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Making it to B-School

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By Mansie Dewan: From preparing for competitive exams to filling out applications and choosing the right college, the journey to a B-school is a difficult one. Tips to help you reach your destination.

Getting an MBA requires strategic planning and focus. The question of how to go about the entire process looms large on the minds of many young aspirants. Here, I am going to discuss the common aspects of the process that I have seen aspirants are doubtful about in eight years of my experience. The first hurdle is profiling yourself and includes choosing the right colleges taking into consideration your goals — what you are looking from an MBA programme. Many MBA aspirants get their profile evaluated by multiple consultants. Each consultant has his/her own approach and perspective. Different evaluations can create doubts in the aspirant’s mind which can hamper his/her own judgment. Remember guys, you are your own profiler. I will not talk you out of seeking free evaluations from multiple sources, but take each advice with a pinch of salt and use your own discretion. Having done your own research makes you stronger and more confident about your case.

Choosing your schools

Every business school has its strengths and offerings. You need to figure out what is personally more important to you and how each school can impact your career growth. You can differentiate schools according to their academics and teaching methodology, specialisations on offer, brands or their career services. Or you might prefer to study at a certain geographic location because you want to build your career in that area. For example, ISB, IIMs, NUS, Nanyang, are popular study choices for people wanting to work in the Asian region. Based on what parameters are most important to you, you can start drafting a list of schools fitting your needs. You should also rank your list in order of preference so that you’re clear in your mind about which school to join in case you have an admit from more than one business school.

In order to submit your applications smoothly and seamlessly, I recommend that you generate a list of your target schools right now. Even before taking the GMAT if possible. Not only will you be prepared well in time to structurally prepare yourself for your target school’s applications, but you will save yourself a lot of money by sending your GMAT scores to your top five choices when you take the exam. Also, with so many programmes on offer, it might get a little confusing to narrow your choices to just five-six so close to the applications deadlines, leaving you very little time in preparation to demonstrate a good fit between yourself and the programme.

Features of your profile to help you decide on your target schools

Academics: Your undergraduate and graduate GPA or percentage, entire past academic record and the GMAT are important components that will help you choose schools. And be pragmatic here; you need a stellar academic record and a high GMAT to target the top schools. A weak undergraduate collegiate result may hamper your chances, but there is scope to improve your performance during graduation or compensate it through an above average GMAT score.

Work experience: Business schools like to know about your career growth, leadership positions you’ve handled, increase in responsibilities and ability to manage teams effectively. If you have not had significant growth in the recent path, you may still have time to take on new leadership positions (on the work and extracurricular front) and increase your job responsibilities. Think about your strengths and your weaknesses. Think of ways to overcome your weaknesses and earnestly start working on them. A minimum of two years of experience is expected by most business schools, but check the class profile of your target schools to know the average.

Goals: Are your post-MBA career goals a good fit with the mission and offerings of your target school? You need to think deeply and develop a list of goals which are in sync with what the school offers and ability to place you in the target industry and function post-MBA.

Extracurricular activities: This deserves a special mention, as a lot of Indian applicants find themselves wanting in this area. Extracurricular involvements not only distinguish an applicant from the rest of the pool but also demonstrate that he or she has a well-rounded and holistic personality and can balance their time well.

Extracurricular involvements imply that you can balance an academic/professional life with your hobbies and interests and will continue to do so throughout your life. Incidentally, these activities also help you choose your schools, in terms of extracurricular involvement opportunities that your target school offers.

Preparing for the GMAT

Taking the GMAT is one of the most important milestones in your MBA journey. It determines whether you have the academic tenacity to participate in an MBA. Generally, Indians (read: Engineers or professionals from technical backgrounds) are naturally high GMAT scorers; so the competition is high. Read full article  from The Hindu

( The writer is founder and master coach, Mansie Dewan Consulting — The MBA Admissions Coach and is the author of “Destination MBA: Showing you how to get there” )



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