Tag Archives: waitlist

MBA admissions waitlisted – is the glass half full or half empty?

It’s common to get a ‘waitlist’ notice in a competitive admissions process for a top MBA program. What’s going on and how should you handle it? First, interpret it correctly. By waitlisting, Adcoms are giving themselves an “option” on you while they wait to see who else is coming to the party. They like you, they are just not ready to commit.

How should you manage this? Remember, you do have some status. They have looked at you and liked you enough to keep you interested. This is reason to be optimistic, not to panic, and not to get needy or whiney.

Your waitlist notice probably came with instructions and these need to be followed scrupulously. If they don’t accept additional information, that’s that. If they do, then you can consider your options. If you didn’t get any guidance to the contrary, there is no harm in asking politely if there is anything you can add, or if there is any particular issue (that may be holding you back) that you might address.

In doing this, please remember that every last scrap of your interaction with Adcom is printed out and goes in your file, so ask politely once and don’t make a nuisance of yourself. If they offer you the opportunity to add something, do so promptly and stick scrupulously to the topic. You wouldn’t believe how highly touchy most schools are about being bugged by waitlistees.

Aside from any issue the school raises, it is legitimate to add something to your file if you have retaken the GMAT (and scored higher,) or if there is a significant change (of advantage to you) in your professional life. If you have been given an award or a promotion or a clear new professional opportunity that suggests you will bring in new skills and experiences, it is fair to want to add that while you fate hangs in the balance. But do not assume they will take it. Call or email to explain what the new factor will be and ask if they will allow it to be added. Unless it contravenes policy, usually they will say ‘yes’ because their motivation is to make the right decision not just to be ogres for the fun of it.

Further, if you have an offer from another school, particularly a top school, tell them. They will recognize that you will have to make a decision about School B and put down a deposit. This is likely to light a fire under them to clarify their decision one way or the other. Also it is human nature to want people that other people want. It deeply works in your favor.