Are you recovering from a first round MBA rejection? Wondering what happened, and how to succeed second round? Here are some suggestions that can help you get back on track.

  • Get objective advice.

It’s easy to second-guess everything in the wake of a rejection. However, please don’t make entrenched assumptions about what went wrong. (“It’s my GMAT!” “I should have articulated a different goal!”) Find someone who isn’t too close to your candidacy (so not your significant other or best friend) to read your application and tell you what impression you created. You might be really surprised to hear how your candidacy comes across on paper. Experienced admissions consultants can also provide great perspective, and many offer application feedback.

  • Rethink your school list.

Take this opportunity to apply to a wider variety of schools. Put everything back on the table (city schools, rural programs, places that you thought were too much of a reach or only focused on finance, etc.) It’s possible that you will find a new favorite, and in order to succeed you may need to widen your net.

  • Remember that it’s about more than your numbers.

Just because your GMAT and GPA were at or above the average for your target schools does NOT guarantee you an interview or a seat in the class. Selective schools can fill their classes many times over with people with sky-high numbers. In order to get in you need to shine on a personal level, which means submitting strategic, polished applications.

  • Don’t panic.

Don’t give up! It’s entirely possible to succeed second round, or as a re-applicant, even if your first attempt didn’t go well. The MBA admissions process is extremely competitive, and very few people get in everywhere they apply. Be confident, take this opportunity to make your applications even more compelling, and move forward.

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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than 20 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 97% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.