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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Reapplicants Should Not Reapply

You applied to business schools once and did not get in. It took a lot of effort and caused a lot of heartache. Now what do you do? You cannot really apply again to those schools, can you? What is the point? They already rejected you once, so they will do the same thing next time, right? Wrong.

MBA admissions committees are governed by self-interest. Simply put, the schools want the best candidates out there. If you are among the best candidates, why would any admissions director think, “Well, this is an outstanding candidate who can add something special to our school and has unique potential going forward, but he applied last year, so we’ll just forget about him.” Indeed, the reapplication process is not a practical joke or a disingenuous olive branch to those permanently on the outside. If the schools were not willing to admit reapplicants, they would not waste time and resources reviewing their applications.

Although many candidates fret about being reapplicants, some admissions officers actually see a reapplication as a positive—a new opportunity. Michigan Ross’s director of admissions, Soojin Kwon, told mbaMission, “They are certainly not ‘damaged goods.’ We have had many successful reapplicants join our program after they’ve spent a year strengthening their candidacies.”

J.J. Cutler, former director of admissions at Wharton, echoed this sentiment: “We find that students who have applied to Wharton before are absolutely not at a disadvantage. In fact, we recognize that the application process is an extensive one that involves self-examination and a large time commitment. … Reapplying can give an applicant a chance to benefit from all the self-reflection and goal setting [he/she] went through during [his/her] first application cycle.”

Meanwhile, the Yale School of Management’s assistant dean and director of admissions, Bruce DelMonico, noted, “I can certainly bust that myth. Our admit rate for reapplicants is actually the same as it is for first-time applicants. It’s important, though, for reapplicants to explain to us how their candidacy has improved from the previous time they applied. Reapplicants need to make sure they enhance their application, rather than just resubmitting the same application.”

In short, reapplicants, you have no reason to believe that you only have one chance. Like any competitive MBA applicant, continue to strive and achieve; if things do not work out this time, they just might the next time.




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