Thursday, February 15, 2007

Friday FAQ: What if I get a ding?

While the Round 2 interview invite deadline is rapidly approaching (February 21), the Adcom team is still working on their application reading and sending out invitations. So for those of you who are still waiting for that invite--don't give up hope!!

However, for a percentage of Round 2 applicants, next Wednesday will bring sad news, and more sad news will be delivered on March 28 to another group of applicants. We are of course speaking of the dreaded "Ding" (and no, we are not referring to deals given by Southwest Airlines). After spending countless hours researching and visiting schools, writing and editing essays, studying for the GMAT, and organizing everything from transcripts to recommendation letters, the receipt of a denial of admission can be very painful.

The goal of this post isn't to necessarily cheer you up (but you should take heart in the fact that the writer speaks from experience with the ding). The goal is to help you put things in perspective and hopefully to give some guidance regarding next steps.
"What do I do if I get a ding?"
The first thing to consider is deny feedback. Chicago GSB admissions has changed their approach to deny feedback this year. It will be offered during the summer months, but the sessions will be by invitation only.

If you get invited for feedback- SCHEDULE A SESSION!!! There's no reason not to take advantage of the offered slot to get advice on how to improve your application. If an Adcom tells you that you need to address a certain area, then be sure to point this out if/when you reapply, and of course don't forget to actually address the issue in your reapp! If you do reapply, make sure you continue to network with any current GSB students you've met during the process. Keeping a pulse on the GSB will help you craft compelling reapplicant essays.

If you're not invited for feedback- DON'T DESPAIR!!! Feedback is invite only due to time constraints. Lack of an invitation does NOT mean that your application was hopeless. There is simply no way that the Adcoms could give a sufficient amount of time to each and every denied applicant to address issues with their application. If you fall in this category, your best bet is to reach out to people in your network with business school experience who would be willing to critique your application and provide their own feedback. It's quite possible that he or she might see something in the application that you hadn't noticed before and will be able to provide direction in how to improve it if you decide to reapply.

You may also have to consider some tougher questions. If you have been admitted elsewhere, do you want to accept the offer, or do you want to decline the admit offer to take another shot at the GSB? Do you want to postpone your MBA plans and focus on your career?

The MBA application process involves a lot of self-assessment and reflection, and a ding usually prompts re-assessment. It is most important to keep things in perspective and stay positive.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums