Waitlisted: how to get a seat.


Duncan

I am really sorry to hear recently about the friend of a friend, an international applicant, getting onto the waitlist at one of the top business schools. I wrote them these suggestions. What else should I add?

....

It's possible to get in, but a lot of work and quite nail-biting. The wait list is a really hard place to be. It means someone is good enough but probably will add less to the class then some other students. My friend just graduated from that school, and she was waitlisted. It was a long process of influencing across cultural boundaries. The school will say, I am sure, that there is nothing else one can do and they should sit tight. However, they should work hard because if they do get a place in the class, they will need to move fast.

Often admissions managers have a double challenge:
- some students drop out in the last weeks, and even some students simply do not turn up on the first day.
- That means that schools are filling seats from the waitlist in a very hectic way, and some applicants are being asked to travel only after the course has started (which is what happened to my friend). That, of course, means that people close to the school, or even inside the same country, have a big advantage in simply being able to turn up. Obviously waitlisted people should be doing all the other things that applicants do on every college waitlist, but the very late timing with which most people get cleared off the waitlist is a big logistical issue.

So, I have three options to consider.

An expensive strategy is this: apply now for the university's summer school. This will get them on campus and will prove the ability to get a visa and enter the country. They will be able to see the admissions team face to face. Yes, that will cost $$$, but it makes them easy to select. if they can take business school courses, the MBA may count the credit, which will actually free up some valuable time later on.

A second strategy is to defer to 2016 if they guarantee a seat in that intake. They will almost certainly say yes but, of course, that means delaying a year.

So, the third strategy is to become a better applicant. Applicants know where the application is weak. It's probably not the GMAT or GPA. It's more likely to be self-knowledge, fit with the employers that hire the most MBAs from the school, or multinational leadership experience.

I am really sorry to hear recently about the friend of a friend, an international applicant, getting onto the waitlist at one of the top business schools. I wrote them these suggestions. What else should I add?

....

It's possible to get in, but a lot of work and quite nail-biting. The wait list is a really hard place to be. It means someone is good enough but probably will add less to the class then some other students. My friend just graduated from that school, and she was waitlisted. It was a long process of influencing across cultural boundaries. The school will say, I am sure, that there is nothing else one can do and they should sit tight. However, they should work hard because if they do get a place in the class, they will need to move fast.

Often admissions managers have a double challenge:
- some students drop out in the last weeks, and even some students simply do not turn up on the first day.
- That means that schools are filling seats from the waitlist in a very hectic way, and some applicants are being asked to travel only after the course has started (which is what happened to my friend). That, of course, means that people close to the school, or even inside the same country, have a big advantage in simply being able to turn up. Obviously waitlisted people should be doing all the other things that applicants do on every college waitlist, but the very late timing with which most people get cleared off the waitlist is a big logistical issue.

So, I have three options to consider.

An expensive strategy is this: apply now for the university's summer school. This will get them on campus and will prove the ability to get a visa and enter the country. They will be able to see the admissions team face to face. Yes, that will cost $$$, but it makes them easy to select. if they can take business school courses, the MBA may count the credit, which will actually free up some valuable time later on.

A second strategy is to defer to 2016 if they guarantee a seat in that intake. They will almost certainly say yes but, of course, that means delaying a year.

So, the third strategy is to become a better applicant. Applicants know where the application is weak. It's probably not the GMAT or GPA. It's more likely to be self-knowledge, fit with the employers that hire the most MBAs from the school, or multinational leadership experience.
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lolxxdave

"become a better applicant" -- does that mean to wait until the next intake and in the meantime build up self-knowledge and employer fit? The reason I'm asking is that I have myself been waitlisted by my dream school...

"become a better applicant" -- does that mean to wait until the next intake and in the meantime build up self-knowledge and employer fit? The reason I'm asking is that I have myself been waitlisted by my dream school...
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Duncan

Well, that depends on when you are in the application cycle. If it's really the perfect school for your career goals, then it's worth waiting a year and often schools will assure waitlisted people a place in the next intake. But you can improve in months if there are strengths that are perhaps not shown in your application.

Well, that depends on when you are in the application cycle. If it's really the perfect school for your career goals, then it's worth waiting a year and often schools will assure waitlisted people a place in the next intake. But you can improve in months if there are strengths that are perhaps not shown in your application.
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Duncan

It's also useful to read http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2016-01-21/avoid-4-mistakes-wait-listed-mba-applicants-make

It's also useful to read http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/articles/2016-01-21/avoid-4-mistakes-wait-listed-mba-applicants-make
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