Is Warwick Business School hard to get into? Let’s look at some statistics to understand the question better.
Warwick enjoys a pretty respectable position in the latest Financial Times MBA ranking. FT ranks the Warwick MBA in the top 4 in the UK (just after LBS, Cambridge and Oxford), top 10 in Europe and top 50 in the world.
The average GMAT score is 660. The average age is 30 years and the average work experience is 8 years. This means the students have spent a substantial amount of time working in mid-to-senior roles before they apply.
This pre-MBA experience coupled with the new skills and qualification reflect in the placement statistics. Warwick MBA grads get a high average salary of over $95,000 with an average bonus of $17,000 and $13,000 in other benefits.
Though their average GMAT may seem lower than the top programs in the United states, the Warwick Business School is not easy to get into.
Delhi-based entrepreneur, Prashant Jha, had tried his luck for several years to get into a good MBA program. His biggest hurdle was his low GMAT score of 640.
How I got into Warwick Business School with 640 GMAT score
Top 10 MBA in Europe after startup experience
by Prashant Jha
After three years of wait, multiple unsuccessful attempts at securing good GMAT score and rejections from three business schools, I finally got admitted to one of the top 10 Full Time MBA programmes in Europe (top 50 globally), at Warwick Business School (WBS) in UK with a 640 GMAT score.
Since last six years, I am running consumer goods startup based in New Delhi. I almost had a mini practical MBA, while managing different aspects of my business such as operations, marketing and finance.
Managing my startup, every day is a new story of handling a new set of challenges and coming up with different innovative solutions. Constantly learning and evolving from my own experiences, I was able to make a good name for my consumer good brands.
However, since last couple of years, my business stagnated and I was unable to take it to the next level. I decided to pursue a formal business education – MBA – in year 2018 to move forward to take up bigger challenges in my professional life.
The major concerns that I had about my MBA applications were my high work experience of nine years and low GMAT score of 640.
Belonging to an over-represented competition pool (i.e Indian Male Engineer), I always knew that it would be tough to get into any good b-school with this score.
Hence I tried to write GMAT again to improve my score further. I practiced from official guide for GMAT and also used different GMAT online materials.
I took all the six official practice exams from GMAC and also took numerous mocks from other available online resources and I was scoring decently in my mocks from 680-730.
I re-took the GMAT twice in June & July 2020 during the ongoing pandemic but did not get the desired result and could not improve any further from my previous score of 640.
I was completely devastated but did not lose hope to get MBA from an elite b-school.
Since my school days, I usually struggled with competitive exams but did well in practical aspects as I did in my entrepreneurial journey.
I knew my score was modest but I decided to focus on strong parts of my profile such as my entrepreneurial experience and started working on my applications, focusing majorly on essays, interview and CV.
Strategy 1: Free MBA essay reviews from friends
Previously, I had applied to University of Connecticut, School of Business in US with 640 score with the help from two of my good friends, who themselves went to top b-schools.
They helped me with my essays in every possible way and got me an interview call from the school.
Though after the interview, I was unable to make it through the final cut of the school and got rejected.
This is when I realized that for my profile I would need professional help from an MBA consultant for guidance throughout the admissions process.
Strategy 2: Time to bring in the professionals
While researching about MBA consultants, I came across many consultants and was trying to finalize on one.
Meanwhile I got the reference for MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) from one of my friends, who used their services and got through a top ranked b-school in Europe.
Through my initial conversations with MG and his advice on process to select appropriate b-schools according to my profile, I was fully confident that I am dealing with the right set of people.
I was advised that because of my high work experience and low GMAT score, it would not be a very good idea to apply to US based b-schools as average work experience of MBA cohort there is about 4-6 years and I almost had 1.5x of that.
Considering this, I mainly targeted b-schools in UK, where the MBA cohort has little more work experience.
Also, the time commitment (one year) and the cost component was almost half when compared to that of MBA from US based b-schools.
To diversify the risk, I classified schools as ambitious, reach and safety schools based on my profile. I also made sure to apply in different geographies to mitigate the risk further.
Finally, in Round 1, I applied to Warwick and Manchester Business School in UK, working with MCB and applied to the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) in India and Schulich Business School in Canada by myself.
MG then introduced me to Rohit, who was my guide at MBA Crystal Ball for the MBA admissions process.
Initially, I was little sceptical about working with Rohit as I did not know anything about him. But as soon as I got on a call with him for the brain storming session, I was convinced that he is going to be the right coach to help me sail my boat through this journey.
I took the 2 schools admissions consulting service with MCB and started working on my applications.
Rohit’s impeccable command on reviewing essays and the way he helped me connect all the dots in my story are really very commendable.
He made me understand how to pick a unique part from my profile and leverage that to make my application stand out in the crowded pool of MBA applicants.
The structured review process helped me improve my essays step by step and finalize them to my utmost satisfaction.
Disaster narrowly averted
I categorically remember one specific instance when I totally missed writing a long answer question beforehand till the last day of the submission.
I misunderstood it for a brief answer question and later realized that it was a complete essay of around 400 words. That was a complete nervous breakdown moment for me.
I immediately connected with Rohit about this situation and he advised me to stay calm and asked me to finish writing it at the earliest.
Rohit literally went out of his way to review the whole essay at once and made sure that I submit my application before the deadline.
Overall, I can say, if you have an experienced coach like Rohit by your side, it is possible to navigate through tedious MBA admissions journey with ease, and your chances of landing into your desirable b-school shoot up tremendously.
Preparing for the Warwick MBA interview
I also took the MBA Interview Prep Service with MCB, which helped me get through the final leg of the admissions process.
Two power-packed mock interview sessions (one telephonic and other on skype) with Rohit really helped me reflect upon my abilities and further improve upon my weaker areas.
Based on Rohit’s feedback, I practiced extensively for my b-school interviews in the STAR (situation-task-action-result) format.
My interview with WBS was conducted by Professor of Practice in Strategy & Leadership (Associate Dean).
The whole interview was very conversational and the professor made me very comfortable during the course of the interview.
It went for around 30-35 minutes and major questions were about my profile, the impact of pandemic on my business and how I overcame it, my motivations to do MBA and my post MBA career goals.
As I was fully prepared for this, my interview went well.
Also during the interview, the Professor told me about various specialisms available at WBS and about their pedagogy.
I enjoyed my interview thoroughly and it was a good learning experience for me.
The taste of success…finally!
After just three days of my interview, I got an acceptance from the WBS.
Getting a final offer letter from WBS was an incredible moment for me for which I was waiting for years now.
Regarding my other applications, I got a rejection post interview from Manchester, a rejection without interview from IIMB and I am yet to hear from Schulich.
But I have already made my mind to attend WBS as it was my first choice of school and I am confident that studying at WBS would help me attain my post MBA goals of working in operations with E-commerce/CPG firms and explore the wider world of opportunities globally.
I am now feeling good about myself that I never gave up.
Even though my journey was full of surprising twists and turns, I never lost hope and finally it feels really exhilarating to reach the next milestone of my life.
With this enthusiasm, I look forward to face any challenge that is going to come in my way in the future.
I would also like to advice all the MBA aspirants who are struggling with their low GMAT scores to take their best shot at GMAT, and if at all the result is not desirable, do not lose hope.
GMAT is just another part of your application and one should rather focus on the overall profile to make their application standout.
Be true and confident when you narrate your story because that is the only thing that makes your application unique.
– MBA success stories with below average GMAT scores