Mission Admission: The Waitlist (Part 2)

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

Last week, we focused on what approach waitlisted candidates should take when they are asked to not send any follow-up information. This week, we examine waitlist situations in which the school asks applicants to provide updates on their progress. While in the first scenario, the frustration candidates experience derives from a sense of helplessness, in the second, candidates tend to lament the lack of time in which to have accomplished anything significant: “What can I offer the MBA admissions committee as an update? I submitted my application only three months ago!”

First and foremost, if you have worked to target any weaknesses in your candidacy—for example, by retaking the GMAT and increasing your score, or by taking a supplemental math class and earning an A grade—the MBA admissions committee will certainly want to hear about this. Further, if you have any concrete news regarding promotions or assumptions of additional responsibilities in the community sphere, you should definitely update the MBA admissions committee on this news as well.

Still, even if you don’t have these sorts of quantifiable accomplishments to report, you still should have some news to share. If you have undertaken any additional networking or have completed a class visit since you submitted your application, you can discuss your continued (or growing) interest. (When you are on a waitlist, the admissions committee wants to see that you are passionately committed to the school.) And even if you have not been promoted, you can creatively reflect on a new project that you have started working on and identify the new professional skills/exposure that this project is providing or had provided (for example, managing people off-site for the first time or executing with greater independence). Finally, the personal realm is not “off limits,” so you should feel free to discuss any personal accomplishments—from advancing in the study of a language to visiting a new country to completing a marathon (just as examples).

With some thought and creativity, you should be able to draft a concise but powerful letter that shows your continued professional and personal growth while expressing your sincere and growing interest in the school—all of which will fulfill your goal of increasing your chances of gaining admission.

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