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Manchester Business School MBA or Indiana Kelley MBA?

There’s one trait that makes Nitin Vig special – Tenacity. Having known him for a while, I know more about him than this following post reveals. And that I think the quality to hang in there when the chips are down and keep pushing is gonna take him places.

He had to struggle with an envious dilemma – having to choose between 2 good business schools with scholarship. Read on about his journey and the tips he shares.

How I got into the Kelley MBA and Manchester business school

Manchester Business School MBA Kelley Indiana NitinAll hell broke loose – I had taken my GMAT, hoping to cross that magical mark of 700. I could only muster 660. Not good enough for an Indian candidate with only 3.5 year of work experience. No problem I said.
This was back in 2009. I took a break of 3 months – yeah too long! And took the GMAT again in July 2010, This time got 710. Wow!! I thought I took the first “giant step” towards my ultimate dream of getting into the “Big league” – Top MBA Program.

Before long I started to do research about the schools, I realized that there is so much more that is required to get to your dream school – number of years of experience, type of experience, your goals, and of course how well you can market yourself.

However, all those factors couldn’t stop me from applying to some of the top program. I stuck to the simple plan – apply early. So, I selected Oxford Saïd, Darden (University of Virginia) and UCLA Anderson (California) for Round-1. But by November, after getting dinged in all those three schools, I knew that it was time to “dig deep” – find out what went to went wrong. Simple plans sometimes fail!!!

It was no surprise to me that I had done that same mistake that most of us normally – go by the rankings, rather than going a step ahead to find out what actually sets some XYZ school apart from the lot. Ahh!!! “Good Gyan”. But how do we find that??

Now, that’s when my choice of schools changed completely. In round 2, I applied to Indiana (Kelley), and Manchester business school. And finally I got admits from both these schools. So what changed for me? Basically, one needs to understand that all Top 25 schools in the US are really top notch in terms of faculty, exposure, student diversity etc. Kelley is Top 20 School as per BW rankings and one of the best schools under public university – more chances of securing scholarship.

Manchester is another Top 30 Program in the world (ranked #29, 2010, ft rankings), and one of the Top General Management programs in the world. Apart from its big brand and a long history, Manchester offers two opportunities to intern during its 18-month long program – increasing one’s chance of securing your dream job, especially important for international students. Students, especially those living in cosmopolitan cities like Mumbai, will love to spent their time in Manchester. Of course, its easy on the pocket compared to London– am sure everyone would know that!!

Kelley, of course famous for its “renowned” marketing faculty, is also good in finance & accounting and also generates immense interest amongst students wanting to get into consulting. So, in that way, it’s a “smart” school – isn’t weak at anything. Most current students swear by its friendly and competitive culture, especially the work ethics that international learn out of this school. Academics is taken very seriously at Kelley – what else can one ask for!!!

My journey to this point has been really tough, learning through mistakes, but I hope that people reading this post can learn from my mistakes and do a better. So here are some tips:

• Unless you have an exceptional profile, select not more than two schools in Top10 (US schools)

• Go beyond just the rankings – culture at the school, how old is the school, and of course analyse the “selectivity” parameter of the school

• Ways to get insights into the schools –, best ranking for US schools, and of course there is no substitute to speaking to current students

• Never overlook some of these schools – Babson, Kelley (of course), Tepper, Fisher, McCombs, Smith and Tippie. All these are good schools and are well recognized in the US

Nitin has (intentionally) stayed away from getting into too many details as he wants to keep it interactive. So if you have any questions for him, post them on the Kelley MBA program at Indiana University.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

37 thoughts on “Manchester Business School MBA or Indiana Kelley MBA?”

  1. Hi Nitin

    Interesting post ! 🙂 Congrats for both the admits, really a envious dilemma you are facing but I am sure you have decided by now where you are going !

    How was your experience drafting the application and getting the referees recommend you during both the rounds ?
    Also, please share any GMAT tips as I see myself in same position as you were in after your first take 🙂


  2. Hi Shivraj,

    yeah its good to be in such a dilemma. Application process was really cumbersome, one needs to fill any gap or question in the essays. I suggest that you start working on your career goals essay ready before august – that takes time.
    keep your referees informed about your MBA decision, so that they don’t get a last minute shock, which could affect your recommendation.

