You thought it was fair game and your chances of getting into a top MBA program had nothing to do with your nationality? Not true, says John Byrne, former executive editor of BusinessWeek and founder of Poets & Quants. According to him the rejection rates for Indian candidates are ‘dramatically higher’ than any other nationality.
An Indian applicant is 3 to 5 times less likely to get an offer compared to domestic candidates from the US. In fact, European and Latin American candidates would also fare better than Indians. What makes the P&Q survey results extremely credible is the fact that the data has been supplied officially by B-schools to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Some schools that feature in the survey include prestigious names like MIT (Sloan), Fuqua (Duke University), Ross (Michigan), Purdue (Krannert), Olin (Washington University), Vanderbilt (Owen), University of Southern California’s Marshall and others.
Let’s take an example of a top-10 business school to understand the basic concept.
– Class size = 250
– Number of applications received = 1000
– – – Domestic applications = 300
– – – International applications = 700
– – – Indian applications = 220
– – – China + other Asian countries = 200
– Selectivity = 25%
If you assume that this number is applicable you, that’s not true.
With no nationality-based discrimination, the domestic-to-international applications ratio (30:70 in our example) would be more or less reflect in the acceptance rate too. It doesn’t. In fact, it’s generally the exact opposite. On an average the domestic to international composition of an American MBA program is 70:30.
In our example above, the Selectivity figures for various nationalities would be as follows:
– Chinese applicants: 10%
– European applicants: 39%
– American applicants: 39%
– Latin American applicants: 26%
– Middle East applicants: 26%
– And the selectivity for Indians is a whopping [drumroll begins]…8% !
That means in an MBA class of 1000, there could be less than 20 Indians!
Of course, these are hypothetical numbers to convey the idea of what P&Q was trying to say. Factors like yield (accepted to offered ratio) aren’t being discussed. The actual percentages will vary for each school.
The million (or considering MBA tuition costs, maybe it’s a 100,000-150,000) dollar question – why is it happening?
B-schools and recruiters cited several reasons ranging from the need to maintain class diversity to language issues. But the main point relevant for Indian candidates was the dependency on gaining work permit visas after graduation. Admission officers are trying to put themselves in the shoes of recruiters and filtering out potentially high-maintenance candidates who’d have a tough time getting MBA jobs after graduation. Nip the problem in the bud.
So what is it that you can do to address that concern. Plenty.
– For starters, stop assuming that your GMAT score and the laurels you’ve won at work are the only criteria you should be bothered about. Get the whole story sorted out before you apply.
– You’ll find many application strategy and execution related articles on this blog. Spend some time digging through the earlier posts. Almost all of them have been written from an Indian applicants perspective.
– Stay up to date on the latest developments by subscribing to this blog (enter your email ID in the box at the top right).
For you as an Indian candidate, remember that the competition (much like charity) begins at home. You will first compete with your beloved (and not to mention extremely competitive) countrymen. Then if you survive, the competition gets bigger and tougher as other nationalities come into the fray. So right from choosing the right schools to getting the post-MBA and why MBA rationale, invest time in getting the application strategy as bullet-proof as possible.
According to P&Q estimates about 1 in 3 applicants applying to the top bschools engages MBA admissions consultants (read a related post here –> MBA Admissions Consultants: How the best business schools view them). That increases their odds further.
Indians have traditionally shied away from hiring MBA consultants. Instead they go over-board and spend time + money on the GMAT, while the main application doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Over-focussing on the GMAT is a penny-wise-pound-foolish approach. If you can afford it, consider hiring a good MBA consultant in India to help you identify your strengths/weaknesses and build a solid application that’s worthy of going into the international battlefield.
If getting professional support is not an option, a do-it-yourself approach can work well too, provided you approach it in a structured manner with the right knowledge of bschools, the application process and your competition. Reach out to colleagues or friends who know how the bschool admissions process works. There’s a ton of useful (and free) information on the MBA Crystal Ball site. Also, check out Poets & Quants, GMAT Club, Beat The GMAT, Pagalguy and others that focus on international MBA programs.
Each year, MBA Crystal Ball consultants help a select few applicants significantly change the odds in their favour compared to the industry average. Several have got MBA scholarships too.
If you’d like a dose of optimism, read the MBA Crystal Ball reviews page.
If surveys and statistics are anything to go by, it’s going to be a tough ride out there. But don’t get intimidated by the competition and stats. Start early, prepare well and give it your best shot. The sweet fruits of labour will be there to enjoy for the rest of your professional life.
If our boutique approach looks appealing to you, send us a note [info at mbacrystalball dot com] with your background and aspirations. We’ll see what we can do for you. If we can’t help, we’ll be upfront about it.
Source: Poets & Quants