Business school forums: Ask current MBA students and Bschool alumni

Business schools often have MBA essays that ask MBA applicants why they have chosen this specific MBA program. And more often than not, the answer isn’t as straight-forward as you might assume. Information that’s available on bschool websites can be categorised into one of two buckets:

  1. Data that can be easily measured and/or compared. This could be numeric data  like average GMAT scores, 80 percentile ranges, average number of work experience. Or it could be non-numeric – like nationality, industry and role.

But this is hardly enough to convince the Admission officers. Imagine responding to the ‘Why did you choose our program question’ with ‘No sweat. I just filtered the top 50 MBA programs, filtered it based on my GMAT score and voila…your bschool was right there…among the 20 other schools that have the same average GMAT.’

When the rest of your friends are going overboard in providing philosophical, emotional and spiritual responses, a superficial ‘data’ related response may not be ‘deep’ enough!

  1. Aspects that seem a little more elusive and amorphous. This would include managerial potential, leadership ability, ability to work in team, managing tough situations, bschool culture and the always confusing ‘differentiation’.

This category is the one you should be taking a little more seriously (of course, without taking away the importance of category 1 elements). But it can be difficult to put your finger on this one.

If you can get the right mix of category 1 and 2 ingredients, you’ve got a mouth-watering dish ready for the Admissions Committee.

While you take care of the first category with your GMAT preparation and professional accomplishments, we thought it might be useful to get some current MBA students from the top schools to make life (and your research efforts) a little easier by offering to share insights about their bschools.

Here’s the list of schools that currently have a presence on our business school forum.

If you have been thinking of applying to any of these schools, do make use of the opportunity to connect with those who are attending the program. Ask them questions that you’ve not been able to answer based on official websites and brochures.

We are trying to get more bschools on the forum. If you are a current student and you’d like to use our platform to reach out to the MBA applicant community, send us an email on info at mbacrystalball dot com.


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MBA Crystal Ball provides professional Admissions Consulting services. Hire us to improve your chances of getting into the top international universities. Email: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

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

14 Comments

  1. MP says:

    Dear Sameer,

    I have been an avid reader of your online content and I think you’re doing a great job here.

    I am a recent graduate from a top 3 IIM who couldn’t get his dream job from campus. Although I finished in the top 10% of the class and had plenty of interview shortlists in both summers and finals, I screwed up all of them and ended up with a mediocre job.

    The only way out I see from this mess and to again have a shot at M/B/B is to do another MBA from a top school abroad. Do you think this is the right strategy, assuming I do get in?

    P.S : If I posted this at the wrong place, please move it to the right section.

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    Hi MP,

    Thanks for the kind words about our work.

    Ideally this would have been a great query for our friend Amit (MBA Dropout) who’s taking consulting related queries on the management consulting jobs forum. But I can’t re-post this from the blog to the forum, so let me respond here.

    Generally speaking, if you are hell-bent on M/B/B (that’s McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Groups for others reading this), then you are right. Your best bet would be to get in through college placements.

    And that’s the reason many 2nd MBA applicants approach us for MBA consulting advice.

    M/B/B recruit directly as well, but for that you’d need to have some skills that they really value. Or a strong reference from within the company.

    But the other way to think about it is:
    – Do you really want to chase the M/B/B brand by investing 2 more years of your life into another MBA?
    – M/B/B careers are generally short (3-5 years). What are you aiming for AFTER that?
    – Do the longer terms goals REALLY need 2 more strong brands?

  3. MP says:

    Thanks a lot for the prompt response, Sameer.

    I really do want to get an M/B/B experience. It is just one of those “10 things I want to do before I die” thing. Contrary to popular expectations, I view consulting as a long term career option and am ready to make sacrifices for that.

    Thanks for your inputs. I shall also pose the same question to Amit.

    Best,
    MP

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    Sure, if it’s a long term plan and on that Top-10 list, then it might be worth evaluating. If you can make it to partner level at any of these firms, you’d be a demi-god in your own right.

    If/when you decide to go the MBA route, let’s touch base if you think MBA Crystal Ball could make the ride easier. Your mentor would be a former McKinsey consultant and recruiter.

  5. sathya says:

    Hello , my name is sathya and i am a graduate in civil engineering passed out in 2012.I wrote the CAT exam in 2012 and i will be writing it in 2013 .Also i have joined the coaching classes just like most of the MBA aspirants.Also, I am currently working in a builder company in Bangalore.Coming to the crux of my query, I want to pursue a degree in mba for 1.More money 2.I just want a post graduation degree. I do not want to pursue a degree in technical field.Also i want to start something on my own and make it big.For that i suppose MBA will be the first step in realizing my dream.I have been told by a person that MBA is not the only route to realizing my dream and i definitely agree with that person but i also believe that a B-school would definitely provide some solid platform for me.Also i am not so rich to afford to study abroad.

    My question is

    1. Is my decision to pursue MBA , a right one?

    2.I would like to pursue it in Infrastructure management and i do not want to do it in financial management but i want to learn about investing since i believe investment is for everyone.

