An MBA waitlist comprises qualified candidates who have neither been accepted nor denied admission to a program. These candidates might have one or more weaknesses or be in a specific applicant sub-group that is competitive. Business schools use waitlists to ensure a sufficient class size and start admitting waitlist candidates if the school’s yield (the number of accepted students who enroll) is less than expected.
What can you do if a business school admissions committee places you on an MBA waitlist? Your response will vary dependent on the business school and particular reasons for your being placed on the waitlist.
MBA Waitlist Strategy
MBAPrepAdvantage understands the fine line between interest and annoyance and will help determine which strategies are appropriate for your situation. If a business school admissions committee places you on an MBA waitlist, MBAPrepAdvantage will review your MBA waitlist letter (and other waitlist documentation) along with your application to help you customize an MBA Waitlist Response Strategy by business school and tailored to your circumstances. Your goal is to have positive name recognition among admission committee members when the business school starts accepting MBA waitlist candidates. Depending on the wording of your MBA waitlist letter and the business school’s waitlist policy, your mini-campaign can include phone calls, letters and/or additional recommendations that discuss new promotions, projects, GMAT scores, classes, etc.
MBA Waitlist Policies
Business schools have different waitlist policies that you must conform to in order to improve, rather than diminish, your chances of admittance. Comparing seven MBA waitlist policies from 2015 there are different guidelines with respect to supplemental information, additional letters of recommendation, application feedback, class visits, interviews, and waitlist decision timing.
- Different business schools encourage, discourage or only factor supplemental information if requested. Also, Texas McCombs prefers to hear how their program ranks among your options and school fit as opposed to just sending updated materials.
- Several MBA schools encourage additional letters of recommendation, while Northwestern Kellogg discourages additional letters of recommendation.
- Most schools do not give application feedback, but Emory Goizueta does.
- Berkeley Haas, Duke Fuqua and Emory Goizueta encourage class visits while HBS and Northwestern Kellogg do not.
- Some schools, like Berkeley Haas, allow waitlisted candidates who have not interviewed, to schedule one, whereas other schools, like Duke Fuqua only interview candidates by invite only at this stage of the MBA admissions process.
- Certain business school admissions committees make MBA waitlist decisions an ongoing rolling basis while other admissions committees make MBA waitlist decisions at set intervals (often at subsequent application deadlines).
- For waitlisted candidates at business schools that make their MBA waitlist decisions on an ongoing rolling basis, provide your updated materials and request recommendations letters expeditiously.
- For waitlisted applicants at business schools that make their MBA waitlist decisions at set intervals (often at subsequent application deadlines), treat these intervals as hard application deadlines. So submit your updated materials and additional recommendations letters before these deadlines.
What is similar is that no business school ranks the waitlist at the outset of the process and every potential interaction with the MBA admissions committee is a potential data point that can influence the decision. So, you as an applicant have a measure of control to align your waitlist strategy with each business school’s policy.
MBA Waitlist Policy Comparison (2015)
Gain admittance to your top business school and learn more about MBAPrepAdvantage’s MBA Waitlist Response Strategy and our other services by clicking on our Business School Admissions Consulting Services and Fees webpage.