MBA rejection rates at the best MBA colleges in the world are very high – often in the 75%-80% range.
It’s a known fact that MBA rejection rates for Indians are higher.
And there’s no concept of an MBA rejection appeal or wild card entry that you can fall back upon once you’ve got ‘dinged’.
As the results of Round 1 and Round 2 (and sometimes Round 3) MBA admissions roll out, many applicants based in India and abroad who’ve failed to get an MBA admit from their favourite MBA colleges reach out to us.
The questions generally fall in 2 categories:
- I applied to many top MBA colleges. But I have got rejected without an interview from all of them. What am I doing wrong?
- I got several MBA interview calls from the Top 10 / 20 / 30 universities. But I’ve been rejected after interviews. I was very confident after the interviews.
Let’s look at both scenarios and try to find out why the school sent the MBA rejection letter.
MBA rejection letter after interview
You might think getting to the MBA interview stage gives all that you’ve submitted earlier as part of the MBA application (the essays, GMAT score, recommendations) have received the Admission Committee’s stamp of approval.
And that’s why you have got a call for the final MBA interview. Right?
Well, don’t be too sure about it. Here are two reasons why you may have got the interview call:
Scenario 1: Profile Validation
The Adcom found the submitted application really strong.
Your GMAT exam score was not only high, but balanced as well across the GMAT verbal & quantitative sections. The secondary and tertiary aspects (like your GMAT AWA essay rating, your IR score) were all playing their part well.
Your MBA essays highlighted more than your language and grammar skills. The accomplishments, the experiences and the stories worked well independently and also in conjunction with each other.
Your recommenders knew what they were talking about and didn’t just do a generic job to make you happy. They were able to drill down to the specifics for each question
In such a case, the interview call can be a good way to validate what you’ve shared in your written material. The interview questions could revolved around the following themes:
– Are you really the super-hero that you claim to be?
– Were you really involved in all those success stories?
– Are you able to fill in the gaps that haven’t been addressed in main application?
Scenario 2: Profile Evaluation
Your submitted MBA application was far from perfect. There where chinks in the armour that stopped the reviewer from evaluating your profile and appreciating your potential thoroughly.
Maybe it was the low or average GMAT score that didn’t exactly wow the Adcoms. Or maybe the essays had minor issues in terms of choosing the right story but not presenting it well. Or maybe the recommenders wrote something that conflicted with your primary story (real story, btw).
But there was something about you that caught their eye and they wanted to give you one more chance before rejecting your MBA application. This is the opportunity to prove to them that you have more to offer the MBA class than your application tells them.
Often, it may not be a clear-cut case of either scenario. In an MBA interview, Adcoms may try to delve into both – evaluation and validation.
Stumbling a little in your MBA interview may not completely eliminate you from the competition. In the same way, a few grammatical mistakes and typos in your application (though highly undesirable) may not ring the death knell.
It’s easy to look at MBA admissions as a sequential process. But it’s not.
When Admission officers (Adcom) talk about looking at the application holistically, they can’t do that till have have a good idea of what you have to offer.
MBA rejection letter without interview
Though the story ends quicker and is less painful (only in relative terms compared to a rejection after interview when the hopes are raised higher), this situation deserves a deeper ding analysis.
It could be that your application execution was flawed. This could link back to your MBA essay writing skills, your resume format and your recommendation pitch.
But don’t rule out the possibility that the basic application strategy itself was flawed as well. Were you trying to punch above your weight? Did you have impractical post MBA goals? Did your career goals sound credible? Was timing (Round 1 vs Round 2) an issue?
Rather than rushing into a new set of bschools and a new bunch of applications, step back and analyse what might’ve gone wrong. List down all the variables in the process and go through each with a fine-tooth comb.
Some problem areas (such as the GMAT score) are easier to identify, but not as easy for everyone to fix.
Others, such as knowing whether the post MBA career goal was right, are not easy to identify. But once you realise what’s not fitting, they are easier to fix.
If you can’t do it independently, there are tools such as the MBA MAP Application Strategy to help. However, take them up early as these aren’t magic pills. They depend on self-realisation of strengths, weakness and a deeper insight into how the admissions process works.
Getting rejected after an interview or getting the dreaded rejection letter without an interview are both disappointing. But if you are serious about getting into a good bschool and if that’s the only way to get to your goals, then shake off the disappointment and get back into the ring only after you’ve done the right amount of groundwork.
On the forum, many of our readers and clients have shared their MBA interview experiences at Columbia, Tepper, ISB, IIMA PGPX, Kellogg, IIMB EPGP, Chicago Booth, Emory, Fisher and many other MBA programs. Check it out.
Here’s what these rejected MBA applicants changed their strategy in the next year to come our victorious and share these inspiring MBA reapplicant success stories.