6 Traits B-Schools Look For In Applicants

B-school factors
Reading Time: 7 minutes

This is probably the first question that strikes every aspiring MBA applicant across the globe, ‘What does it take to get into B-School?.

2019 is probably going to be a bit of a challenge for MBA applicants. With the changing course of globalisation, emerging trends in technology & modernisation, pursuing an MBA degree should have a purpose & goal behind it.

Before we get to the qualities that B- Schools look for in applicants, we suggest you take a look at this table for a minute.

Comparative Study of Acceptance Rate between Harvard, Stanford, Wharton & Columbia

Application Acceptance Rate at B-Schools

A glance at your dream B-schools and you’ll figure out how many applicants get it to the program. The acceptance rate of these top business schools is less than 9 %. A top B-School like Stanford takes only about 419 applicants out of the 7,000 odd applicants a year with the average GMAT score ranging between 600-790. Harvard, on the other hand, takes in close to 1000 applicants out of the 10,000 odd shortlisted applicants a year. Even with a 760 on GMAT, your chance of acceptance is just 14%. Same is the case with a school like Wharton, where out of 23,000 applicants only about 1 in 10 applicants are accepted.

The specific point we are trying to stress on is that the competition is getting tougher by the year. With B-schools getting stringent in their admissions every passing year, there is more than what meets the eye. You need to go beyond your scorecard.

Taking the GMAT test is certainly the foremost step to begin your MBA application journey but it’s not always about cracking the GMAT test. Remember, your marks are just a gateway to the application process and it does not guarantee admission into your dream school.

Before you start building castles in the air about your dream B-School, we suggest you take a look at these primary factors that B-Schools look for in applicants.

  1. Academic Potential
  2. Work Experience
  3. Leadership
  4. Diversity
  5. Personality- The X Factor
  6. Goals

1. Academic Potential

Let’s get the basics first!

There are close to 2 lakh applicants for B-Schools every single year across the globe. And among them, a few thousand make it. So the primary factor for consideration of an application would be your academic excellence.

The MBA admission committee will look at your profile to understand your academic potential at college/ university. The key point they watch out for is the considerable progress you have made in your subjects. Ideally, if your GPA or Grade Point Average score is around 3.5 or more, you’d know that you are in the running for a good B-School.

Academic Potential

The second factor would be to test your interest levels beyond your classroom. Have you taken up any external courses or professional certificate courses apart from those taught at college? Is there a value addition to your academic profile?

Third would be of course one of the biggest criteria, GMAT scores. Your scores stand out in the application & become one of the most important factors for the selection process.

Apart from getting the GPA right, it is important to note that admission committees will also look at the strength of your institution and the rank it holds. Essentially they look at whether you’ve got what it takes to do an MBA? Are you confident enough to go through the rigorous MBA program? You can check out the details of where you stand academically & evaluate your strengths in this detailed blog here.

2. Work Experience

Checklist for MBA Application: Good.
GPA from college – check.
Great GMAT score- check.
Work Experience- Oh!

This is not probably the situation where you don’t want to be in. But let’s swallow the bitter pill here. Work experience is certainly one of the most important criteria for the admission faculty to consider your application. This is simply because the MBA admission committee believes that candidates with work experience tend to adapt to peer learning faster than candidates without work experience. Their goal is to not make the program too academic but rather interactive & progressive.

Now, the next question is- How much work experience is required? Let’s clear the air around this common myth that one can have any amount of work experience to qualify for an MBA application. Wrong. This notion can be very misleading for the application process itself.


If you are planning to do an MBA and have work experience, then your focus should be on the quality of work versus the quantity of work. You may have more than 8 years of experience but fail to show any significant progress in your work tenure, then chances are that your application might get rejected.

Work Experience

On the other hand, if you have barely 2 years of work experience & have projected titular promotion in your stint or have reached better positions at a faster pace, then you have every reason why you should apply for an MBA program.

You need to stress your key highlights at the workplace. Here’s a detailed blog about how to highlight your work experience before applying for business schools.

3. Leadership

This is a factor we can’t stop stressing enough. B-Schools watch out for applicants who exhibit excellent leadership qualities.

These are probably the questions to which you must have your answers ready. Am I a strong leader? If yes, then when and where have I exhibited them? Ask these basic questions to help figure out where you stand.


The next segment to focus upon is – How have I contributed to exhibiting leadership skills at work or outside work? You might have contributed to a small start-up with your consulting services or you might have organized a workshop for your colleagues. It could be anything that adds value to your professional portfolio, something that has challenged you to step outside your comfort zone & lead an idea, a team or a challenge.

Once you’ve listed your contributions, you need to focus on how to tell a compelling story to the academic committee. Read more on leadership skills & the art of strategizing your leadership story.

4. Diversity

This is a critical factor that may or may not be under your control but plays a crucial role in the MBA application process. There is this misconception around the idea of being a diverse applicant.

The notion is that every applicant is put through the same funnel and same lens by the admission faculty. Incorrect. This is probably one of the factors to bear in mind before you hit the application submit button.


By diversity, we mean what different are you bringing to the table? How are you adding value to your application? This is what they are looking at. The admission committee will screen your background to gauge your personality on the whole.

Learn more about knowing the importance of identifying diversification for the MBA application process.

5. Personality – The X-Factor

Let’s be specific about this. It is essentially who you are!

On average, there are about close to 10,000 applicants to every top B-Schools around the world. Most of them qualify for the program both academically and professionally. But not all make it to the B-Schools right?

The primary reason being that B-Schools look for a stand out factor in every applicant they scrutinize. What is it that sets you apart from the rest? What makes your personality unique and interesting?


Well, it’s time to ask these questions before you apply. What is my X-factor in all spheres of life: personal, professional and others. The admission committee for obvious reasons does not want to hear fluff. They want to know you better, your experience and reasons as to why this MBA will build upon your dreams in the future.

So, what’s your stand out factor? If you still have doubts, read more about this trait here.

6. Goals

Aiming for a good score at MBA programs & getting a job with a good pay package should not be the only criteria for applications. Of course, they are necessary to become a successful MBA graduate but that’s not what admission faculty at business schools look for in a candidate.

tell me why

They scout for people who have clarity on where they are headed in their career: job, position, function, industry, role, geography, etc. Because a B-School will not help you find answers to these. It is a platform to use your resources well to be able to achieve your goal. So, it is always better to be informed about what you want out of this MBA journey.

Typically, your essays must highlight your goals. An undefined career vision, lack of purpose, disconnect between work experience and future goals and an unconvincing motivation can have your application rejected at a glance.

If you have more doubts about setting the right goal that’ll aide in MBA applications, do read this section in detail.

We hope that this blog was informative and engaging for you! If you have more doubts, get in touch with us and we will reach out to you!

We also provide personalized guidance to those applying for B-Schools. Contact us for any kind of support! Good luck!

Selecting the Right MBA Program – 6 Factors to Consider

Right business school
Reading Time: 16 minutes

Did you know that there are more than 2,300 business schools worldwide that accept the GMAT?

Selecting the right MBA program out of so many options is tedious work!

The fact that you’re reading this article means you need help figuring out how to select the right MBA program for yourself. We understand the feeling of being completely lost and not knowing where to start. After all, choosing the best MBA program is not as simple as doing a Google search!

Actually, you know what?

It can be that simple if you know what you need to take into consideration.

In fact, that’s what we will discuss in this article – six things you need to consider while choosing MBA programs to apply to. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Does my profile match the MBA class profile?
  2. Is the B-School’s location right for me?
  3. What are the specializations the MBA offers?
  4. How can MBA Rankings help in selecting the right MBA program?
  5. Should I choose a 1-year MBA or a 2-year MBA?
  6. How do I calculate the ROI of an MBA?

Let’s discuss some ways to answer these questions.

1. Does my profile match the MBA class profile?

Your classmates play a huge role in determining the quality of your MBA experience.

Profile match

That’s why you need to ensure you fit in well with the kind of people you’ll have as classmates. The best way to do that is to see if your profile matches with a B-School’s class profile. You can usually find the profile of the school’s most recent batch on their official website.

The ideal MBA program for you is the one where you fit in with the class.

Here are some of the aspects you need to think about regarding profiles:

a. Age
The average age for the IIM-A PGPX program is 31 while the average age at Stanford is 28. Which one resonates better with you?

b. International Students
The percentage of Indians at a typical International school is under 10% while close to 99% of people in Indian MBA programs are Indians! Where do you want to be?

c. Diversity
Business schools abroad work hard to ensure that there’s a good mix of people from different educational and professional backgrounds, while Indian MBA batches will mostly comprise of engineers. What kind of a cohort would you rather be a part of?

To figure out the answers to these questions, you need to understand the pros and cons of being in a class full of people just like yourself. Make it a point to read up on selecting an MBA program based on your profile to get a better idea of how this works.

In the subsequent section, we will discuss the importance of geography in MBA program selection.

2. Is the B-School’s location right for me?

Considering the geography of a B-School is not as one-dimensional as checking up on profile matching. There are many aspects involved in the geography of a given school that you need to think about.


You can start out by figuring out whether you want to do your MBA abroad or in India.

That is a critical point which will help you narrow down your options significantly. But there are a few more things related to geography that will affect what you gain from your MBA. For example:

a. Future Plans
If you plan to stay in the country where you get your MBA, you need to consider your odds of getting a work visa there. Also think about the country’s social and economic stability and whether it is sustainable for you to live there in the near future.

b. Proximity to Industry
Think about it – business schools in Manhattan will inherently have an advantage when it comes to post-MBA careers in Finance. The same goes for Silicon Valley B-Schools and careers related to tech and entrepreneurship. In short, remember that the industry surrounding a school makes a difference to what you could gain from doing an MBA there.

c. Language
Studying abroad in the US and UK is, luckily, straightforward – you only need to know English, which you obviously already do. But if you’re going to Germany, Italy, Spain, or some other country, you will need to know the national language. Don’t dismiss this factor – it is critical in more ways than one!

d. Culture
We often fail to consider the food habits of a different country, and this is likely to affect you whether you’re a vegetarian or not. Surviving without your staple food is harder than you might think! And food is only one aspect of culture; there’s a lot more to it beyond that, too.

e. Climate
It is critical not to underestimate the difficulty of living in a place significantly colder than what you’re used to. For example, nothing in India can prepare you for Canadian winters. You’ll have to invest a fair amount of time, money, and grit into coping with harsher weather than your homeland.

Let it suffice to say that a LOT rides on the location of your B-School.

To understand in detail how the location of a B-School can affect your MBA experience, read up on how to select B-Schools based on geography.

The next section talks about how specializations should help you decide which MBA program to choose.

3. What are the specializations the MBA offers?

Now this section is very closely tied to your post-MBA career plans. That means you need to have those in place before you start thinking about choosing B-Schools based on specializations.


You may have noticed that a B-School’s location can often affect what it is known for. However, it does not limit a school’s expertise.

For example, look at the Stanford MBA program. You could take up any of the specializations on offer and you would still thrive. Stanford’s expertise isn’t limited to tech and entrepreneurship in spite of being in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

The idea is to look for something that a school is renowned for.

Selecting the right MBA program based on specializations takes into consideration the available electives as well as the school’s expertise.

There are many ways to find the leading business schools for a given specialization. Look up business schools that are recognized as Centers of Excellence in a given field. You can even take a look at different publications’ MBA rankings according to your choice of specialization.

The point is to balance what you want with what is available and what the school is known for.

You may want to, for example, get into the MBA program at UCLA Anderson and specialize in Supply Chain Management. Doing so may not be in your best interest if UCLA Anderson offers Supply Chain Management but is better known for its HR specialization.

