Have you been rejected from an MBA program? After receiving a rejection from one school, many applicants begin second guessing their strategy and start believing that their story is not compelling enough for any of the schools they have applied to. While this tendency for candidates to extrapolate one’s school decision to other schools’ results seems natural, it’s important to try not to do so.
Here are three reasons why.
The applicant pool for each business school is different
It’s easy to make the assumption that the schools you are applying to are exactly the ones that other candidates are applying to as well; for example, if you applied to all of the M7 programs, others must have also, right? After all, they are the top schools so everyone must be targeting them, correct? However, this assumption is not true. Each applicant has his/her own goals and preferences with respect to what they are trying to get out of an MBA program; this includes factors such as geography/location, curriculum, etc. Keep in mind also that applying to MBA programs requires a significant time commitment; therefore, many candidates will limit the number of schools they are applying to given time constraints that they may be facing. In addition, applicants will typically apply to a range of schools from a ranking perspective to give themselves optionality.
Collectively, what does this all mean? Essentially, that the applicant pool for one school will be very different from the applicant pool for another. As a result, even though you may have been denied acceptance to one school, that does not automatically translate to a rejection from all other schools.
Each business school has its own priorities as it shapes its incoming class
No two schools are the same, and part of what lends to that are the differing priorities of each school. For instance, Wharton has been making an effort to increase the number of women in its class, which resulted in its MBA class of 2023 being comprised of 52% women (the first time in the school’s history that women were a majority of the class). European schools, such as London Business School and INSEAD, place a strong emphasis on candidates’ global experience and perspective. Kellogg, which is strong in marketing, has been trying to make a push for more finance candidates and recently instituted the Finance Fellows, a “full-tuition scholarship for students in the Two-Year Program who are committed to making an impact in a finance industry or function.”
As a result, just because your candidacy did not fit one school’s priorities, does not mean that it won’t be in the “sweet spot” of another.
The application process is more of an art than a science
The Admissions Committee is comprised of human beings who are shaped by their own experiences and perspectives; this leads to the application process being more of an art than a science. What one group of people finds appealing may not be appealing to another group – so, yes, luck is an element in the admissions process. Unfortunately, this is a factor which is out of a candidate’s control; therefore, be rest assured that a decision that is not in your favor is not a reflection of your value or worth – you have A LOT to offer MBA programs!
The one aspect that is in your control is putting your best foot forward throughout the application process; if you do so, you will put your mind at ease that a rejection from a school is just that – a rejection from that school and not a rejection from all schools.
About Ivy Groupe:
Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who has been recognized as a top MBA admissions consultant by Business Insider and Poets & Quants. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
Sign up for our emails at the bottom of the page to get more tips!