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Wharton MBA admit in Round 2 for Indian student with low GMAT score

Wharton MBA with low GMAT | Indian Student success story

It’s common knowledge that the average GMAT scores for Indians in the top programs are higher than the averages listed by MBA colleges on their websites. You may also know that the MBA admission chances in Round 2 are lesser than in Round 1.

And as an icing on the cake, Indians are more likely to be rejected from top MBA programs compared to applicants from other countries.

Priya Roy (named changed) ended up with a not-so-impressive (under 700) GMAT score and she missed applying in round 1. Since she already had a strong university brand on her resume, settling for a mediocre business school didn’t seem like an exciting proposition to her.

For her earlier degree, she had cracked the tough admissions process of an elite US program on her own (without the help of application consultants).

However, the challenges this time, for her MBA application, were different. So, she decided to take professional help and ended with admits from multiple business schools.

Read on to see the process she followed. We have a few of our own lessons to share towards the end.

Wharton success story for Indian applicant with a low GMAT score

by Priya Roy

Before my MBA, I worked in a boutique consulting firm focusing on the travel and hospitality sector. I graduated from an Ivy League University from the Hotel School and had work experience of approximately four years before applying.

I wanted to change career paths into strategy consulting and I felt a top MBA would be helpful to get there.

I did not focus too much on GMAT but would highly recommend spending lots of time on this and getting a good score. I attended coaching classes on weekends but did not find them particularly useful. It helps to take lots of mock exams (I took 10) before the exam to get used to the format and timing.

My MBA application journey with MBA Crystal Ball included the entire gamut of services from strategy to application work – MBA MAP, MBA Application Review / Editing, and Interview prep help.

I contacted Sameer early on before deciding what schools to apply to and what the main theme of the essays was going to be. The MBA MAP and the mock interview helped me define my career goals and what I really wanted out of the MBA.

MBA Crystal Ball’s feedback was open and honest which I greatly appreciated; they guided me about what was ambitious vs. achievable in terms of what schools to apply to and the objectives after an MBA.

I would recommend the MAP as early as a year before applying to an MBA program, or as soon as you start thinking about an MBA.

The essay editing with Manish was crisp, honest and very timely. He expected me to write my own essays and then offered honest advice on what worked and what didn’t, and sometimes just raised questions that helped me think deeper and improve my essays.

Since I applied for 8 colleges in the second round, it was a time crunch and difficult to manage – would not recommend applying to so many colleges in one round!

The process of editing multiple drafts works well, especially if you decide which colleges are the hardest and work on them earlier (with more drafts).

I really appreciated how punctual and detailed Manish was with his feedback, and his attention to detail in terms of language and grammar.

They were extremely accessible in case I had any questions and helped me out with the interview process as well. The list of questions compiled by MBA CB was comprehensive and helped me think through most of the questions I came across in four interviews!

These were broad questions and not very college-specific. Manish was very kind through the process, helped me brainstorm the answers, and even took last-minute panic calls before my interview 🙂

I applied to 8 colleges (Harvard, Stanford, Kellogg, Wharton, Georgetown, Michigan Ross, Cornell, Stern) and would not recommend the high-speed applications to anyone, although I have to say that Manish’s timeliness and responsiveness helped me pull this off!

I got admitted into Wharton, Cornell, and Georgetown, and was waitlisted at Ross (Michigan).

I think it would be clear to whoever is reading the post what college I chose, and I am extremely grateful to MBA Crystal Ball in helping me achieve my objective of getting into a top business school.

– Priya

After completing her MBA, Priya’s career has unfolded exactly as she had envisioned during the admissions stage. She graduated from Wharton and joined a leading management consulting firm as a strategy consultant.

Here’s our take on this story, since some of these aspects may not be apparent at the first glance.

It’s good to read stories like these for inspiration (and yes, such success stories help us address questions like this – Is hiring business school consultants worth it?).

But don’t get carried away and assume that a low GMAT score ceases to be an issue if you work with MBA consultants. The risk is very much there, and can’t be brushed under the carpet. It’s up to the admission officers to decide whether they see a strong enough overall profile (via strong essays, recommendations, interviews) and if all of that overshadows a low GMAT.

Priya’s decision to apply to the top universities (9 schools in R2 was a bad idea though), despite the chinks in her armour, wasn’t driven by over-confidence or an over-dependence on luck. She was aware of her strengths and weaknesses.

