MBA Admissions: Multiple Acceptances and Waitlisted

A few MBA applicant bloggers are dealing with questions now that they have received first round decisions. First Hakuna Matata!!! is thrilled to be accepted to Yale SOM and Cornell Johnson. Congratulations!

He asks several questions in “3 down…1 to go!” and I am going to respond to those that aren’t visa-related. (I know nothing about immigration law.)

  1. Assuming you resolve the visa issue, quit early enough so that you can have at least a short vacation and time to establish yourself in your new town — be it New Haven, Ithaca, or Ann Arbor. In chat after chat, current MBA students advise applicants to allow time for setting up an apartment, opening up a bank account, and  figuring out where the dry cleaner, gym, barber, etc are. In addition, make sure you have at least a short but real break between quitting your job and starting the hectic life of an MBA student. Some may accomplish all the above in two weeks, others take two months or more.
  2. Start with the schools that have accepted you. They will have resources on applying for loans and maybe even obtaining grants. For more information, please see “Follow the $$$: Financial Aid in Business School.”
  3. In terms of choosing between Yale and Johnson, you have two wonderful choices. I suggest you look first at the fields, industries, and companies that graduates of each school go into. Which one has more of what you are interested in? Then look at the curriculum and educational program. As you note, they are ranked closely and their general management orientation is similar. But, they are not identical. Do you have a preference in terms of the education? Finally, layer in personal preference. How did you feel about the rural environment in Ithaca or about being in New Haven, which is a fairly easy train ride from NYC? Are you concerned about Yale’s current change of leadership. For more info on choosing schools, please see: 

MissionMBA has had a very different experience. He was rejected at one school and waitlisted at Tuck. He appropriately takes Tuck’s waitlist decision as good news. Wisely, MBAMission realizes that “recent changes at my workplace” may give him something significant and appealing to write about.

That point is key for waitlisted applicants. The schools that accept updates are keenly interested in information that will help them assess the quality of your candidacy and your fit with their program. The last sentence implies substantive updates — not generated junk. Quality over quantity. At the same time, staying in touch (without being a pest or showing poor judgment) demonstrates interest and shows character. Conversely if you do nothing, schools that welcome updates will assume either a lack of interest or a stagnant applicant. And finally, those waitlisted applicants who incessantly call and/or email about nothing will be revealing a lack of consideration and the poor judgment that could actually cause a ding.

A few resources for MBAMission and other waitlisted applicants:

About

Linda Abraham is the founder and president of Accepted.com, which she founded in 1994.