I realized that in my recent post on round 3 MBA applications I did not explicitly name a large group of applicants who should consider a round 3 application: Those rejected at all the schools they applied to during round 1. If you applied to three or more schools round 1 and have been dinged by all, you need to evaluate why you are receiving the thin envelopes.
The most common reasons:
- You failed to present yourself well.
- You are not competitive at your target schools.
- You are competitive, but did not demonstrate fit.
- Numbers–the school can’t accept all qualified applicants.
- A combination of the above.
If you conclude that #2 played a significant role or if you just want to ensure that you start your MBA in Fall 2008 and are willing to attend a lower-ranked, but excellent program, then you should consider a round 3 application to schools where you are competitive and have a higher chance of acceptance. Programs outside what I call "the greater top-ten" accept a higher percentage of candidates in later rounds and know that they receive excellent applications from applicants rejected from their first round target schools.