In essence, we’re encouraging you to do your research here.

Go ahead and read up on how to choose an MBA program based on specializations.

The next section talks about a great tool that can help you in selecting the right MBA program.

4. How can MBA Rankings help in selecting the right MBA program?

MBA rankings are published every year by leading publications across the Business sector. They are meant to help candidates, students, faculty, and recruiters to get a grip on the approximate lay of the land as far as B-Schools are concerned.

Almost all publications use nearly the same data points to come up with these rankings. Yet, their results are often quite different from each other.

This is because of differences in two major aspects:

a. Weightage Assignment
All the B-Schools on a publication’s list are scored on various parameters. A certain weightage is then assigned to each aspect, and the school’s final score is a combination of raw scores and weightages. Every publication assigns a different weightage to each aspect based on its own priorities.

b. Data Verification
All the data taken from B-Schools for MBA rankings is self-reported. This leaves a massive amount of space for ‘fudging’ the data, which is expected thanks to the value of a high rank for every B-School. Some publications take meticulous measures to get the data verified from secondary and tertiary sources while some others don’t.

We highly recommend that you look at each school’s aggregate rank across publications to get a fair picture of it’s real standing.

Doing this will eliminate outliers like CEIBS, a Chinese B-School that appears within Financial Times’ Top 10 but ranks significantly lower on the other publications’ lists. Comparing ranks across publications also ensures that your decision doesn’t depend on any single publication’s priorities.

Actually, the best thing to do is to come up with your own rankings based on parameters that are important to you.

However, if you can’t do that, at least read up on the methodologies used by the MBA rankings you plan to consult. Maybe you’ll find a publication whose weightage distribution reflects your own priorities. Even if you don’t, you will know how seriously you should take these rankings.

We have compiled a list of which MBA rankings you can trust. Hopefully, those will help you in selecting the right MBA program based on rankings.

The next factor is something you may have already thought about, but it’s worth discussing anyway.

5. Should I choose a 1-year MBA or a 2-year MBA?

Most candidates have a major one-year vs. two-year MBA debate to grapple with while selecting the right MBA programs.

Program duration

Some of you may be aware of the basic differences between a one-year MBA and a two-year MBA. But just to ensure we’re on the same page, let’s get into some preliminary details here.

Here are the primary differences between 1-year vs. 2-year MBA programs:

a. Opportunity Cost
In case you’re not sure what this means, opportunity cost is the amount of money you could have earned if you had chosen one option over the other. For example, let’s assume your annual salary is ₹8 Lakh. This means the opportunity cost if you opt for a one-year MBA program is ₹8 Lakh and if you choose a two-year program, it is ₹16 Lakh.

b. Pace of Learning
A two-year MBA program lets you learn at your own pace. It gives you time for things like case competitions, networking events, seminars, and immersive learning. On the other hand, a one-year MBA program is very to-the-point and fast-paced. It doesn’t afford a lot of time for co- or extra-curricular activities no matter which B-School you’re a part of.

c. Choosing Specializations
In a two-year MBA program, you have an entire year at least before you need to pick your electives. It allows you to get a good understanding of what the syllabus is like and what each elective entails. One-year MBA programs require you to make your choices within one semester.

Typically, if you have a fair amount of work experience and you know exactly what you want from your MBA, the one-year MBA is for you. That doesn’t go to say that you can’t do a one-year MBA with limited work experience or goal clarity, it’s just that it will not yield optimum results if you do that.

Either way, the impact of program duration on the outcome of your MBA is quite subtle.

We strongly recommend that you read up on selecting the right MBA program based on program duration before making a decision.

Nothing makes as much of a difference as the ROI a program has to offer you, so in the next section, that’s what we will discuss.

6. How do I calculate the ROI of an MBA?

The ROI of an MBA is not easy to calculate, irrespective of the duration of the program.

You may be led to believe that it is a simple calculation. Just enter the amount invested into getting your MBA and the average post-MBA salary, and voilà – you have the ROI of an MBA. Now, that would work if the salary hike is all you got out of an MBA!

However, there are at least three intangible benefits that you get from your MBA. Let’s take a look at them:

a. Knowledge: You will learn about new concepts and industry norms that will help you navigate your way up the corporate hierarchy.

b. Network: Having business contacts all over the world is something that can help you throughout your life.

c. Perspective: Being able to look at problem-solving from a holistic, global perspective will help you be innovative in your approach, always.

These are assets you gain from an MBA that will give you benefits throughout your life. But it is impossible to calculate how much money these benefits translate into, so it’s tough to factor these things into the ROI of an MBA.

While getting a substantial salary hike in the post-MBA career of your choice is important, it isn’t the only thing to consider as ROI.

Our recommendation is that you should consider these factors as well while selecting MBA programs based on ROI.

These six factors should help you come up with a list of B-Schools that you can apply to. Do note that these factors are not arranged in any particular order of importance. That changes from person to person, so you can go as per your preference.
There’s one last thing to do before you start applying: prioritize business schools based on your chances of getting in.
There should ideally be three types of B-Schools on your shortlist:

  1. Reach Category
  2. Stretch Category
  3. Dream Category

The schools in the Reach Category should be those that you stand a great chance of getting into. Let us explain how this works with an example. Suppose you’re a 28-year-old Indian male IT professional with a 720 on your GMAT.

Based on this, something like the PGP at the Indian School of Business would fall in the Reach Category for you. Their average GMAT score is 700, the average age is 27, and 67% of the class comes from an engineering background. Statistically speaking, you have great chances of getting in.

In the Stretch Category, place those schools that you may not stand great chances of getting into. You should need to put considerable work into building your application to stand a chance of getting an admit from these schools.

A school like the Tepper School of Business should fall in the Stretch Category for you.

Now, this is a bit tricky. If you check on Tepper’s official website, you’ll find that the average GMAT score is 690.

Why would we ask you to put this in the Stretch Category, then?

Here’s why:

At many B-Schools around the world, the expected GMAT score is higher for Indian and Chinese applicants than for applicants from the rest of the world. This is an unsaid rule, though, so it’s tough to know what exactly this “higher score” is.

To be on the safe side, look at the score range of the middle 80%. At Tepper, this range is from 640 to 742, meaning there are students at Tepper who have scored above 740. That is primarily why we would strongly suggest that schools like Tepper should remain in the Stretch Category even if your GMAT score is higher than the class average.

Finally, let’s talk about the Dream Category. Every person who has ever thought of getting an MBA has surely dreamt of studying at Harvard Business School, Wharton School of Business, and the likes.

Needless to say, all these go into the Dream Category.

You can work super hard on creating an outstanding profile and application, but your chances of getting into these schools remain next to zero.

What’s the point of applying, then, you ask?

Well, it is to try your luck. There’s a one-in-a-million chance that you might get an admit if the school really likes your application. It’s worth a shot!

This is all that we think you need to think about while selecting the right MBA programs to apply to. We hope that this article has helped you find your way! In case you still have questions or queries, do leave a comment in the section below and we will be happy to help you out.

If you’re still wondering whether your profile is good enough for an MBA, get it evaluated right away!

How to Get an MBA through GMAT without Work Experience

MBA through GMAT without workex
Reading Time: 7 minutes

We’ve been getting the same question from an increasing number of students: “Can I get an MBA through GMAT without work experience?”

The short answer is this: of course, you can!

However, that’s only the short answer. There’s a lot that goes into getting an MBA, it isn’t as simple as filling out a form and just signing up.

To get into an MBA program without work experience is not an easy task by any measure. MBA is a postgraduate program that is usually designed for people with a couple of years of full-time work experience. The idea is to use the students’ experience of the business world to help them understand concepts and learn skills that will help them get ahead.

So, you can probably see why a lack of work experience can be a problem here.

However, the top B-Schools around the world are constantly looking to attract the crème de la crème into their MBA programs. B-Schools know that your odds of scoring well on the GMAT are pretty high while you’re still within the system of studying and appearing for exams. The going only gets tougher once you start working full-time.

That is why some of them provide you with an option to secure your seat in advance and only start your studies after getting some work experience.

Check out what our founder and CEO, Arun Jagannathan, has to say about getting an MBA without work experience:

In this article, we will discuss the following questions:

  1. Can I get an MBA without work experience?
  2. What is Deferred Admission?
  3. Which top B-Schools offer MBA without work experience?

Hopefully, our answers will help you figure out what you need to do from this point on.

1. Can I get an MBA without work experience?

You already have the short answer to this deceptively simple question. Here’s the long version.

Whether you can get into your dream MBA program without work experience or not will depend on many factors.

One of these factors is whether or not your dream school offers an early admission option. Some of the world’s leading B-Schools including Harvard and Yale are beginning to enter the early admission market to scout and pick up the best talent there is.

The trend is to start offering guaranteed seats to those who show exceptional talent while they’re still in college.

But here’s the catch:

Even though you can secure admissions for MBA without work experience, you will still only start studying for your degree after you go out and get some experience working full-time.

Now, B-Schools around the world are aware of two things, most of all.

The first thing B-Schools know is that you have a good chance of getting a great GMAT score while you’re still within the education system. Once you get into full-time work, it becomes tougher and tougher still to get back into the routine of preparing for an exam and scoring well. Taking you in with exemplary GMAT scores serves the B-School well, shoring up its average GMAT score.

So, obviously, B-Schools have a vested interest in giving you a chance to score your best, which is when you’re in college.

Secondly, B-Schools also know that rushing you into the MBA classroom without letting you get some exposure to ‘real-world’ business environments will take away from your learning experience.

The solution to providing for both these things is a program every school runs under a different name. That’s what we discuss in the next section.

2. What is Deferred Admission?

To put it simply, this is one of the many programs that allow you to get an MBA without work experience.

Offering early or deferred admissions is fast catching on as a trend among the world’s leading B-Schools. A number of leading schools offer programs allowing college students to get admitted into MBA without work experience. Each school has its own program structure, expectations, and admission criteria for its version of this program. Every school also has its own name for the program.

What the program essentially comes down to in most cases is this:

You take your GMAT in the last or second-last undergrad year and apply immediately via designated programs. Those who are selected are offered admission into the MBA batch that will commence a couple of years later.

If you accept the admission offer, you’re assigned a mentor. The mentor then guides you to improve your MBA profile.

Wondering what’s the point of improving your profile after getting admitted?

Here’s how it will help you:

Building your MBA profile is not only meant to impress B-Schools. It is also meant to help you prepare yourself mentally for the rigors of being in a B-School.

Don’t underestimate how rigorous life at a B-School can get. You’re expected to be a part of a number of activities, manage your projects and assignments, and still keep up with your studies simultaneously.

This is what your mentor prepares you to do so that it helps you make the best of your MBA experience.

To sum it up, deferred admission is when a B-School guarantees you a seat on its MBA program while allowing you a couple of years to finish your graduation and get some work experience first.

Now that you know what you can expect from these kinds of programs, let’s delve into discussing the options at your disposal as far as MBA without work experience is concerned.

3. Which top B-Schools offer MBA without work experience?

There are many leading B-Schools in the world that offer you the option to get admitted into MBA without work experience. Here, we’ll discuss programs from three of the most sought-after schools among our students.

  1. Harvard 2+2 – Harvard Business School

    Harvard 2+2 program

    Easily the most popular deferred admission program by a wide margin is the HBS 2+2 program.

    The ‘2+2’ stands for two years of full-time work experience followed by two years as a part of the HBS MBA program.

    To be eligible for admission via this program, you must not have any full-time work experience. You can apply if you’re in the last year of your undergraduate or postgraduate degree, as long as you have no full-time work experience.

    Students of STEM and humanities backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply for the HBS 2+2 program.

