College application – an Indian perspective (part 1)

In this article we bring to you some typical scenarios of candidates planning for their MBA college application – their thought processes, their indecision, the roadblocks they face, and possible means to overcome such issues. We believe, while going through these stories, you would be able to relate yourself better to the practicalities and be in a better position to self-introspect. In this article, we would look at four stories and four more in our next article.

Story 1 – I have 730 in the GMAT, am currently posted in the US but only considering MBA in India.

1) The colleges in India that I have a chance of getting into – IIMA, IIMB, ISB
2) Whether to apply in Round 1 or Round 2 of the admissions
3) Preparing for the admissions process – (profile / essay / interview)

Having decided where you want to work drives your decision to do an MBA quite significantly and as such, I think you have thought well. Given your background, I would say apply early (Round 1) to the highest ranked colleges you can – ISB and IIM being obvious choices. If you write your essays well, you will find it relatively easy to prove your value to the admissions committee. In case your Round 1 applications don’t come through, you have time for the other colleges in Round 2.

In terms of preparation, start the college application process now – preparing transcripts, sending GMAT score, meeting with potential people who can recommend you and researching courses, companies and alumni from the respective Business School.

Start with your long term goal, work backwards to your short to medium term goals and how an MBA will help you get there. Don’t worry about the essays now – it is content time now. Start writing everything down for your resume. This activity if done in terms of the Profile creation, will ensure that you don’t forget to mention anything worthwhile.

Story 2 – I have 13 years’ experience in IT & GMAT score of 770. Is this the right time to do an MBA?

1) Great leadership experience of 7 years in UK & 3 years in Australia
2) I want to start my own business

It is also critical to bring in some other aspects of your profile, i.e. how will the MBA help you in your dreams of being an entrepreneur? Particularly important because owning your own business often requires you to break the very boundaries of thinking and rigor that an MBA teaches you.

What about outside work engagements? In the community? Have you pushed yourself outside the boundaries of education, work and success in these respective fields? These are going to be your primary character drivers behind your own business.

I always view the admissions process as what your profile is and what you can do with it. The first part is quite secure, for you. Work on the second part – if you slack there, all the good work might not come to fruition.

Story 3 – I have 6.5 years’ experience and 720 in the GMAT. How important is selecting the right schools?

1) How to go about the process of selecting the proper schools?
2) Which geographies should I focus on?

Your score is quite decent. Start with where you would like to stay long term – do you want to work for a few years and then go back to India? All these are important aspects of the college application process.

Work authorization is as important a point as reputation of college and future career prospects. Think hard about what drives you. In the long term, everything evens out.

Story 4 – I have strong undergraduate profile and diverse work experience. My first GMAT score was 620.

1) Want to pursue strategy consulting post MBA
2) Looking to apply to top 40 schools

Absolutely, retake the GMAT again. Given your background, I don’t think getting a score around 700 is too hard for you, particularly with about 4-6 weeks preparation. Apart from the strategy consulting and top 40 MBA career ambition, it is also important to address your CGPA.

You have a strong background but might struggle to sufficiently differentiate yourself enough to justify a lower than 700 GMAT score.

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Update: The next part of the article can be accessed here.

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