2005 MBA Admissions Waitlist Chat with Linda Abraham

2005 MBA Admissions Waitlist Chat with Linda Abraham

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Chat Transcript:

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:09:25 AM)
First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com's waitlist chat.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:09:58 AM)
Cindy Tokumitsu will join us in a few minutes and she will help me answer questions. In the meantime, I am going to give a brief presentation.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:10:18 AM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:10:56 AM)
I titled this chat "5 Keys to Moving from the Wait List to the Accepted List" Wait-list status is tough and you need the right set of keys to open the door to the program you want to attend. The truth is that even with these keys, you are still not guaranteed that the lock will work. But you do need to know these keys. First, a word of intro: Realize that receipt of a wait-list letter means you qualify for admission. You pass. You are probably on the wait-list (and not admitted) because they have already admitted applicants with your profile and want diversity in the class. Or they find your qualifications impressive, but find someone else's even more so.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:11:17 AM)
Now the keys:

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:11:25 AM)
Key #1: Read the letter for any hints of deficiency in your profile. If a weakness is mentioned, inform the school of steps you have taken to ameliorate it. If the school encourages contact, do so as I will outline in a moment.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:11:34 AM)
Key #2: If the school encourages contact, provide it. Demonstrate your interest and give them more reasons to admit you. Inform the school of new achievements, initiatives, promotions, and developments in your life. This key implies developing a proactive campaign or schedule of contact roughly every 2-3 weeks. The exact particulars will vary depending on your school, specialty, and exactly when you are put on the wait list, but it can include letters, additional visit(s) to the school, an offer to interview, letters of support from others, and occasional phone calls. Letters should be 1-2 pages. For tips on the letters' content, please see http://www.accepted.com/newsletter/2003/0303news.aspx#tip .

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:11:59 AM)
Key #3: Reinforcing the idea of a fit between you and the school. Show how a visit confirmed and deepened your interest in the program.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:12:10 AM)
Key #4: Enlist your fan club. Seek letters of support from supervisors on and off the job. Current students and recent alumni who know you can also write letters of support and emphasize your fit with the program.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:13:02 AM)
Key #5: Ask if there is anything you can do to improve your candidacy. (There usually isn't or they won't provide feedback, but if there is and they are willing to tell you, you want to know about it) If there is, do it.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:13:14 AM)
I would now like to open the floor to questions. You can ask your questions about responding to a wait list letter or other aspects of writing and graduate admissions.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:13:59 AM)
Here is a question that was sent to me ahead of the chat: How can I get off of Chicago's waitlist? They are not assigning waitlist managers this year and not giving feedback. All they say is to send "any additional" information by March 4th. In addition to a new letter of recommendation, I am going to write a cover letter reaffirming my interest in Chicago, address weaknesses, and provide work updates, but I don't want to sound like I am regurgitating the "why MBA/ why Chicago" parts from my essays.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:14:18 AM)
Try to show how recent events have strengthened your interest in Chicago. Those recent experiences can include progress at work or contact with Chicago, like a visit or meetings with school reps, alumni, or current students. Focus on experiences that occurred and information that you acquired since you applied and therefore couldn't write about it in your application.

Frederic (Feb 9, 2005 10:14:22 AM)
How do you classify Kellogg? What type of school?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:15:01 AM)
Frederic, the best way to classify a school is to look at the instructions they send you. Traditionally, Kellogg has been a school that appreciates contact and feedback. Obviously you don't want to be a pest, but you do want to be proactive.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:15:25 AM)
In my latest ebook "The Nine Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist" I divide schools into 3 categories: Don't Call Me: Schools that discourage contact. HBS and UCLA are usually in that category. Coy schools: Schools that are equivocal in their discouraging of contact. Wharton in the past has been in that category, but this year it's a Don't Call Me or (DCM) school.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:17:04 AM)
Show Me You Love Me schools -- SMULM schools: Schools that want you to demonstrate your interest in their program and your fit. They also want to hear about recent developments.

Waitlist (Feb 9, 2005 10:17:14 AM)
What category does MIT fall into?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:18:17 AM)
We are hosting a waitlist chat for MIT exclusively on next Thursday so if you are waitlisted at MIT, I invite you to join us again then and we will all learn specifically what MIT wants for this year. In the past, it was a SMULM school.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:18:26 AM)
But for all schools, the first rule is follow their instructions. If they say don't contact us by Date X, then don't contact them.

