It’s a tough journey. Weeks or months of relentless studies preparing for GMAT, then writing your essays, shaping up your application and preparing for the interviews. You’ve put in your best. Yet you experience your MBA application rejected. It’s heart-breaking when your best is not enough for you to get accepted into your coveted B-School.
And at that point, it’s easy to feel all is lost and that you’d never be able to do it all over again.
Dejected and hopeless, naturally you’d be reminded of the rejection from time to time. After all, you’ve invested so much time and efforts in the process. Completely understandable. But you can’t mull over the rejection forever.
Instead, here’s what you can do –
Get away from the negative thoughts
Take a break. Preferably lasting no longer than a month.
When you are ready to get back, the first thing you should do is to look at the entire process objectively.
Whatever the stage you were rejected at – application or interview – go through your application in entirety. Recall your interview. Rejection would be due to a variety of factors or their combination thereof, such as academics, GMAT score, professional achievements, essays, your responses to the interview questions and even your personal interests.
Do you have a well-rounded profile? Did your essays reflect your multi-faceted personality? Did your application highlight your career progression or subject matter expertise? Was your GMAT score good enough for the B-School? During the interview, did you speak clearly? Were you able to convincingly articulate your reasons for wanting to do an MBA?
Think about it – apart from your academic performance – which you really can’t do much about at this stage, the rest are all well under your control.
The next step would be to figure out ways to get outside your comfort zone.
If your GMAT score is well below the school’s average score, re-take the GMAT. When you reapply with a new GMAT score, you’d be demonstrating your commitment to doing your MBA from your favourite business school.
Take a critical look at other parts of your application – essays, resume and recommendations. Think about how you could add more value to those.
Focus on new achievements at work. Showcase initiative. Pick up a challenging project to be part of. Or work towards a certification. You can even demonstrate subject matter expertise by starting a blog, speaking at events or conducting learning sessions at work.
Outside work, you can similarly find causes that you want to pursue. Want to improve public speaking? Join a speaking club like Toastmasters or you could even start your own club. Want to make a difference to the society? Join a not-for-profit working for a cause close to your heart. Likewise, if you have a hobby you are passionate about, think of ways you could hone it further. It’s important to choose and work on those areas that you genuinely care about. While self-development should be the main theme, see if your actions can in the process, positively impact others – either at an individual or community level.
Recollect your interview experience. Identify the questions where your responses seemed inadequate. Make a note of those. Think about what you can do to improve your answers. Research more about the school or about your post MBA goals. Or you may need to show more passion and clarity about your plans to do an MBA. The kind of questions that you should ask yourself is entirely dependent on your experience and responses.
Get an unbiased opinion
It may even happen that you’d be unable to pinpoint what might have led to the rejection. Often, we are so attached to the entire process, it becomes difficult to look at it with a critical eye. It’s always a good idea to get your application or your interview experience assessed by someone who’s impartial and likely to give you an honest feedback. Equally important that you share accurate details of your profile or in the case, of an interview provide a factual account of your experience rather than what you felt.
The journey of reinventing yourself will not be easy but will be completely worthwhile. Rejection at B-School or outside it should never be the end of the road. View the rejection as simply a bend in the road, not the end.
Most importantly, don’t ever give up or lose your focus. Because your new set of experiences and accomplishments would allow you to not just enrich your essays or conversations during your next interview but also transform you as a person. Now who wouldn’t want that?
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again” – Abraham Maslow
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