Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.
Many MBA applicants express profound concern about the impact of having been laid off with respect to their business school candidacy. Will the admissions committees view a layoff as a sign of failure?
One thing to remember is that many candidates share this worry—thousands of MBA candidates worldwide, in fact. For the admissions committees to dismiss all such applicants outright is simply not practical. Moreover, the admissions committees know that the global financial crisis and the subsequent recession are at the root of the problem, not necessarily the individual candidate’s performance. Indeed, layoffs and firings are not the same thing, so admissions committees will examine your application with that in mind, seeking your broader story of success.
If you have been caught up in this unfortunate mess, what is important is that you show that you have made good use of your time since the layoff—studying, volunteering, seeking work, enhancing your skills, etc. Each candidate will react differently, of course, but you need to have a story to tell (whether you are applying in the late rounds or even for next year) of how you made the most of a difficult situation.