If you have been rejected from an Executive MBA program, it often comes down to one of three reasons (or combination thereof):
1) Your academic record was not strong enough to convince the admissions committee you could handle the rigor of an EMBA program,
2) Your work experience was not sufficient/relevant enough yet to be considered a solid addition to the program, or,
3) You did not show adequate interest in the program to warrant an offer of admission.
All of these reasons can be mitigated, with time or effort on your part. At the end of the day, there is no guarantee of admission, but by taking a hard look and assessing your situation, you can make yourself a much stronger candidate by addressing the pertinent issues.
A low GPA in and of itself is not a reason to ding an applicant. What tends to concern schools is when a transcript shows consistently low grades in subjects that are important to have competence in to do well in an MBA program – quantitative subjects in particular. If you do have quantitative weakness, enroll in an Algebra or Statistics course (or both) at a local college – a “real” class as opposed to online would be preferred. Get strong grades, and submit that transcript with your new application. In the optional essay, express how you recognize the admissions committee might have been concerned about your quantitative abilities, but the new grades should allay any concerns. Also lay out any additional plans you may have prior to joining the program to bolster your skills – MBA Math, for example.
In this situation, time and more leadership experience are probably the two best ways to enhance your application. The average years of work experience in an EMBA program is typically 10-15. Some schools specifically state the minimum years of experience necessary to apply. While I was at Cornell, we never seriously considered anyone with less than five years of experience, and when we did admit someone on that lower end of the scale, there was a clear indication the individual was a superstar at his or her organization. So, if you are in the lower range of experience, seek out more high-profile leadership opportunities, and work on putting together that “superstar” profile.
Admissions committees realize most applicants consider multiple options, as they should, and most have a clear first choice school. What tends to bother admissions folks is when it’s obvious an applicant is only applying to a school because it’s a brand name and would be an “ok” fallback.
How can they tell an applicant’s lack of interest? It’s pretty easy – never came to an information session, never visited the campus, never reached out to anyone on the admissions committee, and/or put reasons like “location” and “reputation” in their essay as to why he/she would like to come to the school. With EMBA classes quite small compared to fulltime programs, it is a distinct possibility an applicant with stellar qualifications could be dinged – why offer a spot to someone who clearly has no real interest in attending? If you feel this might be why you were rejected, this reason can be mitigated or eliminated as well. Reach out to admissions committee members and ask questions that show you’ve both done your homework and are thinking seriously about their school. Start sending signals indicating your sincere interest.
Not sure where your application might be lacking? The good news about most Executive MBA programs is that with smaller applicant pools, admissions officers typically have more time to devote to individual applicants. Therefore, make a call and see if you can receive feedback on your application.
Furthermore we here at Accepted are always available to provide a critical analysis of your EMBA application and help you develop a game plan for the future.
Jen Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining Accepted.com. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.
Listen to the recording of our conversation with Pejay Belland, Director of Marketing, Admissions & Financial Aid at INSEAD, for great insights into the program and tips that applicants to any MBA program should know.
00:01:42 – Singapore, Fontainebleau, and the USA in 10 months?
00:03:25 – Does the exchange program come at the expense of community?
00:05:04 – Why INSEAD likes consultants and consultants like INSEAD.
00:07:33 – Entrepreneurship at INSEAD (50% of grads start their own company at some time in their career!).
00:09:52 – Changes to the INSEAD application: Really getting to know candidates as people.
00:16:25 – The new dean and his initiatives.
00:18:51 – The video essay: in the cards.
00:20:38 – INSEAD’s admissions process and what it means for applicants.
00:24:32 – Can you demonstrate “international outlook” if you’ve never left your home country?
00:25:42 – What Pejay wishes she could tell all applicants.
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It can be nerve-wracking to know how to help your son or daughter during their application process to medical school. It’s time-intensive and expensive to apply. Reading or citing statistics about the competitiveness of the application process doesn’t help. Frequenting pre-med forums can foment phobia. With the right guidance and a little perspective, however, you and your pre-med can survive—even thrive.
Here are a few ideas to help your child thrive while applying:
• Use all resources available.
Encourage your children to visit their pre-med advisor on a regular basis, especially while they are applying. Most college campuses also have a writing center or learning skills center that provides free assistance with academic or application essays, though they have a time limit per student. For further or more personalized assistance, working with consultants like those of us at Accepted.com can provide an additional edge. Talk with your son or daughter about what resources and support they will need while applying.
• Network with other parents or professionals in the health sciences.