    GMAT needs lots of practice, because most of us are not used to sitting before the desktop for 4 hours. Practice as many as 20 GMAT tests.

    Hope this helps.

    in case` you need further assistance, please write in your queries.


  3. Hi Nitin,
    Great Post and congrats on the Admits.
    I am admitted to Manchester and hope to see you there.

    Mohamed Aloui

  4. Congrats!. More than the ranking the attitude matters. The best leaders are not from B-Schools, where one gets tools and techniques which can change over the time.

  5. Hi Nitin and Mohamed,

    Congratulations to both of you!!!

    Just wanted to seek your advice and valuable suggestions..

    I gave the GMAT couple of days back.. scored 650.. was expecting a far better score (since i was doing very well on GMAT preps), but I guess it just wasn’t my day!!

    Nwaz.. I have more than 3.5 years of experience in Business Consulting in BIG 4’s.. N i think i have been able to build up a good work profile over the last few years…
    I am keen to apply to Manchester Business School.. SO i would like to seek your opinion as to whether i hold any chance of getting admission at Manchester with 650 GMAT score.. I am aware that GMAT is just one part.. Essays, recommendation letters etc count a lot.. Based on your experience and knowledge, what is your final take??? DO you think i should take a shot at Manchester??

    I would highly appreciate your help!


    • Hi Aditya,

      You seem to have a solid professional background, and I presume that same goes well for your academics. Although I finally got into Kelley, I believe that MBS is still one of the best in the UK, therefore, its selection process is highly competitive, and a lot depends on your essays, but a good GMAT score goes a long way in ensuring that you crossed the first hurdle.
      Try to write to MBS whether you can submit your GMAT score sometime after your application, that will give you sufficient time to retake the GMAT.

      Hope this helps you..


      • Hi Nitin,

        Apologies for replying soo late. I was in Nepal past one month for a business engagement.
        Just to update you.. I submitted my application to MBS and cleared the intial review round. I have been shortlisted for the face-to-face interview round scheduled in January 2012.

        I was just going through the forum and read your reply to Srikanth Kannan’s post. Even am looking to pursue a career in Strategy/Management Consulting post MBA. I used to feel that MBS would be apt for seeking a career in Strategy Consulting, owing to its fantastic curriculum (live consulting projects etc). So what’s your take on this?

        Thanks a ton for your help!


  6. Hi Nitin,

    One question, how did you come to know that you got dinged in all three initial applications?. Did they send rejection letters or kept you in dark for a while?. Thanks.

  7. Hi Nitin,
    Thanks for your reply. I got offer letter from Manchester – Miami center though I applied for UK location. The reason being I work and live in USA. I thought attending school in UK will provide better networking opportunities and a good feel of university itself plus European culture. The UK admission office sent the offer letter to Miami and I got it from them. This will be the fourth Miami batch, 25 each. They pitched about cohort, project work, time zone etc for choosing Miami center. I had applied to one school only, this is my first application. Not sure you or anyone in this forum are from Manchester-MBA. Hope someone can shed lights on this. Tks.

    – Raj

    • Raj,

      Congrats on the offer.

      Wondering why you applied only to one school. It is always good to apply to multiple schools to avoid situations like this. As you have no other option in hand right now, you might feel pressured to accept whatever is offered.

      But you don’t need to feel compelled to accept something that you did not ask for. If the primary reason you applied there was to be in the UK, communicate this to the Admissions office. Hopefully they will be able to accomodate you in the main batch.

      Let us know how it pans out. Good luck.

  8. Hi Nitin,

    Apologies for the late entry into this discussion. I was wondering if you could comment on how Manchester Business School is perceived by recruiters in India.

    29th in the World, 4th in UK all sounds good but right now the European economy is not generating enough jobs. Of course, these are beyond the control of the B-schools but its a very real risk for someone planning to go to UK for an MBA. So its good to know how the school is looked upon by recruiters in India (especially in the light of the visa rule change in UK).

    Personally, I rate the program as ‘excellent’, just worried about the schools ability to place its students both inside UK and abroad. Just FYI, I’m looking at Management Consulting post-MBA.


