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How to navigate MBA waitlists

As clients await school decisions, one challenge many face is the waitlist. Not a “yes”, and not a “no”, being put on a waitlist often feels like a disappointment that the process could continue for some time.

However, we advise clients that anything that is not a “no” represents an opportunity to grow and highlight that growth to admissions committees. For instance, many schools will give waitlisted candidates an opportunity to provide updates since they applied. Should you use this opportunity? YES!

In particular, focus on key achievements since you applied, and what you’re learning. Have you coached a client or mentee through a thorny issue? Taught your team a new software app that boosted their productivity? Organized team-building events for those coming back into the office? Invest in the time to reflect on your accomplishments (even if you haven’t yet been put on a waitlist – never hurts to prepare for various scenarios). Poll friends and family on ideas to set you apart from peers. Showing progress in anything can be a positive differentiator for your application.

Similarly, if you think there could be a gap in your application, revisit what you submitted with a fresh perspective. We are happy to provide another perspective on your application as well (you can sign up for a 1-hour review of your application here).

As in prior years, we expect schools to continue waitlists long into the summer. Some candidates may even get a phone call a few days after programs start in September. That’s because there is a chance some students don’t show up, opening new spots after the first tuition payment deadline. It is likely that patience will be rewarded. Hang in there!

If wanting to talk through more, let us know.

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