    However, students from all backgrounds are welcome to apply.

    The application process for this program is the same as that of the HBS MBA program. The differences are that it has less than half the application fee and only one deadline as opposed to the multiple rounds that MBA applicants get.

  3. Yale Silver Scholars – Yale School of Management

    Yale Silver Scholars

    The Silver Scholars program at Yale was started as early as 2001. It is a three-year MBA program rather than the average two-year MBA that Yale offers.

    Just like it is with Harvard’s 2+2, you will only be eligible for the Yale Silver Scholars program if you are a student in the final year of your under- or post-graduate program. Having no previous work experience is also a prerequisite for admission under the Silver Scholars program.

    The first year of this program involves classroom studies, the second is spent completing a year-long, full-time internship, and in the third year, you return to the classroom to complete the program with electives of your choice.

    Applications for the Silver Scholars program are accepted through the MBA application process itself.

    However, we strongly recommend that you keep an eye out for special instructions to Silver Scholar applicants on how to navigate through the application process. If you aren’t careful, your eligibility could be compromised due to simple technical errors.

  5. Young Leaders Program & Early Entry Option – Indian School of Business


    While the YLP is the Indian School of Business’ deferred admission program that’s inspired by Harvard’s 2+2, the EEO is a rather unique proposition from ISB.

    The YLP works along the lines of the 2+2 and Silver Scholars programs, except for a few differences. One of these differences is that YLP has a separate application process from the process for MBA applications, with very specific and pointed YLP application essay questions.

    On the other hand, the EEO is a program meant for people with less than 24 months of work experience. As opposed to deferred admissions programs designed for students with no work experience, EEO is designed specifically for people who have experience but not enough for an MBA.

    In effect, the ISB EEO lets you defer your admission till you can complete at least 24 months of full-time work experience.

    At the end of the YLP, you join ISB’s flagship Postgraduate Program (PGP), whereas with EEO, accepting admission signs you up directly for the PGP.

Having spoken about the most prominent programs from B-Schools allowing you to take admission into MBA without work experience, we must mention that there’s an important bifurcation when it comes to selecting B-Schools for you.

It all comes down to figuring out whether you want to look at B-Schools within India or consider B-Schools abroad.

In either case, it’ll probably help you to know that many Indian B-Schools accept GMAT scores. And if you’re considering studying abroad, you have yet another option in the form of the GRE. Consider the pros and cons of GMAT vs. GRE before you decide which test to take.

Our final piece of advice to you in this blog is that you should try to keep in mind that an MBA is a huge decision, and money is not the only thing you’ll need to invest in it. An MBA will impact the entire future trajectory of your life. So, make sure that you consider all your options carefully before choosing to get your MBA without work experience.

MBA in India vs. MBA Abroad

MBA India vs abroad
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Once you’ve made the decision to pursue an MBA, the biggest question you have to deal with is where to get your MBA from. Many of our students find themselves grappling with this question:

Should I get my MBA in India or abroad?

Frankly, an MBA is a big investment and we know that you can’t afford to make the wrong choice. This is not merely a matter of money, it is also an investment of time and effort. Add to that the fact that you can only do your MBA once… Let’s just say we understand why it is super important for you to make the right decision about where you should get your MBA from.

In this article, we will talk about the following:

  1. What are the benefits of doing an MBA in India?
  2. What are the disadvantages of doing an MBA in India?
  3. Is it better to do MBA abroad?
  4. What are the risks of studying MBA abroad?
  5. How do I choose between MBA in India and MBA abroad?

The idea is to try and give you a frame of reference along which you can place your thoughts, to help you make the best decision for yourself.

First of all, let’s look at the advantages of doing your MBA in India.

1. Advantages of Getting Your MBA in India

There are many obvious advantages to doing an MBA within your own country. Let us elaborate on a few from an MBA perspective:

Advantages Indian MBA
  • Affordability and ROI
    On the whole, doing an MBA within India is going to work out to be much cheaper than doing an MBA abroad. Even if you decide to exclude all the auxiliary expenses on flights, accommodation, and cost of living, the tuition cost of an MBA from a foreign university can be very high.

    One of the only ways you can escape high tuition costs abroad is if you do an MBA or MS in Germany. Most public universities in Germany don’t charge you for tuition.

    But almost everywhere else, the expenses involved in getting an MBA are stupendous.

    The important thing to note here is that the more expensive the program gets, the lower it’s return on investment shrinks.

    Unless you’re looking at going to a Harvard, MIT, or Wharton, you’ll need to look very carefully at the expected program expense and the ROI you get from it. In our opinion, doing an MBA abroad only makes sense if you’re doing it from a top B-School.

  • No Visa Problems
    This may sound unimportant but the amount of work you have to put into getting a visa is incredible.

    Securing admission and then being denied a visa, or being unable to get a visa that allows you to work – these things can really put a dent in your MBA dream.

    If you do an MBA in India, though, life is much easier because you don’t even have to worry about this.

  • Familiar Network and Culture
    Don’t underestimate the power of working within a familiar environment. If you do your MBA within India, you can make use of all your ‘contacts’, if you know what we mean.

    It’s easy to dismiss this before you realize the value of having a network. After a certain age, your next job won’t come from online job portals. It will come through your network in the form of recommendations and connections.

    No CEO was ever appointed based on a CV. For that job, you need strong connections.

    If you do your MBA abroad, you’ll end up having to start network-building from scratch. Doing this alongside rigorous study is not a cakewalk.

However, it is not all sunshine and meadows to do your MBA in India. It comes with its fair share of disadvantages as well. That’s what we will discuss in the next section. Here you can create the content that will be used within the module.

2. Disadvantages of Studying MBA in India

The advantages mentioned in the previous section might convince you that doing an MBA in India is your best option. But hold your horses!

There’s always a flipside to the coin. Here, we take a look at the limitations or disadvantages of earning your MBA in India.

Disadvantages MBA India

  • Limited Use if You Want to Move Abroad
    This depends entirely on where you see yourself in 5 years post-MBA, literally. If you dream of going abroad and working in the US or Europe, an Indian MBA degree is not going to help you.

    Here’s the thing:

    Working in the US or anywhere abroad means that you will be competing against young professionals who have earned their MBAs in the country you’re looking to go to. That gives them an edge over you.

    So, getting your MBA from an Indian B-School won’t serve you well if you plan to move and work abroad.

  • No/Limited International Exposure
    The thing about Indian B-Schools is that they rarely study with an international perspective.

    Although you may get to study abroad for a semester as a part of the program, the outlook of the program in India is focused on the way things work within India. The chances of you getting to study global problems are fairly low.

    This limits your perspective and may even prove to be an obstacle to your progress beyond the Indian market, especially if you aspire for higher positions in MNCs.

  • Limited Growth Opportunities
    By remaining within India, you will effectively stay in your comfort zone. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does mean that you will have fewer chances to push and challenge yourself to grow.

    In comparison, going to do your MBA abroad will expose you to different work cultures, different social norms, maybe even languages.

    This is not something you will get if you do your MBA in India.

Now that we have succinctly outlined the good and bad parts of studying for your MBA in India, we’d like to take you through the same for doing an MBA abroad. In the next two sections, we will examine the pros and cons of doing your MBA from a university outside India.

3. Pros of Doing Your MBA Abroad

There are many reasons why you should study abroad. But there are some benefits specific to doing an MBA abroad, which we will be discussing here.

  • Global Exposure
    The most important part of studying abroad is getting global exposure.

    When we say global exposure, we mean it on two fronts: networking and handling global issues.

    In terms of networking, studying abroad will inevitably mean that your classroom itself will have representatives from multiple countries in one place. This helps you gain insights into the way things work in various countries around the world. Besides, your network will, at some point, become your net worth. At that point in time, having a global network will certainly play to your advantage.

    Getting exposure to handling global issues will mean that you will be in a position to help a company maneuver its way not only through domestic markets but also in the international arena.

    This adds a lot of weight to your profile.

    These aspects of getting your MBA abroad cannot be quantified, so you can’t find a numeric value to add to the balance while calculating the ROI of an MBA.

    But they are massive advantages that can help in incredible and unexpected ways throughout your life.

  • Better Pedagogy
    The methods of teaching, or pedagogy, used by most B-Schools in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, is significantly different from how things are done in India.

    B-Schools outside India generally use a host of tools and techniques to enhance your learning experience. The process of learning is significantly more interactive and experiential than it is in India.

    India’s best B-Schools like ISB and IIM-A are beginning to adopt more international standards of teaching.
    However, they are no match for the standard offered by B-Schools offering MBA abroad.

  • Learning Opportunities
    One of the benefits that comes by default with studying abroad is that you are forced to grow beyond your comfort zone.

    Studying abroad will expand your horizons like nothing else. When exposed to hitherto unknown cultures and faced with new kinds of challenges, you will end up learning new skills and coping mechanisms.

    In sheer numbers, you will have more opportunities to learn than ever before if you do your MBA abroad.

Advantages of MBA abroad

In spite of these benefits, there are a few disadvantages to doing your MBA abroad that you should think about before deciding. That’s what the next section is about.

4. Cons of Getting Your MBA Abroad

Everything in life has its good parts as well as bad ones. So, no matter how rosy the picture of studying abroad looks, it has some shortfalls you should consider. Here, we take a look at the cons of doing your MBA abroad.

  • It’s Expensive
    The most obvious and nearly needless thing to say in this regard is that getting an MBA abroad is prohibitively expensive.

    Higher program costs, including ancillary expenses, bring down the ROI of the MBA, overall. You can opt for one year MBA programs in the US or across Europe to help slash the expenses, but you’ll need to carefully evaluate the returns you can expect before you pick the right program for yourself.

    In any case, compared to Indian MBA programs, getting your MBA abroad is always going to be more expensive.

  • Starting from Scratch
    Having grown up in your home country, you are likely to have a sizeable network of people from different walks of life. When you go abroad for your MBA, you will be forfeiting this.

    In effect, you will need to begin building a fresh network of connections from scratch.

    Don’t forget to account for the fact that building a network of professional connections at this point is likely to require some investment as well.

  • No Safety Net
    Last but not least, you need to take into consideration the fact that failure is not an option if you go abroad.

    When you’re in your home country, making mistakes and wrong choices may be expensive but it doesn’t usually cause irreparable damage. There’s always a protective net to catch you if you fail while you’re still in your home country.

    Given how much of a challenge it is to fund your MBA abroad, you simply cannot afford to fail or make mistakes.

It is always advisable to know what you’re getting into before you make a decision as big as getting your MBA in India or abroad. You should be aware of both, the advantages as well as the disadvantages of the same.

Now, let us move on to talking about how you should arrive at your decision.

5. How do I choose between MBA in India and MBA abroad?

When you are trying to figure out where to do your MBA, keep in mind that you should not be following a herd. Don’t go abroad simply because your friends are doing that, and don’t stay in India because everyone recommends it, either.

Your MBA and where you get it from will define how the next 30-40 years of your life will turn out. This is a decision you must make on your own terms.

There are two things we recommend for you to consider while making up your mind:

Where to do MBA

  1. Your Background
    This is inclusive of everything about you – your academic background, your upbringing, what part of the country you come from – literally, everything.

    Why your academic background matters is fairly obvious, but let us tell you a quick fact: even though most MBA students in India as well as abroad are from an engineering background, being an engineer will significantly affect your chances of getting an admit.

    Since a huge majority of the applicants come from the same background (engineering), the competition among them is very high. Add to that the fact that most MBA programs try to focus on getting as much diversity in the class as possible and you know why it is tougher for engineers to get MBA admits.

    Now, you may be wondering how your upbringing and place of residence matter. Here’s how.