  9. Hi Srikanth,

    I can understand your predicament at this time because I was in the same situation a year back. If un certainty about the job is the only reason holding you back, I would suggest you speak to the current students at manchester. In my opinion, MBS is one of the best in the UK, closer to London, and above all highly recognized in Europe. A good percentage of people get placed in financial services but I am not sure about the scope of management consulting jobs after you graduate from MBS, that is because US is the Consulting hub and moreover it is tough to get into consulting unless you are in the top school such as Oxford, LBS etc. But keep in mind that MBS has a strong alumni network, and you have ample opportunities to build your network with such people. MBS isn’t a bad option to have after all 🙂


  10. Hi Nitin,

    Congrats on the offers. Curious to know, which one did you choose? BTW, i have put in my application to MBS. Its the only school that i have applied to this year with my GMAT score of 640. Could you let me know how lenient the school is when looking at the GMAT score? The average for MBS is 640 so i am AT the average. However, my other aspects of the application are pretty strong.
    Could you also please let me know about the alumni network and support that the school provides?


    Good luck


  11. Hi Naveen,

    MBS puts greater emphasis on your work experience than any other aspect, however, I am not quite sure what is the average gmat for Indian candidates. MBS’s alumni is very strong because it ‘s an old school. When I spoke to a few people at MBS, they were highly critical of MBS’s career services office, but I would not want to take a stand on it because most international schools emphasize on networking with alumni to get internships and full-time jobs. I would also suggest you to look into the average age and work experience of current class while making your choice of your school because it helps you to gauge what recruiters normally expect out of an MBS’s student.


  12. Hey Aditya,

    First of all, apologies for the delayed response. Congrats on getting an interview call from MBS. I am sure with your kind of experience wouldn’t be much of a challenge getting through the interview, provided you get your stories right. In my experience, all the top international schools provide you with the tools to get to your career path. MBS does that through its consulting projects, and those are extremely useful. However, your career in strategy consulting will vastly depend upon how well you reach to those firms, and highlight your skills. Consulting projects will definitely help you build interesting stories to present your personality, experiences and skills, and that’s how the school markets it’s program. Moreover, MBS is one of the top schools in the UK and therefore carries a lot of weight amongst recruiters. I suggest that you also speak to a few more people from the current class to know more about the how consulting projects have helped them in their careers.


  13. Hey Nitin,

    I have just graduated from college and I am applying for a masters programme in finance and business Economics at manchester business school…I wish to work i the financial sector mainly as an investment the job market is really tight in UK, there are chances that i will have to come back to India to find a Job…Can you tell me if I will have any advantage with the employers in India as MBS is a reputed university worldwide…Also how difficult do you think will it be to get a job in India after pursuing such a degree from MBS??

  14. Hi Kritika,

    I will not be able to comment on jobs in IB sector in India because I have no clue, but I can give you my take on job market in IB field in general. First consideration – Anyone planning to get into IB must get into the top school in that country, and I mean top 3 because most of the IB firms select the cream from the Top 3 schools. Second consideration – your school must be located close to such firms because you will have to constantly network with people at those firms. Third consideration is your academic credentials – you got to have been top 10% of students in your college, along with some additional qualifications like CFA, CPA etc.


  15. Hey Nitin,

    Your post is really inspiring ! Coincidentally, I am exactly in the same boat as you were earlier. To put things in perspective, my GMAT score is 660, work ex of 5yrs in Technology & Marketing, and i am looking to pursue a career in Strategy/Management post MBA. With some good luck, i have secured admits of Manchester and UMD Smith. I am really concerned about PSW prospects in UK especially post revised Visa regulations from April 2012. On the other hand, Manchester MBA will cost me less than Smith MBA over two years and MBS as a brand is quite a reputed one whereas Smith although has a wonderful programme but barely features into top 30 programs of US.

    What would be your take on this?



  16. Hi Rohan,

    First of all congratulations on getting calls from two schools. Both schools are great in other own right, however, you need to decide out of the two schools which one meets your objective the best. Smeal has one of the best programs in the US, and its location is close to the industry, so that really helps during internship search. Think about whether that is a sufficient enough reason for you to choose Smeal over MBS.

    I would alo say that at this point, US economy is generating more jobs for skilled manpower than UK’s economy.

    hope this helps you.


