While this Bahubali has more peaks to scale, the way he has battled challenges to reach this position is a story in itself.
Amit Jathar, an Indian MBA applicant over 35 with a 650 GMAT score, had plenty of baggage to deal with.
Forget the fact that there weren’t many to support him with his aspirations. What made it worse was the treatment he got from some official business school representatives who wrote him off the minute they found out he was in his mid-thirties.
Like this experience at an MBA fair event he shared on GMAT Club, where the bschool representative unceremoniously asked him to leave. And to add insult to injury, she added that he’d never get into any full-time program in Canada.
As a mature MBA student with a family and someone who grew up in a low-income family background, his eyes were also focused on RoI. This narrowed down the list of options further.
He now has an admit from HEC Montreal in Canada which meets his academic and financial benchmarks. The Canadian work permit rules are very favorable to international MBA graduates. The low fees and the additional scholarship makes the overall investment and RoI calculations very different from the top branded options in USA.
While Amit prepares to tackle the next set of peaks (MBA loans, academic workload and job hunting) in his professional journey, we invited him to share his experiences and lessons.
How I battled high age & low GMAT score challenges
As I was from lower middle class background, I set for myself financial security as first goal. I was not fortunate to get the basic facilities in my school and college days.
Small home – cluttered and crowded – without even proper place for study, I pledged to command the respect of the society. Rising through the ranks till Account Manager, I have done justice to my role, and today as many as 12 members report to me.
While the rise from the street has been spectacular, at this point of my career, I have come to realize that my growth in my professional life is limited to a particular Level. To rise above my current stagnation, I need a global MBA.
How I prepared for the GMAT
I started with the GMAT preparation but was not able to find time. As I am working as an Account/Project Manager, the workload was immense. Also, I have 2-year-old kid and the family responsibilities were my priority. I was managed to spare barely one or two hours per day (mostly at night).
For the GMAT prep, I really like to thanks the Gmatclub and its members. It’s the ultimate destination for all the Gmat related knowledge. You can find all the types of questions on it, and even the error logs templates, study plans, Gmat success stories etc.
The website is so organized that you can keeps a log of your practice questions and refer it while analyzing your performance. I purchased few MGMAT books (you get 6 MGMAT mock tests with it) and Veritas prep tests. Finally, I was managed to score 650 (Q47, V32) in GMAT.
How MBA Crystal Ball helped
As I started my research about B-schools, I came across various informative forums such as MCB. I was regular visitor of MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) and I read almost all the blogs on MCB.
I used to regularly visit the MBA application questions forum and read Sameer Kamat’s answers to applicant’s questions, and used to relate it to my profile. I frequently asked questions to Sameer on this forum and received timely answers.
One day, I saw on Facebook that Sameer called for a quick meet in Mumbai (#KoffeeWithKamat) and grabbed the opportunity to meet him personally. We met over a coffee and Sameer provided me with very good inputs. He changed my perception about MCB.
Before the meet, I thought Sameer would try to persuade me to join MCB and purchase its services, but instead he provided me honest and free help.
He explained to me how the MBA MAP process works and told me to do it on my own.
After understanding my priorities and choice of schools, he honestly told me that for the league of schools that I shortlisted, there was no need to hire MCB, and I should manage the applications on my own.
I respect Sameer and MCB for their honesty.
After the meet, I felt like I found a good friend and mentor whom I can resort whenever I need an advice.
Hurdles along the way and my application strategy
While I was working on my applications, I got the feedback from number of people that due to my age (35) and experience (11), it would be difficult for me to get into the b-school.
I started my research and spoke with current students as well as alumni, and they told me that having a decade of experience in the MBA class is super-common and no need to worry.
So, I just made sure to check the class profile of the schools and shortlisted the schools which have higher average age/experience.
I selected 1 year MBA programs and was able to rule out almost all the American schools. Usually European and Canadian schools have concept of 1 year MBA programs. I went though the various rankings such FT, TopMBA, Economist etc. and shortlisted the most suitable schools with respect to my priorities. I contacted the alumni of the shortlisted schools to make sure my choices were correct.
As the schools are shortlisted, I have started the application process. I went though lot of sites in search of tips for writing the admission essays. I tried to put all the information in the essays honestly and meticulously. After reading my essays, I felt like I have rediscovered myself. I have got the essays reviewed by my friends who are already experienced this process.
I prepared the list of interview questions and answers. I practiced the answers by rehearsing them. With the due hard work, I was able to crack the HEC Montreal interview. I even got a scholarship from HEC Montreal :-).
I was convinced with the offer, due to the duration of the program (1 year intensive) and comparatively lower fees while the reputation of the school and the quality of the education is best of the class in the Quebec region.
Also, I came to know that the Montreal is great place to stay. It is a bit French-oriented but it’s the only city where you could experience truly diverse cultures.
Advice for other MBA applicants aged over 30 / 35
I would like to advice fellow aspirants:
Don’t get disappointed, if you hear that your experience/age is above the average for the school (MBA after 8 years experience: Student life in UK). Most of the b-schools respect older candidates. But, just try to remain closer to the average class profile of the school.
It’s not always GMAT that rules, but the schools want the prospective student to be having the leadership qualities along with social sense.
Try to join a NGO and take part in the social activities. The experience will be immensely helpful in MBA admission and at the same time it will make you a better human being.
Right now, I am gearing up myself for the MBA’16 and preparing for the prerequisites / skills.
Please reply if you have any questions, and I would try my best to answer them.
Need a little inspiration before you start the brutally competitive application process? You’ll find plenty in the links below:
– MBA admissions success stories
– Guide to MBA Scholarships
– Scholarship Success Stories
– Low GMAT success stories
– Low GPA success stories