    If you come from a rather traditional and conservative background, going abroad can prove to be a rather overwhelming culture shock. It can distract you from your main goal, which is to get your MBA.

    And as for the place of residence – if you’re used to urban life, it will be easier for you to find your feet in a new city in the West. If not, you may have a rather rough time getting by. Another reason this is important is that it forms the baseline for how much of a change in weather you can handle.

    People often underestimate how important it is to take these facts into consideration. Don’t make that mistake.

    These factors are far from being trivial.

    If you come from a city in Rajasthan and are looking to join a B-School in Canada, be warned that the Canadian winters are way harsher than anything in India can prepare you for. You may not be accustomed to being unable to leave your house because you’re snowed in – something that may be very common in the city where you plan to go.

    In short, your academic background may determine whether you get an admit or not, but whether you should take it or not must be based on a lot more than that.

  3. Your Aspirations
    There’s no point in getting admitted into an MBA program that doesn’t offer the specialization you want to build a career in.

    Especially where prestigious universities are involved, you may be tempted to just apply because it’ll be good to have that name on your CV. We recommend that you don’t do this.

    Consider very carefully where you see yourself in a few years after the MBA and only apply to the B-Schools that can get you there.

    If you see yourself working abroad, whether at a higher level or otherwise, it makes sense to start by getting your MBA abroad. But if you don’t see yourself leaving the comforts of staying with your family behind, then maybe you should just get your MBA in India itself.

At the end of the day, it all comes back to you and what you want from life.

No matter where you apply, your MBA application essay questions will make you seriously think about factors like these, anyway. So, take some time to consider them before you begin applying itself.

To conclude, let us say that the ultimate choice has to be your own, but we do hope that this article has succeeded in guiding you through the decision-making process.

If you still have questions or doubts, reach out to our application experts to schedule a call and they can help you figure things out!

Should I Get an MBA After 30?

MBA after 30
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The fact that you’re reading this article means that you must have had some lingering thoughts about doing an MBA. But some part of you is wondering,

“Am I too old for an MBA?”

And like all the others thinking the same thing, you’re also completely uncertain whether it even makes sense to do this. Becoming a student at the age of 30-something most probably doesn’t sound like the best idea. You’re probably thinking,

“Can I even get into any decent B-School?”

To that we say, don’t give up before you give it an honest shot!

If you have serious doubts and reservations about doing an MBA after 30, give this detailed article a read and see if you feel differently by the end.

In this article, we’re going to talk about:

  1. Who is an ‘Older Applicant’?
  2. Why Don’t B-Schools Accept Older Applicants?
  3. What Can You Gain From an MBA After 30?
  4. Why Didn’t You Do an MBA Earlier?
  5. How Can You Get an MBA After 30?
  6. How to Select the Right B-Schools?
  7. How to Convince AdComs as an Older Candidate?

Gunning for progress is always a good decision, and that’s what an MBA can help you do. Here’s everything you need to know to get your MBA!

1. Who is an ‘Older Applicant’?

Incidentally, you could be entirely off the mark in thinking that you’re old. Just because all the B-school ads you see only display confident professionals who look a decade younger than you does not mean they’re the only ones getting MBAs.

Knowing the stereotype of a “B-School student” can often lead people to believe that they’re too old for an MBA. Let’s take a look at how credible that idea is.

MBA programs around the world have an average age range of 27-28. Notwithstanding MBA-like programs around the globe such as IIM-A’s PGPx, 30-31 is considered to be the higher limit for MBA students globally.

It’s important to note, here, that what matters more is work experience, not just age.

However, anything above the age of 30 is typically considered ‘old’ for B-School. As you can see, though, some of these programs actually have average ages over 30.

In most cases, those are executive MBAs designed for mid-career professionals, but there are just regular MBA programs.
What this tells us is that many people in their 30s or, in rare cases, higher, are looking to get an MBA as well.

Undoubtedly, getting into a good B-School after 30 is going to be difficult. But you should remember that it is not impossible even in your early forties. At CrackVerbal, we’ve experienced a few, rare cases when people have even gotten in for an MBA after 40.

But we’re going to go back to the ‘more work experience and not just age’ part for a bit here.

One of the biggest factors that would help you build a strong case for your admission is if you’re only applying late because you spent more years than average on studying.

This means that if you have a Ph.D., MBBS, or any Master’s degree, it explains why you’re late in applying for an MBA. You won’t be considered ‘old’ because you haven’t spent that many more years than the other applicants in working full-time.

Similarly, you won’t be considered old if you’ve served as an IAS or other UPSC officer, or in the armed forces.

You’ll only be considered as an unfavorable candidate if you have worked and gathered years of full-time experience.
Now, let’s take a look at why exactly that is so.

2. Why Don’t B-Schools Want Older MBA Candidates?

There are some perceptions that B-Schools typically have which keep them from accepting applications from older MBA aspirants.

To improve your odds of getting an admit, you must try to understand what these perceptions are. Your chances improve if you can counter them successfully.

Here are four factors that make older applicants undesirable for B-Schools:


  • Potential > Performance
    Most B-Schools care more about potential than performance.
    Potential refers to the things you are capable of doing but haven’t done yet. Performance refers to the things you have already done.

    The perception among B-Schools today is that an MBA is better equipped to teach you how to do things before you learn to do them yourself. Accordingly, they look for candidates who have just enough experience to know the challenges one can face.

    The fear that older candidates must have figured out their own solutions for such challenges. So, B-Schools don’t feel like they have as much to offer you, an older candidate, as they have to offer someone with lesser experience.

    Further, they believe that the more experience you have, the more challenging it will be to teach you new concepts.

    It’s like the old English phrase about how it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    You may have great stories and experiences to share with the class, and that will certainly enhance learning for them.

    However, every B-School’s main fear is that as an older candidate, you may not learn much from their course.

  • Flexibility
    Young candidates who walk in with 5-6 years of work experience are usually open to accepting new ways of going about things. But if you’ve been doing things a certain way for a decade or more, you’re perceived as being more rigid.

    B-Schools doubt an older candidate’s ability to change his approach and mold himself according to what is taught.

    As mentioned before, the fear generally tends to be that you won’t have much to take away from the course. This is compounded by the idea that you may have become too rigid to truly absorb things.

    All MBA programs are dynamic in nature. So, B-Schools look for candidates who are dynamic, too.

    Older candidates are believed to be rigid and less dynamic.

  • Class Fit
    MBA is a mid-career program, where every student typically has 3-5 years of work experience.

    B-Schools typically aim to have as much diversity in the class as possible in terms of professional backgrounds, cultures, gender, and academic backgrounds. This helps because students in MBA programs are expected to learn from each other as well as from the faculty. Diversity in this environment helps bring many perspectives to the table.

    At the same time, though, MBAs require a fair amount of team-work.

    A certain degree of homogeneity is required for or effective team-work. So, the balance is precarious when it comes to managing diversity in an MBA cohort.

    If the class is too diverse and the students don’t get along with each other, the learning experience is hampered.

    The common thread B-Schools like to maintain among students in a batch is age.

    For example, a group of 27-years-olds is likely to get along quite well even if every single one of them comes from a different walk of life.

    What B-Schools are concerned about is that if they add an older candidate to the mix, it will be tough for him to get along with the rest of the students. In a B-School’s eyes, this impacts team-work and neutralizes any advantage your expertise may lend your profile.

  • Salary & Career Transition
    The final concern that most B-Schools have is what you expect the MBA to do for you.

    As a working professional, you must be well aware that it gets tougher to make significant career transitions after the age of 30-33 years. B-Schools are aware of this, as well.

    Understand that most of the younger candidates are seeking an MBA for one of two reasons – they either want to switch career paths or they want to move up in the hierarchy and make more money.

    So, B-Schools expect those to be the reasons why you’re applying, too.

    The problem with that is this:

    Having worked for longer in the same field, you are likely to be at a higher position than the other candidates. B-Schools take this to mean that you will have higher expectations in terms of salary as well as placement at the end of the program.

    It is harder for B-Schools to give you a sizeable hike in salary and have you placed in a position that does justice to the extra experience you have.

    That’s another reason why B-Schools tend to be wary of older candidates.

We hope this has given you have a better understanding of the problems that B-Schools face in taking on older candidates. Next, we’d like to address one of the common concerns people have about getting an MBA after 30.

3. What Will You Gain from an MBA After 30?

You know how B-Schools have doubts about older candidates, right?

Sometimes, the same doubts could be nagging at your own mind as well. Especially after reading all the reasons why B-Schools will likely reject your applications, you must be wondering if an MBA is even worth it at this point.

The reasons why people pursue MBAs are quite standard. However, older candidates can get some more specific benefits from an MBA.


  • Knowledge
    So far, you must probably have developed a kind of functional expertise in what you do. Having worked for so many years in the field, your knowledge of your field of work must be based on practical experience and not theory.

    This expertise must be what has helped you rise through the ranks all these years. However, as you go higher, you need to become more of a general manager and less of a section expert.

    That’s exactly what an MBA can help you do.

    As you get into management positions, you’ll need to manage functions you’ve never dealt with before.

    For example, if you’re an IT engineer, you may never have handled profit and loss statements, marketing reports, and sales updates. As a manager at any level, you’ll need to know how to use these things as tools to enhance your team’s performance.

    An MBA gives you the know-how to perform the functions necessary to be an effective manager.

  • Perspective
    In all probability, you have not had the time to invest in yourself so far. By this, we mean that you may not have thought much about your social skills, your emotional intelligence or your leadership skills.

    Being self-aware and having good interpersonal skills are both qualities necessary for performing well as a leader or manager at any level. Both these can be developed if you invest in yourself.

    That’s where an MBA comes in handy.

    It gives you the opportunity to finally take some time to focus on yourself. You can use this time to rediscover yourself and develop any hobbies and skills you choose to.

    An MBA provides you with an opportunity to be in a class full of students learning to do the same thing. Any good B-School will have a variety of student clubs created to help you develop your personality beyond your job description.

    Your career depends not only on your IQ but also your ability to work with all kinds of people, especially those you don’t particularly like.

    An MBA helps you make the transition from a functional expert in your field to a visionary who can guide an entire team towards success.

    It helps you create a ‘new and improved’ version of yourself, which is a necessity for career growth after 30.

  • Network
    At a certain point in your career, your net worth becomes your network.

    You may have started to realize that people who have strong networks can get things done. Your ability to make things happen, to handle obstacles and overcome them, to pull off bold maneuvers, all get affected by who you know.

    How much power you have is a direct function of how many powerful people you’re connected with. Getting an MBA from a reputed B-School opens many doors as far as networking opportunities go.

    Most importantly, after a certain age, you know that your next job is not going to come from online portals.

    The entire dynamic of looking for better job prospects changes as you grow in your career. Whether you have reached the middle- and upper-management levels or not, after a certain age, you don’t expect to be looking for jobs online.

    The network you have defines how your career goes.

    Think about this:

    You have some aims and ambitions for your career, right? Maybe you want to become the CTO of a big company at the age of 50. That’s a pretty realistic dream to have.

    What you need to realize now, though, is that you’re never going to see that position as a job opening looking for candidates through ads or online. Contenders for those positions don’t apply for them, they’re referred.

    That is the reason you need to start building that network now. An MBA is easily among the best ways for you to do this at your age.

An MBA is a one-stop solution to all the issues you’re probably facing as well as those you may not even have realized you had.

Having said that, it’s important for you to be able to handle the biggest question you’ll have to face over and over. That’s what we’ll address in the next section.

4. Why Didn’t You Do an MBA Earlier?

This is the first thing anyone is likely to think when they find out that you’re looking to pursue an MBA after 30.

