Given how fiercely competitive the MBA admission process is, waitlisting candidates is a regular occurrence. Getting into an MBA waitlist means that even though a business school is impressed with your application, they cannot offer you a spot right away. Want the secret sauce for improving your chances of acceptance? Learn about the top MBA waitlist strategies you can put to practice.
Why do you need an MBA waitlist strategy?
An MBA waitlist strategy acts as a roadmap to guide your decision making. Whether you need to strengthen your candidacy, lower your expectations, or simply get ready to reapply next year–a strategy helps set realistic expectations and navigate through uncertain times.
Top MBA waitlist strategies to get off the list
Making it to the waitlist isn’t a death sentence for your MBA dreams. Here are some tips on how to get off MBA waitlist:
Read through the instructions in the waitlist letter
Your waitlist letter is a minefield of useful information. It contains detailed instructions such as the timeline for accepting a spot on the waitlist, who to contact for your queries, and what steps you can take to emphasize your interest in the school. It is extremely critical that you take the instructions seriously and do as directed. Any action against the instructions can adversely impact your chances of getting off the waitlist.
For instance, if the letter clearly states that the admissions committee won’t entertain any follow-up material, refrain from sending any. But if the school only wants updates on your GMAT score or any additional coursework you enroll in, then you should focus on providing such information.
Since the waitlist instructions vary depending on the school in question, read through them all if you find yourself on multiple lists.
Check if the school will allow additional submissions
If your program allows it, send a waitlist letter, updating the admissions department about your new achievements a few weeks before the decision deadline.
You can include any professional or personal developments that can boost your application, such as getting promoted at work, completing a new course, or signing up for any other program to enhance your skill set.
You can also provide details of any relevant webinars or seminars you may have attended after making it to the waitlist.
Reach out to current students or alumni for top MBA waitlist strategies
Contacting alumni or current students at the business school where you are waitlisted is an excellent idea.
Speaking with current students helps gather updated information about what’s happening on campus. Conversations with alumni will give you deeper insights into what an ideal applicant’s profile looks like. Moreover, since many business schools involve their alumni during the interview round, speaking with them can help you spot the shortcomings in your application.
You can leverage all the insider info to polish your waitlist letter. If the program permits, you can even ask alumni to write a letter of support for your candidacy since such letters are known to impact the admission committee’s decision.
Communicate and connect with the school
While you are on the waitlist, it is a good idea to demonstrate to the school that you are genuinely interested in joining the program.
If you have any shortcomings in your application and the school allows additional submission, send relevant updates supporting your candidacy. If the school permits, consider visiting the campus to demonstrate your interest in securing a spot in a particular program. However, make a concrete plan for the visit, and don’t simply land at the admissions office to show how committed you are.
For example, check with the waitlist manager if you can sit in during classes or go to a conference organized by the program to interact with the faculty. Or, suppose you are on the MIT Sloan waitlist, and the waitlist manager informs you about a special waitlist webinar, make sure to attend it.
Provide more letters of recommendations
Some programs may allow you to submit additional letters of recommendation while you are waitlisted. Such letters can go a long way in addressing weaknesses in your application.
Contact a recommender who can add fresh insights about your candidacy. Refrain from sending over the same examples that the admissions committee may have read in the previous letters. For example, if your application doesn’t highlight your leadership abilities, get the recommender to focus on your leadership experiences using specific anecdotes.
Make sure the person you are approaching to write the letter is someone you personally and have worked with, as you want the admissions team to know more about who you are as a person.
Establish a contingency plan for top MBA waitlist strategies
Even though you may be committed to doing everything possible to secure a seat in your dream business school, having a backup plan is a critical element of a well-rounded MBA waitlist strategy.
After all, the MBA waitlist acceptance rate varies greatly, and it is impossible to guarantee acceptance.
Consider compiling applications for other schools that made it to your shortlist. Evaluate whether you want to send your application immediately or wait for Round 1 of the forthcoming admissions cycle. Think about what additional steps you want to take to improve your candidacy before the next round of applications begins.
Nobody enters the application process to end up on an MBA waitlist. After all, every MBA aspirant wants to see their name on Harvard’s admissions list and not make peace with ending up on the HBS waitlist.
Even though it may be disappointing to find yourself there, don’t lose hope.
Tactfully employing the correct MBA waitlist strategies can help you sail through this period. But you may need help to gauge exactly what needs to be done. Having a professional review your application and identify the strategies you need to use can maximize your chances of getting accepted.
A clear game plan can put you ahead of your competition. At Ameer Khatri Consulting, we can help you get off the MBA waiting list by closely working with you during the application and interview process.
Get in touch with us to have your profile evaluated for free and create the perfect MBA waitlist strategy.