If you take out Accenture and Vanderbilt University from his resume, and look beneath the layers, Bhaskar Purohit (name changed) comes across as a creative person. His passion for music goes beyond being a passive listener. He sings, and writes poems & songs. He won a song writing competition at Accenture.
But given the timing in his career and his aspirations, he figured that an MBA degree from a top international bschool like Vandy (as it is colloquially know) wouldn’t hurt.
He shares his journey from Turkey to Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
My Vanderbilt University MBA (Owen) Admissions Experience
By Bhaskar Purohit
That night when I returned to my hotel room in Turkey, I wasn’t even aware that the decisions for Vanderbilt University had come out. A few weeks back I had just completed my interviews for Kellogg post coming to Turkey as a consultant. While before leaving India I had completed interviews with ISB and a couple of other top 25 Business schools.
I just received an email from Vanderbilt University confirming the offer of admission. While I was happy, I called back at the MBA Admissions office to learn more and the other admission committee member (who picked up the call) informed me that my interviewer was out of town, so she couldn’t call (she did call me later though).
However sensing my anxiety she told me the details on Admission and most importantly my MBA scholarship. I was thrilled, particularly because it was late march and I was on waiting list of a few other’s where I had been interviewed.
My work hours were so hectic that I could barely complete applications for just 4 schools out of a planned 7-8 for R1 and R2. Coming from an IT background with 6yrs of experience I knew I had to be a bit more realistic as there are so many of us applying and the pool being highly competitive.
My background, I come from a small city in central India and had completed my Mechanical Engineering from NIT Kurukshetra. From there I was placed at a well known IT MNC working with their Insurance product team handling Insurance clients primarily based in US.
I had gone through the IIM – CAT bug during final year of engineering but later decided to get some work experience under my belt. I knew I wanted to go for management education and wanted to complete my knowledge of business and then transition from the Technology side to the Business side. However after a couple of years of work experience in IT industry it was clear to me that the pool was very competitive and it is going to be difficult.
My GMAT preparation
Practice under the exam scenario is the key to cracking the GMAT. I had taken GMAT twice and I could improve my score by 50 points the second time. The only difference I found was I had practiced more and took more effort to understand where I was generally making mistakes specially in the verbal part. Once I understood this, it did not take much effort to improve the score in mock exams that I took.
I would thus advice anyone wishing to take GMAT to try and analyze their mistakes thoroughly and practice more. There are a lot of other good websites on GMAT preparation which will give you a lot of good insights.
Though finally achieving that 700+ mark gave me significant confidence to go and fight for top schools and from experience I can say , yes once you cross 700+ (and reach closer or higher to your dream school’s average GMAT score), it totally depends on how you present your profile + career goals.
My MBA essays for Business schools
Before you even start thinking of writing MBA essays you need to really do good amount of information gathering to understand – what kind of career you want post MBA (ofcourse once you are in school, there will lot of other options and you will be free to choose..decisions change).
But having a good idea of what you want to do post MBA—distinguishes you and that automatically comes out in the essays and that’s what matters for AdCom. This research will also help you understand which schools you should apply to..after all you can’t apply to all the schools but you will apply to schools which have the best resources to bring your dreams closer.
Having said that for me, I had a good idea of which industry I wanted to get into but I was not sure what kind of function will be best for me.
Based upon this little information I kept searching on internet at various forums and on one of these forums I found myself curiously reading posts of some author with name ‘MBACrystalBall’ (aka Sameer Kamat) charting much better advice tailored to Indian MBA aspirants and offering a unique service to map out your suitability for various business schools.
I quickly contacted Sameer and within the first call itself I had realized the level of understanding Sameer had and it felt to me that I had found the right mentor. I immediately signed up for the MBA MAP to find out what the crystal ball had in store for me and I must say it was very helpful to understand which schools I was really competitive at.
After second call with Sameer to understand this report, his few words kept ringing in my ears:
It is how well you present yourself through your essays that defines how far you go.
I must mention Manish Gupta (MG) sir’s name here without whose help I wouldn’t have ‘fully’ understood the strength of my profile and how to present it in essay.
Once I understood that while writing my essays for Vanderbilt MBA and other top schools, I didn’t have to go generally for more than 2 iterations. I focused on my strengths to tie them with the schools strengths and resources and wrote a focused essay. And that is how I believe I received an invite for most of the schools. I also took help from one of my trusted friend (already through with MBA) to look at my essays and advice.
MBA Interview experiences
Thankfully I received an interview invite from almost all my top choice schools. I didn’t apply to very top schools such as HBS etc. even though I wanted to, because it was a very hectic time professionally and I knew these schools are THE MOST competitive especially for IT background. I thus instead decided to concentrate on Top 20 schools where I would be more competitive.
Vanderbilt University MBA and one of the other Top 20 program (I was waitlisted here) were my best interviews. Mainly because both were conversational and relaxed so I could discuss my candidature fully. MG sir helped me here as well with a proper understanding of what is expected and how to tailor your profile strengths into the answers.
For both schools, I had spoken to multiple alums and current student for my research and almost each one of them was very helpful. I guess, my preparation on my profile and what I was seeking in terms of an experience from school and my goals were helped by the relaxed atmosphere and that did the trick.
Key takeaways and tips
1. Target just a few schools for round 1. Your application will significantly improve when you write for schools in Rd.2. Keep an optimum number of schools to apply.
2. Prep. Your recommenders. Give them SUFFICIENT Time and other resources, so that they write well.
3. Personalize your essays for each school. Tie your goals to what school has to offer and tell how your strengths will contribute and improve the culture at school.
It has been a roller coaster ride for me and I am sure it will be for you as well; but it is worth it and once in a lifetime experience…
– Bhaskar Purohit