This issue is the elephant in your room, so you better have all your bases covered when it comes to addressing this. Now, there could be a multitude of reasons why you didn’t do an MBA earlier.

In fact, some of these reasons may even work against you. That’s why it is important that you prepare to face this question and answer it effectively.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible answers you may have.

  • Didn’t Feel the Need

    It’s entirely possible that you have been doing so well in your career so far that you didn’t feel the need to do an MBA.

    As mentioned, one of the reasons why people choose to pursue MBAs career progression. They get an MBA because they feel that they need it to help them get better at what they do.

    Maybe you never felt that need. Maybe you’ve been so good at what you do that you never faced any obstacles and therefore never felt the need for something to help you overcome them effectively.

    Most importantly, if you’ve been doing well for yourself, you may not have had the time to take a break. Your 20s were probably invested in working non-stop to get where you are today.

    With such a hectic schedule, you may never have had a chance to take a break and pursue an MBA before.

    In case you choose to respond with this reason, you’ll need to have a solid CV to back it up.

    If you don’t have that, then maybe you should consider going with one of the next few reasons.

  • Wasn’t Aware of MBA Benefits
    wasn't aware of the benefits of mba after 30
    Although this may work against you if you put it this way, it’s possible that you didn’t do an MBA because you didn’t know how it would help you.

    While every professional today has heard of the MBA degree, few understand what it really entails. And given how much time and money you have to invest in getting an MBA, you obviously wouldn’t go in for it without knowing everything about it.

    In fact, it’s entirely possible that an MBA is exactly what you needed but you simply didn’t know it so far.

    What matters is this:

    Now that you’ve discovered that an MBA is what you need, you should be willing to go for it with everything you’ve got!

  • Didn’t Get Through via CAT
    Didn’t Get Through via CAT
    Back in the day, when getting an MBA had started to become the ‘in thing’ to do, the only way to get in was to score well on the CAT.

    Perhaps you are one of those candidates who took the CAT but didn’t end up scoring well enough to get into a decent MBA program. You may have given up on the idea of doing an MBA entirely after that.

    If you’re nodding your head in agreement to that right now, you should know you’re far from being alone!

    Scores of people who wanted to do an MBA gave up on their dreams because of the CAT.

    However, the GMAT has ignited hope for such candidates once again. If you belong to this category of people, you should consider starting your GMAT prep right away!

  • You Have Done an MBA Before

    If this is not going to be your first MBA, you’re going to need to give a very convincing reason why you should be admitted into any good MBA program.

    MBA is one of the most dynamic and versatile degrees out there, which means it has evolved massively over time. So, you may have done a degree that was called an MBA but it may not have looked anything like what a good MBA program means in today’s world.

    The MBA degree you earned should be drastically different from the MBA programs you’re looking to apply to. Moreover, you need to be well-versed with the differences.

    In short, you’ll have to show that the MBA you’ve got was not designed to equip you with the skills you’re looking to learn today.

    Remember not to sound like you’re complaining when you discuss this, though. You don’t want to come across as someone trying to externalize the blame for not having achieved as much as you’d like to.

No matter what your reason may be, you need to put it in words and be honest with yourself about it. The MBA Application process is going to require you to do that anyway. So, you might as well start now!

Speaking of the MBA Application process – you should know that it is a rather nuanced process. It may come across as rather straightforward but we promise you, it is not. The next section will take you through how to go about getting an MBA.

5. How to Get an MBA After 30

It probably seems pretty intuitive – just pick a good MBA program, apply, and start your course – right?

If you agree with that statement, you’re in for a BIG surprise.

An MBA is not like any other Masters degree you can just sign up for and get on a whim. It requires clarity of mind and a sense of determination and purpose like nothing else.

Let’s take a look at the five stages that older MBA candidates typically go through in their MBA journeys.

5. How to Get an MBA After 30

It probably seems pretty intuitive – just pick a good MBA program, apply, and start your course – right?

If you agree with that statement, you’re in for a BIG surprise.

An MBA is not like any other Masters degree you can just sign up for and get on a whim. It requires clarity of mind and a sense of determination and purpose like nothing else.

Let’s take a look at the five stages that older MBA candidates typically go through in their MBA journeys.

  • Figuring Out Your Intentions
    If you’re considering yourself too old for an MBA, you’re probably doing well for yourself. You have a good life, with a family of your own and a good job.

    Thanks to that, you’re likely to think to yourself, “Why should I even do all this?”

    So, here’s the thing:

    Having such thoughts in the middle of your MBA journey is simply not an option. Understand that the competition to get an MBA is very high and you’re starting out with a disadvantage.

    Before you begin, you need to know what effect that an MBA can have on your life. Ask yourself if you truly want that life it can create for you. You need to be sure that you want that life because you’re going to have to work pretty hard for it.

    If you have serious doubts about whether or not you’re a good fit for an MBA, take our free MBA Profile Evaluation test. That’ll help clear out some things in your mind.

    The point is, getting an MBA is going to be a long process, so you need to double down and prepare yourself mentally to face its rigors in advance.

  • Preparing for the GMAT
  • Let’s face it – studying isn’t exactly fun.

    On top of that, you’ve likely been out of touch with the routines of studying and taking exams for ages now. Getting back into the groove is going to take some solid effort on your part.

    Add to this the fact that you have a lower attention span than before. Plus you’re a busy professional with a hectic lifestyle… How are you going to find the time to study?

    This is the point where you have to remind yourself to keep your eyes on the prize.

    Knowing and visualizing the difference that an MBA can make to your life will help you stay on track. Pick a GMAT coaching program designed for busy professionals that will help you stay focused and manage your time effectively.

    Planning to study for the GMAT and actually doing it are two very different things.

    So, even when you’re planning your GMAT attempt, remember to take into consideration that it’ll take a lot of time and determination to get into a study routine.

  • Scoring Well on the GMAT
    The reason this section is separate from the previous one is that your GMAT score changes the way you think.

    Let us illustrate with an example.

    With a 550 on the GMAT, you’re likely to give up on the MBA idea altogether. If you get a 650, though, you’ll consider applying to some of the good B-Schools. You might drop any grand plans to apply to the top B-Schools but at least you won’t give up.

    However, if you get a 750, you might even decide to take a shot at getting into Harvard!

    The point is, getting your GMAT score is a pivotal point in your MBA journey.

    To get a good score, you should know that the GMAT doesn’t look to test your knowledge as much as it tests your ability to use what you know. You need to understand how the test works, identify GMAT patterns, and learn how to take the test.

    You may or may not have attempted the GMAT or studied for it before. If you haven’t, don’t worry – it’s not as big a deal as it is made out to be.

    But if you have engaged with the GMAT test before, you should know that fundamental changes have been made to the exam in recent years.

    Either way, it’s a great idea to read up on the GMAT Syllabus and the recent changes that have been made to the exam. This includes the GMAT exam pattern and the Select Section Order option. Brush up on how GMAT scoring works and what the GMAT Enhanced Score Report is.

    However, you should mentally prepare yourself to retake the GMAT if you don’t get the score you want in your first attempt. Unless you’re prepared, just one bad score can bring your MBA dreams crashing down.

  • Applications
    We’ve noticed that people drop out even after getting a good GMAT score. Our understanding is simply that ‘life happens’ to some people.

    At times, older candidates don’t realize what a rigorous process it is to apply for an MBA. So, they’re just burned out by this point.

    To avoid dropping out at this stage and putting all your efforts so far to waste, you must remember that MBA applications are demanding, too.

    First, you have to pick the right MBA programs for your profile.

    Then, to get in, you’ll have to write or record video essays, find the right recommenders and get your letters of recommendation, and then get through interviews with Admission Committees.

    Your essays, whether written or video-recorded, will be in response to questions posed by the schools you’re applying to. This means there will be multiple questions and multiple essays to address them, although some – like the Why MBA essay – will be common.

    The thing about written essays is this:

    It’ll be challenging to write these essays. Firstly, you must be out of practice with creative writing on the whole, so it will take time. Secondly, you will need to do a lot of soul-searching to write a convincing essay, no matter what the question is. Thirdly, there will be multiple rounds of editing, which can get pretty tedious.

    Further, you must write your own essays.

    Apart from the fact that it is totally unethical, there are far too many risks involved with outsourcing your MBA application essays. The biggest of these is that the AdComs will figure out if you haven’t written your own essays.

    Getting good recommendations is critical, even though you don’t control what’s in them.

    And last but not least, you need to prepare well for your MBA interviews, too.

  • Getting Through
    Once you’ve run the entire obstacle race of MBA applications and made it through, you’ll reach another very important juncture: actually beginning your MBA.

    Many older MBA aspirants often have a pessimistic approach where they don’t really expect to make it through and get admits. That’s why, when they get to this stage, they blank out.

    If you’ve done well, you will end up with one or multiple admits into various great MBA programs.

    This is when you have to choose where you want to be.

    And we wish this choice was simply about comparing programs, but it is not. You have to factor in your MBA financing options as well. This includes scholarships, loans, and a multitude of factors, depending on the country you’re going to.

    To start your program, you’ll have to be comfortable leaving your entire life behind.

    This might seem like an obvious thing that you will have thought of already, but trust us, when the time comes to actually leave, this can hit pretty hard.

    These five critical stages in your MBA journey will define what your life will be like a couple of years down the line. Now that you’re aware of these obstacles, you’re already better prepared to face them and make it through.

Here’s what Arun Jagannathan, the founder and CEO of CrackVerbal, has to say about getting your MBA after 30:

In the next section, we will address another really big question: At which schools do you have good chances as an older MBA aspirant?

6. Selecting the Right B-Schools

Now, you’re aware that B-Schools typically have their reservations about taking in older candidates for their full-time MBA programs. What we haven’t discussed yet is the handful of schools that are known to be friendly towards older MBA candidates.

If you apply to any of the MBA programs at the following schools, your chances of getting in are likely to get a boost.

Each of these schools offers multiple formats of MBA programs. There are also many choices when it comes to specializations, but you can always opt for a General Management MBA as well. In any case, each of these schools is open to taking in candidates older than the average age for an MBA.

However, an MBA is not the only way forward for you, either. Some of the world’s leading B-Schools also offer other programs that are specially designed for older candidates.

In some cases, as in the case of IIM – Ahmedabad’s PGPx, these other programs are looked upon as MBAs even though they aren’t formally called that. The simple reason for this is that these courses are very similar to MBAs, they’re just tailored for more specific needs.

Examples of schools offering such programs are:

  • Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
    One of the highest ranking universities of all time, MIT is world-renowned for its higher education programs across numerous walks of life. Its Sloan School of Management offers a massive variety of programs with various specializations for business executives. You can use the MIT program finder to help find the best fit for your profile.

  • Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (India)
    One of India’s most prestigious B-Schools, IIM – Ahmedabad, offers a postgraduate program for business executives. This is a highly coveted program because of IIM-A’s stature, but also because of how effective it has been. The progress made by the alumni of this program is quite spectacular.

  • International Institute for Management Development (Switzerland)
    The IMD is the only institute of its caliber in the world that is not affiliated with any university. It is an independent institute that exclusively offers management training programs including MBAs and executive MBAs. It has a vast variety of leadership programs that you could benefit from as well.

  • Indian School of Business (India)
    The Indian School of Business is a globally-recognized and -respected B-School with two campuses – ISB Hyderabad and ISB Mohali. It offers one of the country’s best learning experiences through its MBA programs, and the postgraduate program (PGP) it offers rivals the one provided by IIM-A.

Consider all your options carefully and weigh them against each other before you decide which programs you want to pursue.

