Chicago Booth Executive MBA admit for Indian Architect

There are very few architects from India applying to international business schools. And competing with engineers who crack the GMAT with relative ease is another daunting task for applicants from non-quantitative backgrounds.

Manisha (name changed) faced these hurdles during her part-time MBA application to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, considered to be the second best part-time MBA program in the world (according to US News). If you are wondering, the top position goes to the Haas Berkeley Part-time MBA.
 


How an Architect got into the Chicago Booth Part-time MBA program

by Manisha

 
MBA for Indian ArchitectI was born and raised in India. Since my childhood, I was very creative person and undergraduate degree in Architecture provided a natural outlet for the creative side in me. During my studies, a dissertation in ‘Energy efficiency’ exposed me to research that buildings are the biggest contributor to environmental and climate challenges.

This sparked my interest in sustainability and I decided to pursue a graduate degree in Sustainable Architecture from US. After graduation, I shifted my focus from designing buildings to providing consulting for Energy Efficiency, Sustainability and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) management services.

Over the years, I have provided consulting services across diverse sectors. However in last few years I have realized that to lead the sustainability efforts from front I need to gain knowledge of how to integrate sustainability in business processes and strategies. I knew an MBA degree would be immensely helpful for me, but this became reality when I started feeling stagnated in my career.

With 10 years of substantial experience under my belt I knew that two year Full time MBA program would not be a good fit for me. From the very start, I targeted one year MBA and part-time MBA programs. I quickly realized that if I need admission in good school, than there is no escape from GMAT even for part-time MBA programs.

With 4.0 GPA in my graduate studies, I did not comprehend how difficult it is to cross the “golden” 700 GMAT score. I tried different online courses and different methods but, with every passing day and my office workload it seemed difficult to ace GMAT. Eventually I decided to continue my GMAT preparation along with my application process.
 

Choosing between Part-time MBA vs Executive MBA

From one of my friends, I got to know about Manish Gupta (MG) at MBA Crystal Ball and how immensely helpful he was in his MBA journey. Apart from regular full-time programs, they’ve helped applicants crack into the top executive MBA and part-time MBA programs too. This led to my decision to take the admission consulting help from MBA Crystal Ball.

After my initial discussion with MG we decided to start the application process for the MIT Sloan fellows – one year MBA program. The MIT brand name and the fact that GMAT waiver was awarded to some students for this program were the biggest driving factors for me.

While working on the MIT application, MG suggested me to visit school and interact with the current students. His advice was extremely valuable as the school visit really helped me to gain more insight for the program. After my school visit I was able to include more relevant information in my essays, and realized that I won’t be eligible for GMAT waiver.

Further, the school visit helped me to understand that Sloan Fellows program might not be appropriate for me. The program is targeted for mid level managers who are not looking for career services help in recruiting process after graduation.

Most of the part-time MBA and one year MBA provide on campus recruiting but the Executive MBA don’t. This was the primary reason for my decision to not pursue Executive MBA.

Eventually I ended up not applying for the MIT Sloan Fellows program, but the whole process really helped me in the application process for next school – University of Chicago Booth Business School. Although I was not able to cross the 700 mark in GMAT but I got 660, which was in school’s 80% GMAT range.
 

Working on my part-time MBA essays

For the essays, MG did an excellent job of making them look impeccable. They were much better framed and looked more cohesive with MG’s input. His approach of quantifying every achievement, in essays and resume, made everything REAL rather than Fluff.

Throughout the application process, the brainstorming sessions with MG were the most essential component for writing the essays. Before the session MG would ask to come up with as many ideas as possible for each essay question. During the session, he provided feedback on which stories to pick and how to connect them together to sound one cohesive narrative.

Further, MG was very responsive in the whole application process. I have sent him many emails requesting advice / feedback and he always replied me promptly, sometimes in less than 15 minutes.
 

Preparing for the part-time MBA interview

The last hurdle during the process was the in-person interview. The University of Chicago Booth Business School interviews each candidate as part of the part-time MBA application process.

Here, my Skype mock interview with MG before visiting MIT really helped me a lot. I was much more confident and prepared for the in-person interview at Chicago Booth. My interview with the alum was casual and interactive, but the interviewer covered everything from my background, my future aspiration to which clubs I intend to join and which classes I intend to take.