James (Feb 9, 2005 10:19:06 AM)
What are the Don'ts for a waitlist candidate?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:19:16 AM)
The don'ts depend on the candidate and the school. The biggest don't is don't fail to follow the school's instructions.

latmba06 (Feb 9, 2005 10:19:47 AM)
Before the decision date, is it possible to send additional info. to schools like Ross?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:20:08 AM)
Yes. Again emphasize recent developments and reinforce fit.

Ravi (Feb 9, 2005 10:20:24 AM)
Hi Linda - If I were to send additional recommendations to a school I am waitlisted on, what should be the content of this recommendation?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:20:34 AM)
Ravi, some of that depends on the recommender. If the recommender is an alum or current student, that recommender should really emphasize how well you will fit at the school. If the letter is from someone you work with or a colleague, it should focus on some of the great things you have been doing. Obviously, you need to coach the author about school values so that it can have max impact.

mig (Feb 9, 2005 10:21:42 AM)
What is the best way to locate an alum in your area if the school does not offer that information?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:22:09 AM)
Mig, you should network. Talk to your friends and colleagues, relatives. Until you meet someone who knows someone who might help you.

iceman (Feb 9, 2005 10:22:31 AM)
Is Chicago a SMULM school?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:22:34 AM)

michael (Feb 9, 2005 10:22:44 AM)
How about USC? They didn't have any instructions.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:23:01 AM)
If they don't provide instructions, then take the initiative and be proactive.

Waitlist (Feb 9, 2005 10:23:16 AM)
What is the best way to respond to a school you are waitlisted at if you feel that you didn't clarify your goals or your reason for wanting to attend the school clearly?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:24:30 AM)
Then use the waitlist letter to clarify your goals and your fit. But do so in the context of recent experiences. In other words, "Since I applied I have done XYZ. As a result of XYZ, I learned ABC. ABC ties into your program because of blah, blah, blah." Obviously, I am over simplifying grossly and you better not write what I just did, but I hope you are getting the idea :) You want to connect the dots for the adcom while using recent experiences.

latmba06 (Feb 9, 2005 10:25:20 AM)
What do you think is the historical acceptance of people on the waitlist of schools like Ross and Darden?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:26:22 AM)
I was just looking at those stats on BW yesterday and frankly I don't remember them specifically for those two schools. But the schools I was comparing varied from a low of 7% to a much more robust 15% acceptance rate off the waitlist. I found these stats on BW's comparator.

James (Feb 9, 2005 10:26:42 AM)
Should I send additional information via email or mail?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:27:29 AM)
Send it via email but ask if they would prefer a hard copy, in addition, or instead of the email in your first letter.

William (Feb 9, 2005 10:28:03 AM)
I heard that Stanford accepts waitlist letters of about 3 pages; is that true?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:28:14 AM)
I am not sure, but I would really keep it down. This is a case of more frequent contact being better than a sudden deluge or a long, one-time treatise. Also, keep in mind that adcom members are extremely busy people. You don't want to drown them; you want to inform and sell them.

Guest (Feb 9, 2005 10:29:10 AM)
Whom should I get recommendations from if I am applying straight from college? So far I have a professor who knows me well, any other suggestions? I have a neighbor who is an I-Banker for Morgan Stanley who also knows me very well. Is that an acceptable recommendation?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:29:33 AM)
Your letters of support should come from people who can comment on your qualifications for business school. In your case a professor is a good recommendation, although not so for most applicants. If you have worked for your neighbor of if he has seen your "perform" either in community service or in an organizational capacity, he would also be a good recommender. If he only saw you ride your bike and then your car through the streets, he won't do.

waiting (Feb 9, 2005 10:33:35 AM)
Linda, do you have any specific comments on Tuck? I heard they are giving more waitlists and fewer admits this year in light of last year's high yield and deferring students from 2006 to 2007.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:34:02 AM)
Tuck generally does not admit many from the waitlist, but it does admit some. Again, look at the stats on BW, but also realize the limits of stats. 7% of the individual you is not going to be admitted. You will be 100% admitted or 100% rejected at the end of the day. Do your best to be 100% admitted.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:34:53 AM)
Welcome Cindy!