The reason we recommend this is that you will have to be very certain of your choices when you face the AdComs. Whether it is through your essays or your interview, your conviction regarding which course you want to get into will make a huge difference in convincing AdComs to give you an admit.

In the next and final section, we talk about the extra steps you’ll have to take to convince AdComs that you’re worthy of getting into their MBA programs.

7. Convincing AdComs

As an older candidate, you will face some very specific challenges when it comes to convincing Admission Committees. We highly recommend that you bring up these issues before AdComs or others bring them up for you.

That way, you can control the narrative.

Here are the challenges you will have to face along with our recommendations on how to tackle them:

  • Chequered Career Path
    Being an older candidate, you probably have a long history of professional experience. If you write out everything you’ve done, it might fill up a couple of pages.

    In all likelihood, if this is the case with you, then you must be feeling some pressure to summarize your CV.

    Do not do that.

    Chances are that your resume has a couple of jobs that don’t make you look that great. Trust us, everyone has those. But if you try to downplay or hide those jobs, it might work against you. Instead, we recommend that you elaborate on everything you’ve done.

    You may have a job or a few which don’t really make sense. Maybe they are beyond the scope of your expertise or completely out-of-sync with the rest of your profile. Or, maybe you didn’t make much headway at one of the jobs you held for a long time.

    In either case, it reflects badly upon you unless you present your side of the story.

    Some of these jobs may just have been stop-gap measures that you took on while looking for the right opportunities. Others you may have taken on to experiment or to try and build on a skill or hobby you have.

    Explain what you learned from each job you held and how it contributed to what makes you who you are today. This will portray confidence instead of a lack of focus.

  • Learnability
    As mentioned before, one of the major reasons why B-Schools are apprehensive about taking on older candidates is a belief that older candidates might be too ‘set in their ways’.

    While the ball is still in your court, establish that you are willing to learn.

    The best way to do this is to mention the activities, courses, or projects you have undertaken recently and talk about why you took them. Exhibit your tendency to invest in yourself, to grow as a person and be open to learning new things.

    An MBA is, in many ways, the ultimate investment you can make in yourself.

    Show the AdCom that you have a high ‘LQ’ or ‘learning quotient’. Display a history of investing in yourself and actively seeking learning opportunities. It will go a long way in building the AdCom’s confidence in you.

  • Employability
    Another major fear B-Schools have about older candidates is that they will be difficult to place. You can assuage this fear at the very outset through your application.

    We have already advised you to elaborate on your work experience. Such elaboration comes in handy here, too.

    What you can do is this:

    Establish clearly that you will not be entirely dependent on the B-School’s Placement Committee to get good opportunities after your MBA. What you need to show is that your extra years of experience have given you the skills and network to make it on your own.

    Whether you end up taking the Placement Committee’s help later or not is immaterial. The point here is to show AdComs that you have absolute faith in yourself and that you are a self-starter.

    Our recommendation is, don’t outright claim that you will not seek help, but do indicate strongly that you can do it on your own.

    Doing this will take care of the AdComs’ fear that you may become a liability that the school will have to nurse later.

  • Why NOW?
    One of the most interesting questions to try and answer is, “Why do you want to do your MBA right now?”

    Now, your actual reason may be that you’ve hit an air pocket in your career and you’re finding it tough to get out and move on. But you cannot say this without sounding like you’re externalizing your problems.

    No B-School appreciates candidates who sound needy.

    If you say you’ve hit a plateau in your professional growth and are looking to get an MBA that will spark growth once again, you can forget about getting into a decent program.

    Instead, B-Schools look for candidates who show signs that they are going to excel with or without their MBA. They are interested in candidates who are already making things happen; candidates who will use the MBA only to accelerate their existing growth plan.

    One of the terms often used by older candidates to address this question is ‘retooling’.

    It means re-equipping oneself with knowledge, skills, and acumen that is relevant and important for growth in the desired direction.

    So, what you can say is that you’re retooling to try and change the path your career is on. Say that you’re looking for an MBA program to help you do that more efficiently and in a structured manner.

    Link what you’ve done so far to what you want to do in the future.

    Basically, establish that you’re looking to grow your existing skills and build on new ones to help you develop a more globally-oriented skillset.

    Make it clear that you’re not expecting the MBA to wave some magic wand and infuse life into your dying career. Instead, reinforce that you’re on your way to success and are looking for a program to speed up the process.

  • Class Contribution
    Every B-School is quite concerned with what each candidate brings to the table. We’ve talked earlier in this post about how diversity is a big deal for B-Schools as it enhances the overall learning experience.

    You can exploit the desire that B-Schools have to bring more diverse and rich experiences to the classroom.

    Of course, you have to be careful not to overdo it, but you must talk modestly about how you think your years of work experience will contribute to the entire class’s takeaways.

    Mention the biggest lessons you’ve learned, the skills you’ve picked up, or your greatest achievements. Talk about what you think the younger candidates can learn from them.

    This is a great opportunity to paint your weakness – i.e. your age – as your strength.

    Portray that you’ve got a lot to offer the B-School and that they can also benefit from having you in their class.

  • Your X-Factor
    Hold your horses – we’re not talking about the reality TV show! :p

    At the end of the day, remember that your direct competition is not the 27-year-old applicants; instead, it is the other applicants who are your age. Take into account that anyone who has been in the field and working for around 10 years will most probably have the same kind of experiences and insights to a certain extent.

    This would make your profile look just like theirs and it may slip through the gaps.

    To avoid falling through the cracks, talk about something that makes you unique.

    Mention something about your personality, background, or just about anything you can think of, and talk about how that affects the perspective you can provide.

    The aim here is to stand out as a more memorable or more valuable candidate than the rest.

  • Why Full-Time MBA
    One of the only other major challenges we can foresee for older MBA aspirants is this:
    Establishing why you want to take a break from your career and go for a full-time course instead of continuing to work while pursuing a part-time MBA.

    Since you’re already ahead of most applicants in your career, it’s easy for an AdCom to reject your application thinking that you’d be better suited for a part-time commitment. That’s why it is quite important for you to clearly state that a part-time or online MBA is not for you.

    You can say that you think immersing yourself full-time into learning is the most productive or effective way for you to learn.

    Feel free to mention that part-time and online courses don’t go into the kind of depth that you are looking to get into.

    Don’t hesitate to express it if you feel like you won’t be able to handle work and studies together, if that’s one of the reasons why you prefer a full-time course over any other format.

In Conclusion…

When it comes to getting into a good MBA program, there’s no doubt that your opportunities shrink with age. The older you grow, the more challenges you will face and the less convenient it will be to field the questions volleyed at you.

However, this does not go to say that getting an MBA after 30 is a bad idea. It does not mean you should give up on your aspirations just because of your age.

All you need to remember is that the secret to a successful MBA journey lies in planning and anticipating it well.

Do let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to help with any queries as well!

Which MBA Rankings Are Reliable?

MBA Rankings
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Let us guess why you’re reading this article.

You’ve done a ton of research about the best business schools in the world and made a list of 8-10 MBA programs that you’re considering quite seriously.

All you need to do now is, arrange them by order of preference to select 3-4 that you’ll end up applying to. Since there’s no significant difference between these programs, it all comes down to MBA rankings.

And that’s what gets your goat – where one magazine ranks a certain program at #5, another places the same one at #35!

You have no clue what on earth you’re supposed to base your decisions on!

If you know that feeling of utter confusion, don’t worry, we’re here to help you figure out how to get through this.

In this article, we’re going to talk about:

  1. What are MBA Rankings and Why They May Not Work For You
  2. CrackVerbal’s Ranking of MBA Rankings
  3. Should You Rely on MBA Rankings?
  4. Trends Among Indian MBA Aspirants
  5. Best Business Schools in the World for Indian Students

Let’s get right into it!

1. What are MBA Rankings and Why They May Not Work For You

The concept of MBA Rankings was pioneered by John Byrne, founder of Poets and Quants, during his time with Businessweek.

Seeing the potential that MBA rankings had, a plethora of big publications in the Business sector jumped on the bandwagon. Soon enough, every other publication in the higher education field started publishing its own set of MBA rankings.

However, across publications, some issues continue to exist with the way MBA rankings work.

  • Quality vs. Quantity
    To a large extent, MBA rankings are based on quantitative data.

    Average salary hikes, acceptance rates, average GMAT scores, and placement rates are strong indicators of a program’s quality. These are all easy to calculate. But something like a B-School’s reputation is very tough to put into numbers.

    This is primarily because quantitative data is very objective – numbers leave no space for speculation. Qualitative data, on the other hand, is very subjective and will, therefore, change from person to person.

    This makes it very hard to put a number to qualitative data like the reputation of a B-School or its faculty quality.
    However, publications that create their own MBA rankings take all kinds of measures to try and account for qualitative data as well. For example, deans of rival B-Schools are asked to rate each other’s MBA programs on various parameters and their ratings are taken into consideration when calculating scores.

    The fact remains, though, that the methodologies used to gather both these types of data are questionable.

    All the quantitative data collected is entirely self-reported and there’s no way to get most of it verified from an independent source. So the thing now is, MBA rankings have become so important that B-Schools have begun to fudge data to make themselves look better.

    As a result, the rankings thus produced end up being based on fake and unverifiable data, making the results quite unreliable.

    In addition to this, qualitative data is collected from sources that have vested interests in the B-School’s welfare. Alumni and campus recruiters, both of whom stand to directly benefit from a B-School’s high ranking, are the primary sources of qualitative data.

    This means that the qualitative data is likely to be highly biased as well.

    All in all, not only do most MBA rankings fail to take into account intangible factors affecting the quality of MBA programs, but they also fail to keep bias out of the equation.

  • Lack of Personalization
    No list of MBA rankings can take into account personal factors.

    For example, the kind of weather you prefer will not be factored into any available MBA ranking list. If you have a relative living close to a particular school, that makes that school more preferable for you.

    If you think these things aren’t all that important, then you’re making the classic mistake most aspirants make:

    You’re underestimating the impact of real-world conditions on your MBA choices.

    Having a relative living close to a B-School effectively eliminates your living expenses. When it comes to financing your MBA, the cost of living is something that can make or break your entire MBA dream.

    Enrolling for an MBA program at a school in Minnesota only to find that you cannot do the course any justice because it’s too cold for you to get out of your room… Not exactly a situation you want to end up in, either, is it?

    There will always be things about every B-School that are simply down to personal preference.

    Yet, while some of these cannot be accounted for, others could very well have been a part of the ranking algorithms but are not.

    For example, MBA rankings don’t take the industry into consideration. By this, we mean that if you’re looking to filter B-Schools by the industry in which it places its graduates, the rankings don’t provide such an option.

    There’s no way to figure out which B-School is more popular among investment bankers, or which school places the majority of its students in that industry. And this applies to every industry.

    In short, rankings don’t help you make a list of your preferred B-Schools by post-MBA career paths.

    All in all, MBA rankings don’t say what those ranks mean for you, specifically.

  • Inadequate Comparison
    One of the biggest drawbacks of MBA rankings created by any publication is that they fail to account for variations across countries.

    All MBA programs and B-Schools around the world are compared using the same parameters. This is good in that it avoids bias based on the country a school is based out of.

    However, variations in course fees and the availability of scholarships and other funding options have a huge impact on your chances of landing up in a given program.

    MBA rankings do not measure this.

    Ranking algorithms don’t account for the difference in currency, and therefore the affordability of programs they rank.

    What’s worse is this:

    MBA rankings don’t even take the political climate of a country into consideration. This is a huge shortfall because whether or not you’re likely to get a visa depends entirely on the political scenario of the country in which it is located.

    For the sake of argument, you could say that there are other factors taken into consideration which show whether or not you can get in. But, there are real-world situations that don’t get considered in any rankings.

