The 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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80+ Sample Essays + Essay Writing, Review & Editing Tips + 15 School-Specific Tips = Winning MBA Essay Guide
Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.
ATTENTION is the secret ingredient. How will you get the attention of the essay reviewer?
You know why parables shared 1000 years ago are still shared among us?
Yes, the art of storytelling has won presidency for Obama, transformed Apple from an unknown start-up to a brand synonymous with Quality, and gained admission for the average MBA Applicant.
F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay guide will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.
Who Should Buy The Winning MBA Essay Guide?
If your essay looks too bland, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you, with examples, on how to use the elements of Storytelling like Incorporating "The Struggle", Using Emotional connectors, narrating the Journey and the use of Chronology, Vividness and Active Verbs to transform your essays.
If you are stuck in the Writing process, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to silence the Analytic Mind and overcome mental blocks.
If you feel that the essays are not persuasive, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will teach you how to use the W-Pattern narrative, Contexts, Turning Points and "The Show Don't Tell Approach" to write a Winning MBA Essay.
If you don't have enough leadership experience, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will show you how to highlight non-obvious qualities like Trust, Focus, Listening Skills, Personal Responsibility, Humility, Self-Knowledge, and other secondary traits to prove your leadership.
If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.
Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back (318 Words)
Sample Harvard MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood) (667 Words)
Sample Harvard MBA Essay - Volunteering (Mental Health Awareness) (776 Words)
Sample Goals Essay 1: Enterprise Technology to Consumer Marketing (496 Words)
Sample Goals Essay 2: Healthcare (Finance to Consulting) (499 Words)
Sample Goals Essay 3: FinTech (Product Manager to Strategy) (482 Words)
Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 1: Value from NYC (237 Words)
Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 2: Entrepreneur Mindset (237 Words)
Sample Columbia Good Fit Essay 3: Teamwork and Learning (242 Words)
Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #1 (Elon Musk) (250 Words)
Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #2 (Father) (244 Words)
Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #3 (Mother) (243 Words)
Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #4 (Math Teacher) (242 Words)
Sample Columbia MBA Leader I admire Essay #5 (Co-Founder) (250 Words)
Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (482 Words) (VC to Consulting (Healthcare))
Sample Wharton MBA Essay:Gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (497 Words) (Business Development to Finance (Non-Profit in Energy))
Sample Essay #2: Math Tutoring and Experimental music’s (388 Words)
Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Obesity Epidemic and Healthy Lifestyle (399 Words)
Sample Essay #2: Non-Profit – Energy Efficient Offices (395 Words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Consulting)(400 words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA Essay (Tech Entrepreneur) (390 words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA: Finance to Green Energy Consulting (389 Words)
Sample Why Stanford MBA: Private Equity to Operations(399 Words)
Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (740 Words)(Balance in Life)
Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (750 Words)(Vulnerability and Learning)
Sample Essay A: What matters most and why? (748 Words)(Freedom and Commitment)
Sample Goals Essay #1: Oil & Gas to Consulting (475 Words)
Sample Goals Essay #2: Social IMPACT to Marketing (Non-Profit) (472 Words)
Sample Goals Essay #3: Accounting to Entrepreneurship (Fashion)(495 Words)
Sample Goals Essay #4: Technology (Programming to Product Development) (493 Words)
Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #1 (492 Words)(Father’s Restaurant Business and Leadership)
Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #2 (639 Words) (Teach for America and Leadership)
Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #3 (496 Words)(Opioid Crisis and Healthcare Innovation)
Sample Leadership Experience & Choices Essay #4 (500 Words) (Disrupting the Food Supply Chain)
Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Marketing Lead) (499 Words)
Sample Essay: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses (Consulting to Product Development) (492 Words)
Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (398 Words) (Technology Consultant)
Sample Essay: Achievements and Failures (395 Words) (International Relations) (Negotiations)
Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (272 Words) (Hiking and Vlogging)
Sample Essay: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are (298 Words) (Improv Acting)
Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Design as a tool for Change) (294 Words)
Sample Haas What Makes you feel Alive (Flying and AI in Healthcare)(299 Words)
Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Trust-Based Leadership)(Team Building – Technology) (292 Words)
