When applicants ask us how many schools they should apply to, we suggest having enough on the list to manage the quality (of each application) as well as the risk (of not getting into their top choice). Most candidates follow our advice, but occasionally we come across a few who’ve pretty much made up their minds about the way ahead.
Anjali Grover (name changed) was completely smitten by one school, and she wasn’t willing to look at any other backup option. That raised the stakes (and expectation levels) to a different level, since this MBA program has been ranked as the best in the world by Financial times this year.
Born and bred in Chandigarh, I completed my B.E. from PEC in Civil Engineering. Post graduation, I started my career with Evalueserve – a research and analytics firm, which gave me hands-on experience in analysing market landscapes for large businesses and finding data-driven solutions aimed at improving efficiencies.
In 2012, I moved to Romania to continue my assignment. While my journey with Evalueserve was a great learning experience, I realized that to move to the next level, it is imperative to add new skills and widen my network. Hence, I decided to pursue an MBA from INSEAD.
I had a few criteria for my school selection:
a) a top ranked school
b) a one-year MBA.
However, in the end it was all about the fit for me – culturally and professionally, INSEAD rang a bell close to home.
With a strong academic record, a GMAT of 720, I knew I had a decent shot for an admit. Initially, I did not think of professional help, as most of them appear to be money-minting machines. Since I was only applying to one school and that was THE school for me, I wanted to leave no stone unturned.
I had been introduced to Sameer Kamat from MBA Crystal Ball a few years back through an MBA forum (I had also read his book – Beyond the MBA Hype, back then). He came across as an enthu cutlet who can talk to you both as a friend and a mentor.
You will instantly know that he is genuinely interested to help you figure out next steps in your career, which may or may not be an MBA. Needless to say, the conversation is far from being a sales pitch.
This time when I reached out to Sameer, he connected me to MG so I can decide how comfortable I am with my him as my potential consultant (I don’t know if any of the other consultants do this!).
One phone conversation later, I knew I wanted to leverage MG for my application. MG’s critique of my essays really helped me to understand how my essays would appear to a third person. He helped me put my best foot forward with a well-rounded application.
With God’s grace, not only did I make it to INSEAD, I also received two financial grants (MBA scholarships) from the school!
In my opinion, an MBA application is your life’s story in a nutshell, and thus the application is a test of storytelling. No one can change your story, but good MBA application consultants can help you tell it in a way that no one else can tell it better.
Most of the top-ranked schools have some commonalities i.e. hubs of type-A personalities, most of whom were super achievers in their past life and will write great success stories post MBA.
While INSEAD also boasts of such accolades, its variegated student set, and spirit of collaboration, make it very different from other top ranked schools.
The treasure of knowledge that comes with a very culturally diverse class is overwhelming and fulfilling at the same time. It was a totally life changing experience, which I am grateful to have had.`
Image credit: INSEAD