Since I embarked on my journey to pursue an MBA, it has been full of rejections. In making it to my current position as a student at XLRI, I have had more rejections than acceptances. While dealing with rejections myself, I have seen many smart students deal with their share of rejections as well.
It all began when I started preparing for my entrance exams. Due to a borderline score for making the cut to a premier b-school, I was thrown out of most of the interview rooms of almost all the b-schools for two consecutive years. Some experiences were really bad, while some were good. But it were those bad experiences which actually pushed me to work further on myself. Every rejection had me pushing the bar of expectations higher and higher. Finally, in my third attempt, I made it to XLRI. Needless to say, I was still rejected by a few b-schools.
Once I landed at XLRI, it was a rat race again amongst 360 students, to get into a committee on campus. I was amongst those special ones who sat for every society/ committee on campus, still came out rejected by everyone. Now, looking back, I feel that it was for the best that I got rejected by them. I manage to find some more time to myself, which is a privilege in b-schools.
Next was the summer internship process. I had heard tales of people coming out of interview rooms with tears in their eyes. Many of us are not used to being rejected so many times, especially within two days! Luckily, for me, the SIP process ended shortly as somehow I got through to the second company I sat for. But there were many, whom I saw struggle during the process.
In such situations, I feel past experiences give you the strength and composure to deal with rejections. Learning from rejections is key to moving forward. If I had allowed my rejections to define me, I don’t think I would have made it this far. It is okay to cry, feel sad, or be emotional in such situations but it is more important to channelize rejections into a stepping stone to something bigger and better.
For those aspirants who have faced rejections once or twice already, it is an added pressure to perform well. It is important to use the pressure to your own advantage. The experience gained in the past attempts is something that others don’t have and it is important to make it count this time. Failed attempts expose the faults in your test-taking strategies and this should be corrected in the subsequent attempts. Mock tests and failed attempts are the best way to get insights into your test-taking strategies.
I know a lot of rejections lie in the journey forward for each one of us. But dealing with them teaches a lot. The following dialogue from ‘Batman Begins’ gives me the direction every time –
Bruce – “I failed.”
Alfred – “Why do we fall, sir?”
Bruce – …
Alfred – “So that we can learn to pick ourselves up!”