Top 5 Reasons for MBA Waitlist: Find out which factor weighs the most against your chance of getting into a top Business School!

MBA Waitlist ReasonsGetting waitlisted after one year of MBA Application process can be disheartening but understanding why you were waitlisted can help you take corrective actions.  Here are the top 5 reasons why you were waitlisted.


The most often cited reason for getting waitlisted is the GMAT Score. When your score is below the median by 30 points or more, and there are other applicants with similar background, then those applicants who are above the median will get first preference. Depending upon the application round, you will get 1-2 months, before the waitlisted status changes to admitted or rejected. Is it enough time to attempt the GMAT again?

Most applicants would have taken the GMAT in June-July and taking the GMAT again after 6 months can be a challenge. But if it is the only weakness in your application and you had received a hint that it is so, then it is worth taking the GMAT again. Even if you don’t improve the GMAT score, retaking the GMAT shows that you are proactive.

Related: GMAT Prep with Discount

2) Essays

Another reason why you might have been waitlisted is the lack of clarity in expressing yourself. Read your essays again, give it to a third party (Friends, Colleagues or experts), and get some honest review. Have you missed writing about any aspect of your personality that is relevant for MBA Admissions? Are the essays clear and concise? If it is lack of clarity, then there is very little you can do to alter the situation.

If you have not completely represented yourself through essays, then you can try to get feedback about your essays, subtly. Don’t aggressively follow up but try to get feedback on the weaker aspects of your essays. If there is a chance to send additional information, then use that facility.

3) GPA

Another common reason why MBA candidates are waitlisted is below average GPA. Most top schools will have 3.2+ GPA, and if you fall short of that mark by more than 1 decimal point, then it is a cause of worry. There is very little you can do to change the overall GPA but if the AdCom gives a hint that you need to demonstrate strength in Quant, then start thinking about creating an alternative transcript. Read “How to Build alternative transcript for MBA Admissions”. If you don’t have the time or resources to take those courses, then improve the Quant score in GMAT and show that you are ready for the challenges of an intensive quant focused MBA program.

4) Community Service

Most Admission Experts agree that joining Community Service and NGO just before the Admissions is a shortcut to disaster. But if the AdCom conveys that lack of Community service as a weakness in the application, then think about joining a Non-Profit or doing community service. Now don’t join Non-Profits for the sake of it. Think about what quantifiable results can be achieved in 1-2 months. Set goals and develop a plan to reach them. The keyword here is “Quantifiable”.  For example, If you can demonstrate that you leadership skills helped a Non-Profit raise $50000 in capital and increase the marketing reach by over 300% in just 2 months, it shows your ability and potential in a Business School environment.

5) Strong Competition

Even if you have followed all the best practices, processes and steps to move from waitlist to admitted, you might not get into a top Business School. The competition during the year might be just too high due to increased competition from International students and higher application volume. Whatever be the case, take heart in the fact that a student who has gone through the waitlisted to rejected status has a higher chance of getting into a top Business school in the following year. Focus on demonstrable goals for the year and persist. The 1-year delay might be a blessing to experience the world, achieve goals, and get a deeper understanding of technologies, people, and trends.

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