    Let’s take the most obvious example – let’s say you’re a Muslim student from the Middle East. Your entire outlook changes, right?

    Countries like the US are knocked off your list by default because of the current socio-political atmosphere in 2019. This takes out almost all the top-ranked programs.

    In a nutshell, MBA rankings on the whole are not enough to help you decide which B-Schools you should apply to. They have many shortcomings which need to be addressed before they can be used as tiebreakers.

    Until these issues are addressed, you will have to find the best business schools in the world through personal research and not via rankings.

2. CrackVerbal’s Ranking of MBA Rankings

In this section, we’d like to start off by taking a look at the top 10 schools as per five major MBA rankings: Businessweek, US News, Financial Times, The Economist, and QS.

As you can see, there are some names that appear across all the publications within the top 10. However, you’ll notice that some publications have names the others don’t.

This kind of instability is among the top reasons that questions are being raised about the reliability of MBA rankings today. If the top five rankings publications cannot even agree on the ten best B-Schools in the world, clearly, something is not right.

So, we’ve done this analysis to help you figure out which MBA rankings are reliable.

  • Businessweek MBA Rankings
    This was the publication that came up with the idea of doing MBA rankings in the first place. They conceptualized the idea when John A. Byrne, founder of Poets and Quants, was the editor-in-chief at Businessweek.

    In our opinion, the MBA rankings that Businessweek publishes are fairly reliable.

    Of course, the issues with personalization continue to exist but if you follow our advice and use rankings only as an input instead of the ultimate tiebreaker, this shouldn’t be a problem.

    We believe that Businessweek’s rankings are reliable because of the methodology used. It is one of the very few publications that take extra efforts to get self-reported data verified.

    Most importantly, here’s what gives us hope:

    The weightage that Businessweek assigns to qualitative data like alumni and recruiter feedback is much more proportionate than most other publications. This keeps the numbers from inflating unrealistically.

  • US News MBA Rankings
    US News is once again a publication that produces reliable MBA rankings. We find their results reliable due to the methodology they use, just like it is with Businessweek.

    Although US News entered the MBA rankings market well after Businessweek, the publication has maintained its integrity. The metrics used are quite reasonable; none of the parameters are given disproportionate weightage.

    Moreover, it has the hallmarks of any reliable rankings.

    Firstly, there’s a fair amount of stability in the rankings year-on-year. The listed B-Schools don’t jump more than 4-6 positions up or down.

    Secondly, US News MBA rankings will not unexpectedly throw in a random new name into the top 50 B-Schools every year.

    Believe it or not, some reputed MBA rankings are actually losing credibility for doing exactly this.

    Finally, the schools that are surveyed remain consistent every year.

  • QS MBA Rankings
    We wouldn’t call these rankings unreliable, but we’d recommend getting a second opinion. You know what we mean?

    The thing with QS MBA rankings is that it has a lower level of stability as compared to US News and Businessweek MBA rankings. At the same time, though, the ranks don’t fluctuate wildly enough for us to junk the whole list.

    One other factor determines whether an MBA ranking can be trusted: the extent to which it varies from other rankings.

    Let us explain this with an example.

    Suppose you’ve done a lot of research on methodologies and are now convinced that Businessweek and US News MBA rankings are reliable. Now, you see that XYZ School of Management is ranked at #6 by one and #4 by another.

    If you come across another MBA ranking that places it at #20, you’ll know not to trust that list.

    The trick is to identify a few reliable publications and stick with those.

    But you’ll likely come across publications like QS, though, which may not deviate from the ones you trust by a huge margin. Maybe it ranks that program at #10 and not #20.

    Our suggestion to you is this:

    Don’t fret over fluctuations within the range of five ranks more or less. If there are publications that deviate from your trusted rankings by more than five ranks one way or another for the same program in the same year, simply ignore those lists. They aren’t likely to be reliable anyway.

    Publications like QS are good to consider, but we’d recommend you to take it with a pinch of salt.

  • The Economist MBA Rankings
    In spite of being a rather reputable publication in the Business field, The Economist produces MBA rankings that we would not recommend.

    You may have noticed this, but ultimately, the trustworthiness of a publication’s MBA rankings list comes down to the methodology used and weightage assigned to each parameter.

    However, there are easier ways to evaluate at a glance whether you can trust a given list of rankings.

    One way is to check the year-on-year deviation in the ranks of the listed B-Schools. If the deviation is over 5 ranks up or down per year, you can automatically assume that the list is not reliable.

    Another way is to look for similarities between publications. Even if The Economist doesn’t place Stanford at #1 like Businessweek does, it should at least have Stanford within the Top 5.

    The point is, The Economist may not give the same ranks as Businessweek, but it should have at least 8 of the same schools in the top 10 as Businessweek or US News.

    We have found that the stability in ranks as well as the similarity with other publications is not up to the mark with The Economist.

  • Financial Times MBA Rankings
    One of the biggest points of criticism leveled against the otherwise reputed FT MBA rankings is the presence of CEIBS in its top 10 rankings for two consecutive years.

    For the uninitiated, CEIBS is the China Europe International Business School located in Shanghai, China. The school is so obscure that it is not even listed on any other reputed rankings.

    This school showing up in the top 10 schools of the world only point to a serious problem with the way FT MBA rankings work.

We hope this has helped you understand how to figure out whether certain MBA rankings are reliable or not. Next, we discuss whether or not your should depend on MBA rankings.

3. Should You Rely On MBA Rankings?

So far, you have probably read enough to realize that MBA rankings, by definition, cannot provide sufficient information for you to base your decisions on.

As mentioned before, MBA rankings simply don’t provide enough personalization for you to base such an important decision on them. However, they do provide enough data to help you along.

Here’s what we suggest:

Instead of relying on lists created by third parties, create your own MBA rankings.

When our students are planning their MBA journeys, we recommend that they should divide their personal MBA rankings into four sections. Let us walk you through this process, too.

The division of your MBA rankings should be based on your chances of getting into the schools on the list. These are the four categories we would advise you to divide your list into:

  • Dream
    These are the schools that you dream of getting into. Since this is your personal list of MBA programs, you can put in whatever you feel is appropriate. It could be based on rankings, average scores, whatever you like.

    The idea is that these are the absolute toughest schools for you to get into but you’d like to study there anyway.

  • Stretch
    This category covers the schools you have a very tiny chance of getting admits from. List down every school that you think you might get into if you really push your luck.

  • Reach
    As the name suggests, these are schools you have a pretty good chance of getting into. These are the schools that are within your reach.

    With a good and well-written application, you should be able to get into these schools.

  • Safe
    And finally, once again as the name suggests, the schools in this category are those you’ll definitely get into. These should be the programs that you wouldn’t mind settling for if nothing else works out.

We have had many students making their own lists of MBA rankings. Here’s an example:

When you’re making this list for yourself, feel free to take inputs from MBA rankings lists but don’t depend on them.

In the next section, we will analyze trends among Indian MBA applicants.

5. Best Business Schools in the World for Indian Students

Now, for the most interesting part of this article!

As an institution that is constantly in touch with our alumni, we get live feedback about a number of B-Schools around the world. It puts us in a unique position to understand which schools are better for Indian applicants.

That’s why we are compiling a list of schools around the world that are seen as being friendly towards Indian applicants.

To help you navigate this list more easily, we are dividing it geographically. It will span North America (US, Canada), Europe (UK, Germany, Others), and the Asia-Pacific Region (India, Singapore, Australia, Others).

For each section, we rank the best business schools in the region based on feedback from our network of students and alumni.

Here are the best business schools in the world for Indians, according to us:

North America


  1. Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto
  2. Schulich School of Business – York University
  3. Smith School of Business – Queen’s University
  4. Ivey Business School – University of Western Ontario
  5. Special Mentions
  6. Desautels Faculty of Management – McGill University


Since the US has a huge number of good, Indian-friendly B-Schools (the current political scenario notwithstanding), we have divided this further by cities within the US.

New York

  1. Leonard N. Stern School of Business – New York University
  2. Columbia Business School – Columbia University


  1. Booth School of Business – University of Chicago
  2. Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University


  1. MIT Sloan School of Management
  2. Harvard Business School

California (Bay Area)

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business
  2. Haas School of Business – University of California Berkeley
  3. Anderson School of Management – University of California Los Angeles

Special Mentions

  1. Brand value – Some schools are popular and well-ranked since they’ve been around for a very long time. These prestigious schools are the Tepper School of Business – Carnegie Mellon University, and the SC Johnson College of Business – Cornell University.
  2. Seattle, Washington – Seattle is the main hub for behemoths like Amazon, Boeing, Lewis-McChord and many more. The Michael G. Foster School of Business – University of Washington provides great opportunities to network and intern with these firms.



  1. Saïd Business School – Oxford University
  2. London Business School
  3. Cambridge Judge Business School
  4. Special Mentions
  5. Alliance Manchester Business School, Warwick Business School, Cranfield School of Management


  2. HEC Paris

Special Mentions

  1. Germany – University of Mannheim Business School
  2. Spain – IE Business School, IESE Business School
  3. Switzerland – International Institute for Management Development, University of St. Gallen School of Management



  1. Indian School of Business
  2. Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad
  3. Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore
  4. Indian Institute of Management – Calcutta
  5. Special Mentions
  6. Xaviers School of Management
    Indian Institute of Management – Lucknow
    Great Lakes Institute of Management


  1. Melbourne Business School – University of Melbourne
  2. Australian Graduate School of Management – University of New South Wales


  1. National University of Singapore
  2. Nanyang Technical University
  3. Singapore Management University


  1. Asian Institute of Management – Manila
  2. China Europe International Business School – China
  3. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

What is the ROI of an Executive MBA?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The ROI of an executive MBA differs from the ROI of an average MBA by quite a lot.

For starters, this is because an executive MBA is designed to be an MBA for older candidates. It comes with a syllabus and teaching style geared for candidates with a significant amount of work experience.

Naturally, the returns it offers are different from those of a program designed for younger professionals with less experience.

Now, if you’re considering going in for an executive MBA, you’ve most probably already gotten comfortable with your professional life. At some point, you’ll ask yourself,

“Is this executive MBA worth it?”

To find an appropriate answer to this question, you will first need to consider what the real cost of doing an executive MBA will be. Then, you’ll need to quantify the outcomes before you can compare and figure out if the return on your investment will make the executive MBA worth it.

This article looks to help you figure out if the executive MBA will be worth your time and money. To that end, this article shall discuss:

  1. What is the meaning of ROI for MBA?
  2. What are the Factors Affecting the ROI of an MBA?
  3. What is the Comparative ROI of Popular MBA Programs?
  4. How do I Calculate Value of Intangibles?

Let us begin by understanding what ROI on an MBA really means.

1. What is the meaning of ROI for MBA?

Doing an MBA is an expensive proposition. But before we can jump into the return on investment, let us take a look at what exactly you’re going to invest in getting your MBA.

  1. Direct Cost
    You will have to make a direct financial investment in the form of tuition fees. This is generally a sizeable amount if you’re going to a reputed institution.

    Further, there will be indirect costs involved in enhancing your MBA experience. For example, you may have to spend on exchange programs, traveling for internships, and studying one of the semesters abroad.


  3. Secondary Cost
    You’ll also need to spend a fair amount on getting a decent laptop, phone, and other gadgets. And all that is apart from the expenditure on getting the right books.

    Additionally, there will be expenses on formal as well as informal meet-and-greet events you’ll need to attend. There may even be student club activities that require some investment or expenditure on your part.

    Of course, you can get through B-School without doing any of this.