Attending pre-med fairs or conferences can provide valuable information to students and parents. Most of these events are geared towards pre-med students, but parents are often welcome. Connect with other parents of pre-meds so that you can support each other through the process. Reach out to anyone you know who is a medical student, doctor or any other kind of healthcare professional. They may even be willing to allow your son or daughter to shadow them or their colleagues. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to other people for support.
• Maintain your routine
While the application process can increase anxiety, it’s important to stick to your routine. By setting this example, your pre-med will find it easier to maintain balance, even while applying. Exercise regularly. Keep the weekends fun and light. Decide on a time every day to check personal emails, and don’t babysit your mailbox. Focusing on what is important in your life at the present moment will help you avoid worrying about what is going to happen in the future. There will be time to respond when you know what to respond to.
• Respect boundaries.
As the application season progresses and anxiety is rising, avoid bringing up the topic of medical school admissions or calling medical schools on your son or daughter’s behalf. Most children are thrilled to share good news with their parents—once they get it. To prevent unnecessary stress, allow your son or daughter to be the person who gives you regular progress updates. (Rejoice! No need to nag.) Your children are adults now. And giving them the space that adults deserve will enhance their sense of self-responsibility and independence, not to mention your relationship with them. Applications can become a painful topic for them and bringing it up before exams or while they are focused on other goals can derail their progress in those other activities. You can even have an open and honest conversation with them early in the application process about how they would like to manage the topic. Whatever you agree to do, honor your word.
• Stay positive.
Simply being available to your son or daughter when they need to talk will be important. By staying positive about their options and chances, you will be able to help decrease their stress levels. There may be times in the application process that students need this additional level of overwhelmingly upbeat self-affirmation.
• Put it in Perspective
In my experience as a post-bac program director, I have known so many students who have applied to medical school unsuccessfully but who used that experience to help mold themselves into stronger applicants who later earned an acceptance.
Allow your son or daughter time to process the experience, independently. When appropriate, help them to put the process and the outcome in perspective. Applying to medical school demonstrates a high level of commitment to others and the pursuit of academic achievement. There are harder things to do than apply to medical school! And there are even worse events in life than rejection from medical school. Don’t allow them to lose sight of what is truly important .
Using these suggestions can help you navigate the stress of your pre-med’s application process. As you demonstrate your coping skills and strategies, they will follow your example and learn how to deal effectively with the stresses and challenges of life. Ultimately, these skills will help them get into medical school as well as to excel.
However, if despite these suggestions, your child is struggling with the process or has been rejected, and you want to help your child but aren’t quite sure how to do so, please feel free to review our services and contact us. The other Accepted consultants and I are happy to guide your child through the medical school admission process. In addition to accessing the expertise of med school admission professionals, turning to us can reduce the tension between you and your adult child. We’re here to help.
Alicia Nimonkar is an Accepted.com advisor and editor specializing in healthcare admissions. Prior to joining Accepted, Alicia worked for five years as Student Advisor at UC Davis’ postbac program where she both evaluated applications and advised students applying successfully to med school and related programs.
This blog post is one in a series of MBA applicant profile evaluations called “What are My Chances?” authored by Michelle Stockman. Michelle, who started consulting for Accepted in 2007 and worked previously in the Columbia Business School admissions office, will provide selected applicants with school recommendations as well as an evaluation of their qualifications.
If you would like Michelle to evaluate your profile at no charge and as part of this series, please provide the information requested at http://reports.accepted.com/what_are_my_chances.
Profile #5 “Kyle” African-American politico, turned energy guy
-Background & Work Experience: 26-year-old African-American male graduate of top-tier Texas public university. Ran winning campaign of student body president. Worked on campaign of high-profile gubernatorial candidate (1 year), then transitioned to a Fortune 500 working in sales for energy saving performance contracts for cities and corporations (3 years).
What was that line from the latest season of House of Cards? “Power is better than money, until you’re out of power.” Looks like you were a savvy political operator, but lost the taste for it after losing a state race, or you’re facing some steep student loans and decided to take a high paying energy sector job? I could be wrong about both scenarios. If your hand was forced, by either a losing candidate or financial reasons, take heart – these can be good stories for overcoming an obstacle. Whatever the case, your leadership success undergrad and your current job in a trendy “green” slice of the energy sector make you stand out.
-Short-term goal: Energy consulting
Right on track. This goal makes sense with your past experience, and sounds plausible for your future. Do your research to find consulting companies who want people with your energy expertise. Make sure your b-school choices have good recruiting relationships with these firms.
-Long-term goal: Start-up in clean tech
Again, strong goal. Makes sense. After some time as a consultant, you could absolutely go on to work with, or finance clean tech start ups. The top schools, ie. H/S will want to see a sense of social impact with your goals. Keep that in mind if those schools are on your radar.
