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MBA Reapplication: Six Myths Busted

If you’ve been dinged by a business school, it can be very hard to cast aside your doubts and begin the reapplication process in good faith.

Overcoming these doubts requires a better understanding of the MBA reapplication process.

And of common myths that hold reapplicants back.

In this article, you’ll learn about six common myths that surround MBA reapplication at top MBA programs.

MBA reapplication

And why you should let go of them!

We’ll also give you three MBA reapplication tips to help you consider if you’re reapplying.

It’s so important to go into this process with accurate expectations and a good attitude.

That’s the best way to set yourself up for MBA application success.

Whether you are a reapplicant or not.

So, what common misconceptions do you need to watch out for?

Myth #1: Reapplicants Are Immediately Turned Away

Many MBA reapplicants assume that a school will simply reject them again, since they rejected them the first time.

While there is certainly a chance of rejection, your status as a reapplicant will not immediately cut you from consideration or necessarily shunt you into a different pile.

Many of our reapplicant clients have been admitted.

It depends on what the original application lacked and whether you are able to directly address the weaknesses.

The vast majority of top MBA programs view reapplications as stand-alone applications, independent from your previous evaluation.

MBA admission board members will typically only consult your previous application if there is a discrepancy or a lack of consensus.

Myth #2: Persistence Gives You An Instant Advantage

While some MBA reapplicants believe that they will be immediately disadvantaged, others believe that they will have an immediate advantage, because the very fact of their reapplication demonstrates their commitment to the school.

While MBA admissions boards certainly appreciate that you like their program enough to apply again, they will not grant admission for this reason alone.

Their job is to admit applicants that will benefit from the program and benefit the program.

To earn admission as a reapplicant, you will need to prove more than just your commitment to the school.

You will need to prove your fit.

Myth #3: There is Little You Can Do to Improve Your Previous Application

You worked so hard to put together your first MBA application, and I understand that seeing that hard work dinged can be very disheartening.

You might think that, because you put so much work in the first time, there is little you can do to improve your chances this time around.

However, I can assure you that even the simple passage of time will bring new opportunities for improving your application.

Even if you don’t retake the GMAT, or don’t change jobs, you can and must find some progress to highlight, whether it’s new projects you’ve taken on or new perspectives that you’ve gained.

Maybe your personal brand needs to be tweaked. Maybe your MBA resume could be more compelling.

The point is:

there’s always something that can be improved, simply because time has passed, you’ve grown and learned from your experiences.

Don’t assume that your best effort is behind you.

Myth #4: You Need New Recommenders

We have worked with many reapplicants who used the same recommenders but with a different focus and strategy.

Many applicants have stellar recommendations and need to focus on other areas for improvement, such as GMAT scores, leadership experience or self-awareness.

To determine if your recommendations contributed to your initial denial, engage with your recommenders to determine how supportive they were.

A lukewarm recommendation could have contributed to your outcome, and if you suspect this is the case, it’s best to ditch the recommender for someone else who knows you, your work, and is a brand champion.

This evaluation should help you to determine where you most need to improve, and if you need to enlist new recommenders.

You might consider trading out one recommender for a new voice, or simply helping your recommenders refocus around a new and improved MBA application strategy.

Myth #5: You Don’t Really Need a Strategy Overhaul

When you are denied admission to a particular MBA program, and especially an elite MBA program, it is tempting to attribute the rejection to bad luck.

After all, you were one among many very talented applicants.

Maybe your timing was just unlucky or your application got reviewed right after some Olympic athlete who also happens to have started a successful business.

This conclusion might make you feel better – and could even be true.

But it won’t help your reapplication success.

The best reapplicants go back to the drawing board and reconsider their entire MBA application.

From initial strategy and personal brand all the way through to the MBA interview.

Myth #6: Rejection is Always a Negative Experience

Sure, rejection doesn’t feel good.

It hurts and it’s not a fun experience.

But, even though you might not realize it now, you may be grateful for this reapplication experience.

Many reapplicants – successful or not- report that taking the time to reconsider their personal brand, their strategy and their goals was an affirming and positive experience, and helped them to grow and succeed in ways that they did not foresee.

Try to approach the reapplication experience with personal growth in mind.

Consider it a unique chance to truly evaluate who you are and where you want to go.

If you approach the process with that attitude, you will be happier and more relaxed, and that is a good thing both for you and for your MBA admissions chances.

Applicants who are more relaxed and more secure in their identity tend to be more successful in the MBA application process.

Myths bust

MBA Reapplication To-Dos

Hopefully identifying these six MBA reapplication myths has eased some of your doubts about the MBA reapplication process.

Now, it’s time to think about the tools that you need to succeed.

Here are three steps to consider:

Get feedback from the MBA admissions board

Very few schools offer feedback to denied applicants.

Check with the MBA admissions board to see if this feedback is available, or if you can speak with someone about your application.

If the schools you are targeting do not provide feedback you should take advantage of admissions consulting firms that offer an application review by a former admissions board member.

You can also take advantage of our Come Back Kid service that helps reapplicants assess their old application and develop a new reapplication strategy.

Revisit your MBA application strategy and personal brand

To build a better MBA application, start with the basics.

You should evaluate your application strategy and personal brand to identify areas that need tweaking or growth.

For ideas, check out our Four Keys to Successful Personal Branding.

Plan for improvement

Once you’ve identified areas of weakness, develop strategies for improvement.

If your GMAT score was holding you back, enroll in prep classes and retake the test.

If your GPA was low, look for local or online classes that you could retake.

If you were lacking leadership experiences, look for new projects at work or in the community.

In order to be successful in your MBA reapplication, you will need to show significant and sustained progress.

Start planning your progress now so that you will have plenty of proof to include in your application.


Now you know common myths to avoid and new strategies to employ in your MBA reapplication process.

You should also check out our list of top reapplication mistakes to avoid.

Then, it’s time to get started.

MBA admissions boards love to see reapplicants who have truly learned from the initial denial and used it to improve themselves personally and professionally.

As difficult as it is, try to view this as a valuable learning opportunity and a unique chance to prove yourself.

Hopefully, you can find success and learn more about yourself along the way.

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