After getting rejected from ISB in his first attempt, apart from improving the regular application areas – GMAT score, essays, interviews – Kalpesh (name changed) added another secret ingredient to his reapplicant strategy – meditation.
ISB reappliant strategy that helped me
After completing my under graduation, I started working with John Deere India in Pune. After 2 years at work, I started contemplating about my career and the inevitable what-next question popped up! By this time I had also developed a flair for the operations domain and I was at least not repelled by it.
Even though most of my batch mates and friends were successful in cracking the CAT and getting into IIMs, I was not sure if I would fit into that formula.
Soon I realized global business schools had a more holistic approach (One that doesn’t revolve around your performance in 5th Grade) for admitting students for their MBA program.
In 2013, when one of my colleague left to ISB, I realized that now is the time to take the next step towards my MBA. I gave my GMAT in October after preparing for 4-5 months and scored a 690!
Like any obedient MBA aspirant, I compared my ‘Profile’ with my friend (who had gone to ISB) and noticed that I had the exact same ‘profile’ in terms of GMAT and work experience.
In the next few weeks, I raced against time to apply for ISB in R2. With no due respect to the application process (Read: ESSAYS), I successfully completed my application. I was obviously surprised by ISB’s decision to not invite me for interview. I spoke to few friends at ISB and realized how I had royally screwed up my essays!
In 2014, I decided to have a more structured approach to my application and that’s when I bumped into the MBA Crystal Ball blogs. I started reading a lot about the application processes which b-schools adapt and in particular how does ISB admit its students.
I first spoke to Sameer and MG about my application to ISB in September and asked for an evaluation of my previous application. Through my initial interaction with MG, It was pretty clear how superfluous my essays were.
He also suggested me to re-take GMAT and we decided that I will simultaneously prepare for GMAT and work towards my application.
Through the testimonials from MCB’s website, I kind of knew what to expect from them. We started with a brain storming session, which left me with more questions than answers. It helped me introspect a lot on what I wanted in life!
I thoroughly enjoyed the process which we followed throughout my application.
MG has a no-nonsense approach when it comes to providing feedback on how bad your drafts really are. This was the only reason why I eventually got better at it. I love how he brings the best in your essays without really affecting the story. He simply doesn’t believe in including fiction in your essays.
After 4 weeks’ time, we completed my essays and I was surprised how I can write such stuff. In the mean time I re-took my GMAT and scored the exact same 690!
Nevertheless I went ahead with my application and secured an Interview call in Mumbai. I am sure signing up with MCB was one of the main reasons for the call, so I decided to take MG’s help to prepare for the interview as well. I was confident about my preparation.
I went to Mumbai a day early to ensure that I am fresh for the interview. I had a stress interview with both the panelists constantly trying to negate/ridicule my answers. Even before I left the interview location I was sure of the results.
The rejection mail (in early 2015) was a mere formality and I was disappointed with the way I handled my interview.
It took me more than 2 months’ time and some meditation classes to even think about my MBA again.
Through the blogs of Stacey Koprince (MGMAT Instructor) I learnt about the free meditation podcasts (you can search for UCLA Meditation courses).
I practiced it for around 4-5 weeks on a regular basis (however I want to continue this habit instead of resorting to it only when things go haywire).
Eventually I regrouped myself.
Even though I really liked how GMAT works, I always felt that I never gave my 100 % in my GMAT preparation. In March, I decided to have one final shot at GMAT. I prepared for 3-4 months and gave my GMAT again in August. I scored a 740 in my 3rd attempt!
I immediately discussed with MG about my application strategy and we decided to apply for more schools to hedge the risk involved. Before applying to the other bschools, I wanted to comfortably finish my ISB application. I requested him for a full school package.
Instead of simply enrolling me to whatever I had requested, he suggested I should just take an essay review pack instead of the whole thing. This speaks volumes about his work ethic!
After submitting the ISB application, I also applied for the Kenan Flagler Business School and W.P. Carey.
ISB invited me for the interview again. I repeated the whole process one more time hoping that this will be my last. Being the last person to be interviewed for day 1 at Mumbai, I had a straight forward interview, typically focused on my work experience. I also was interviewed by UNC Kenan Flagler in the same week.
The decision dates for both ISB and KF were in the second week of December. While I was expecting a decent scholarship from KF, I only managed to get an admission. I always knew an MBA in US was not viable for me without good scholarship (unless I get into the top schools).
However, I DID manage to get into ISB in R1. After 2 years of toiling around with this whole process, I now look forward to the next chapter of my life in Hyderabad.
If you have read this clichéd story this far, you might as well go on to read about what advice I would give to my fellow Indian MBA applicants.
Over the last one year, even though, I researched a lot about the US MBA programs, I could only apply to a limited number of schools (Read: Plan your GMAT at least 6 months before the application starts).
So please plan everything from GMAT to application in advance so that you get to apply to the best ones and stand a realistic chance! By the time I interacted with students at Duke and Tuck to get insights about the school, R1 deadlines were already over.
Finally, if you are a MBA aspirant and you are already in the testimonial section of the MCB website, you should go ahead and sign up. I am sure it will be the right decision as it was for me!
Thank you MG and Sameer for being there throughout the last 2 years. You provided me the much needed guidance, support and strength.
Image Source: Spiceflair
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