We regularly interact with the admission officers of the top bschools (here’s an interview with the UCLA admissions director). This gives us a pretty good idea of not only what the top MBA programs look for in applicants, but also what’s acceptable and what’s not when candidates take professional help.
Ratan Mehra (name changed) got into UCLA with a $60,000 scholarship. That’s a saving of roughly 43 Lakhs in Indian Rupees. He explains how he got there.
A technology enthusiast since school days, I pursued electrical engineering studies at BITS to further my passion. Besides carrying a passion for Integrated Circuit design, I was involved in diverse activities, from co-founding a venture, to managing the placement cell.
My interest in exploring hi-tech electronics led me take up roles with semiconductor giants, where I was involved in digital design for chips spanning a plethora of applications.
With cutting edge technologies requiring heavy R&D investment, product management and strategic planning, I was drawn to building an understanding of the complete business dynamics. This is when I decided to pursue management education.
The first step to applying, as one would expect, was to get a respectable GMAT. I relied extensively on the GMAT Prep software, for mock tests as well as practice questions, owing to the precision with which these questions emulate the actual GMAT level.
I scored 750, and was reasonably satisfied, given that the score was in the ballpark of the median scores for most top colleges.
To get an honest assessment of how I levelled up against a vast pool of applicants, I researched and decided to seek guidance from MBA Crystal Ball.
It’s something I look back as one of the best decisions I made to strengthen my candidature.
My interactions with Manish (MG) during the MAP led to a deeper introspection of what my expectations / priorities were, and how I should go about assessing my cultural fit for universities. This was something I was missing prior to the MBA MAP process.
I eventually narrowed down to 4 colleges that I believed would help me leverage my background to take up a new role post-MBA.
Well aware of the ethical boundaries that must be adhered to in such an association, MG was ever available for providing his independent assessment as part of the 3-college application counselling package, as I went about the drafts. And this unbiased evaluation was immensely helpful.
One of the most important aspects of my application was getting in touch with the current students at these schools (some of them friends), and getting to know about the opportunities and avenues that each of these schools offered to further my career interests, and how their philosophy resonated with mine.
This was instrumental both in finalising the colleges I applied to, as well as building confidence during the application/interview process.
I was invited to interview with MIT(Sloan) and UCLA(Anderson), and the interviews were mostly behavioral (event-based) along with the expected ‘why-MBA’, and lasted between 30-45 mins.
The interviewers were either a second-year student, or an AdCom member. The results were declared roughly a month after the interviews, and I was ecstatic at having converted UCLA Anderson with a fellowship award of $60,000.
My learning from this journey, and advice for any MBA aspirant reading this:
Here’s wishing any MBA aspirant reading this the very best for your applications! :)