MBA Applicants: Have a Plan B

When you sit down to write your "Why MBA" application essays this year, there's a big rule to keep in mind: tell us your back-up plan. That's the advice we heard over and over again from top MBA admissions officers who met with us at our annual AIGAC conference in June.

Why? Because the world has changed, and times are tough. Round 1 applicants who sat down to write their essays in August and early September of last year lived in a different world, one in which they weren't too worried about finding jobs after graduation. All that changed in mid-September 2008, and since that first lurch towards economic meltdown, applicants no longer have that luxury. As a result, one of the phrases we heard over and over again from admissions officers was: "Have a plan B."

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