Do I apply to Business School in Round 3?

By Betsy Massar, Founder of MBA admission consulting company Master Admissions


It’s the end the second-round cycle. Some of you got some great news about interview invitations and are busily practicing in front of the mirror. Or at a very least, you reviewing their essays and old blog posts that I and others have written about telling stories in the interview . I’ve always maintained that the students and admissions directors who may be doing the interview look to see what kind of study group member you will make—will you pull your weight, will you add to the mix so that your team can nail not only the finance problems but the operations and/or marketing or behavioral or globally social ones?

But others of you have had some disappointments. Other than blasphemy, I’ve heard words like, “bummed,” “frustrated,” “confused” and “worried.” If you are still in the game and have interviews coming up, FIRST THINGS FIRST: keep your eyes on the prize. Even if a school is your fourth choice, you did decide to pay your $250, go through the exercise of writing the essays, run after recommenders, attend open houses, and even spring for a nasty airplane ride. You also chose this runner-up school out of the 20 or so other choices that you considered, so you must consider it worth your time. So if you didn’t get into Harvard, or Wharton, or wherever, the world will not end and you have to focus on being really excellent at the interview.

And then, what if you got shut out? Maybe you aimed a little too high or too narrow. You are probably asking yourself : “what about third round?” And to that I say

It depends.

You should go ahead and apply third round if:

  • You ran out of time second round and still thought about some schools you liked that you would actually go to, and fell within the profile of the student population
  • You improvedyour GMAT score by enough to put you in the profile
  • You overlooked a school and, after taking a closer look, you think you might be a good fit
  • After going through the whole application process, you really realize you want to go to a school, and you are less hung up on a top 5 name.
  • You are considering part-time programs when you only applied to full-time programs

You should NOT go ahead and apply third round if:

  • You only want to go to a top 5 school and you didn’t get into the top 4
  • You are (well) outside of the class profile of the school in choice
  • You aren’t sure what you want to do
  • The thought of filling out another application gives you a rash
  • You hate your job and it just occurred to you to apply to business school last week

Reviewing the handy list, you can see that there some good reasons to apply rather than wait until next year. But, you will notice that being outside the class profile is the stumbling block. If your scores/grades are lower than average/mean/standard distribution for your target school, take the time to retake your tests (a new blog post on that coming), or take a few courses in finance/accounting/business statistics and ace them. If your work experience isn’t strong enough, take on more projects, or start your own business on the side – entrepreneurship is the new rage these days.

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For more information and advice about applying late in the game, contact Betsy Massar, Founder of Master Admissions

and take a listen to our podcast on the subject: http://www.mbapodcaster.com/MB

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