Our friend ‘VA’ (he prefers to stay anonymous) made it to the MIT Sloan Fellow program. Being thrilled about it, just like we are for him, VA tells us what motivated him to apply to a highly competitive but unconventional program, in this post. He takes it one step further and shares his application strategy and secrets with us.
Inspite of working for India’s second largest IT company I tried not to fall under the typical Indian IT Male category. I recently got accepted to the Sloan Fellows program (1 yr Full Time MBA) at MIT Sloan School of Management. My 10 yrs of experience spread across two diverse industries – Hospitality Industry and IT Outsourcing helped me break the usual jinx which most Indian candidates applying to the MBA program face.
For starters, I worked with a reputed Indian 5 star hotel chain doing stuff like :
• working in the Kitchen and peeling onions for 13 hrs straight OR
• managing a Health Club which had celebrity members OR
• bumping guests off to another hotel on a sold out date OR
Today, I work with one of the Big IT companies running outsourced operations for a fortune 500 giant. My passion is to manage a large team of people. And I think I can never get over it.
One year back someone told me that my profile is good but I don’t have a Master’s. This comment triggered my hunt to look for an MBA program. Anyone who starts their MBA journey thinks of a 700 on gmat and a Harvard/Stanford/Wharton first. I did so too.
But eventually I realised that a H/S/W will not offer me the kind of exposure I was looking for. It may sound suprising but I think finding out ‘What the school can do for you and not vice versa’ is the most important aspect.
I was looking for a Full Time Program but I needed to be in a class which had more years of experience. So Executive MBAs were ruled out. I asked myself another question – ‘What will be my takeaway vs. my contribution in an MBA class…?’
A traditional 2 year MBA class having people with 3-5 yrs experience did not excite me at all. With 10 yrs of experience and managing a large team of about 180 people, I needed senior people from the industry to be my classmates.
Sloan Fellows program at MIT was a perfect fit. This program is specially meant for mid-career managers looking for Leadership roles in future. I am fortunate to be part of the Class of 2012. I think I am going to be the youngest student in the class as the average age is about 38 yrs. Sloan Fellows come from various countries and almost 70% of the class is International. And most importantly there are several people at CEO, CFO, Director, VP kind of positions who are part of this class. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn from their experiences.
I mentioned that I probably will the youngest in the program. But I would like to mention some of the things which helped me secure an admit to MIT.
Firstly, after I decided that Sloan Fellows is the program for me, I did in-depth research about the program. Right now I don’t think there is any blog, video, post about the program that I did not go through. Though I could not go to the school, my research gave me a lot of confidence about my fit into the program. And it really showed during my discussion with the Admissions Team. My passion to get into the program was clearly evident. I even told the Admissions Director after his information session that I could have made the presentation myself as I had studied so much about the program.
Secondly, I kept in touch throughout the application process. Sent them a thank you note after my introductory discussion. Kept checking back at regular intervals. Informed them after I submitted the application. Asked some relevant questions about essays, recommendations. I think all of it really showed the Admissions team that I was really serious about applying.
Thirdly, I was myself throughout. Clichéd as it may sound but you need to be your true self during your dealings with the school. Even if showing another side gets you in the school, you will surely regret it. For e.g. I attended the Information session of INSEAD. Almost instantly, I knew that this school is not a right fit for me, even though older candidates are successful in getting into INSEAD. So be true to yourself and show your true side. It will help you and the admissions team make an informed decision about your fit to the school or the program.
I hope the above will help you in shaping up your MBA applications, whatever is left for the year. I have some more information on my blog – http://evenchampionslosesometimes.blogspot.com/
Till next time…!!