Waitlist Success Stories, Part 2: "Getting to Yes" at their Dream Schools

Wharton School Admit

Lisa was a great resource as I navigated the waitlist and always provided sound and timely feedback in what otherwise would have been a stressful process.

- Caucasian male, Non-traditional

Purchased: Conquer the Waitlist


Berkeley Haas Admit

Having almost a decade and a half years of international experience with large consulting firms, I decided to pursue EMBA from Berkeley Haas. Berkeley waitlisted my round-2 application. After searching for strategies to get off the waitlist, I came across a very thought-provoking blog on GMAT club website by Ivy group. I immediately decided to work with the Ivy team, and the result was phenomenal.

I got off the Berkeley EMBA round-2 waitlist and got admitted for the class of 2020 because of the help I received from Anna. She is very professional and pushed me to critically think about my story which enabled me to tell my narrative in a different light. The Self, Us, Now framework that she shared with me was a game changer for me, and it helped me to connect the dots more succinctly.

Regardless of the outcome, I would highly recommend Roanna and team to anyone who wants to put the best foot forward in their MBA journey. You will be working with the best in the admissions consulting industry.

- Tech Consulting

Purchased: Conquer the Waitlist


Dartmouth Tuck Admit

Nate was very straightforward and honest in terms of his feedback, which helped me quickly and effectively correct my issues with my story and how I was phrasing it. He also had a clear plan and timeline in place on how I would stay in contact with admissions that ultimately paid off.

- Finance, male, Fitness, Asian

Purchased: Conquer the Waitlist

Waitlist Success Stories, Part 1: Dreams came true at HBS

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Harvard Business School Admit

“Nate's help was critical! He identified the weaknesses in my essays and narrative and he helped me reposition my narrative in a much more compelling way. I highly recommend him for help with storytelling and narrative building!

- Entrepreneur, White, Male, Engineer

Purchased: Conquer the Waitlist


Harvard Business School Admit

“Finding out I was on the waitlist was really tough for me. I felt like I was so close to something I really wanted but didn't know how to get there. The waitlist is a complete gray area. I didn't know what steps to take to strengthen my application and beyond that, I didn't want to take any steps to weaken my application. Ivy Admissions was critical in helping me to evaluate my application and then draft two letters to improve my narrative and reiterate my interest in HBS. I ended up getting in and am so thankful I used this team! “

- Oil & Gas, Private Equity, Female, White

Purchased: Conquer the Waitlist

Round 2/3 Testimonials, Part 2: Another Dual GSB-HBS Admit

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HBS, GSB, Wharton & Booth Admit

“Ivy Admissions was my true partner in my MBA application journey from start to finish. Their insight into each school’s values, personality and tradition really made a difference when helping me craft and present my unique and personal narrative throughout all aspects of my application. Their coaching and guidance was always on point, particularly with their tailored and detail-oriented mock interviews. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without their valuable insight and advice, born of their intimate understanding and relationships with their clients and their target schools. Thank you, Ivy Admissions!”

- Public Finance investment banking, public university, male, multiracial

Purchased: Complete School Package


Wharton Admit

“The advice and support provide by Lisa and Ivy Admissions Group was a huge factor in my successful application to Wharton. They helped me craft my narrative in a compelling and coherent manner that ultimately proved effective.“

- Marine Special Operations Veteran

Purchased: Complete School Package


Darden Admit

“Ivy Admissions Group was critical to my success in the business school application process. When I started, I had a jumbled story about why I needed an MBA and Ivy Admission Group worked with me to create a cohesive narrative about my work experience and how an MBA would help me advance in my career. Throughout the entire process, they were professional, responsive, and committed to my success. Without their guidance, I probably would have been a reapplicant.“

- Government Staffer

Purchased: Complete School Package

Takeaways from HBS's first year without Round 3, and what is to come

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HBS’s admissions director Chad Losee announced HBS’s 2019-2020 application due dates, keeping the same essay prompt: “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?”. He also announced that HBS would continue to only have two admissions rounds, instead of the usual three - the last one it dropped this past year.

Many applicants have asked us what the loss of Round 3 would mean for their applications. Now that we have seen what Year 1 looked like, we feel that we are able to provide the following answers:

1. If you can, apply early!

If you are a traditional applicant (consulting, finance, fortune 500), the unspoken rule is that you need to apply in Round 1. That is when HBS is expecting you to apply and so that is when it is going to give away almost all of the admissions spots for your industry.

