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ISB Hyderabad admission with low GMAT score of 610

Low GMAT score for ISB HyderabadIf you look at the class profile statistics for ISB Hyderabad, you’ll find an average GMAT score that’s among the highest across all international B-schools. No wonder then that folks get enamoured with that one parameter and put all their energies into getting the highest GMAT score possible.

Sudhir Nemani tried twice to crack the GMAT, and ended up with GMAT scores of 600 and 610. As a senior professional in the investment banking industry, he had worked on a wide variety of Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) transactions – managing all responsibilities including valuations, business modeling, negotiations, post merger integration and much more. His profile was solid. But the GMAT score was bringing the morale down.

What would you do if you had your eyes set on the Indian School of Business (ISB Hyderabad) and your GMAT score was more than a 100 points below the average GMAT score for ISB?

ISB Hyderabad admit with a 610 GMAT score

by Sudhir Nemani


The MBA bug bites

The first time I thought about doing an MBA was in Jan 2005-a thought that took more than 8 years to materialize! A lot has happened in my life during this time – Professional success, CAT/GMAT failures, globetrotting, marriage and applications. In that order!!

As it is with all MBA aspirants in India, I too decided to ‘bell the CAT’. Considering the huge competition we face in our country, my not so bad 98.6 percentile score proved not so good at fetching GD/PI calls from premium B schools. Soon enough, I decided to spend time on building my career and thereafter pursue an MBA with work experience and clear goals.

March, 2008 I decided to give a shot at GMAT. I quickly registered myself with a popular MBA forum and thence began my GMAT saga. After spending 3 long months, giving numerous mock tests, I booked my 3.5 hours date with GMAT. In hindsight, the first couple of hours of our date were enjoyable and then we were mutually disinterested. The end result a glass shattering 600 – Q48 V25. A huge set back to my MBA dream.

It was the peak of global meltdown and my bank decided to downsize the workforce. Fortunately or unfortunately I got a forced break for 3 months. I did a lot of self introspection on whether to apply to colleges with the existing score or write GMAT again or find a new job. I decided to move on with a new job, I guess survival was of foremost importance back then.

GMAT Score – Effects and After Effects

However, the MBA bug that bit me hadn’t left me yet. I spent the next couple of years consolidating my professional life, getting married and accepted new responsibility outside India.

It was then that one day I just picked up the phone and narrated the whole journey to Sameer Kamat.

We both knew that I had a good chance to make a cut at a Top school with a decent GMAT- my biggest nemesis. Soon I decided to give my final shot at GMAT. With 2 months of not so grueling preparation I managed at 10 point increase – a disappointing 610.

Sameer and I discussed options, and he advised that since I have a strong academic and professional background, I must go ahead armed with a sincere and effective application and that GMAT score must not stop me from applying.

Plunging into MBA applications with a low GMAT score

In March 2012, I relocated to India and soon after settling down in my new role, I began the process of shortlisting B-schools based on fitment. I knew I was neither a typical US MBA candidate with professional experience of 8 years coupled with family and age nor was I keen on struggling in UK/EU zone. The idea of re-paying a Euro loan while earning in an ever depreciating rupee made no sense.

Regarding my chances at Indian B-schools, I spoke to a few consultants, current students and alums, who were all very helpful, but not hopeful about my making it through at Indian B-schools considering the high average GMAT scores at these schools.

However, through discussions with some of the alma-mater, and through the admission committee open forums and chats, I learnt that professional experience and education are valued highly at top schools and GMAT is not the only criteria. So, banking on the strength of my vast, varied experience and a strong profile which strongly puts forth my candidature for MBA, I took the plunge and applied to ISB Hyderabad, IIM Bangalore (IIMB EPGP), IIM Calcutta (IIMC PGPex) and XLRI GMP.

I spent 3 months on my IIMB, IIMC and ISB applications, ensuring I didn’t miss out on critical information both in my essays and application. My biggest challenge was to convince the admission committee on the need of an MBA after 8 years of experience. I worked on this aspect and made sure that I was very clear on my need for an MBA and post MBA goals.

My first victory against all odds was to be invited for an interview at ISB Hyderabad and IIM Bangalore (IIMB). I gave my best shot at the interview and a month later had received admit letters from both schools.

I have accepted my admission at ISB Hyderabad and intend to major in Analytical finance and Strategy & Leadership.

From whatever Sudhir has accomplished before starting his sabbatical at the Indian School of Business, there’s absolutely no doubt in our mind that he’d do very well after his MBA too. The GMAT which carried so much relevance for a few months, will be soon be forgotten.
Here are the key takeaways from this story:

1. If you have a low GMAT score, try again (and yet again, if you have the patience). It is an important parameter.

2. After your best efforts, if the score still isn’t up to the mark, choose schools where you think your profile will be competitive for other reasons.

3. Focus on your goals. Put in your best effort in your essays, recommendations and MBA interview.

4. After you get an admit, please write nice posts like this one for us.

Also read
Admission chances with low or average GMAT score
Get a peek into ISB
Best Essay editing & review consultant for ISB

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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

27 thoughts on “ISB Hyderabad admission with low GMAT score of 610”

  1. Happy to read this blog! I tried twice but couldn’t go past my first score of 640 inspite of putting in 10 months of effort! I have decided to move on and work on building my profile and getting a solid experience. Sudhir’s story is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing this!

