The green lady you see in the background has been trying hard to woo Abinesh. She made multiple offers he couldn’t resist.
One was worth $40,000 and another that was over $100,000 (70 lakh rupees) in the form of MBA scholarships to come and attend a leading MBA program, virtually gifting him a free MBA in USA.
A top ranked MBA in USA typically gets applicants who have 4-5 years pre-MBA work experience. Statistically, the odds start going down rapidly after a certain age + experience threshold.
So it was natural for Abinesh to target 1 year MBA courses in India like IIMA PGPX and IIMB EPGP, where his profile would have a better match.
But he also took a chance with a select few MBA programs in USA despite their track record for preferring younger candidates and ended up with a free MBA offer.
How I got a free MBA in USA | Full MBA scholarship
by Abinesh Nimalan
After working for about 8 years in a Global Technology Product firm as a product developer, I realised that to get to the ranks of the Senior Executive Leadership in a tech firm I needed to use the Product Management route. It is my belief that the Product Management team is considered a premier talent pool from which a company’s future executives are drawn. And to kickstart my Product Management career I believed a full-time MBA was essential. With this in mind I delved into the world of MBA applications and began my journey.
How I prepared for the GMAT exam
I started off by doing my basic research in Nov 2012 and came to the conclusion that I was too late for the 2013 fall cycle. Given that I had almost 9 years of work experience I knew that I would be an outlier in the demographic of full-time MBA applicants.
As a result, I realised that I had just one shot at this and I wanted to ensure that it was my best effort. Having then decided to target the 2014 fall cycle, I started off the hunt by preparing for the GMAT. Given the inherent weaknesses in my profile such as age, average UG academic scores and coming from the most competitive applicant pool (Indian IT Male) I wanted to ensure that I had a good GMAT score on my side to balance it out.
After a hectic 5 week preparation I was ready to tackle the GMAT beast in mid July 2013 and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. I had scored a 760 which placed me in the 99th percentile of GMAT scores.
Feeling glad about this score I was determined to put it to good use and consequently assumed it would be smooth sailing the rest of the way, but little did I realise the tortuous journey that lay ahead of me.
How and Why I chose an MBA Admissions Consultant
Starting with selection of colleges, preparing the essays, getting the recommendations lined up, preparing for the interviews, and arranging the finances, I realised that without proper guidance I would end up floundering in this vast MBA app ocean.
I was always confident in my writing and articulation skills but where I needed help was to have my story vetted by an expert who could also take a dispassionate look at my profile and give me unbiased advice on where I would need to tighten up.
During the course of looking for such an expert I stumbled upon MBACrystalBall and I was impressed by the wealth of heartfelt testimonials from successful past candidates. Normally I would have done thorough research along with a comparison to numerous other consultants before making my decision, but this time I decided to trust my first instincts and go with Sameer and MCB and on looking back now I realise what a fulfilling decision that has been. I noticed that the MBA MAP was exactly tailored to my needs and was precisely what I needed to arm myself in the MBA battle.
Application Strategy or Trial by Fire
Sameer’s mock interview was a trial by fire and gave me the necessary inputs for fine-tuning my MBA application strategy. His MBA MAP report was an awesome insight into my own strengths and weaknesses and gave me the confidence to leverage my profile to the maximum benefit.
But the biggest gain for me was the various tips that Sameer provided not only during the course of the MAP evaluation but also in my subsequent follow up mails. His vast experience was an invaluable asset in this regard and his patience in answering every single query meant that he would go well beyond the call of his duty.
This, I realised, was the hallmark of someone who is in this business not just for the financial gain but to genuinely make a difference in the lives of potential MBA candidates.
After working out my strategy based on the MAP report I decided to apply to a mix of US, European and Indian Bschools. The 5 month application period from Aug to Dec 2013 tested me like no other and Sameer was with me throughout this journey, patiently listened to my cribbing whenever I received a ding and congratulating me to no end whenever I received an admit.
MBA application results
I’ve shared some of my MBA interview experience on the MCB forum.
At the end of it I had received admits from IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP, ISB, Carnegie Mellon University CMU Tepper (with 40K scholarship) and KenanFlagler (with a free ride i.e. full 100% MBA scholarship). After discussing with Sameer I eventually decided to take up the Kenan Flagler admit.
What really struck me during those discussions with Sameer was that while reflecting on the entire application process he kept using the terms “we” and “our” as in “we had a strong profile”, “we overcame these weaknesses in our application”.
This really touched my heart and completely vindicates the decision I made to take him along with me on one of the most important journeys of my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.
Without a strong profile and credentials, it’s tough to make a clean sweep with Indian as well as international MBA programs like Abinesh has managed to do. That makes it a little awkward for us to see him down-playing his own efforts and giving us more credit than we deserve.
If you have questions for Abinesh about any of the other business schools that he got admits from – UNC Kenan Flagler MBA, Indian School of Business ISB, IIM Ahmedabad IIMA PGPX, IIM Bangalore IIMB EPGP – please post them below.