Even if you are not a traditional candidate, it is always a good idea to apply early. While HBS offers only need-based financial aid, other schools use merit-based aid to woo desirable candidates (check out our testimonials section to see just how much money some of these schools shell out). Almost all of that money is issued to those admitted in Round 1, so if you feel like saving upwards of $100,000 on your MBA, apply early so you can get it.

2. HBS waitlist decisions are made quickly, so engage early

Normally we see HBS accumulate candidates with great stats but only okay narratives on its waitlist, culling them in Round 3 and keeping a small, chosen few on through the “summer melt” phase where they admit students only to replace another admit who had to decline for one reason or another. This year, we saw HBS give definitive yes-or-no decisions earlier in the process, coinciding with the Round 2 notification date. Whereas in the past, a significant number of our clients would be kept on the waitlist until June, this year only a couple were. Everyone else was either admitted (most of them) or rejected.

What this means for you is that if you apply in Round 1 and are placed on the waitlist, you cannot afford to wait or be silent. You need to engage with the admissions committee right away as you have a much shorter timeline to plead your case. Put another way, as soon as you see that you’re on the waitlist, get in touch with us.

3. Other schools will wait-and-see (ride the waitlist!)

HBS enjoys something of a prime mover advantage. Because it and GSB are pretty much every applicant’s top 1 and 2 choice (not necessarily in that order), they can be reasonably sure that whoever they admit will accept their place and therefore the only students who drop from the class are the ones that are forced to for reasons beyond their control (military deployment, death in the family, illness, etc). That gives those two schools much more certainty in shaping their class and allows them to carry far fewer students on their waitlist.

In contrast, the rest of the M7 can never been too sure of their class composition because they are constantly losing admits to HBS and GSB when they get in off the waitlist or apply in subsequent rounds. This forces those other M7 schools to carry many more students on their waitlists, as well as admit many students from those waitlists.

The net effect is that if you are waitlisted at such a school, it is much more important for you to grit your teeth and ride the waitlist as there is a better chance of success than in years past.

4. Expect other schools to follow

HBS sets a lot of trends in MBA admissions, from making application dates earlier to streamlining the applications. While there are no immediate indications that other schools are going to follow HBS’s lead this year, it would be a safe assumption that some others will follow in the years to come. After all, Round 3 is traditionally a very small round at any school, comprising only around 10% of the admits in a given class.

If you are a few years away from applying, count on not having the Round 3 option available to you. Instead, reexamine your timeline and account for the fact that you will likely need to accelerate your applications to apply in Round 2 or delay them to apply in Round 1 of the following year.

Round 2/3 Testimonials: Monster Scholarships from Duke, Texas, and MIT

UVA Darden Admit

“I chose to work with Nate, Anna, and the team at Ivy because they clearly stood out from the competition. The team is small, the consultants are deeply focused on the client as an individual, and the narrative approach is unlike anything you will find elsewhere. I was very skeptical about the possibility that I'd be able to generate a cohesive story about my career, which has included three seemingly unrelated jobs. Through the Narrative Bootcamp process, Nate demonstrated an uncanny ability to draw connections between my past experiences. He helped me pinpoint genuine threads of similarity that I would not have identified on my own. Nate and Anna were extremely professional and responsive, and they were a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, they helped me prepare my best possible application, which means I can look back on the whole process with no regrets.”

- White, Male, Top-25 US University, Asset Management

Purchased: Complete School Package


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Duke Fuqua & Texas McCombs Admit

Ivy Admissions made all the difference. My consultants were there to support me throughout the entire process from getting my GMAT up into the 99% range to deciding between offers. I truly appreciated their professional and friendly approach. I felt comfortable with them instantly, and they proved to be an invaluable resource to me during this process. I would not have gotten the scholarships offers that I did if they had not been there to refine my story and push me.

- Engineering/Consulting, White, Female

Purchased: Complete School Package

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MIT Sloan & Berkeley Haas Admit

My work with Nate and Anna was super helpful. The industry I work in tends to be a bit insulated, and it was nice to have my story gutted from the outside. The feedback I received in the hourly service, pushes on my personal narrative, and the reflections I received on my interview answers were applicable across the schools I applied. Their support helped me present a balanced application to secure admission to my first-choice school with a named fellowship and some $$.

