Oil and Gas professional Divya Kumar Sharma was clear about his career goals after MBA (a career change from offshore job in the fossil fuel industry to the renewable energy sector) and his target MBA schools. He was hoping to score a 730 on the GMAT, but ended up with a disappointing 660.
Here’s what the electronics and instrumentation engineer from BITS Dubai did next, to create and celebrate his low GMAT success story 300 kms away from land.
We all face that moment when we ask ourselves “Ok so here I am, now what? Where do I go from here?” Many-a-times it takes us a while to understand who we are, and what do we really want. It took me approximately 3 years to finally understand what I wanted from my life, and where I saw myself 10 years down the line. So the good news was that I knew what I wanted to be, the bad news was that I had no idea about how to get there. This is precisely when my road to an MBA admit started.
Let’s go back to 2006. I wanted to be a doctor, so I took up Biology as my major in senior secondary school. Though I aced biology all the way up to 12th boards, I missed the Pre-medical test by 4 marks. Bummer? Yes, big time! After discussions and deliberations with my family, I finally took up engineering at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science – Dubai Campus.
During engineering I became really good at my subjects and even started loving the implementation of theoretical knowledge in practical life. My experiences have taught me that things might not turn up the way we want them to every-time, but we can definitely make the best out of our circumstances.
I started working towards being an awesome engineer! I interned at some of the top engineering firms such as Yokogawa, Emerson, etc., in Dubai and went to Germany to work with the Germans on cutting edge aircraft fracture detection technologies.
By the time I graduated, the global market took a huge dip. After months of hard work and perseverance, I finally got recruited by an Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling company called AbanSingapore Offshore Limited. I have been working in the Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling sector since 2012. Working in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean has been tough and rewarding. I gained upstream knowledge about the Energy sector and also learnt about the intricacies of the professional environment.
In April 2017 I finally decided to plunge into the world of GMAT.
Doing 12 to 16 hour shifts on offshore platforms and then solving quant and verbal questions was a nightmare! I had been off books for almost 5 years and getting back to studies in full-flow was a humongous task.
After many sleepless nights and hard work, I gave GMAT in August 2017 and scored a 660 (Q41, V40), which was way below my expectation of 730. After getting a mediocre score I was torn between the decision to either give GMAT again or to just go ahead and apply in B-schools.
Studying for GMAT again would have put me in tight spot, since the R1 deadlines of the schools I wanted to apply to were fast approaching. After a lot of research I decided to apply to the Alliance Manchester Business School and the ESADE Business School.
Having worked in the core fossil fuel energy business, I wanted to use my technical expertise and managerial acumen, gained from an MBA, to shift to the renewable energy sector. Both the schools offered amazing opportunities to make this shift.
I started working on the applications in September and quickly realised that in order to get the best out of my essays I needed professional help. I started searching for the best consultant to help me out with the application.
That is when I came across MBA Crystal Ball. The amazing reviews from past candidates, economical service and flexible plans helped me zero down to MBA Crystal Ball.
In October I approached Sameer Kamat for the application services. After choosing the Basic Package + Brainstorming + Resume review (for ESADE), Sameer got me in touch with Manish Gupta. Understanding my urgency Manish connected me to my consultant, Vibhav, in order to start the work right away.
I had attempted drafting the essays on my own, but after the brainstorming sessions with Vibhav I understood that there was so much I was missing!
Vibhav, an extremely patient individual, helped me streamline my thoughts and bring out the memories buried deep in my mind. These memories and experiences formed the backbone of my essays.
I remember I used to call Vibhav from an offshore platform. The call quality used to be bad and many-a-times we had to re-schedule the sessions due to technical issues at the rig end. Vibhav helped me to answer the essay questions in the most efficient manner and to pen down my personality in simple words.
After multiple revisions I finally submitted the Full-Time MBA application for ESADE in November, before the R2 deadline. Now was the time to wait and watch.
In January 2018 I got an e-mail from ESADE inviting me for an interview. The interview was scheduled for 29th January. I approached Manish for MBA Crystal Ball’s MBA interview prep service and once again I and Vibhav were back in action.
Using his experience, Vibhav pin-pointed the necessary topics I needed to prepare for the interview. After having multiple mock interview sessions with Vibhav I felt confident about my answers, since he did not leave any stone un-turned.
My interview experience was brilliant!
The interviewer was very friendly and we ended up speaking for 70 minutes! There was not a moment during the interview when I felt uncomfortable or was at a loss of words. Coming out of the interview, I was fairly confident that I had made it. The day after the interview, I was back at the offshore platform.
I must admit, waiting for the final verdict was tough! Anxiety made me check my e-mail almost every hour. On 14th February 2018 (Valentine’s day yes!) I finally received an e-mail from ESADE saying that the decision was ready. With trembling fingers I opened the student portal and clicked the link to my decision letter, and VIOLA!
I had got into my dream Business School!!
300 Kms offshore I was jumping all over the place celebrating the sweet victory! All the hard work, sleepless nights and sacrifices had finally paid off.
Throughout the application process my only fear was my low GMAT score.
But I was confident that my unique work experience in the offshore oil and gas industry and my international experience will help me stand out. The application process is so much more than just quant and verbal. It is about our journey and life experiences.
In the current globalised environment B-schools look for candidates with unique stories and skills. The best way to ace the essays is to bring out the most unique and special moments of our lives. That is exactly what Vibhav helped me do and that is exactly what helped me get an admit from ESADE.
Last but not the least, a word of advice for those who are working in the offshore industry and planning to do an MBA – You experiences are tough and special, be confident in yourselves and believe that the offshore journey will go a long way in making your application stand apart.