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1. Applying too late

If you’re applying in the third round, your chances are significantly lower than applying in the first and second, especially if you are an international student. The decision whether to apply in the third round or wait another year should take this lower acceptance rate into consideration.

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2. Not creating a diverse list of schools

Yes, while everyone wants to get into Harvard and Stanford, there are only so many spots. Some applicants hold that “it’s HBS, Stanford or nothing” – but this is not a realistic attitude. For most career goals and ambitions, other top MBA programs can provide the merchandise. If you want to do finance, there’s nothing wrong with Columbia, Chicago, Wharton and NYU. If you want to do consulting, you can’t go wrong with Kellogg or Columbia, and for Tech and innovation, MIT, Berkeley and Cornell can open a lot of doors for you.

3. Missing out on the fit factor

Each school has its own culture and focus. If you’re applying to schools like NYU, Ross or Duke, but don’t really talk about community in your essays and application, you’ve clearly missed the point. Showing the fit in both your essays and interviews is crucial to many programs.

4. Not preparing well for the interview

While you can’t control 100% of what happen in the interview, you can prepare for it. You can prepare to talk about yourself, your goals, and why this specific school is the right place for you to spend the next two years (or year and half, if you’re thinking about Europe or accelerated MBA programs).

Let me help you figure out what went wrong this round, and identify ways to get into top MBA programs this year. Submit your name and email and I will contact you in 24 hours.

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Photo credit: Wrong Way by Flickr user Elaine with Grey Cats, Time by Flick user Lett-A.