When Akshay Prakash isn’t racing his Ducati on the Chennai race tracks, he looks for other ways to get his rush. He came to us in end April for help with his applications, we assumed he was targetting the September deadlines for his applications (i.e. Round 1), like all the other good boys who start preparing early do. We misunderstood. He sure was targetting September, not for the applications, but for the program to start.
Akshay likes speed. It gives him an adrenaline high.
We don’t like speed. It gives us high blood pressure.
Akshay’s plan was to apply to one specific program (that he had researched)…in Round 4. Some universities have options beyond Round 3 deadlines, but these are generally meant for domestic applicants who can join quickly if offered an admit.
For international students there are additional hassles of applying for a student F1 visa (after getting the I-20 which could itself take several weeks). And then there’s the issue of arranging for the fees.
Instead of simply taking on his request to help with the essays, we asked him to take a step back and evaluate his strategy. And also start planning to apply to MBA and MS programs in the next admissions season. To our surprise, Captain Speed agreed to both. Here’s what happened next.
It all started the day I seriously thought of getting a consultant to help me with my essays and resume. I was looking online for people with a good reputation, the forums gmatclub.com, beatthegmat.com and a few more pointed towards a top MBA admission consultant in USA.
However, I was a bit skeptical as the reviews could have been edited and their credibility could be in question. So I contacted Sameer from MBA Crystal Ball. One email and he told me he could help me out.
I weighed the pros and cons of what could be done and what could be achieved with these guys.
The main feel good factor about these guys was that they knew where I was coming from, mainly because the ‘Indian Engineers’ pool is over-represented in the Top MBA applicants pool.
I needed a competitive edge to really stand out. Sameer suggested we start with the MBA MAP to really find out the reason we are doing an MBA.
What was the reason, whether that reason was good enough to make the investment and effort worthwhile and finally would I be able to get back my return on investment. Because, come on guys, if you don’t get a really good financial aid your looking at upwards of $125,000. That’s madness if your not born with a silver spoon in your mouth.
Money wasn’t the issue for me. But still unless I am able to profit out of the money I am spending, I didn’t feel it was worth it.
The MBA MAP stripped me down to my bare intentions. It really made me look into the mirror and ask myself do I really need the MBA? Am I really qualified enough to compete at the global level with people having 6+ years of experience (Not to mention 720+ GMAT scores).
I had a decent GMAT score, not too good or bad, but coupled with my lesser years of experience, I was not so shining now. Bottom line was I was not ‘yet’ up to the mark. The MAP experience made me see that.
I then looked at other options MS, MS with PhD. One program really looked promising and was an upcoming field.
The catch was I had missed the Round 3 deadline and was fast approaching the round 4 deadline.
I informed Sameer and he got me in touch with MG. We started work on June 4 and June end my packet was ready with EVERYTHING and I sent it out to the university.
A week later I got my admit letter. I was ECSTATIC!!!!!!!!
People I know have waited for 3-4 months to get their decision letters. I got it in record time. All thanks to MG and his amazing editing and counseling ability coupled with Sameer’s quiet critique, all this was possible.
Never in my dreams did I think I would be able to do this in such a short time. I am here now in the library of Bentley University as I write this review. Everything after my admit letter was a supersonic flight.
My I-20 came in 3 days (it has taken 5 weeks in some cases for other students). The F1 visa interview was a cakewalk. My lease on the house (in USA) I was going to stay was also done. I found my roommates, one of whom was my undergrad classmate who is also doing a similar course in my own University.
I call it luck. But as Sameer puts it, it’s not just luck as I had done my research thoroughly. This is what I have also come to agree.
Sameer and MG really polished what I already had and made it presentable at a whole different level, a level I could never even understand existed.
This coupled with my research is the reason I am where I am today, doing my MS in Business Analytics.
I do not recommend this route for everyone. But my 2 cents are do your research and find out what will work in 2-3 years time. Not what is HOT today and work back wards.
I’ll end the post with what Sameer suggested to me – Find out something that is tangible, measurable, achievable and exists in the market.
Akshay might’ve managed to get a lot squeezed into the time he had left and (despite the MBA vs MS dilemma) get into the one program that was on his mind.
But if you are reading this hoping to execute similar stunts…don’t. Applying in Round 3 (or Round 4) isn’t a good idea. The odds of getting into good MBA colleges & MS programs in a different country are very low. Apart from getting rejected, the stress could also give you other battle marks, like ulcers.
Plan your journey well in advance. Hit the road early. Drive safe.