools you may end up getting a standard generic response but sometimes you get an opportunity to learn the perspective of Adcoms.
The crux of the matter is to create a solid plan when reapplying to your dream schools. The earlier you start the preparation, the better it will be. Take into consideration that your new application might be compared to your old one, avoid repeating mistakes and emerge as a stronger candidate in reapplications. Every year ARINGO helps several reapplicants with their applications with great success (this year alone at LBS, HBS, MIT, Kellogg, NYU, INSEAD and more). Don’t wait- start now!