- Non-Profit, Small Private Uni, Black, Male

Purchased: Hourly Help, Essay Editing

MIT Sloan's MBA Early Admission Program

Rod Garcia, the assistant dean of admissions at MIT Sloan, announced the creation of a formal deferred admissions MBA program at MIT Sloan similar to other successful ones at HBS and Stanford GSB. In fact, MIT Sloan had for a few years operated a sort of “backdoor” deferred admissions program for college seniors, but this announcement is good news because it signals an expansion of the program, formalizes the process, and take a lot of the guess work out for potential applicants.

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Here are the details:

  • Applicants may come from any undergraduate institution (not just MIT)

  • Undergraduates may apply if they are graduating during the current academic year

  • Graduate students may apply if they are graduating during the current academic year and entered their program directly after leaving college (i.e. have no full-time work experience)

  • If admitted, students come to Sloan for their MBA after accumulating between 2 and 5 years of work experience (similar to how HBS and Stanford does it)

Here is the timeline:

  • Applications due: Monday, April 8, 2019, 3:00 p.m., EST

  • The admissions committee notifies applicants of their decisions: Wednesday, May 8, 2019

  • Admitted applicants must reply to their offers: Sunday, June 1, 2019

The Benefits:

We’ve long written about the benefits of applying to MBA programs while still in college, and all those arguments remain true for MIT Sloan, one of the most exclusive MBA programs in the country whose alumni have founded fortune 500 companies such companies as E*Trade, Hubspot, Zipcar, and Akamai Technologies. A deferred admission offer allows students to pursue much riskier opportunities early in their career, increasing their earning potential and limiting their downside with the MBA offer.

The Bottom Line:

Interested in applying? Fill out our “What are my odds?” link and we’ll chat about building your case for:

  • Why a deferred MBA program is right for you and why MIT can’t simply wait to admit you later

  • What compelling narrative you can write that will help you stand out in a an MIT Sloan applicant pool where 87% of candidates are rejected

  • What specific resources you need from MIT, such that you can’t get your MBA from anywhere else

  • Assurance you can give MIT that you’re not applying to them as a backup to HBS or GSB

#MBAMindfulnessMonday: Aromatherapy

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The biggest misconception about business school is that it is one big “vacation.” In fact, many find business school to be two of the most straining (but satisfying!) years of their lives. You’ll have little time to cook for yourself, hit the gym, or sleep a full 8 hours. Networking, recruiting, and social events will disrupt any semblance of a regular schedule. Frequent travel for career treks, job interviews, or group excursions will test the limits of your immune system. In a fast-paced environment like this, it is important to develop habits that will promote good physical and mental health.

Starting now, we will be rolling out a #MBAMindfulnessMonday series of tips for you to use as you embark on your application and enroll in classes.

The first one is an important tip for anyone attending business school in a northern, colder climate: the essential oil diffuser. An oil diffuser is a great addition to your study room while you work and your bedroom while you sleep. Cold weather takes moisture out of the air, leading to rough itchy hands and even bloody noses (both bad for job interviews). Water-based aromatherapy diffusers are great at restoring some of this moisture and keep you feeling your best.

While the medical benefits of essential oils are debatable, consistent use of certain oils throughout the day can signal to your body how it is supposed to feel when regular schedules are elusive: orange in the morning can help you “wake up” and lavender in the evening can signal when it is time to wind down. Even the occasional use of an oil diffuser can elevate something as banal as studying into a restorative, spa-like experience.

Even more testimonials from Round 1

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UVA Darden Admit

I chose to work with Nate, Anna, and the team at Ivy because they clearly stood out from the competition. The team is small, the consultants are deeply focused on the client as an individual, and the narrative approach is unlike anything you will find elsewhere.

I was very skeptical about the possibility that I'd be able to generate a cohesive story about my career, which has included three seemingly unrelated jobs. Through the Narrative Bootcamp process, Nate demonstrated an uncanny ability to draw connections between my past experiences. He helped me pinpoint genuine threads of similarity that I would not have identified on my own.

Nate and Anna were extremely professional and responsive, and they were a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, they helped me prepare my best possible application, which means I can look back on the whole process with no regrets.

- White, Male, Top-25 US University, Asset Management

Purchased: Complete School Package