Darden School of Business: Gowthami’s MBA success story

Darden MBAThe Darden School of Business MBA Class Profile at the University of Virginia, reflects more or less what you’d see at any of the best MBA programs in the US.

For the Class of 2013 year, the statistics hover at around 30% international candidates, a Male/Female ratio of 70:30, an average GMAT of 700+ (701, to be technically correct).

What the statistics don’t reveal is the level of competition for Indian IT Males & Females who are vying for one of those 319 seats along with applicants from 37 other countries.

We published an interview with Wendy Huber, Associate Director of Admissions @ Darden MBA. Gowthami Guttikonda was one of the candidates who had her MBA interview with Wendy. Yup, small world!

With a failed enterpreneurship venture, lesser experience than other applicants, a ‘low GMAT score’ (in relative terms) and an Indian IT software engineer background, Gowthami knew things were exactly in the best possible shape.

Believing in her capability, she went ahead with her Darden MBA admissions process and came out victorious.


How I got into the Darden MBA program
by Gowthami Guttikonda

Indian | Female | IT | 680 | 3 years work experience

This pretty much sums up my profile. If you show this to any b-school aspirant then they would probably say that GMAT is on the lower side, Indian IT is a non-desirable profile, not enough work experience, blah blah blah … no point in applying to the TOP B-schools. But there is always more to one’s story than GMAT, TOEFL and work experience.

I started off pretty early on my MBA journey mostly because of the IIM grads in the family. I went to BITS for my undergrad and majored in Maths and Computer Science. Straight out of college, I started my journey as a software engineer in an IT firm and took my GMAT in 2009. I didn’t get a great score but decided to keep it. Always loved being around technology and design stuff.

Two years into the job, I realized my passion towards technology and got together with a friend from college and tried to launch a crowdsourcing based mobile app. We failed miserably in marketing the product and the idea. While I heard people say for a long time that you need an MBA, I realized the need for a formal business education only after I tried my hand at entrepreneurship and failed.

I researched a lot and finally decided to apply for ISB, Darden and Stanford. ISB for economic reasons, Darden MBA for its strong general management curriculum and Stanford because of their strong emphasis on entrepreneurship and super smart people. There is only one application strategy that I really followed – Being yourself. I knew what I wanted from an MBA program and where I wanted to go after my MBA.

Got my interview invitation only from the Darden School of Business (University of Virginia). Spoke to a couple of alumni before my MBA interview and got to know more about the school. The interview was ‘blind’ i.e. the interviewer had no access to my application and there was only one straight question – “Tell me about yourself… you have 30 minutes to do so.”

I went on and on right from my background to my current job. She stopped me at a couple of junctures and asked a couple of follow-up questions. On the whole I had a good feeling about it and I got in to the Darden MBA in Round 1!


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat

Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here’s more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

3 Comments

  1. Gurpreet Singh says:

    She look quite positive and straight fwd. I think the usp was being yourself. It is utmost important to know where we are, what is our goal and then research how to go.

    Instead applicants, especially our bhartiye, do the reverse. They first research how to go.
    “I m Indian IT male, blah blah, 1 billion deals etc etc”. You can do 100 bn deals, unless you are not fit for the school they won’t take u even you have 750 score.

    So introspect and take her story for the motivation. Do research and shoot for the goals.

  2. Deepak says:

    This lady looks very traditional in her South Indian wedding attires and yet admitted into a top B school.!!! Brilliant!!!

  3. Comment says:

    Ultimately she is not from the Indian IT male category. She is a Female. So, I believe there is no use in trying to create false hopes for the hundreds of males working in the IT domain to apply to these colleges. Ultimately colleges lure people to apply showing such one off examples which only help these colleges to show more number of applications and make some money from gullible applicants.

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