Dealing with Worrying

Surviving the Worry Phase of MBA Admissions


It’s natural to worry while you are waiting for that coveted invitation or admit from dream school X or even safety school Y. However, it can become an obsession – because subconsciously, worrying makes us feel like we are doing something. Like we are asserting control over the outcome.
Here are a few ideas to help you regain control of your mind and energy.


1 – Tapping or EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique.


Tapping is an amazing way to create new neural pathways that interrupt the fright you might be experiencing. It’s easy, fast, free and effective. My favorite practitioner is Brad Yates; here is a tap-a-long on Feeling Not Good Enough or Overthinking Things. It helps in the moment - but committing to tapping 10 minutes a day can create lasting change.


2 – Submit other applications!


There are still ways to start a top MBA around January or March. If you are actively engaged in creating more options for yourself, this reduces the fixation on X school and the sense of desperation that can easily set in.


If you are waitlisted, rather than sit on your hands or cross your fingers – find ways to (skillfully and appropriately) repurpose content for a couple new applications. You never know where they have room for someone with your profile.


3 – Put energy into making a positive impact for a worthy cause.


There is no way to lose with this. It occupies your time and mind until results come through.
In the event you don’t get into an M7 school or whatever your target was, you have a head start on your “what changed” reapplication essay. If things DO go your way, more leadership fodder for your internship interviews.


If you are actively leveling up your leadership and contribution profile – you will probably still worry - but a bit less knowing you are actively engaged in doing all you can do.

PS - I have seen clients get off the waitlist submitting nothing but updates around community leadership.


4 – Adjacent ways to achieve MBA goals.


Even if just as an exercise. Our amygdala gets triggered when frozen in A/ B: MBA Yes or MBA No. Our prefrontal cortex (executive functioning) goes offline. But once you introduce a third option you can get unstuck and get your brain back online.


  • Maybe a MFin is a good adjacent option and there are still deadlines you can target
  • Maybe you can receive entrepreneurship mentorship from that guy at Toastmasters
  • Maybe submit an application for Y Combinator
  • Maybe you can try the networking path to consulting
  • Maybe you can learn skills that allow you to switch functions or departments 


Even if you do exactly none of these things now, brainstorming non-MBA ways to improve your lot or get closer to your goal might help feel better during this purgatory period.


The MBA admissions process can easily make you feel dependent and disempowered at times. The goal is to recover some of your agency and power, to have a better quality of life as you wait for results.


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