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Applying for an MBA after business has failed

MBA for Failed EntrepreneursApplying for an MBA after your business has gone bankrupt does not have to be a weakness. Business schools appreciate innovation and entrepreneurship(read about SKOLKOVO MBA - An Entrepreneurial MBA Program with 5 Projects in 4 Countries). The experience of starting and running your own company can be an interesting perspective you can bring to enrich the MBA program. Even the lessons learned from the failed venture can be worthwhile as well. There are some key questions on the minds of the admission boards when evaluating an entrepreneur whose business has failed.

First, they will evaluate the scope of the business (is this someone tinkering with a hobby or is this a real venture?) Then they will assess what you achieved (did you create a product that is being patented/raise funds from investors to expand the business or did the business not take off in the first place?) And finally, they will investigate why the business failed and the lessons you learned from the bankruptcy (are there holes in your skill set that you need to strengthen or did you make glaring mistakes that raise questions about your judgment?)

In fact, you can make a strong case for the need for business school by communicating what skills you lacked and how business school can help prepare you for your next business venture. The other thing to keep in mind if you apply after your start up fails is that the admission board may be concerned that you will jump ship half way into the program to go start another business. They need to be assured that you will have the discipline to commit to completing the entire program.

Besides presenting a successful application as an entrepreneur, you need to consider MBA programs that are highly supportive of people wishing to start their own business. Selecting programs with a strong commitment to entrepreneurship will ensure that you get the right level of support to develop your business ideas for your next firm you plan to start.


Chioma Expartus
Chioma Isiadinso is a former Harvard Business School admissions board member and a former director of admissions at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the CEO of EXPARTUS®, LLC, a global admission consulting company, and the author of The Best Business Schools’ Admissions Secrets. Follow EXPARTUS® Facebook LinkedIn Twitter


2014-15 Winning MBA Essay Guide teaches you how to promote your Creativity, Leadership & Emotional Intelligence (Three Qualities that Business Schools measure) by using Contexts, Persuasion Techniques and Storytelling.

The Essay Guide answers essays asked in Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton, Columbia, London Business School, Kellogg, Tepper, NYU Stern, Michigan Ross, Tippie, USC Marshall, Cornell, Tepper, Duke Fuqua, UCLA, Darden,Yale, ISB PGP and Haas MBA programs.

Essay Guide Format: 250 Pages (PDF Download)

Download 2014-15 Winning MBA Essay Guide