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After You've Applied to Business School

After you’ve submitted your application, you can generally expect to receive a decision notification about three months after the application deadline. Check the individual schools’ websites for their specific timeframes. The notification you receive will let you know if you’ve been accepted, waitlisted or denied.

Congratulations, you’ve been accepted!

After an appropriate celebration, it’s time to focus on two things: getting your finances in order and informing your employer of your impending departure.  Once you’ve been admitted, your school will provide you with information on public and private loans and scholarships, as well as other types of financial support. Getting your credit in order before applying is crucial, so make sure to get a copy of your credit report and fix any errors prior to beginning the loan application process. For more information on financing options, visit the Financing your MBA section of MBA Central.

When it comes to letting your employer know you’ll be leaving, always demonstrate the upmost professionalism. Give the appropriate amount of notice, present your resignation in writing, and explain why you’re moving on. Make every effort not to burn any bridges and maintain your valuable network.

You’re on the waitlist.

Don’t panic. Being waitlisted does not mean you won’t get in. In fact, it means you were qualified and worthy, but one element might have been lacking.  What to do now?

  • Understand the type of waitlist you're on. There are two types of waitlists. The opt-out waitlist means that a school automatically puts you on the waitlist unless you tell them to remove you. The opt-in waitlist requires that you accept a position on the list, usually within a certain amount of time. If you’re still interested in attending the school, you should accept the waitlist offer.

  • Ask for an application review. Some programs will give you feedback as to why you’ve been waitlisted. They may even make specific suggestions for how you can improve your chances of getting off the waitlist and into the program. If your school offers reviews, the waitlist letter will say so. If the letter specifically tells you not to contact them, don’t ask. But if they don’t specifically say, or if the letter is obviously personalized, then feel free to ask for feedback.

  • Send additional information. Some schools specifically prohibit sending additional information after you’ve submitted your application. But if your school allows it, consider sending updated information three-to-four weeks after you received your waitlist notification. This could include an updated resume reflecting a promotion, transcript from a recently completed course, an updated GMAT score, a one-page update on recent accomplishments or a new letter of support.

  • Retake tests, if appropriate. If you suspect you were waitlisted because of your GMAT, GRE or other test scores, focus on additional preparation and try to improve your score by retaking the exam.

  • Take classes.  If a low GPA likely factored into your waitlist status, consider taking additional classes at the local community college to prove you have the intellectual ability as well as the discipline to do well in a rigorous quantitative curriculum. Good options include accounting, microeconomics, calculus or statistics.

Dang, you didn’t get in.

Yes, it’s disappointing, but don’t let it devastate you. If possible, seek feedback from the admissions committee on why you didn’t make the cut, then make a plan to overcome any weaknesses in your application package if you’d like to apply again. Schools may look favorably upon re-applicants, as it shows strong interest in the program. You can demonstrate you’ve grown, addressed your shortcomings and are a committed candidate.