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How I got into NUS MBA after multiple rejections: Reapplicant story

Payal Kapoor (name changed) narrates her application story, and highlights the differences between working with alumni vs professional admission consultants.

How I got into my dream Bschool after multiple rejections

by Payal

My MBA journey is that of a typical average Indian, except that in spite of facing multiple rejections, I kept my determination and perseverance alive until I made it to my dream school.

I have been a very curious person with a penchant for learning. Just as most Indian MBA aspirants do, I too contemplated appearing for CAT in my final year at university albeit without much research into what my post-MBA life would be.

However, after a not-so-stellar percentile in the exam and when a leading telecom giant provided the arena to learn and build knowledge in the field of telecommunications, I put my MBA plans aside and decided to focus on my job.

The advantage of working in a global and innovative organization was that it provided an excellent opportunity to learn and grow in the technical domain, gain rich industry insights and understand how big companies try to survive the fast changing technology landscape.

After a couple of years in the corporate sector along with a short leadership stint in the organization, I now decided to pursue my MBA to add business skills to my purely technical profile and switch to a more dynamic and customer-centric role post MBA within the same industry. Thus began my challenging MBA application journey which lasted almost 2 years.

I started researching my target B-schools and picked up ISB and NUS (Singapore). In my first GMAT attempt in September 2016, I scored a 700. I believed that if I put out a strong profile along with good essays, I would be able to secure admit in my target B-schools.

During my research, I had come across MBA Crystal Ball’s articles and found them quite extensive and informative. I had also got in touch with the team with my profile during my first application attempt, but decided to apply on my own and take essay review help from an ISB alumnus. Cost was one of the main factors behind this decision.

Unfortunately I got dinged from both of my target schools without an interview.

The most challenging part was to understand where I went wrong. However, instead of focusing on a particular area of my profile, I decided to work on the overall application strategy. I doubled up my efforts in the following months and re-appeared for GMAT, scoring a 720.

This time, I took up the essay editing services from MCB and applied to ISB and NTU (Singapore) in round 1. This time I got selected for the interview stage at both the schools.

I prepared well for the interviews independently. However, when I received the regret email from the admissions team later, I felt dejected.

Picking myself up, I applied to NUS (as a reapplicant) and Tuck in round 2 and received interview invites from both schools.

This time, instead of trying to cut costs, I got back to MG to help me prepare for the interviews.

The NUS interview took place in 2 stages. Both the interviews lasted about 15 to 20 minutes and were taken by members of the admissions committee. They revolved around the candidate’s profile and asked questions regarding my background, goals and school-fit.

Working with alumni vs professional admission consultants

The advantage of working with professional consultants is that they provide honest and objective feedback on your application.

They also engage you to think deeply about your choice of B-schools and your story that you would present to the adcom. They help you stay focused on areas of application where you need improvement.

MCB does a commendable job in all these aspects. They however do not spoon feed anything.

The stories are still your own, and you yourself need to make the connections and come up with a coherent story. Start early and research well into your target schools. Also, use your interviews as a good opportunity to ask thoughtful questions about the school.

I still vividly remember the day when I received the welcome letter from NUS admissions team. I had made it successfully to one of the most selective programs in the world, I was on cloud nine.

My advice to future international MBA aspirants would be to stay focused and persevering in their efforts. Treat every rejection as an opportunity to learn and improve yourself.

All the very best!

– Payal

Also read:
How to get into the National University of Singapore (NUS)
Is hiring an MBA admissions consultant worth it?
Reapplicant success stories
MBA in Europe admits with low GMAT score after 4 rejections

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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

6 thoughts on “How I got into NUS MBA after multiple rejections: Reapplicant story”

  1. Hi Sameer / Manish,

    I’m a data analyst at an IT firm and have the following schedule planned:
    GMAT in October.
    CAT in November.

    Given I have no time to prepare thanks to an extremely hectic job, I am considering quitting towards the first week of October (with 30 months work exp) and taking up a new job around January.

    Is it a major drawback if I’m not actively in a job while applying (Will probably end up applying around November) for a full time MBA in foreign universities/ISB (R2)?

  2. Hi Manish! Hi Sameer!

    I quit my last job after reaching a saturation point where I wasn’t learning anything new and didn’t feel excited to wake up in the morning and go to work. I already had plans to take the GMAT, and after resigning, gave a few interviews and even progressed into subsequent rounds, but had a constant sense of dilemma if I wanted to do what I was being offered. Unsure, I decided to take time off until I had clarity.

    I used this time to prepare for the GMAT and took the test in 4 months time. Not satisfied with the score and having concrete takeaways from the first take, I decided to give it one more shot. But it was only after this first take that I started contemplating into what I want in my career, what I see myself doing pre and post MBA, for 20 years of my life. That’s a huge chunk of the one life I have, and I don’t want to spend it doing something I don’t like. After a lot of self-introspection, I now know what field I want to be in. While it’s related to my experience thus far, it’s in a way a switch as it’s a different domain.

    Hence, I’ve been finding difficulty in landing a suitable job as I already don’t have experience in the domain. I have been reaching out to people, seeking advice from those already in the field and related fields, as to how to map my road into it. I have given one or two interviews too, and right now am being very selective as I really want to be involved in something that helps me build relevant skills aligning with my goals. So it’s taking me time. I’m continuing my GMAT prep alongside and look to get done with it before I take on my new potential role, which would also probably be in a different city where I’d have to relocate.

    Any insights on how the adcoms would see this? I’d be applying next year, as I want some foundational experience in my desired field.

    P.S. I didn’t stress over this before. But then I stumbled across a lot many posts about employment gaps in resume, those on this forum too, hence, little disturbed.

  3. Hi,

    One small suggestion. When names are changed, there is no authenticity of the post. Overall flow and content of almost all the success stories is also same. Can you please help with few actual students with whom future clients can get in touch to understand how MCB can help? Thanks!

    • Thanks for your feedback and we appreciate the point. Unfortunately for us, many candidates aren’t comfortable with folks getting in touch with them and want to maintain their privacy. So, while we’d love to have more names instead of anonymous posts, we try not to push candidates beyond their comfort zones. We keep trying though.


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