Why you should re-evaluate your Round 2 MBA application strategy

As the dust settles from the Round 1 MBA application rounds, there’s good news for some and there’s additional work to be done for the others. A few questions that applicants ask: Is it worthwhile applying to Round 2? Or am I doomed coz I didn’t make it through in Round 1? What should my MBA application strategy be?

Everyone talks about how important it is to apply in Round 1. We know the arguments and the justifications there. But if you haven’t struck gold yet, don’t worry. The fact that schools have a Round 2 AND a Round 3 means they are still looking for good candidates to include in their incoming class. So for whatever reasons (just got the GMAT score, maybe essays weren’t impactful enough, maybe the MBA interview preparation could’ve been stronger, maybe you forgot to wear your Shani Suraksha Kavach) if your success with business school applications has been delayed, it’s time to take a breather and re-evaluate your Round 2 strategy.

If your Round 1 approach hasn’t worked as you thought, try to evaluate why. No point in just rushing in 6 more applications that look and sound exactly the same. Was it your choice of schools? Was it your story-line? Was it your post-MBA goal?

Quite a few people have approached us for the MBA MAP as they wanted to discard any baggage from Round 1 and start afresh – starting from the choice of schools and the overall approach.

If you are convinced and confident about your R1 application strategy, then you could still go ahead with the same approach. Maybe it was just the intense competition.

If you have any theories of what might have gone wrong in R1 and what you plan to do differently in R2, share your stories as (anonymous) comments. We’d be glad to share our thoughts.

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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin


  1. Pranjali says:

    I totally agree with what you have said.
    But don’t we applicants freak out because time and time again we have got this message that with each round, the chances of scholarship and chances of acceptance diminish.
    Wouldn’t it be more heartening if schools shared some more stats to reassure applicants?
    I have not seen a %wise breakdown of how much scholarship has been rewarded across the rounds,or maybe am not searching enough yet!!
    Thanks for this post Sameer.

  2. Sameer says:

    True. Can’t think of any MBA program that goes down to that level of detail. A little more transparency by the business schools wouldn’t hurt.

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  4. Sameer says:

    Blogjunta team,

    Thanks for the public vote of confidence. I’m assuming that pre-qualifies us for the top prize and the final decision-making process for your team will be more of a formality now ;-)

    On a serious note, approving this comment to spread the word about your initiative, so others viewing this post can also participate.

    Good luck guys.

  5. Satya says:

    Good topic/analysis. let me share my experience/thoughts.

    I applied to 3 schools, which i thought were very much in reach for my profile. I did spend quite a lot of moneyt, time and effort. So when i got a ding from all 3 without even an interview call, I was frustrateg to the core. It hurt my ego so deeply, that I swung between two choices – 1. change the strategy and re-apply. So if my R1 was all about my consulting ambitions, I will switch and say I want a strat executive post in google. 2. the other choice, spurred my ego was never to apply for MBA again – consider it a closed topic. After a lot of thought, i decided to pull out of applying for this year altogether. So here are my few cents

    1. When a R1 ding happens, We all go through this initial phase of disappointment, hurt-egos that we will be quick to come to conclusion. But it is extremely important to separate ourselves from the situation to do a clinical analysis and re-formulate our strategy. And believe me it is so difficult to analyse what went wrong and take a corrective action in a short span of 2 months (thats the time btw R1 and R2)

    2. Never approach a consultant for a feedback immeadiately after your R1 ding. The feedback you get would be so confusing, you start doubting your original plan. R1 to R2 should be a course correction and not a complete U-turn.

    3. Finally, take a quick break and think for yourself what might have gone wrong. We need to understand that dynamics change every year. In my case, i am yet to find what went wrong :-) cos i was sure of what i wanted to do.

    Finally, you should always have a plan of achieving your goal, if there were not MBA on earth. Once you have it putting an MBA app becomes a straightforward job. Rephrased from Precision essay blog.

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