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