She evaluated and fine-tuned her career goals, and then chose the business schools (with varying chances of getting in) that could get her closer to those goals. She used her essays to convey her uniqueness in simple and logical terms, without leaving the admission officers to fill in the gaps (and make incorrect assumptions).

This is what got her multiple admits, as opposed to pure luck.

We look forward to hosting your success story on our site soon.

Read these related articles:
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MBA startups from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton raise millions of dollars
How to get into Wharton
All about the Wharton MBA Dual Degree
Why I rejected a Wharton MBA admit with scholarship offer
Life at Wharton MBA as an international student
How I got into Wharton with scholarship
Image credit: Wharton

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Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

18 thoughts on “Wharton MBA admit in Round 2 for Indian student with low GMAT score”

  1. Hi,manish sir,
    The idea of taking up MBA struck me all of a sudden and i took up my GMAT last month after 40 days of prep.i got a 630 and i am not planning to retake GMAT.
    My shortlisted colleges include Great Lakes,SP Jain,nrynrode,and few other colleges.

    My school grades are in 80s and engineering in 60s.I have a year of full time experience in a forging company (bangalore) and four years Experience in a Maintenence company in qatar.this would have been a good profile but the glitch here is that the four years Exp in Qatar is not full time.its more like short term contract job(though my cumulative manhours worked will be same as 4 years full time).
    Please help me out here.will the admissions board be impressed with such a profile..?i am planning to join for 2017 classes.

  2. Hi MG
    Thanks for this wonderful platform.
    I have done BTech in 2011 and post that MBA in finance from IMT Ghaziabad (Full time). Post that for almost 3.5 years, I have been working with Indian Banks in SME sector in Risk as well as sales profile. However I dont wish to continue in this domain any further and wish to switch to consulting or analytics domain. Since with my profile, it is getting difficult to switch to good brands in good profiles, so I have been thinking of an International one year MBA though only from a reputed college.
    Further request your guidance for the same.

  3. Hi MG,

    I will be going for GMAT exam by Nov end.

    Previously,I got the 640 score in GMAT.

    With a 5.6 years of Work Experience in Finance domain particularly in Financial Planning and Analysis in Companies like Ernst & Young (1.6 years),Genpact (3.6 years) and XL Catlin (8 Months),a UK Based Insurance company, do you think I stand a good chance of getting into the Sauder,UBC or Schulich,Totonto.

    Also, I will be going for my second MBA , the first one from Amity University and I have done my graduation in Computer Engineering from Kurukshetra Univeristy.

  4. Hi,

    I have a gmat of 680 (Q50,V31). My profile is as below:
    undergrad: NIT Trichy (8.67/10)
    Work ex: ~4 years
    1 year as Supply chain analyst
    2 year in consulting (non brand), client facing roles
    1 year in e-commerce industry (non-brand, Startup, Travel domain) in Project management role

    What MBA colleges should I target for in the US, India, Europe?

  5. Hi Mr. Manish.

    I’m a 28 year old doctor from Mumbai, graduated from a top government medical college in 2014. Thereafter I worked in Singapore at a reputed hospital for 3 years as a clinical doctor before deciding to pursue MBA. I recently took GMAT but unfortunately scored only 660. What are my chances of getting into the top B schools in USA in Round 2?

    Thank you.

  6. Hi Manish Gupta

    Hoping for best advise from this forum

    Currently I am a Chartered Accountant
    I have graduated from SRCC Delhi (commerce background ). Suggest me Whether to go for Indian B schools or the once in abroad.

    Instead of giving GMAT or CAT and getting the one’s which fit in for my score. I wish to target for the specific one and put efforts to get through .

    If I am going wrong please give me the correct direction


  7. Hi Manish

    In the above post ,you have said chosing 9 schools in round 2 was bad choice? Can yu share why so..For an indian entrepreneur 6 years work ex,with 326 ,can he apply to top 10 in round 2 or you suggest wait another and apply round 1? ..Do you think it’s always good to apply in round 1 or the chances are equal in round 1 ,round 2? thanks

  8. Hi Manish!

    Just pointing out that the post initially states Priya applied to 8 schools, then changes the number to 9. When listing the schools she applied to, Kellogg is listed twice. Just thought I’d let you know!



  9. Hi Manish,
    i just wanted to ask you if flight attendant for 6 years with the best middle eastern airline is going to be counted as a relevant work experience?i did my bachelors in the hotel management from IHM Bangalore


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