    • it gave a lot of positive hope to them who are unable to spend sufficient time for GMAT preparation,mainly due ever increasing work load and family responsibilities.

  2. Nice experience!
    I’m going through a similar tantrum and wish to connect with you over mail to understand few more details.
    If you wish to help me out, pl drop in a note to my mail.

  3. It is really helpful . All the best for your future .A very nice story nd got sorta inspiration. after all v got to have some faith in it to attempt twice. v can stand out with low score having good experience, goals post MBA

  4. Such a great determination and patience sameer sir, you have set a great example for those who become increasingly despondent about their career after getting few debacles in such highly rated competitive exams.I got a strong message from it.Wish you all the very best for your future.

  5. Hi 5 to Sudhir for his grit and relentless pursual of his MBA dream! Inspiring read. I got a 610 a few days ago in my first trial and reading this post makes me all the more determined to revisit GMAT.

  6. Sudhir sir,my salute to you sir.There are not many who have so much of patience and determination.I have got some confidence by reading your story.Gave a practice test for the 1st time in my life and got a score of 630.Will try to adhere to your footsteps and try to achieve my dream.

  7. Can someone please let me know eligibility criteria to apply for ISB Hyderabad. I have a very bad grad % of 59.64.. Will I be considered?…

  8. i too have scored 610 (Q47, V27) . Applied ISB but not called for an interview… I have 5 years of experience. Sudhir’s story is an inspiration one….

  9. sir i hav 5 year b-tech degree..with 58.%. may i eligible to write all MBA entrance xams…and is there any problem at the time of interview…
    how many monts it require to crack gmat for a decent score…..

  10. Hello,
    I carry 3 yrs exp as a S/W QA Engineer in Pune. I am fully dedicated towards GMAT and have only aspiration for ISB. I am confident that my midnight lamp can get me 700+ in GMAT. What are the other areas that will be considered apart from GMAT for admission to ISB as well as what could be my areas of improvement.
    I carry 58.25% in B.E from Pune University. Can some one guide me through my improvement points?

  11. I have done my engineering in Mechanical from Army Institute of technology Pune with 55%, What are my chances of getting into isb hydrabad? what should be my gmat score? I have 2.5 years of experience in IT operations. Please help.

  12. I have done my B.Tech with honours grade in Metallurgy from NIT Raipur and M.Tech in Material Science from IIT Bombay. My CGPI in B.Tech was 8.49 and in M.Tech 8.44. I got 73.33% in class 10th and 70.02% in class 12th. I did some extracurricular activities and also few event mangment. I have 2.5 years of working experiance in Material and Corrosion field with an MNC out side India. Can you please tell me how much GMAT score I should target for ISB.


  14. Dear sir ,
    My name K. somashekhar SIR I have done by degre in BHMCT
    (hotel management) with 65% in 2014 .what are my chances of getting
    into isb hydarabad? what should be my gmat score? please help me sir

  15. @Reddy saar…AAAH, MY EYES!!! You need to get that Caps Lock fixed ASAP, buddy.

    And we can’t help with GMAT coaching center names.

    @Somashekhar: I’m afraid we can’t taking about chances on the blog, and definitely not on the basis of what you’ve shared.

  16. Hello Sir, i have 10 years of exp in steel n fmcg sector With a managerial role. Career is avg 70%.A B tech mechanical by back ground. Can u plz guide me , what is the decent score 4 me to fet into isb n iim b , iim c.

  17. I have 4+ Years of IT experience , currently working with IBM, have ambitions to pursue MBA in the near future.
    Sir if you could guide me.

  18. let me know the minimum scores accepted by isb, hyderabad for its one year executive mba programme with a person of 8 years experience in banks/microfinance post AICTE recognised MBA finance in 2007. Also inform the minimum ILETs scores required therefor. Whether after doing isb,hyd executive mba programme, whether placement is definitely given by them with what minimum packages?

  19. @Sudhir & Shilpa: Most GMAT bschools don’t have a minimum cut-off. Rather they publish their class averages and sometimes an 80 percentile range. Many Indians score over 700.

  20. Very energetic post as I am considering to do MBA with same college , it boosted my morale to next level. Thanks for sharing such awsome blog.

  21. Well all you bright sparks, or not such bright sparks.

    All I can say is that ALL of you need to learn to perfect the English language and whether you get into the ISB, or get a perfect GMAT score you
    wont succeed internationally until you learn to communicate using proficient English.

  22. Truly inspiring, the tough task is to convince and make them believe that u can make a difference even though your score is low.
    Sir, I would request you to provide tips or more details about how to write essays, about recommendations and how to face MBA interview with the low score.

  23. Sameer your story is really inspiring-your persistence and believe in yourself is commendable..i got 15 years of work experience but due to family obligations i have to move back to India and now hoping to appear for gmat and accessing myself to get decent college for my post graduation ..your story provides a positive kick start for person like who trying to find my place under the sun .


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