Since I was putting all my eggs in one basket and applying to only one school, I wanted to ensure that I leave no stone unturned. I thoroughly researched the program and also attended on-site information session. This all really helped me, and at one point the interviewer mentioned that I am one of the few candidates that have thoroughly researched the school.
 

Tips for part-time / full-time / executive MBA applicants

My advice to future MBA aspirants would be-

1. Invest time in thoroughly researching the school and the program. If you make that effort you will have a reality check on your expectation from the program, and you will shine in the essays as well as in the interview. If you are a young professional with 4-5 years of work experience and looking for career change then full-time MBA program is definitely ideal for you. If you have substantial experience then consider one year, part-time MBA or Executive MBA in USA.

2. If you have a unique background then ensure that you elaborate it in the essays. The MBA schools always look for diversity to enhance the classroom discussions.

3. Invest substantial time in researching your stories and writing your first school’s essays. This ground work will be useful for other school applications as well. For instance all schools will ask about short term and long term goals post MBA in essays.

4. Getting exceptional recommendation letters can be challenging. It’s always better to pick your recommenders from different companies so that your recommendation letter does not include the same examples.

5. Invest in right resources such as good admission consultant for a strong application. GMAT score is important but it is not the only parameter. An overall strong application includes outstanding essays and recommendation letters so invest considerable time for those.

I hope that you find my experiences useful.
 
Image credit: ncmodernist.org


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MG (Manish Gupta) //
MG (Manish Gupta)

Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

8 Comments

  1. Tushar Nair says:

    Good day manish .

    I am a 23 year old 2nd officer sailing on foreign going container ships. I have 2 years of experience and would like to enroll for an mba in shipping and logistics or supply chain management and chartering. My basic queries are would I be eligible with my qualifications and what schools abroad offer and are good for these courses.
    Qualifications.
    Bsc in nautical science from Indian maritime university
    2nd mate COC from dg shipping of India.
    10 + 2 science

    • Tushar,

      In general it is better to have 4-5 years of pre-MBA experience. There are hardly any good programs that offer shipping related concentrations. It really depends on what your career priorities are but in general, a more generalized MBA program is a better bet. Merchant navy folks quite regularly seek MBA programs so no reason you can’t do it too.

  2. Sameer says:

    Hello Manish
    Thanks for such and informative article and prompt responses to the comments on the blog.
    I’m a BBA 2nd year student. I’m having a tough time deciding whether to study in India or abroad. What score in GMAT should be good for a good percentage of scholarship, since the total expenditure is pretty high. You mentioned previously the scenario abroad is not the same as in India, is job experience necessary or can join I a B-School right away?
    My folks can shell out upto a crore, and I’ll surely try my best to get as much scholarship possible as well as keep the personal expenses to the lowest.

  3. Ishita says:

    Hi Manish,

    Following are my academic and professional qualifications:-

    1)10th-89.8%
    2)12th-92.5%
    3)B.Tech graduation- 85%+(9.04 CGPA)

    Currently working as a Techno-Functional Consultant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in the ERP Domain,completed 23 months.Worked with both domestic and international clients,in a total of 7 projects,some of the international clients being PwC Exordia,PwC Canada,PwC UK and Lucy(UAE).

    Apart from this,I have two professional certifications of Microsoft in the ERP Domain.

    My extracurricular activities:-

    1)Certified classical dancer(Kathak).
    2)Painter/Sketcher.
    3)One of the organizers of the college fest.
    4)Food blogger/food critic(Having my own blog).
    5)Stream topper in college.

    Please evaluate my profile and suggest a good score for good MBA colleges.

  4. Chirag Chudasama says:

    Hello sir,
    I’m Chirag, presently in my second year of btech in mechanical engineering from NIT Surat.
    Firstly i want to congratulate you for having a such a wonderful career.
    Coming to me, I’m very confused whether to go for MBA or MS after my btech. If i want to go into the automobile field, which one would be better? Whether to pursue it in india or go to abroad? I am not financially stable. I also have confusion with my interest in automobiles. Is this field good? Does it have very good scope in future? I’m also money aspirant. So want a job with very good salary and good work environment and work-timings. So can you please remove my confusion regarding these problems?

    Thank you

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