MBA Admissions: Third-round thoughts and how not to drive yourself crazy while waiting
This is the time I don’t wish on anyone. I’m not talking to the MBA candidate who had their act together, applied first round and just came back from admit weekend. I’m talking about the candidate who applied second round, is pulling her hair out waiting for the drip, drip, drip of interview invitations, or already had the interview and probably didn’t blow it. But we have no information. It’s that feeling of, “Should I have applied third round to other schools?” Or, “Should I have re-taken the GMAT for a fifth time?” Here’s the worst: “Should I refresh the Business Week or Beat the GMAT forums one more time just to make sure that I am even more miserable?”
Really, there are no shoulds. If you only applied to one or two schools, or you applied only to stretch schools, you knew the risk you were taking when you did it, and second-guessing isn’t going to help. That internal dialogue is pretty deadly. If you applied third round, as I’ve written in a previous post, the final round is not the death round; students are admitted in later rounds and matriculate. It’s not a myth – I know several people who have done so. As for the GMAT, the magic number is three. Admissions officers have told me that they normally see a flattening out after three, and, given that they are human, they do think it starts to look a bit desperate.
Finally, do not read the Business Week or Beat the GMAT forums. I admit, I have read them in this admissions cycle to verify interview that invitations have gone out. I’ve read the Harvard and Stanford GSB forums and gotten profoundly depressed. Which is pretty silly, since I graduated from HBS and work at the GSB as a writing coach
So here’s my advice: don’t read the forums, don’t worry, and don’t second-guess. It’s easier said than done, and I’m actually a terrible example. So I turn to my students, and salute them:
They are cooking, playing music, training for a road race (on foot or wheels), traveling (!), working (hmm…), or hanging out with family. Dia, an admissions officer at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business wrote a great article with some good thoughts on the subject. She is a wise, wise woman, and I’m going to link to her post and let it speak for itself. I especially like the part about helping others who are applying stay on track. It’s a very generous idea, and I endorse it.
Here’s the link to the Tuck blog. I hope you enjoy reading it.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org