MBA Admissions: Accepted, Rejected… Now What?

It is the moment you have been waiting for… You submitted your MBA application, you participated in the interview, and now you received a letter from your target business school. Whether you are presented with a large envelope of acceptance or the dreaded rejection: now what?

Whichever the result, you have a few options moving forward. The following is a guide to help you navigate each situation constructively.


First things first, merely just being qualified is not enough. You are up against a large range of competitive applicants with ambitious test scores and experiences. Adcoms are looking to fill a diverse class of different backgrounds, professions, and perspectives that align with their school’s culture.

Rejection is disappointing, but it doesn’t define you. Give yourself the time you need to vent and then consider the next steps to help you successfully move on to your next plan.

  1. Craft a new strategy. Is b-school really the next step for you and is now the right time? Think hard and good not only about your long-term goals but also your short-term goals. What are you seeking to accomplish in your professional and personal life? Sometimes we think we have all the answers and then our plans change. We learn, adapt and grow.
  2. Reapply. It is becoming a regular practice that a dedicated group of applicants is reapplying to their target schools. Many say that these focused individuals are more likely to get into the school as a re-applicant over the general pool. Having already been through the process, using the feedback to your advantage, and reapplying to your top-choice can be a positive and rewarding experience.
  3. Maintain perspective. Working toward a goal and then having to adapt to change can be difficult, but this isn’t the worst thing in the world. The overall application process pushed you to take that next step in your career. Although it may not have worked out the way you hoped, by revising your plans you will learn more about yourself, gain more career experience, adjust your timeline and be more prepared for what is to come.


After you finish celebrating, it is never too early to prepare for your MBA studies.

  1. Send your thank notes. Yes, this means handwriting thank you notes to each person who helped, recommended, proofed, edited and supported you with your application.
  2. Complete pre-matriculation requirements. Each program has pre-matriculation requirements for applicants to complete prior to the beginning of the program. As the start date for your program approaches, there will be a lot of moving parts. It will be easy to put these off, especially if prior to starting your program you plan on using the down time to travel. It is best to avoid procrastination and try to get these out of the way immediately.
  3. Get to know your classmates. Many MBA programs have tight-knit communities and the bonding starts right away. There will be specific trips, Facebook groups, and online communities for you to get involved in. After all, you will be spending the next two years together, so take advantage of these resources and get to know your classmates.
  4. Prepare for relocation. Like most college towns, the housing can be impacted. If you are planning to live on campus, you will want to contact the admissions office immediately to learn about their campus housing application process. In addition to nailing down your housing, you want to also prepare for your departure. This means sorting things out with your current employer, subletting or renting your apartment, securing a storage unit if needed, etc. The sooner you get the ball rolling on all of these details, the better prepared you will be when transitioning into business school-life.


As frustrating as more anticipation may be, being placed on a waitlist does not mean rejection – it means that you qualify for admission. The admissions committee saw something in you that they liked, and have decided to continue to evaluate your profile. More than ever this is an opportunity to demonstrate your candidacy and commitment to their program. Your next step as a waitlisted applicant is to organize your waitlist strategy:

  1. Think about your application as a whole. Look at your recommenders, re-read your essays, review your scores and compare these areas with the school’s criteria. Try to determine where the gaps are in your application and decide if there is anything you can do to improve them.
  2. Take action. Once you pinpoint where your weaknesses are in your application, the next step is to take action. If your GPA is low, consider taking additional coursework, if your GMAT score was not in the school’s range, focus on improving it, or if you need to boost your community involvement, become a leader in a new activity outside of work.
  3. Stay in communication. Once you have taken action and received positive results, you want to notify the school of these updates. Write a letter explaining how you have been proactive and reiterate your dedication to the program. If possible, you might want to ask others to write letters endorsing your candidacy.


The results of your application being accepted, rejected, or waitlisted are fairly straightforward, but what happens if your admission is deferred? Deferral admission means that your application will be reconsidered in the next round. Meaning, if a Round 1 applicant has been deferred, they won’t be evaluated again until Round 2.

This is different from being waitlisted because people get off the waitlist on a rolling basis. Deferred applicants must wait until the next cycle, and follow the same timeline of that next round.

If your application is deferred, the best thing to do is to wait. If you have decided to attend another school, then notify the admissions officers about your desire to withdraw from the application process.

In all scenarios, you have an exciting journey ahead of you. If you got the news you were not expecting, remember you have many options available and we are here to help you learn from your mistakes. Our personalized application approach can help applicants formulate a targeted application strategy and provide extensive editing and support for your essays.

On the other hand, if you received an outcome you had hoped for, it’s never too early to prepare for the next chapter of your life.


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