12 Steps on How to Apply to B-School – Step 12: Managing the Waitlist
Fortuna Admissions has been asked by The Economist to write a multi-part series explaining how to improve your chance of getting into a top business school. Our experts from Wharton, INSEAD, Harvard Business School, London Business School, Chicago Booth, IE Business School, NYU Stern, Kellogg, and UC Berkeley Haas have contributed to this series of articles. Below is an adapted version.
While many of you are just getting started with your applications, some of you might still be on a waitlist for your top school and wondering if there’s anything left to do. Receiving the news from your dream school that you’ve been placed on the waitlist is frustrating. You feel so close to your goal, but now have the torment of waiting as the school assesses the next round of applicants. Being waitlisted is certainly better than being rejected. But what can you do to manage this period of uncertainty?
The first step is to accept your place on the waitlist and reiterate your desire to attend the school. Schools have different policies, so find out how to confirm your place on the list. For schools that don’t accept any additional materials, please respect that policy. Other institutes not only accept supplementary information, but might suggest that an additional essay or letter of recommendation would be beneficial. If you’re offered feedback from a waitlist manager, take it!
You should also assess why your application came up short and look for help to identify areas of weakness. Retaking the GMAT might be worth considering if your score is below the school average, but only if you think you can improve by a decent margin, not just ten extra points.
Update the school with any new information such as a promotion or a company move, or inform the school if you’re on the verge of accepting an offer from another school, but don’t send unnecessary updates. Definitely avoid contacting the school too often ‒ we’ve seen admissions officers run for cover when they see a waitlisted candidate’s phone number light up yet again on their phone screen. You don’t want to gain a reputation for being a pain.
Finally, stay optimistic. As tough as this might be, as an MBA waitlisted applicant, you still have a chance of being admitted.