Guest (Feb 9, 2005 10:35:42 AM)
What's your take on the Columbia waitlist?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:36:35 AM)
CBS usually provides feedback and specific instructions in their waitlist correspondence. Contact your waitlist manager and see if there is a weakness you need to address. Then do so.

Guest (Feb 9, 2005 10:37:00 AM)
What should you do if you most likely have a brief internship or new job lined up before the MBA begins, but it's not definite. What is the best way to mention this or should you at all, given that it may fall through?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:37:30 AM)
Guest, say that you are working on getting this position and it looks good, but is not yet definite. Of course if you don't get it, they'll know about that too.

matt123 (Feb 9, 2005 10:37:40 AM)
Any advice for CMU?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:37:52 AM)
Has CMU provided any direction? Did any one sign the CMU letter or email? Or was it just a change of status on the web?

andnowwewait (Feb 9, 2005 10:38:17 AM)
If no instructions are given, should additional materials be addressed to the dean of admissions?

matt123 (Feb 9, 2005 10:39:19 AM)
For CMU, no, just "applicant pool was strong" and to send new materials if you want.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:39:34 AM)
Then address it to the admissions director and she will send it on.

latmba06 (Feb 9, 2005 10:39:50 AM)
Linda, what is better, send the info to my account manager or send a copy to the Admission director?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:40:04 AM)
Send it to the account manager who is in charge of your file or the waitlist.

TomBrady (Feb 9, 2005 10:40:39 AM)
Cindy: What can you do to get in when adcom does not want any additional material?

DAP98003 (Feb 9, 2005 10:40:56 AM)
Linda, should you include hard details of salary info on your waitlist letter? If I took a new position, and got a $23k or 34% overall increase in annual comp, should I detail that?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:41:21 AM)
If you received a 34% increase in salary I would definitely let them know about it and the events that led to it.

iceman (Feb 9, 2005 10:42:01 AM)
Do you know Chicago's percentage of admitted applicants off waitlist? I can't seem to find that info on BW.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:42:36 AM)
I think you may have to join MBA Insider to have access to those stats -- when available. I found it through the Comparator which is only available through the MBA Insider, their paid subscription section.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:43:01 AM)
TomBrady: that's tough -- if you know anyone who is an alum who has contacts with the admissions office, then perhaps you can see if that person will do a little informal lobbying. Also, keep in touch with the adcom, as when the cycle progresses, they may be more willing to look at new material.

TomBrady (Feb 9, 2005 10:43:22 AM)
Cindy: Any specific advise for Wharton?

wait07 (Feb 9, 2005 10:43:29 AM)
Any additional advice about the Stanford waitlist? Acceptance rate? Do I have a better chance of being admitted since I am on the Round 1 waitlist?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:43:51 AM)
Again, I can't keep the stats for each school in my head. Sorry. But you can find those stats on BW. Furthermore, don't obsess about the stats. Just put your best effort into your waitlist campaign showing that you are even better than you were six months ago and demonstrating fit.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:44:29 AM)
Tom: right now it looks like Wharton is not welcoming any new info. The points I just cited pertain -- but definitely keep in touch with them, as they may be more interested once the "regular" admissions cycle winds down and they're really into the waitlist cycle.

lucky11 (Feb 9, 2005 10:45:18 AM)
Cindy: Can you address who is likely to get taken off the waitlist, people with low GMAT scores who improve their score, people who take an additional class, people who send additional recommendations, and when is that relevant, people who send additional essays answering the adcom's questions?

DAP98003 (Feb 9, 2005 10:45:21 AM)
Thanks, Linda. It was by changing jobs. I left public accounting and went into an industry rotation. I am waitlisted at Yale, my top choice!! Do you know any details of the  waitlist size at Yale (or a general waitlist percentage at most MBA programs)? Do you know anything about the frequency of waitlisted applicants being admitted at Yale?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:46:29 AM)
DAP98003, I know that Yale does admit from the waitlist. It is not hopeless at all.

Ravi (Feb 9, 2005 10:46:49 AM)
Cindy: Any specific advice for Duke and Darden waitlists?

Vladpe (Feb 9, 2005 10:46:54 AM)
I am planning to go to Chicago in order to give an additional essay and recommendation letter to adcom, in person? What do you think?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:47:28 AM)
Great idea! A visit demonstrates in a very real way your visit. You can also offer to interview again, if they are interested, but they probably won't be.

wait07 (Feb 9, 2005 10:47:43 AM)
What is the importance of a job change, to a different job sector right after applying to the program? How can I justify switching sectors, it was for a promotion, without having the admissions committee frown upon the change? I will have only been at the job for 8-9 months prior to entering the MBA program.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:47:55 AM)
lucky11 -- I don't think any one of those things will be better than another; who gets in off the list depends so much on how the class has shaped up. There are likely factors over which you have no control that affect it substantially. However, if you remain a competitive waitlist applicant of interest to the school, then any (or a combination) of those efforts can help tremendously IF they show real growth on your part, or shed new light on you as an applicant that is relevant/valuable to the program (in the adcom's view). Also, don't overlook visiting or re-visiting the school if possible.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:48:39 AM)
Emphasize the promotion, wait-7, You have greater responsibility now. You have grown in your new position. You have achieved on a higher level. You have greater breadth because you changed jobs and sector. Make the most of it!

James (Feb 9, 2005 10:48:59 AM)
I am waitlisted at three schools. Obviously, I am trying for all the three schools since I do not know who would accept me. But in a hypothetical scenario, if 2 schools take me off waitlist, does it look really bad to reject an offer after the school has taken someone off the waitlist?

iceman (Feb 9, 2005 10:49:11 AM)
Cindy: I am 30. Should I mention this in my waitlist letter to the adcom to show why now I think the MBA is appropriate for me? I have other valid reasons for why now but I thought it would help to mention my age

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:50:12 AM)
James, this is part of the business. It is good form and courteous to remove your name from any waitlist once you know you are going to attend another school, but if you hear from two school the same week that you are accepted, you are going to end up rejecting one of them.

DAP98003 (Feb 9, 2005 10:50:33 AM)
Thanks so much! I am DYING to get in there!

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:50:51 AM)
Iceman: I don't see any reason to mention your age. They will have that info from your application. It's the substance of your reason that must make the point. I don't think they would view age as a meaningful reason to admit someone. (In fact, it could work against you.) Stick to the point of why you need the MBA now.

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 10:51:14 AM)
Linda - do schools use the waitlist to really manage yield?

MIB (Feb 9, 2005 10:51:32 AM)
Cindy: What should be written in the cover letter of the waitlist additional letter?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:51:54 AM)
Kris, yes, some do, especially those outside the top ten.

wait07 (Feb 9, 2005 10:52:39 AM)
Sorry for the confusion, but what is BW?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:53:08 AM)
BW is BusinessWeek magazine, which also has an outstanding web site with tons of information for MBA applicants.

Guest (Feb 9, 2005 10:53:14 AM)
You said that "there is a case of more frequent contact being better than a sudden deluge or a long, one-tome treatise." However, Stanford's waitlist process seems not to be a rolling-base, they will review the material in later May. So do you still think several short contact is better then one long letter?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:53:16 AM)
MIB, the initial waitlist letter should be just one letter. You can open by thanking the school for continuing to consider you and reiterating your interest in attending the school. Then discuss the key points you want to mention: any professional or non-work related developments, a recent visit to the school, etc. (Always make sure you note how these points enhance your candidacy.) Then wrap up with a brief concluding paragraph.

Ravi (Feb 9, 2005 10:53:39 AM)
Cindy: I feel that I was waitlisted at Darden and Duke because I have a low GMAT compared to my candidate pool. How do I address that in any communication I have with the adcom. I don't have time to retake the GMAT.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:54:35 AM)
Guest, I would still lean towards steady, regular contact, but make sure that includes something significant in mid-late May. I like steady contact because it shows commitment and consistency.

TomBrady (Feb 9, 2005 10:55:16 AM)
How will the adcom perceive the grades of the courses that were not available at the time of application? Will that be considered additional material?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:56:00 AM)
Yes, and if they are good grades and you were weak in that area, you want the schools to know about them -- unless you are dealing with a DCU school. Then just have your school send in the transcript.

Vladpe (Feb 9, 2005 10:56:16 AM)
Linda, do you think I should scheduled a meeting with the adcom before going to Chicago?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:56:25 AM)
If they will agree to one, definitely. But even if they don't agree to a meeting, sign up for a tour or ask to meet with students. Make sure they know you visited. After the visit, send in thank you notes or an update telling them how and why the visit confirmed your interest in Chicago.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:57:00 AM)
Ravi: You can mention work you have done that counteracts the low GMAT message. If it's a low verbal, then discuss experiences that highlight communication skills and if it's a low quant, then cite quant-related work). If you have strong transcripts that counteract the low GMAT, you can cite those, though presumably the program has already noted that. But you can briefly bring it to their attention. Also, you can sign up for a class, perhaps business writing to counteract a low verbal score or a statistics or calculus class to counteract a low quant score and advise the adcom you are taking these step to address the weakness of a low GMAT. I realize the class is time consuming; the best bet may be to emphasize work that highlights skills that seem low in the GMAT.

James (Feb 9, 2005 10:57:23 AM)
Cindy, although my GMAT is 700+, is it a good idea to take some courses in accounting and finance during the next 2-3 months?

TomBrady (Feb 9, 2005 10:57:33 AM)
Does it make sense to let the adcom of A school know that I have been accepted at another good school B, but A is my top choice?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:57:48 AM)
That is a very risky strategy and I deal with it in my ebook at some length. In summary: If you are close to the point where you will remove yourself from the waitlist if you don't hear form School A, then inform school A of your situation. I would keep quiet prior to that point. The info could have the opposite effect.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:58:35 AM)
James, if you are going to take classes to improve your chances, make sure they are ones that will enhance your profile. If your 700+ was extremely high in verbal and low in quant, then your plan makes sense. Otherwise, there may be other ways to expend your energy and time to improve your candidacy.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 10:59:14 AM)
James, to follow up -- the thing is to assess as best as possible where you can strengthen your candidacy, and then take steps in that direction (classes being one excellent such step).

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 10:59:30 AM)
Cindy: For Round 2 and Round 3 applicants, do you advise we take classes now to prepare for a possible waitlist situation?

Vladpe (Feb 9, 2005 10:59:33 AM)
Thank you Linda!

M07 (Feb 9, 2005 10:59:36 AM)
Linda, what are your thoughts about going in person to talk with the waitlist manager.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 10:59:53 AM)
If the waitlist manager is open to meeting with you, I think it is a great idea, but don't waste their time. Go with the idea of conveying a certain message and also listening for their concerns.

Ravi (Feb 9, 2005 11:00:29 AM)
Cindy: Any suggestions for Duke and Darden waitlists?

iceman (Feb 9, 2005 11:00:34 AM)
Is there an advantage to being on the Round 1 waitlist as opposed to the Round 2 waitlist?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:01:07 AM)
iceman, none that I know of or have reliably seen verified.

Vladpe (Feb 9, 2005 11:01:27 AM)
Noooo! I have already mentioned to someone at Chicago that I got my admission to HEC, including scholarship, but that GSB is my first choice. He told me that he will incorporate my concerns into my file.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:01:41 AM)
I didn't mean it's an automatic ding. It's a move I don't recommend.

James (Feb 9, 2005 11:01:47 AM)
Thanks a lot Linda and Cindy!!

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:01:54 AM)
Kris: Similar to what I wrote to James, I suggest taking steps to improve your candidacy after assessing where potential weaknesses are. I don't know if it makes sense to anticipate being waitlisted and committing to a class or other action. There may be other things you can do, such as pursuing an extracurricular leadership position or leadership role at work, that will have as much impact on a potential waitlist situation and also better benefit you professionally/personally.

latmba06 (Feb 9, 2005 11:01:55 AM)
Linda, do you know how the adcom at Darden and Ross view these kind of visits? I'm and international applicant and went to interview in December at both schools.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:02:32 AM)
Both schools take such visits as signs of serious interest and commitment. In terms of managing yield, those qualities are important.

Keshav (Feb 9, 2005 11:02:53 AM)
Cindy: Is community service a very important factor? What about extra curricular activities? I mean, I would be playing at home or outside with my friends but may not have certificates to prove that to the adcom. What kind of activates do you suggest?

Vladpe (Feb 9, 2005 11:02:59 AM)
Why is it risky let a School A know that you got an admission to School B?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:03:29 AM)
Ravi -- re Duke and Darden -- I have to still have not seen their instructions for this year. If they are open to getting further info, then I suggest a letter discussing new developments, plus assessing your candidacy to determine any weaknesses and dealing with them to the extent possible, and perhaps an additional recommendation.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:04:00 AM)
School A may become concerned that you will decide to go to School B and their yield will go down. Again, I'm not talking about an automatic ding I am talking about a move that entails risks and doesn't really provide any benefit. Chicago is not going to be impressed that you got an admit to HEC, but they might be concerned that for reasons of financial aid or personal reasons, you will end up deciding on HEC and their yield will go down. I see little benefit from disclosing the admit and possible downside.

Ravi (Feb 9, 2005 11:05:34 AM)
Thanks Linda and Cindy.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:05:40 AM)
Keshav, if you have worthwhile extracurricular developments that you can discuss -- ones that show some growth/insight -- then do so, regardless of the "official" nature of them. You can discuss them in a letter, providing anecdotes and insight gained. Be sure to note how they enhance your ability to contribute to the program.

DAP98003 (Feb 9, 2005 11:06:09 AM)
Cindy - should you try to contact students who gave you their cards while visiting campus? Like your interviewer or tour guide who you later thanked (or conversed with) via email and let them know that you were waitlisted? These are the only current students I know, but I don't know them well. Would it be even better if I revisited, which I will do anyway, and make new student contacts then and discuss my waitlist status with them?

Cigatooluc (Feb 9, 2005 11:06:19 AM)
I've been on the waitlist at a school since December. I've sent a couple of letters each addressing different aspects which I believe enhance my candidacy and I have a call scheduled with the waitlist manager this afternoon. Unfortunately, the waiting is really making it difficult on my wife's job search. She has interviews lined up for each of the cities/areas in which I have applied, but still nothing as far a sense of timing. I've been gracious, committed and enthusiastic, but now I am thinking of taking a harder line with the manager. I need a better sense of timing as it is not just me who is waiting. I will address it in a polite manner, but do you have any advice on where to draw the line from being completely accommodating to the school to showing a little gumption and requesting a decision?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:07:33 AM)
Talk to your wife and determine a date by which she must know where she will be living and working next year. A week before that date contact your waitlist manager and ask for his or her assistance because of your wife's job situation. If you are not at that point, I would still be as accommodating as possible. If they ask about extenuating circumstances then gently raise this issue as a problem in the making.

TomBrady (Feb 9, 2005 11:08:34 AM)
One of my recommenders (VP of a Fortune 50 company) wants to talk to the adcom directly. Is this a good idea?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:09:00 AM)
DAP98003 -- I would say not just someone who gave you their card, but you could contact someone with whom you had a conversation or interaction that was in some way memorable, if you feel you made a good impression on that person or you got the sense that they took an interest in you and would like to see you as a classmate. It's a pretty subjective read. Revisiting is always a good idea; if you meet new people who seem genuinely interested in your situation, that's fine.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:09:03 AM)
Tom, if your recommender knows someone on the adcom and has a relationship, unless he is a boor, he will also know how to use the connection. Leave it to him.

Guest (Feb 9, 2005 11:10:08 AM)
If you don't know any students or alums at your desired school, is there any point in trying to get to know any?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:10:54 AM)
Yes. There is point. You want to show fit. Take them to lunch. Discuss your interest in the school and your reasons for wanting to attend. Ask if they can send in a short letter of support and provide a copy of your resume.

latmba06 (Feb 9, 2005 11:11:25 AM)
Linda, does the adcom consider international applicants differently for admission from the waitlist because the time required for the someone to get a visa?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:12:08 AM)
latmba06, they do take it into consideration, but it is not a deciding factor at most schools.

nyc123 (Feb 9, 2005 11:12:20 AM)
I was waitlisted at Yale, a school that does provide feedback to applicants. I asked, and they said that my application is strong and that they have no specific comments. Any advice on the follow-up letter? Any advice for Yale waitlisted applicants in general?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:13:23 AM)
For Yale, I would emphasize aspects of their program that support your goals. If you are interested in their NFP strengths then talk about that part of the program. If you are interested in IB, then talk about those parts of their program. Again, also use the letter to bring out recent achievements and initiatives.

DAP98003 (Feb 9, 2005 11:13:42 AM)
Thanks, Cindy. Assuming most schools accept reapplicants at a rate 10% more than the normal acceptance rate (this is a loose statistic I have seen conferred by a handful of schools), is it likely that a much more substantial percent of reapplicants, who were waitlisted in the prior year, are given admission?

iceman (Feb 9, 2005 11:13:56 AM)
Is it a good idea to get a partner at a VC firm to write me a letter of support? I do not know this person well and have not worked with him. He is very impressed by me from our previous meetings and his letter would probably only state that I am knowledgeable about the VC industry, I have a great network, and am very resourceful and a good leader.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:15:18 AM)
Iceman, ideally you want to send in multiple letters of support over time. If you are interested in VC or something related, this supporter could add to your file and application.

Cigatooluc (Feb 9, 2005 11:15:31 AM)
Thanks Linda. I plan to raise the issue.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:15:36 AM)
DAP--yes, I would agree, anecdotally -- though I don't have any stats on that. Though other factors can change that might make you a less attractive candidate the next year (such as a higher percentage of super qualified people in your demographic/industry), so when reapplying, really strive to highlight new accomplishments and growth, and to make the application "fresh."

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 11:15:57 AM)
I'm waitlist at CMU - if I enroll in a class, then get admitted, do I really have to complete the class -- will they know/care?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:16:28 AM)
Kris, depending on the class they might care very much, especially if it is business related. Check with CMU after you are admitted. In the meantime, ace it.

joeyjoe05 (Feb 9, 2005 11:16:48 AM)
Cindy: I was wondering whether things have changed this year for Wharton? It seems that they really discourage ANY contact with them whatsoever. On the student-2-student, Alex said that we should not send letters of support from alums/contacts. What do you suggest?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:17:19 AM)
A question that came via email: I think community service is my weak spot. Is there anything I can do now?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:17:31 AM)
Yes. Get involved! You can then write about this new initiative of yours. It may help your cause. If it doesn't, then when you reapply in the Fall, and you will have over six months of participation - not six weeks.

M07 (Feb 9, 2005 11:17:43 AM)
Linda, regarding multiple letters of support, how many do you think are too many?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:18:31 AM)
Joey, I agree. Wharton just does not want new info, and there's not a lot you can do in that case. Their interest level may change as the cycle progresses, so check back with them perhaps after the second round of decisions are mailed and if you're still on the waitlist, see if they'd be open to learning of new developments at that time.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:19:32 AM)
At this point in the cycle, if you are sending material or having contact more than once every two weeks, I think it is too much. In June, I would put that at once a week. Again, you want to demonstrate interest and keep your name in front of them, but you don't want to be a pest.

wait07 (Feb 9, 2005 11:19:48 AM)
Cindy: Stanford is amenable to further contact correct? How many letters of support should be from yourself and from other people?

Bob123 (Feb 9, 2005 11:19:51 AM)
So regarding iceman's question about the letter from his VC partner, is there value in getting letters from someone who doesn't know you very well? I would think that would come through in the letter, and the adcom wouldn't place a lot of value in it.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:20:49 AM)
Bob, if you have a choice between someone who knows you well and someone who has had dinner with you once, obviously go with the former. But you may not have the luxury of knowing lots of students or recent alumni from your school. So you may send in letters from some people who know you well, but not the school, and some who know the school well, but not you so well. You do the best you can.

iceman (Feb 9, 2005 11:21:39 AM)
Bob123, my long-term goal is VC, so I think the VC partner's letter would show I have what it takes to network and have a viable shot at attaining a job in that industry.

arvybaby (Feb 9, 2005 11:21:55 AM)
When I visited the school that I was waitlisted at, I met a professor who actually grilled me about my interest in the school and my plans for the future. After about 15 minutes, he had to leave for a meeting but he told me to send in a good application. I sent a thank you letter for the conversation. But I didn't hear back from him. Now that I am waitlisted at the school should I attempt to contact him? How aggressive should I be in contacting him? Should I call him or just send an email asking for his support?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:22:00 AM)
wait07 -- in the past Stanford has been. I haven't seen their instructions/guidelines for this year. Assuming they are, you should write a letter updating them on relevant developments, and then subsequent shorter such letters occasionally. Getting substantive recommendations from 2-3 people would suffice -- beyond that it's overkill. However, if you know current students there, they also can write more casual emails on your behalf.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:22:31 AM)
I would email him and ask him for a time to call him. Then feel him out. You want to make sure he remembers you and would be comfortable sending in a letter of support. That will be easier to gauge over the phone than via email.

mcsckinney (Feb 9, 2005 11:22:46 AM)
I just got here so the question may have been asked, but if you don't know any alumni, who would be best to write letters of support?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:22:58 AM)
People who know you well or recent MBA's from other schools. Again, you do the best you can.

mcsckinney (Feb 9, 2005 11:23:34 AM)
My weakness is in undergrad GPA, would it help to ask a professor for a recommendation?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:24:17 AM)
If you are fairly young and had a good relationship with the professor it MIGHT help. In your case, a couple of recent A's will have the most impact.