  17. Hi nitin… Read all the above posts, were good indeed reflecting ur in depth understanding of MBA. I just wanna know …were u a student in Jabalpur KV.

  18. Hi Nitin,
    If I intend to get basic business knowledge and my long term goal is to be self-employed in India, would you recommend Kelly or ISB? The total cost of both program is the same, I am in no hurry to finish the program so the length of 1 vs. 2 year does not matter to me now…

    Your 2 cents would be appreciated on this one…
    thanks and have a good day!


  19. Hi Devarshi,

    I will try my best to give you my 2 cents 🙂
    As you are looking at being self-employed in India, I would suggest that you look closely at the ISB option. Ask yourself, what skill would you add by studying in the US. If the answer is that you want to experience the culture and explore other career possibilities during the 2 year program, then you should look at the US option.
    Kelley has a well-known Entrepreneurship academy – Johnson Center, is led by a great professor. Also, look at Babson School, which is no.1 mba program in entrepreneurship.
    Personally, I feel that if your costs come out to be the same in both cases, then try Kelley – it’s got some of the best professors in the US.
    in case you want to want to know more about the kelley experience, I would encourage you to ask me specific questions. Happy Holi!


  20. Hi Guys,
    Any thoughts on NUS Singapore vs MBS .
    Singapore doing really well compared to U.K. But MBS looks like a much better program . Any idea which school would be better fit for Finance .

  21. Hi Nitin,

    I am confused whether I can opt Masters in Financial Engineering in MBS as they are giving me offer based on my academics.

    Please guide fro the same if it is really worth to go for this course in terms of career and job although I am very interested in such analytical field.

  22. hi nitin,
    i need your help regarding admission in mbs,manchester.
    i have a work experience of only two years.
    will they consider me or do they only consider people with minimum 3 years work experience…
    do reply if possible

  23. Prateek,

    Nitin got into Manchester and Kelley and he decided to join Kelley.

    He’s been answering questions on the Kelley MBA forum.

    Coming to your query, the Manchester Business School (MBS) expects a minimum of 3 years from the date of graduation to the date of starting the MBA program.

    But do remember that this ‘minimum’ might be less relevant that the ‘average’ profiles that you are competing with. Manchester has an class average of 6 years work-experience.

    Apply only when you think you have a overall competitive profile for the program.

  24. Hi Nitin,

    I have my interview for MBS in a week. My GMAT score is just 630 but I have 4 years of work ex at Deloitte consulting. Moreover I have volunteered at Manchester for a social organization for 3 months. I have good experience with global NGOs and the development sector is is where I want to make a career in.
    Can you please give me your inputs on my chances and some tips for the interview also.


  25. hi sameer ,
    can you tell if the msc in international business and management from MBS is good ? I have an engineering background. are there good career prospects after this course ?

  26. Hi Nitin,
    I know that your forum is about MBA admissions but still, I wonder if you can advise me. My son who is going to begin his undergraduate studies in Business this year has got an acceptance letter from Kelley school of business (He has got a direct admit into the Kelleys. As a direct admit freshman, he will not have to apply for admission to the Kelley School as a sophomore, unlike all other business majors.).
    He has also got offers from Bath and Manchester University, UK.
    He is a very bright student, has got a very good SAT score and is national level tennis player. But he has got waitlisted at most US univrsities because we applied for need based financial aid. We are waiting to see if he will get off the waitlist at Washington StlLouis, North Carolina Chapel Hill a nd Virgiinia. Meanwhile, he holds a firm offer from Kelly School of Business. Which would be better for him for undergraduate studies in Business, Kelleys, Bath or Manchester?

  27. Hi Nitin,

    I am impressed with your approach of helping students!!
    As I have 8 years experience, I am considering part time MBA from MBA. Could you please throw light on job opportunities after part time MBA at MBS?


  28. Hi Nitin,

    I got an Interview call from Kelley School of Business. Can you please share your experience of the interview? and what to expect in the kelley interview?

    A brief of my profile is as follows:

    GMAT score – 730
    Work Ex. – 5 Years (IT industry) – I’ve spent last 1 year in USA working on a project for Symantec Corp. on behalf of HCL America Inc.


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