Sample Haas MBA Enhance Leadership Profile (Need-based Leadership) (Non-Profit for working Mothers) (300 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Business Development (Mobile Phone Start-Up)(485 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Investment Banking (IB)(404 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Consulting (447 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Technology (448 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Marketing (491 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Entrepreneurship (496 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: IMPACT Investing (495 Words)
Sample Yale Committment Essay: Oil & Gas to Clean Energy (Consulting) (464 Words)
+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2020 Entering Class)(NEW)
Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional & a former member of a rock band (96 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Marketing Professional with a talent to do Impression (100 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Life Philosophy through an Entrepreneurial failure (94 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Consulting for a Pharma Giant (Made a Difference) (91 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Three-Level Sanitation Campaign (100 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Water Conservation Kit (99 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Losing client (100 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Misreading Market Conditions (93 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Strategic Planning vs. Tactical Dominance in Chess (97 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone(extra-curricular) (93 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Out of my comfort zone (Daily Science Show) (99 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: Simplifying Operations (extra-curricular) (90 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Leadership and Culture) (98 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Technology Project) (98 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I am aware that I am different (Making Business metrics relevant to a Creative team) (91 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People (Timidity)(98 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I was challenged when (Change in Scope) (99 Words)
Sample MBA Essay: I was challenged when (Team Failed) (100 Words)
Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Private Investment as a Tool for Change) (294 Words)
Sample Essay – Short-term Goals and why the goal is the right choice for you (Education to Consulting) (299 Words)
Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (99 Words)(Marketing for FinTech)
Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (98 Words)(Engineering to Marketing)
Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (94 Words)(Marketing Consulting firm and Product Marketing)
Sample Why MBA Right Next Step for you (100 Words) (Hobby to Business)
Sample Post-MBA Career Goals (99 Words) (Interior Design Business with AR)
Framework and Examples for Answering Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things with 5 Samples
Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (784 Words)
Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (495 Words)(Consulting)
Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (500 Words)(Product Management)
5 Examples with Images
Sample Darden MBA Essay – Meaningful IMPACT (Fear-based to team-based culture) (199 Words)
Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Life Experience) (191 Words)
Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Courage)(199 Words)
Sample Darden MBA Essay – Different Perspective and IMPACT on worldview (Team Diversity) (193 Words)
Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Near Death Experience)
Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (99 Words) (Networking)
Sample Darden MBA Essay – About yourself Personal, Professional or Both (100 Words) (Mountaineering)
Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Technology to Consulting)
Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (150 words) (Product Management)
Sample Darden MBA Essay: Short-term Post-MBA career goal (149 words) (Investment Banking to Private Equity)
Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (47 Words) (Uganda)
Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (49 Words) (Sweden)
Sample Essay – Where you want to go with Darden (48 Words) (China)
Cover Letter Checklist
Sample Cover Letter – Technology to Consulting (284 Words)
Sample Cover Letter – Healthcare Entrepreneurship (297 Words)
Sample Cover Letter – Consulting to Technology (298 Words)
Sample Cover Letter – Wealth Management to FinTech (299 Words)
Sample Cover Letter – Manufacturing to Consulting (Retail) (299 Words)
Sample Cover Letter – Strategy to Consulting (297 Words)
Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Technology) (447 Words)
Sample Essay: Demonstrated Leadership, the challenges you faced and what you learned (Non-Profit) (441 Words)
Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you? (Changing the Traditional Recruitment Formula)(443 Words)
Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(Seniority-Based to Performance-based Culture)(444 Words)
Sample Essay: Values important to you and how have they influenced you?(From machine-centric to Human-centric customer support)(446 Words)
London as the Financial Hub
London as the Technology Hub
London as the Consulting Hub
Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (493 Words)(Hospitality to Consulting)
Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (500 Words)(Government/Non-Profit to Technology)
Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals (495 Words)(Medical Doctor to Investment Banking)
+ The Art of Storytelling
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths