Last week Chicago Booth’s Associate Dean for Student Recruitment and Admissions, Rose Martinelli, wrote a followup to her first blog post about how reapplicants can approach the MBA admissions process. While the first post mostly gave very general information that our readers have seen multiple times, Rose’s second post contains some more concrete info that provides a good insight into how Chicago Booth reads reapplicants’ applications.
About your data forms, Rose writes, “Do not rely on last year’s application to provide us with that information since the forms change a little bit each year. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself -– why is this information important for the admissions committee to know about me?” While each school has its own approach for how much of your old application will make it into your new file, Chicago Booth includes your entire old application with your new submission. However, Rose stresses that your new application must present your candidacy fully.
About your resume, Rose says, “Your resume should be one that you would use for any job search, highlighting your role and accomplishments. ” While she doesn’t say it here, we would add that, although your resume should be complete and assume that the reader has no prior knowledge of your candidacy, you should put extra care into emphasizing what’s new in the last year — job promotions, a big achievement on a project, etc.
About your letters of recommendation, Rose has this to say: “While we know you may choose to use the same recommenders as in your prior application, ask your recommenders to update the information with your progression. It might also be helpful for you to take the time to meet with them to review your progress during this period and to highlight areas they might use as examples within the recommendation.” This is important advice — don’t assume that your recommendation writers know how to write you a great recommendation, no matter how smart they are or how strongly they support you.
Regarding your MBA admissions essays, Rose says, “Avoid regurgitating information you used last year -– whether essays or elements of your presentation. Be bold and start from scratch.” One question is specifically meant for reapplicants: Essay question 1B asks what has changed since you last applied. Rose says, “This could be anything from work experience, new goals or a greater self awareness. Here’s your chance to help us understand your growth from last year.”
This is consistent with what we always tell our clients: You are absolutely welcome to reapply to any top business school, but you really need to highlight what’s new since last year. While we appreciate Rose’s comment about greater self awareness, ideally you will have concrete achievements that you can point to as new and different since the last time you applied. Our reapplicant clients are most successful when they’re able to do just that.