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Playing the MBA Admissions Waiting Game

For many MBA applicants, this is the hardest time of all. Your applications are in, the decision is out of your hands, and there is little left to do except hope for the best and wait on the MBA admissions committee’s answer.

In my experience, waiting is very hard for many MBA applicants. They are not used to waiting; they are used to doing and achieving, constantly making progress toward a goal.

When that goal is taken out of their hands, they become restless and unsettled, and search for strategies to cope with their anxiety.

MBA Admissions

Fortunately for these students, the down period between completing the application and hearing its results offers its own opportunities.

Opportunities for self-improvement and self-examination… opportunities to explore new ideas and to learn and grow as a person.

While you cannot speed your admissions decision, you can spend the waiting period productively. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Compile A Business Reading List:

The most common excuse for not reading that latest, greatest book? “I don’t have time”. With applications in and decisions not yet made, now is the perfect time to catch up on your reading list.

Push yourself to read books from today’s business thinkers, and give yourself plenty of time to reflect on what you read.

Don’t know what to read? Ask a mentor or admired colleague for recommendations, or check out reading lists like Poet’s and Quants “A Dean’s Summer Reading List for MBAs” or The Personal MBA’s “99 Best Business Books”.

Do some soul-searching

Reflect on your application process, what you learned about yourself, and where you see your future going. Some questions to ask:

-What did you discover about yourself during the application process? Did you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses? Your interests and ambitions?

-Which schools were you drawn to? Why were you drawn to those schools?

-Did the application process define or change your career plans? Where do you see yourself, professionally, in ten years?

Whatever decisions come your way over the next few months, reflecting on what you have learned and where you want to go will help you make the most of the opportunities you receive.



Volunteer for a charity or a project that you are interested in. Don’t do it for your resume- volunteer because you are interested in the cause, and because you will likely learn more than you could ever give.

These and other activities can turn the dreaded “waiting game” into a productive and enjoyable time, a valuable interlude between the stress of finishing applications and the emotion of hearing the admission committee’s decision.

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