-GMAT: 710 GMAT (49Q/39V)
This is a good score – putting you in the top 10% of test takers. It’s a bit below average for the top echelon of schools, but with your experience – and if you interview well – it’s not worth retaking in my opinion.
-GPA: 2.5 (Double-major in Communications and Business Economics)
Yikes. This GPA is what I’m worried about for you. Looks like you were way more absorbed in your extracurricular achievements than in academics. This could cause some concern with the adcom. As a member of an under-represented minority, who has great leadership and a competitive GMAT, the schools may be willing to discount the GPA if you can provide context for your performance as an undergrad and evidence that it is not representative of your academic abilities. Your GMAT definitely helps, but a few recent A’s plus an optional essay about why your GPA is low are also necessary. Were there extenuating circumstances that caused you to miss classes, or did you just slack off? If so, what have you done since to show you have the intellectual bona fides to keep up with other b-school students?
-Extracurriculars: Last two years for Habitat for Humanity, including project with local green building architects to incorporate green design into homes; During college, heavily involved in campus politics and served as inter-fraternity Council President.
Your current extracurriculars line up nicely with your work interests and goals, creating a tidy package. It seems like you are a true leader, a people person. Talk that up in your essays – how you’ve been able to motivate others, create change, move organizations in positive directions. Make sure you communicate how your impact was vital.
Safety matches: Rice, Texas A&M, Duke
Bottom Line: Check out some of the joint degrees offered by the schools above. Bonus if you can get it paid for (ie. scholarships). It never hurts to ask. You know how to get votes. Now convince the adcom/financial aid office you’re the next big thing in clean energy.
Michelle Stockman is a professional journalist, former Columbia Business School admissions insider, and experienced MBA admissions consultant.
We’d like to introduce you to Emma Schlager who will be beginning med school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in the fall. Thank you Emma for offering valuable med school application advice and for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What is your favorite flavor ice cream?
Emma: Hi there! I was born and raised in the metropolitan Detroit area. In college, I studied psychology at Michigan State University. I graduated from Michigan State in 2013 with a Bachelors of Science degree.
I really love ice cream and I don’t discriminate against any ice cream flavors, except for maybe butter pecan (what the heck is up with that stuff anyway?). For all intents and purposes, I will go with vanilla as my favorite flavor.
Accepted: Congrats on your med school acceptance! Where will you be starting med school in the fall? What do you think makes you a good fit for that program?
Emma: Thank you very much! It is a dream come true. I will be starting med school at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU CHM) in the fall. I knew I was a good fit for MSU CHM because the values and mission of the school parallel my own personal values and goals as a future physician.
MSU CHM prides themselves on being a community-based medical school that serves primarily underserved areas. My decision to pursue a medical career was brought about by a feeling of ethical responsibility, so I love that I will be trained in communities that really need the medical attention.
Like MSU CHM, my service orientation is my main motivator. In college, I spent many hours volunteering at the local hospice residence. I’ve always enjoyed serving my communities as a volunteer.
On the other hand, I also hope to get involved with research in med school, and MSU CHM is a fantastic school for allowing me to do that because of their abundant research opportunities. I have no doubt that MSU CHM will mold me into the compassionate, respectable, and competent physician that I aspire to be.
Accepted: How would you describe your med school application experience?
Emma: Reflecting on the journey now is almost surreal to me because I still can’t believe that I got off that roller coaster of emotion unscathed and with a successful story to tell. It was the highest and lowest I have ever been in my life. The words that I think best describes my experience are long, strenuous, messy, and exhilarating.
First, I started studying for the MCAT in January 2013 and was not done studying for that beast of an exam until September 2013, as I had to take it twice to reach the score that I needed. I studied for the MCAT while also working for a 4.0 GPA in my last two semesters of college, so I spent roughly 9-12 hours a day studying for 8 continuous months. This is what I meant by long and strenuous.
Next, nothing will make you feel more inadequate than applying to med school. After hearing from many different sources over the years that only a small percentage of total applicants get accepted, it is very hard for any pre-med to feel certain that they will get accepted. For somebody like me, with above-average but not exceptional grades and test scores, I was very unsure about my chances of getting in. I was constantly thinking about how the extra classes I took, the time spent studying, and the ridiculous amount of money spent could all be for nothing. My self-confidence was at an all-time low. There were a few instances where I felt completely defeated, exhausted, and depressed. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was messy.