M07 (Feb 9, 2005 11:25:13 AM)
Hi Cindy. How many additional letters of recommendation are good?

joeyjoe05 (Feb 9, 2005 11:25:19 AM)
I have the 9 Mistakes pamphlet. It suggests that even for schools that do not even want contact, letters of support are recommended. How do we know what schools fall into the OK for letters of support category or NO way on the letters of support (Wharton)? What if letter of support were already sent for those NO way schools? Are we in trouble at that point?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:25:55 AM)
MO7, I suggest 1-2, no more than 3. Also, subsequent recommendations should be short and substantive. I differentiate that from emails supporting your candidacy by current students -- those can be sent in addition to regular recommendations.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:26:44 AM)
No, Joey. The school can't blame you if your fan club wants to help you out. On the other hand, given Alex' unequivocal comment on student -2- student, I would be more circumspect and only ask supporters who have a connection with the Wharton adcom to send in those letters.

joeyjoe05 (Feb 9, 2005 11:27:11 AM)

M07 (Feb 9, 2005 11:27:23 AM)
Hi Linda, my GMAT is low. Columbia wants me to re-take the GMAT if I can. How about if I take a class at Columbia or NYU and get an A? Does that help?

wait07 (Feb 9, 2005 11:27:38 AM)
Cindy: Stanford claims they will re-evaluate all the waitlist candidates together as a pool in May. Is this true or is there the possibility that they may accept people off the waitlist prior?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:28:29 AM)
M07, a class may help, but it won't help as much as a higher GMAT score. I advice you to prepare for the GMAT and retake it as CBS asked you to.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:28:45 AM)
Thank you again all for participating this evening. Special thanks to Cindy for helping me out with the great turnout.

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:29:03 AM)
wait07, I'd take them at their word if that's what they say. The possibility you mention certainly exists. I suggest just continue doing the best you can with your waitlist strategy, which will benefit you either way.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:29:09 AM)
Please keep in mind that Accepted.com has several resources to help your waitlist effort:

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:29:19 AM)
Our latest ebook: The Nine Mistakes You Don't Want to Make on an MBA Waitlist at is on sale at $14.98 through this Tuesday, February 15. It will go up to $19.97 on February 16.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:29:40 AM)
Many of the questions asked here are dealt with in greater detail there.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:30:14 AM)
MBA Waitlist Advising and Editing services described at http://www.accepted.com/services/servicescategory.aspx?categoryid=3 .

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:30:28 AM)
Good luck with your applications!

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 11:30:58 AM)
Thanks a lot ... Great job you guys do.

latmba06 (Feb 9, 2005 11:32:29 AM)
Linda and Cindy, thanks a lot.

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 11:32:36 AM)
How effective are old undergrad open recommendation letters from professors in classes I did well in - especially if my weakness is GPA?

CindyTokumitsu (Feb 9, 2005 11:32:53 AM)
Best wishes all!!

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:33:16 AM)
It depends on old they are. How low is your GPA? They certainly won't hurt, but they will not have as much impact as a recent A in an area of weakness.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:33:21 AM)
Thanks again Cindy!

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 11:33:47 AM)
2.5 GPA in 1992! I graduated  in 1998.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:34:19 AM)
Kris, I strongly encourage you to take some classes now and earn A's in them. That will impress them more than ten year old recommendations.

Kris (Feb 9, 2005 11:34:40 AM)
I've done that as well Linda. I've taken 5 classes since and have A's in them.

joeyjoe05 (Feb 9, 2005 11:34:40 AM)
Thanks Cindy and Linda! If one's weakness was not showing fit/enough personality, what can be done?

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:34:54 AM)
Good. We also have an article with tips on applying with low stats. You can find it in the MBA section of the site. Those 5 A's will help you a lot... along with a good GMAT.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:35:33 AM)
Joey, if we are not talking about Wharton, demonstrate that fit through your waitlist campaign.

Linda Abraham (Feb 9, 2005 11:35:41 AM)
I have to run. Good luck! Information about Accepted.com's consulting and Editing Services

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