Saturday, January 13, 2007

Reapplication: How I did it

A number of people asked me to share my magic recipes and though there is no magic and there are no recipes I have decided to share some thoughts on reapplication process. Every little helps :)

First step you have to do is think whether you really need an MBA. You now have a list of goals (5 and 20 years plan). Why not begin fulfilling them now? (Just think what would you do if all the business schools in the world suddenly vanished?)
If you fail without an MBA - you'll have more convincing future story for adcoms. But if you succeed, you might not need to write a story at all. Your biographer will do it for you.

OK, you're definite to try again (next round or next year).
Second step - get feedback from adcoms.
There are three possible replies:
  1. Change yourself (strengthen part of your application, align your goals, etc)
  2. Change the essays (adcoms haven't fully understood something in your essays)
  3. Change nothing (you were unlucky and someone got there earlier than you)
You'd better ask and know for sure, before addressing what-you-think-your-weaknesses-are.

Next steps - work on the feedback. Get a new job, launch a new club, travel or learn a new language. Visit the schools. Talk to students and alumni. Go to conferences and tours. Learn about the opportunities various schools can offer, try to find the best fit. Based on that re-evaluate your first choice school. To my mind when you know the school and like it, all the process is much easier.
And don't forget to save a lot of courage and energy before the next try.

I've tried all this on myself. I've changed a job (to the one that gave me new skills and international exposure). I've worked on my weaknesses (working experience and career goals). I've found more powerful recommenders (general manager at the previous workplace and current supervisor). I've read a lot. I've met with people. As a result I wrote stronger essays (and expressed more commitment to the School).

If you really want to know the way... here it is: passion, hard work and a bit of luck.

Good luck to you too!

UPD: There's a very good article by Paul Graham: 'Two Kinds of Judgement'. I suppose it will give you courage for the next attempt :)