It’s that time of year in the MBA admissions calendar – Round 1 & Round 2 is over, interviews are done and decisions have been made. And not everyone is happy. If waitlisted, you’re probably feeling vulnerable right now.
Some options include Round 3, January intake, rolling admissions schools. But if you have decided to stay on the waitlist, it will ease your anxiety to work on an update letter, rather than watching the clock and hoping for the best. And it’s best you work on it with a professional.
Most waitlisted applicants engage in a mental conversation about how they are not good enough. However, if you’re on the waitlist, you have been deemed qualified. Unqualified applicants get a rejection letter. The waitlist does not mean, “you better get your $hit together, kid – then maybe we’ll think about letting you in here.” But that’s often how it’s interpreted.
Here’s probably what happened. Someone with your profile submitted an application and their qualifications were a smidge higher (incidentally, this is why you need to apply to several schools.) Adcom couldn’t justify giving the seat to you for this reason. Some other Taiwanese female enterpreneur or white male banker from Minnesota beat you out.
You can pray that they will decline and go to another school. Or, work actively to heighten your personal brand. Write your elevator pitch. What makes you irreplaceable? Do the deep thinking and soul searching you might have sidestepped before. Rather than trying to obtain parity with the class profile – which has never inspired a soul – focus how they NEED you there and why. How will the class be enriched by the diversity you will add? What unique contribution could you offer their academic community?
It might be a good idea to consider how your profile falls short – but don’t take the GMAT to go from 740 to 760. Or attempt to redo your entire undergraduate college career if your GPA is a 3.4. Rather than taking frenetic action to become “good enough,” create one solid, succinct update letter that showcases your ZING in a way you had not previously captured.
Two other items that might need attention 1) Clear and realistic post-MBA goal. Fuzzy, haphazard goal essays signal that you might end up becoming deadweight on their job placement statistics. Also – do some extra school research and alumni networking. It will make you look active and engaged. In your update letter, use what you have gained to demonstrate an inextricable nexus between your goals and their program.
Of course it’s intimidating that you have to re-audition for the role. But you won’t win this by attempting to remedy all your weaknesses. Make a clear, compelling value proposition that will capture their attention. Focus on your strengths.