Once I was done with the application, the test, and the essays, all I could do was wait. To my complete joy, the interviews began rolling in. This was the most accomplished I had ever felt in my life. I enjoyed traveling around the state for various interviews. The most memorable interview was at the MSU CHM campus in Grand Rapids. My mother took the trip with me and we stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown. I knew I would love to spend the next 4 years of my life studying medicine in a city so vibrant and electrifying. When I received my acceptance letter, I sat and sobbed. Then, I danced. Exhilarating, indeed.
Accepted: Can you tell us about the Pre-Psychiatry Association you started in college?
Emma: When I first started college at MSU, I wanted to get involved on campus as much as possible in order to meet others with the same interests as myself. I noticed that although there were many clubs for pre-med students and many clubs for psychology majors, there were none that were specifically geared towards psychology majors interested in the medical field. I decided to start my own student organization and I named it the Pre-Psychiatry Association (PPA).
The PPA was very successful. We did a lot of volunteering for the community and also fun activities such as tailgates and holiday parties. We even took a group trip together for spring break one year! Founding a student-run organization was so valuable to me. Not only did I learn about leadership and professionalism, but I also gained relationships through the PPA that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The faculty adviser for the club, Dr. Shafer, became my mentor, who helped me navigate through the pre-med journey and wrote me a very valuable recommendation. Also, if I hadn’t formed the group, I would have never met some of my best friends from college. For example, I will be watching the Event Planner of the inaugural executive board of the PPA, Angela, get married in Punta Cana in June. I will be taking that trip with the initial Treasurer of the PPA, Mark (love you guys!). The club was definitely the coolest thing I did in college and I am so proud of it.
Accepted: How important would you say it is to visit your target med school?
Emma: In my opinion, it is extremely important to have a target med school in mind as early as possible in the pre-med journey. Medical school applicants should have an idea of what medical school they want to attend before applying, because medical schools are always looking for a certain type of “fit” for their school.
Visiting the school, having extensive background knowledge about the school’s history, and doing activities that makes you the perfect applicant for that school makes you stand out to the admissions directors and shows them that you are serious about attending their school.
Like I have said already, I had MSU CHM in mind from the beginning of my pre-med journey. I attended many events at CHM, such as touring the school with my club, meeting the admissions directors, and having panels of medical students do Q&A sessions with my club at meetings.
I certainly believe that visiting your target school gives you an advantage when it comes to applying. If the admissions directors know your name when they see your application, they are more likely to pay close attention to it. The last thing any med school applicant should do is ‘shoot in the dark’ when it comes to picking what schools to apply to. It is better to apply to 5 schools that you are a good fit for, then 25 schools that you really don’t stand out to.
Accepted: What are your top 3 med school admissions tips?
Emma: First, I think the most important tip for anyone applying to medical school is to get your application in as early as possible. This really does make a difference! Everything on your application should be completed by the first day that AMCAS applications are allowed to be submitted. Start drafting your personal statement months before you apply, even if you just sit in front of your computer and ramble about your experiences for a few days. Your chances of getting accepted decrease exponentially the longer you wait to submit your application.
Next, I think it is important to stay as positive as possible while applying to med school, despite the daunting statistics and the odds seeming to be against you. If I could go back and tell myself to calm down and believe in myself, I would. I was so worried about getting into medical school that my quality of life decreased. Just remember, a couple bad grades will not keep you from being accepted. Also, do not worry about what other people say! I was told by many people who had never even applied to med school that I would not get in because I hadn’t done any shadowing or because I didn’t major in biology. Do not believe everything you hear! Major in what you want, fill your activities section with whatever extracurriculars interest you, and just focus on what makes you a unique and qualified candidate for med school.
Lastly, before applying to medical school, be sure that you truly want to spend the rest of your life as a doctor. Some of the best advice I ever got was to consider whether I would be happy being any kind of doctor and not just a psychiatrist. Since then I’ve realized that I actually have many different interests in the field of medicine besides psychiatry, and now I really love the idea of specializing in pathology, specifically dermatopathology. In sum, my last tip is that if you’re going into medicine for a specific specialty (such as surgery), make sure you wouldn’t mind doing something other than that, too (such as family medicine). Your interests will change completely from the day you begin college to the day you finish med school and this is too big of an investment to end up in a profession that you are unhappy with.
Accepted: How do you plan on spending your summer before med school starts?
Emma: Right now, I am currently in the midst of a gap year which has consisted of finishing up the pre-med requirements at a local college while also working full-time at a restaurant to pay down some of my smaller debts from undergrad.
In the summer, I plan to do some shadowing at a dermatologist’s office in the metro Detroit area, continue working full-time, and also take some time for vacation.
The pre-med journey and med school application process were only my first steps on the long road to becoming a doctor, but I am so excited and ready for the challenges ahead. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you, and wish me luck!
Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school journey with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.