Rohit Kabra left his job in USA to return to India so he could focus on his GMAT preparation. But he wasn’t able to score as much as he expected. He explains how he was still able to get into a Top 40 ranking program with a $40,000 (approximately INR 29 Lakhs) scholarship, without having sleepless nights over interview preparation.
How I got into Katz MBA with scholarship
Review of my Katz application journey
by Rohit Kabra
Hello Everyone, I hope you are reading this blog with a burning desire inside you to get into a B school of your choice. A year back, I was in your shoes too. Let me introduce myself.
My name is Rohit Kabra and I am currently pursuing MBA from Katz. I hail from the state which produces the best tea in the world. Yes, you guessed it right, its Assam. Like many others, I also did my engineering and graduated in 2011. I love travelling, trying out different cuisines and beers, and I am crazy about cars.
Well, Manish has asked me to share my GMAT and admission experience, so I would not take much of your time here 😊.`
After my graduation, I joined Syntel Inc. as software developer in Nov 2011. With some hard work and luck, I was able to make a mark in my project early on in my career so much so that my manager applied for my H1B visa even before I had completed one year with the company.
I got my visa and was sent to the US in 2013.
Working in US was completely opposite from working in India. It was more challenging as it demanded to take ownership of the tasks in front of the clients and deliver in tough situations.
I kept on performing well and got timely promotions. However, the hunger inside me kept on growing and I knew that I wanted more than just a settled life in the US with some timely promotions. Thus in 2015, I decided to pursue MBA.
GMAT Preparation Experience
I started preparing for GMAT in the US. Time flew by and the preparation was going nowhere. I was too tied to my work. I had a team of 11 software developers to manage. So, most of my time went in client engagement and team management.
I slowly started to get frustrated because my GMAT preparation did not go as expected. Hence, I decided to give up my position in US and come back to India. This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made.
We all know how people in India are crazy about going to the US and getting work exposure there. But I was not satisfied with what I had and hence returned to India in Jan 2017 and started working based out of Mumbai.
I started preparing for GMAT from Feb 2017 after spending some time with my family. I was rusty as I had a big study gap in between. But I persisted and kept pushing myself. I figured out that I was good in Quant, as most Indian IT engineers are, but had a hard time managing Verbal. Hence, I devoted most of my time preparing for Verbal.
After 4 months of preparation, I finally gave my first GMAT attempt in June 2017. To my disappointment, I could only score 590 which was lesser than the scores in the mock tests. I did not even need to look at the scoring distribution to figure out that Verbal had screwed me up. I did not want to give up and started preparing again.
My entire focus was on verbal and on giving more mock tests. Then after 1 month of preparation, I reappeared for GMAT in the month of July and scored an average 660. I knew I had fallen 20-30 points short of what I could have scored. But I decided to go ahead with this score as I did not have time to reappear for GMAT.
I knew I needed professional help for my applications
This is when I contacted MBA Crystal Ball and told them about my background and GMAT score. I have been reading their blogs for several years and the feedback from earlier students and their admission consulting reviews made me confident about MCB.
As stated in the blogs, MCB would give you honest feedback with no sugar coating to win customers.
Hence, Manish made it very clear that with this GMAT score and my profile, I would have a fair shot at the schools ranked beyond 40 since I came from the tabooed background of Indian IT Male.
However, he did point out that my US work experience would help me a lot in crafting my story and would act as a differentiator. Hence, I decided to go ahead with what I had in my hand and started working on the essays and resume. Manish assigned Vijay as my mentor.
I had to shortlist the schools on my own as I could not avail the MAP service that MCB provides due to resource unavailability. I shortlisted Terry, Katz and Purdue for my profile.
I looked at the average GMAT score, % of international students, the placement stats for international students (not available on website) and the communication with Alumni and faculty (if they don’t respond to you now, chances are less that they would help you in your job search) in shortlisting the schools.
Then I started to work with Vijay on my resume first. Vijay suggested some changes to my resume to make it more business specific from what was more of a technical resume. He made my resume turn upside down 😊.
We then started with the essay for Terry. Vijay did not write the essay and hand it over to me. He pushed me to write the essays on my own, research more about the school and get in touch with the school and alumni as much as possible.
All this made me prepare myself for the interview without putting in extra efforts.
Vijay did multiple rounds of review to make sure that the essay was up to the mark. After Terry, the essay for Katz was easier to write as I already had a structure to follow and this time I knew how to research more about the school. Hence, we were able to complete the essay for Katz in a lesser time frame.
However, owing to my work commitments, I had to move back to US and was unable to prepare my essay for Purdue. The travel, work load and jet lag took their toll on me and I decided to apply for 2 schools this year.
I got an interview invite from Katz and was able to convert Katz into an admit with 60 % scholarship.
Why I didn’t have to sweat much with the interview
The interview was mainly focused on my work experience and why I wanted to pursue an MBA. As Manish pointed out right at the beginning that my work experience in USA would help, it surely did.
During the interview, the admission committee focused more on my time in U.S. and how did it help me evolve professionally.
Guys, I want to point out that the process that MCB adopts to prepare the essays makes you ready for the interview without you even realizing it.
As for why I selected the Katz Business School, it is a decently ranked school with lots of opportunities to learn and grow. The Katz MBA program is increasingly gaining reputation and has shown good placements stats for both domestic and international students in recent years.
Yes, the current visa situation makes it tough for students to find a job of their choice, but I see most seniors and Alumni from Katz (including internationals) landing up with jobs in the biggest of companies and doing good in it.
Not to mention about the reasonable fee that Katz charges at a time when education is becoming extremely expensive.
Tip for MBA applicants
My advice to students would be to figure out why do you want pursue MBA and how can you relate MBA to your experience.
Of course, GMAT stays as an important criterion especially when you come from a highly competitive pool, but you still need a story which stands out in the crowd.
In my case, my international work experience made up for my low GMAT score as I was able to relate my experience to my MBA.
Also, try to have some professional certifications like CFA, PMP etc. depending on what suits your profile.
Further, try to join the information sessions held by B-schools and introduce yourself to them. These differentiators surely stand out in front of the admission committee.
I would like to end by wishing Vijay, Manish and MBA Crystal Ball all the very best in their endeavor of helping MBA aspirants to reach their dream schools.
You are creating value for aspirants which is very rare in today’s time of commercialization.
I hope that every MBA aspirant reading this blog gets admitted to the school of his or her choice. Cheers!