MBA scholarships are tough to come by at the good business schools. Convert $20,000 into Indian Rupees (what would you do with the extra 10 lakhs that you save?) and the MBA success story sounds so much better.
For Ankit Chopra, all this came after he had put in more than the usual share of MBA application effort. Starting from his GMAT preparation to the time it took to write the best possible MBA essays.
The end result was that the helpful Associate Dean from the Simon MBA program was advising Ankit on the electives he should be taking in the course that would be aligned with his career interests.
When I graduated from college in 2008 and joined my first job as a software engineer, I just had some vague views on doing an MBA. With time and some career advancements, it was clearly evident that I would need more knowledge and further educational qualification to pursue my career aspirations.
Entrepreneurship intrigued me and so I started experimenting with some business ideas and ventured into a part time start-up (www.3ardents.com) with two of my friends. Although, we were able to successfully take up some projects and deliver what was required, we failed to take it forward as a full time profession. I switched my company and entered the business and data analysis world to learn more about the strategic decision making process.
In my first attempt, I got a low GMAT score of 650 . Although I was expecting more maybe it was not my best attempt. I knew this score will not be helpful in securing an interview from a top b-school and gave it another shot to score 700 this time.
The next big hurdle is to shortlist the B-schools where you would like to go, based on the post MBA job profile, financial budget and long term career aspirations.
With around 3.5+ years of work experience most of the top UK B-schools were mostly out of reach as they have an average of 5 years of work experience in the incoming cohort. I engaged in discussions with the admission team, alumni and current students of various colleges through email or Skype to get insights about the program and employment statistics from an international student perspective.
Finally I drilled down to the following schools: ISB, National University of Singapore, University of Rochester – Simon and Nanyang Business School.
Coming to the most important aspect of the application – THE MBA ESSAYS – I had to go through a lot of research, introspection and contemplation to complete the first draft. An important learning while compiling my essays was to answer the three basic questions -where do you fit in the program, what specific contribution would your candidature bring to the incoming class and how would you benefit from the program.
If each essay answer can drill down and explain these questions, your application would make up a good case for at least an MBA interview call. To get an initial perception, I shared my MBA essays with a few friends to take an honest feedback on what they reveal about my aspirations, identity and suitability for the program. Finally after a lot of re-work, cut, copy and paste the essays were ready for submission.
The first school to break some news was University of Rochester – Simon School of business. I was invited for a face to face interview with one of their associate Deans. The interview was very comfortable, we discussed about the economic scenario, my current work profile and my career aspirations. He even suggested me some electives which would be provide me with some edge in the future job applications depending upon my career aspirations.
In 3 weeks time, I received an admit email from the school along with a scholarship of $20,000 per year! On the other hand, I have been waitlisted for an interview from ISB and still awaiting communication from NUS and Nanyang.
Please feel free to contact me, if you have any queries in this context.
– Ankit Chopra
Open invitation from Ankit for anyone who has queries.
Like many who write guest blog posts for our site, Ankit hasn’t worked with MBA Crystal Ball on his application. So if you know other Indians who’ve got into good schools, let us know. We’ll share their story as well.