5 Things to Consider: Round 2 MBA Application

Round 2 MBA Application Best PracticesThe number of Round 2 applicants tends to be higher than Round 1 despite the admission team and consultants, including me, recommending applicants to target dream schools (first and second in the list) by round one. Before you start the application process for Round 2, here are 5 things to consider:

1) Managing Recommenders will not go as planned

Dec 31st is the end of quarter three; this means your manager will be busy traveling to meet quarterly targets or planning to take the well-deserved winter break, after finishing the tasks that are behind schedule. Your chance of getting a reflective recommendation letter in his unique voice is minimal. Get all your recommendation letters by last week of November or first week of December. If they can’t commit to your application, early enough, at least start the process by the first week of December. Meet the recommender and guide them through the narrative that you have covered and include examples that complement your story or strengthen your unique career path or value proposition.

2) Change Target School if you get rejected after Round 1 Interviews

By the second week of November you will receive admission decision for most Round 1 applications, and if you were shortlisted for an interview, the decisions would be released by December 2nd week. You will have a 2-week window to come up with new schools if you were rejected or waitlisted. Most Round 1 applicants will not consider the scenario after they get an interview call. Many in a last-minute effort to keep the chances alive choose the wrong school or wait for the waitlist cycle in Round 2.

Even if you have confidence in your interview performance, be prepared to shortlist a few more schools. The Round 2 list that was in the backburner might have to be re-evaluated. As a safe bet, apply to two more schools from your list even if you have given a great interview. This will hedge the bets against an unexpected outcome. Adjust the narrative according to the schools you are targeting. For any help, Download Winning MBA Essay Guide and Subscribe to our Essay Review Service.

3) Stand Out from International Applicants

The majority of applicants in round two are international since schools have reiterated in most of their communication that the chance for funding goes down after round 2. If you are a local applicant, bring narratives that are unique to the host country. This way, your essay will stand out in a heap of essays that highlight international travel as a unique value proposition.

If you are an international applicant, instead of parroting International travel experience, highlight your problem-solving skills at a Global level. More than working with diverse cultures, what you can bring is an ability to see problems and their impact on Global and local markets. Share the unique perspective on how decisions made at each international office and board level can have an impact on the future of the company.

An applicant who can bring a strategic insight is rare. Most applicants will go on and on about leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills at a project level. You should do that too, but bring a purpose to your action with insight, and the admission team will know that you will be a good candidate for post-MBA Consulting and General Management roles.

4) Say Goodbye to your Winter Vacation

The first casualty for Round 2 applications is your vacation. Be prepared to spend a lot of time writing, re-writing, uploading documents, calling recommenders, throughout December and the first week of January. Postpone your vacation to the second week of January. It is tough to focus on your application when your colleagues and family is in their ‘leisure’ zone. For motivation to keep writing, listen to the 8 Hour Study Mix by Delta Notch; no words or tunes that will take you away from the writing process; pure trance to keep you in the zone.

5) Learn from Round 1 Mistakes

Repeating the same mistake as in Round 1 can deter your admission chances. This is, however, tricky. Just changing directions by 180 degrees without evaluating the reasons for your dings can lead to completely revamping your MBA application in the wrong direction.

There are five reasons for rejection:

1) Not Unique

This is the most common reason for rejection. You were unsuccessful with your narrative to bring out the uniqueness in your profile or despite your best effort; your profile does not find the appeal for a top MBA program. Round 2 Schools might be entirely different from Round 1. Applicants shortlist 2nd tier and schools not in the top 10 ranking for Round 2. The idea to be unique often pushes applicants to create narratives that on reading looks like outliers. Don’t overdo it. Change narratives after understanding what the school stands for. Sometimes a narrative that didn’t work for a top MBA program might be perfect for your Round 2 Schools.

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2) Poor Narrative

When we reviewed essays of round 1 applicants, even the most qualified candidate have a poor grasp of why narratives matter in MBA Admissions.

Once we demonstrate the difference between a standard essay with clichéd narrative and an essay that immediately grasp the attention of the admission team, they are sold on the idea. Applicants who have failed to understand the power of narrative have not read our Winning MBA Essay Guide. Don’t write a novel but your words have a direct influence on your future. Choose them carefully, fully understanding the audience you are targeting.

3) Poor Recommendation Letter

Another common reason for Round 1 rejection is poor recommendation letter. The Admission team has given some consideration for grammatical errors in recommendation letters if the supervisor’s first language is not English but choosing the wrong recommender can jeopardize your admission chances.

Most qualified supervisors are not naturally inclined to write recommendation letters. They are used to writing letters for job recommendations not for MBA Admissions. The rules are completely different. For jobs, the supervisor is focusing on a functional skill and affirming that the candidate would be a good fit.

In MBA Admissions, the supervisor has to highlight personal and professional traits in equal measure. A mismanaged schedule can often lead to a poor final version for the recommendation letter. Don’t repeat the same mistake for Round 2. Pick the right recommender and manage the writing process.

4) Mismatch between Post-MBA Goals and MBA Program

Despite good narratives and strong credential of the recommenders, you might have been rejected because of your post-MBA goals and what the MBA program can offer is completely different. We recommended using the Employment report strategically in Winning MBA Essay Guide. Don’t state post-MBA goals that have not been fulfilled by less than 10% of the previous class. You can be an outlier, but Business School is a conduit for consulting, finance, and technology jobs. Bring diversity to your narrative within the three spheres. If you are too out of the box, the admission team would be hesitant to pick you.

5) Higher Competition

Despite the best narratives, recommendation letters, and right post-MBA goals, the competition might have killed your chances. There were too many applicants from your pre-MBA experience. Perhaps, your GMAT Score and GPA was on the borderline.

You might not need to revamp the application that you used for Round 1.

Share your profile and application strategy with us. We will evaluate why you were rejected and whether applying again with the same strategy is a good idea.

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+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood)   

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay A
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    #1. Modern Art = Make you Think   
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+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Most Passionate About   
     Sample MBA Essay – Free Day   

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Cover Letter
+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Essay - Leadership and Challenges   
     Sample Essay - How you have grown and intend to grow   

+ Insead MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
   Sample Essay 1: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Sample Essay 2: Achievements and Failures
    Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Investment Banker
     Sample MBA Essay - Consultant  
     Sample MBA Essay - Technologist  
     Sample MBA Essay - Marketer  
     Sample MBA Essay - Entrepreneur  
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    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band   
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    Sample MBA Essay: Losing a Client (Resilience)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance to Marketing (extra-curricular)   
    Sample MBA Essay: I am Aware that I am different   
    Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People   
    Sample MBA Essay: A valuable thing I have taught someone   
    Sample Essay – Part 2 (Short-term & Long-Term Goals, skills relevant to your career goals and how Ross  
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+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
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    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
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