As we wrote in an earlier article (How business schools are luring female applicants), MBA admission officers are very interested in getting applications from competitive female applicants. But that’s only in relative terms.
In absolute terms, it is still darn tough to crack into the top ranked business schools even with a high GMAT and a unique & differentiated (read, non-IT) profile, as Jyoty Subramanian found out in the first year of applications.
She used the rejections as a learning experience to get back next year. Instead of dropping the bar and applying to lower ranked MBA programs, she aimed high again, this time with a more effective strategy.
That the little we have between sunrise & sunset,
Is the little we can to end up with no regret.
When I wrote the verse above, it reflected my attitude and my reason for an MBA.
As a Marketing & Brand Manager with a commercial vehicle manufacturing company, I love my innovative and engaging job.
But beyond just liking something, I really wanted to make exceptional & disruptive innovations, beyond the regular value-adding contributions I was making at work.
I wanted to strategize, take up responsibilities at a faster scale than what the company was accustomed to offer an employee with just 4 years of experience.
This made me realize that a valuable MBA can do wonders for career progression. An MBA is a massive investment on oneself and that is when the prudent investor in me was alerted.
I gave the GMAT almost a year before my application cycle- I identified a time period when work pressure would be minimal & strategically prepared for 2 months.
I took a week off from work and gave multiple mocks. Finally on the GMAT day, I managed a 730 Q50 V38 AWA 4.
Had I managed my time better in Quants, I could have avoided guessing the last 3 questions. But, the main point is to never leave any question unanswered.
Age and slightly below average work-ex were definite challenges ahead of my application journey. But, I also had another one – the burden of previous rejections from schools I had applied the year before.
For school selection this time I wanted to be extra careful and choose wisely – balance was the key.
GMAT Club had helped greatly in my GMAT prep and it was through the forum in gmatclub, that I learnt about MBA Crystal Ball and their awesome work. The reviews were genuine and good.
I pinged Sameer and then MG to understand their offerings. I feel that enrolling for MBA MAP was a very good decision which set me up in the right direction.
Ankur guided me through MBA MAP and gave me invaluable inputs which led me to choose the right mix of schools and also helped me refine my long-term (LT) & short-term (ST) goals.
During the research post MAP, I re-adjusted my post-MBA goals (ST – Marketing & LT-Entrepreneurship). This made me skeptical of the initial MAP report & I requested for a refreshed MAP.
But, further discussions with Ankur put my doubts to rest.
In fact, post my applications to R1 schools – the results were surprisingly mirrored by the MAP report.
I had chosen a mix of 2 ambitious, 2 stretch and 2 practical schools to apply for in R1. This mix was selected from the MAP with my goals and my profile in mind.
At two of the schools, I was a re-applicant – a decision I consciously made, because these schools were a perfect fit for me!
I also had shortlisted 5 schools for R2, on which I had started working post R1 deadlines – however fortunately I did not feel the need to submit any of the R2 school applications, post R1 decisions.
The interviews I encountered post R1, were very refreshing and offered a valuable chance to meet and discuss with interesting alums/adcoms. I learnt of the schools from their perspective & started liking the schools even more.
After a long month of waiting, with great joy I learnt of my admission to Michigan Ross and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Tepper. I also got waitlisted with Duke (Fuqua School of Business). In fact, I was surprised to learn that Tepper had offered a very handsome MBA scholarship as well.
PS: When I got a call from ROSS, right in the middle of a meeting at work, I jumped off with joy outside the room, knowing completely well that I have re-written my journey hereon :-)
I am strongly leaning towards one of these schools – but I have good time to rationally decide based on my finances and discussions with current students & alums.
After a slew of rejections last year, I was very crest-fallen, but also determined to prove my mettle.
Rejections should trigger the fighting spirit in you – making you work harder and stronger towards what you always wanted! Never compromise your life choices based on a few outcomes. Age, gender, years of work-experience, GPA, GMAT etc. are statistical data.
But selecting the right school and the school accepting you also depends on your fit with the school.
Are the experiences and initiatives you have taken till date similar to the ones which the school would encourage?
Do you have the depth and breadth of experience filled with stories you can share proudly with your interviewer?
Would you invest over a crore (INR) on yourself with confidence?
Do you have a direction for your post-MBA goals – even if they are not crystallized?
If you can answer most of these – then you are in-fact in the right direction! All the very best!! :-)
Image source: Roman Design Challenge