Applying to an MBA program is a complex process that carries on even after the application has been submitted. Knowing how to wait for the next steps up until the final admissions decision is just as important as the actual crafting of the application.
Over the course of the last several months you have reviewed tens, even hundreds of MBA programs, researched business schools, visited campuses, sat the GMAT or the GRE and maybe also the TOEFL or the IELTS, scrambled to meet various deadlines, written resumes and essays, solicited recommendations, and finally managed to submit your application. You may think it is over. No, it is not.
Now, the waiting game begins. And in some cases, if you tend to worry and play all kinds of scenarios in your head, it may be more grueling than the actual preparation of the application. If you are one of those people, go through the tips below to learn how to sail through the waiting process with grace and composure.
Know all the steps in the application process
Most business schools review your application in several stages. There might be a pre-selection, interview, or an assessment day before the admissions committee finally reviews the whole application package and makes the final decision. Keep in mind all of these stages for the MBA programs to which you are applying and do not expect that the admissions decision will come overnight. Business schools usually give a timeline of the stages of the application and review process, as well as the estimated time for a response from the school.
Resist the urge to contact the admissions committee.
You have submitted your MBA applications and now that you are waiting to hear the decision of the admissions officers you may feel anxious, even panicky. Whatever your state of mind, however, you should avoid contacting the school with requests, questions, or updates on your application. Simply accept that you have no control over the outcome and let the admissions officers do their jobs. Just imagine the chaos that would ensue if the admissions committee were subjected to a barrage of emails and calls from aspirants who had already submitted their papers. Besides, it is highly unlikely that you can do anything to sway the people in charge of assessing your candidacy once you have hit the “send” button. Also, remember that good judgment is one of the prerequisites for gaining admission to MBA programs. Apply good judgment in deciding whether reaching out to the school is a good idea.
Avoid discussion boards
The temptation to rush to online forums and sympathize with your fellow applicants may be hard to resist, especially if you have a low tolerance for uncertainty and want to know what is going on with your application. In addition, hearing that others are just as nervous as you are can certainly be a source of comfort. It is definitely commendable that you are in contact with your potential future classmates, but business school message boards are known to be fertile ground for the proliferation of rumors, myths, and misinformation. Not to speak of the strain you are putting on yourself by obsessing over something that is no longer within your control. Avoid discussion boards especially when the decision day approaches and the rumor mills truly go into overdrive.
Do not read too much into automatic emails
While you are waiting for the MBA admissions decision, the business school may send you an email. In most cases it is an automatic email sent to the entire pool of applicants. Do not read and reread them, looking for clues as to whether you are admitted or not. You will not find any. These mass emails are written by the marketing departments of the MBA programs and their purpose is not to give applicants subtle hints about their candidacy before the official list of admitted students is out. They typically ask you to subscribe to some service, attend a fair, or give you additional information about your application, but not much else beyond that.
Prepare for interviews
Interviews are often part of the application process, but they typically come after you submit your application. Some business schools interview all applicants, others only the preselected ones. An invitation for an interview in the MBA world usually means that the admissions committee considers you an interesting candidate and would like to meet you to further assess your abilities and personality. Since you are at the moment unaware of whether you will get an invitation, our advice is to wind down a little following the strenuous preparation of your application. However, if you really cannot let go and insist on working on your MBA project, you may start preparing for the interview. Bear in mind, though, that a rejection may hurt more than if you had not begun the interview preparation.
Once the manic pre-application days are over, you deserve a breather. You have likely sacrificed your social life to a certain extent to present the best possible candidacy, so spend time with your family and friends, read a book, do some sports or whatever you enjoy doing. Remember that you have done your best and now it is pointless to fret about the outcome. While gaining admission to your dream program will give a boost to your career and professional development, maintaining strong relationships in your life and spending time with loved ones is essential for longer-lasting happiness.