    I would be glad if you answered my questions which i agree , are quite a bit obscure.

  6. Sameer Kamat says:

    Sathya,

    Your 3 reasons for pursuing an MBA are too broad. Admission officers would need something that’s more specific and justifies the ‘Why MBA’ in a more tangible manner.

    An MBA won’t teach you financial management and investing, though you will pick up several related skills – like analysing balance sheets, carrying out Discounted Cash Flow calculations for valuations etc.

    Btw, quick question about the guy who told you ‘….an MBA is not the only route to realizing your dream…’, by any chance, was it the author of this MBA book?

  7. sathya says:

    No it was a friend of mine .On the other hand i bought your book 2 days ago and i am beginning to like it and some of my notions are getting cleared and i am starting to sort out my priorities.I appreciate your endeavour.

  8. sathya says:

    I even heard that IIMs are not living up to their reputations.I even read an article about IIM-A placements being compared to “PUSHKAR” or cattle fair .I suppose it is the same plight with all the other top institutes in the country .Even you have mentioned about the curriculum structure in the country’s institutes.So , does it mean that getting an MBA degree in India is not worth compared to that of foreign universities?

  9. sathya says:

    The reason why i want to pursue an MBA is because of this book i read 1 year ago .It’s “The intelligent investor by Benjamin Graham”.One more thing about my career.At the end of my final year in B.E i was not placed and naturally i was scared and lot of apprehensions ran in my mind.I even took up JAVA classes because i felt that i would not survive with the kind of knowledge that i have in my core branch.Luckily i did not get a job in the IT industry too.Later i got a job in a construction company. Now i really feel that i have taken the right decision regarding MBA but few of them say that it will a whammy given my conviction of getting into the IT industry.Everyday i learn something about MBA and everyday my apprehensions grow stronger and i fear that i would be a laughing stock regarding what i have done wrt IT

  10. Sameer Kamat says:

    I was just kidding about the MBA book part. But it’s good to see many more folks realising what an MBA can and cannot do for them.

    On your query on whether international MBA programs are better than those in India, it would be incorrect to generalise. There are excellent MBA programs in India (apart from the usual suspects like ISB, IIMs, there are several others in India that don’t figure in popular MBA rankings) and there are mediocre ones abroad.

    On a lighter note, if being part of a ‘cattle fair’ (to use the term you mentioned) during the placement season could get me offers from multiple companies with strong brands and high salaries, I wouldn’t really mind it :-)

  11. sathya says:

    Could you also throw some light upon how much it would cost to pursue an MBA through GMAT?I mean to ask about the fee structure in a mediocre university. Also an MBA from a prestigious university from a foreign land would fetch higher salary and more contacts and exposure.I have an apprehension(since i do not know nothing about MBA ) that a student from an IIM will find it very difficult to make his mark when compared to that of a student in US or UK .So does it mean that an IIM student will initially(or for a notable span) has to face hardships in terms of salary and career . Ironically ,CAT is regarded as the toughest exam and yet it gives moderate returns.Shouldn’t the relationship be directly proportional?(Or does it eventually turn out to be?)Thank you for all those suggestions and advice.You guys are really helping a lot of people.

  12. Sameer Kamat says:

    The difficulty level vs returns topic will go into a hypothetical discussion. So let’s leave that for another day when we can cover this over coffee.

    The other one about cost is an important one as it is something that’ll directly impact you and the RoI for the program.

    For top schools, the MBA fees can be a big stumbling block.

    But if you have the right profile and you approach the school shortlisting and MBA application process in the right manner, you can get complete the MBA for free. Read this story about someone who got a Full-tuition MBA scholarship plus stipend

  13. Abhi says:

    Hi Sameer,

    Gr8 job in answering all the queries posed by MBA aspirants. I’ve got a query regarding doing MBA in India.

    Most of the Bschools have been hiking up their course fees Y-O-Y. Even IIMs are no exception. Considering that the brightest minds in India look upto IIMs as their destination for doing MBA, the existing fees are being a burden for most of the aspirants to bear. Considering 20 lacs is what it takes to get a MBA degree from a top notch IIM (to top it, one has to sail the Ocean of CAT aspirants, face the stiff competition and come out victorious to land up in IIMS). Say, If I take a bank loan for the same and interest rate being 12% ( Some Banks are charging >16%), what is the ROI? Taking into consideration that the avg pay is around 20 lacs, the next two years post MBA, the candidate will be slogging to repay the loan. Even, If he/she doesn’t like the job they are doing, they are boxed. So, there are no good number of entrepreneurs coming out. Candidates’ main intention will be to repay the loan taken, rather than take up something of his/her choice.

    Need ur say on this.

    Regards,

    Abhi

  14. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Abhi: Your argument is spot on. The high MBA cost in India and abroad can cripple many an entrepreneurial dream.

    We have a full-fledged post on Why many bschool grads may never launch a startup

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