    But these experiences are integral to making the best of your MBA and you’ll be missing out on HUGE opportunities if you aren’t willing to go the extra mile.


  5. Opportunity Cost
    In case you’re not already familiar with the term ‘opportunity cost’, here’s what it means:

    Opportunity Cost is the amount of wealth you stand to lose by not doing something. In this case, your opportunity cost would be the salary and perks that you will lose for a year or two when you take time off to do your MBA.

    Including increments and incentives, this can come up to be quite a significant sum of money.

So, now you have an idea of what your investment in an MBA is going to look like. Here’s a quick overview:

If you’re already planning to forget about this MBA business, hold on a moment. There are many ways for you to get an MBA without burning a hole in your pocket. Take a look at our tips on how to finance your MBA and then decide if you still want to give up!

But maybe you’re wondering, “Why should I spend on getting an MBA when I could be making money instead?!”

Don’t throw in your hat yet – this next section will take you through how you can calculate the returns on the amount you’ll need to invest.

2. What are the Factors Impacting the ROI of an MBA?

Now, even if you’re Bill Gates (or Ambani, whatever you prefer) and you manage to finance your MBA on your own, you’re going to want to know what you’re getting in return for your time, effort and money.

It will be more so if you’re a mere mortal like us and will be taking a loan to get your MBA!

In fact, if you’re looking to take a loan, even the loan provider will be interested in knowing the salary you’ll get afterward, and how soon you can repay your debt.

Before we get to that bit though, here are a few things you should remember.

  1. Think Long-Term
    Getting an MBA is not like recharging your prepaid mobile number, where you can start expecting to use your phone immediately. You won’t get the results of an MBA that rapidly.

    Think of an MBA like a house you’re building. Its value will appreciate in 10-15 years, and the ROI will also rise at a similar rate.

  3. MBA vs. Non-MBA
    One of the critical things most people forget to consider when it comes to the ROI of an MBA is the opportunity cost of not doing an MBA.

    Sure, you considered how much money you’d have to forfeit in order to do an MBA. But have you taken a moment to think about the rise in salary that you would have to forfeit if you didn’t do an MBA?

    Statistically speaking, that is a pretty sizeable number!

  5. Consider the Intangibles
    One of the primary reasons many people choose to get an MBA is because they feel like they’re stuck in their careers. Whether it is a dead-end job or a line of work you’re just not interested in, an MBA frees you from having to be stuck with a job you don’t like.

    How do you put a price on something like satisfaction?

    And that is not the only benefit. You gain a strong and powerful network from an MBA as well.

    Before you discount that, remember that after a certain point, your next job will no longer come from some job portal on the internet. You cannot become an MD or a CEO unless you’re referred, and that’s only one of the benefits of having a strong professional network.

    Understand that there are many such intangible benefits to doing an MBA that you cannot calculate in numbers.

Now, since we’ve got that out of the way, let us get down to business and look into the factors affecting the ROI of an MBA.

  • Job Function
    Let’s say, for example, your job function is that of a technical support person. Within the first 5-6 years, you’ll begin to realize that there’s some kind of a glass ceiling you hit and you can’t move any further in your career.

    This could happen in any job function, not necessarily just in tech support.

    An MBA is a hammer with which you shatter that ceiling and change your job function. So, how badly you need that hammer is a factor that will affect the ROI of an MBA for you.

  • Career Path
    Whether you want to switch career paths or not will also massively affect the ROI of an MBA for you.

    After a couple of years of working in one particular career, it becomes increasingly tougher to switch to something else. For example, if you’ve been a coder for 6 years, you can’t just ask for a product management job because you think your true potential will only be unleashed as a product manager.

    That can happen if you get an MBA.

    Getting an MBA is one of the only ways to smoothly transition out of an undesired career and into another that you enjoy.

    Once again, your expectations with respect to the help an MBA can offer you to make a career shift will play a big role in how valuable you find the degree.

  • Industry
    If you work in the consulting industry, an MBA is your ticket to go from being an Analyst at an industry-leading firm to working as an Associate in the very same place. But if you’re a research scientist who plans to continue working in that industry, the MBA will not help you much.

    The point is, how much value your industry of choice places on an MBA is critical in figuring out the ROI of your MBA.

  • Country
    When trying to understand the ROI of an MBA, your country is usually your frame of reference. The continuity of calculating in the same currency surely helps quite a bit, but there’s more to it than that.

    If you’re looking to move abroad, or even to only do your MBA abroad, everything changes.

    The obvious issue here is currency, but you should also note that the number of unknowns with respect to insurance, employability and many more things, rises exponentially if you change countries at any point.

    This is bound to affect your investment as well as the ROI of your MBA.

A critical thing to remember when you’re looking to calculate the ROI of an MBA is that 80% of the money you’re going to make will be in the last 10 years of your career. What this means for you is simple: plan your MBA in such a way that at the age of 40-45, you can leverage your position to make the big bucks.

So, in essence, your entire MBA journey should be aimed at preparing you for that last decade of your career.

3. What is the Comparative ROI of Popular MBA Programs?

In the previous section, we discussed calculating the ROI of an MBA in terms of which aspects will impact the ROI of an MBA for you. However, there’s one rather obvious and easy to calculate the kind of aspect that we’ll look at in this section.

That aspect is the percentage rise in salary of the alumni of popular MBA programs around the world.

According to the Financial Times MBA rankings, these are the percentages of average salary hikes among the alumni of the following schools:

  • Indian School of Business – 187%
  • Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad – 100%
  • Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore – 124%
  • INSEAD – 104%
  • London Business School – 102%
  • UCLA: Anderson – 102%
  • University of Michigan, Ross School of Management – 108%

An important thing to note here is the methodology used to calculate these statistics. Half of the number for each School is calculated based on the absolute salary increase from the time before they got the MBA to three years after getting it. The other half is based on the percentage increase between pre-MBA and post-MBA salary.

4. How do I Calculate the Value of Intangibles?

Ultimately, the aim of this article was to provide you with the knowledge it takes to figure out what the ROI of an MBA is. We hope we have done that effectively. But before we part, here’s a thought we’d like to leave you with.

The one thing we highly recommend you consider while figuring out the ROI of an MBA for yourself is what Amazon founder Jeff Bezos calls the regret minimization framework.

It involves a simple test – put yourself in the shoes of an older version of yourself and check whether you’d regret doing or not doing something.

We recommend that apart from that from all this number crunching, you should take a moment to try out the regret minimization framework. Ask yourself, if you don’t do this MBA, will you regret it at the age of 50?

We hope you’ve found this article useful. We’ll be happy to hear your feedback or questions in the comments section below.

What is the Difference Between MBA and PGDM?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you’ve recently decided to explore the possibility of getting an MBA, this is probably one of the peskiest questions you’re grappling with:

What’s the difference between MBA and PGDM and PGPx and Executive MBA and all the other million names there are?

Well, if you’re confused, we totally get it. Don’t worry, this article is being written specifically to explain this. In this article, we will discuss:

  1. The Birth of MBA
  2. Management Education in India
  3. MBA in India Today

This may sound like more than you signed up for. But, trust us, if you want a proper answer to your question, there’s no better way to truly understand it.

1. The Birth of MBA

Let’s start at the very beginning: the first MBA ever offered.

The world’s first MBA program was created and offered by Harvard University in as early as 1908. However, Harvard was not the first Business School in the world. That was the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1881, followed by the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 1900.

Tuck was the first to offer the world’s first advanced degree in business. It was called the Master of Science in Commerce. The MS in Commerce was the predecessor of the MBA.

The popularity of the MBA grew exponentially over time.

More universities started offering MBAs and setting up separate Business Schools to provide various business programs and courses.

As a concept, specialized business education proliferated through American Colleges first. Surprisingly, it came to India and Pakistan before it was introduced in Europe.

2. MBA and PGDM in India

Xavier’s Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) was India’s first business school established in 1949, but it didn’t offer an MBA. Instead, India’s first MBA was offered by the Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management (IISWBM), Kolkata in 1953.

Notably, the MBA degree was introduced in Europe four years after this via INSEAD, France in 1957.

What complicates matters is one rather problematic rule put in place by the AICTE:

An institution cannot award a Master’s degree unless it is affiliated to a University.

First of all, in case you don’t know this, the AICTE is the All India Council for Technical Education. It is the Central regulator of all technical education offered in the country. So, technically speaking, MBAs and all management and business programs fall within their purview.

Secondly, that rule probably sounds like the government being cumbersome just because it can do so. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. The rule is meant to help regulate the quality of degrees handed out in the country.

Whether that rule has helped maintain standards or not is an entirely different matter.

The point is, institutions like IIMs, in spite of being the country’s best institutions in management and business education, were not allowed to use the word ‘MBA’ since that is a Master’s degree and IIMs are not affiliated to Universities.

That is where the problem began.

Institutions affiliated to Universities started offering MBAs. In the meanwhile, IIMs and other independent institutions simply took on other names for their advanced business education programs.

The first in a series of new business and management degrees to be offered in the country was the PostGraduate Diploma in Management, shortened to PGDM. This was soon followed by the PostGraduate Diploma in Business Administration, commonly known as the PGDBA.

Now, the differences between MBA and PGDM or PGDBA are:

  1. MBAs are postgraduate Master’s degrees whereas PGDM and PGDBA are both diplomas.
  2. MBAs have accreditation from the AICTE while the diplomas don’t.
  3. MBAs are likely to be regulated by University bodies while PGDMs and PGDBAs are regulated independently by the institutions offering them.
  4. MBAs need you to have a few years of work experience to get in. The diplomas can be completed immediately after graduating.

On the whole, the key takeaway for you should be that the caliber of an MBA depends on the University but the quality of a PGDM and a PGDBA depends on the institution offering it.

We wish it was as simple as MBA vs. PGDM/PGDBA but there’s actually a lot more to it than these three terms. Let’s take a look at that in the next part of this article.

3. Business Education Terminology in India

The scenario started to become more and more complicated with every new entrant into the advanced business education field.

  1. PGPx – IIM Ahmedabad
    An interesting turn of events took place when IIM Ahmedabad introduced the PGPx.
    IIM-A’s PGPx is a full-time mid-career program designed for working professionals, with the ‘x’ representing the word ‘executive’. As mentioned, taking a break from full-time work for higher education was not a concept in India, but this course changed that.
    On the terminology front, though, this program created a problem.
    Since it was being offered by the nation’s best institution, it came to be known as an executive MBA. A series of B-Schools offering MBAs went on to create ‘executive MBA’ programs modeled on IIM-A’s PGPx.
    But the problem is this:
    Anywhere else in the world, you’ll find that an executive MBA is a part-time program designed for people who want to continue working while pursuing higher education.
    So, IIM-A’s PGPx is the reason we’re left with this confusion about whether an executive MBA is a full-time program or a part-time one.
    To clarify, an executive MBA typically is a one-year full-time course in India and the same thing is a two-year part-time course everywhere else.

    With the establishment of the Indian School of Business (ISB) in 2001, there came the PostGraduate Program (PGP) in management. In a strict sense, this PGP is neither a Master’s degree nor is it a diploma.
    ISB’s PGP is simply a certificate that doesn’t have AICTE accreditation.
    It is worth noting that there is no MBA program in the country that carries more weight than the ‘certificate programs’ and ‘diplomas’ offered by independent institutions like ISB and IIM-A.
    Adding to the mass of available options and therefore complicating the scenario even further, IIM Bangalore introduced the EPGP and IIM Calcutta, the PGPEX.
    To simplify this for you, both these programs are just one-year full-time executive MBAs that cannot be called MBAs since they’re offered by IIMs.
    As if there wasn’t enough confusion already, IIM Lucknow went ahead to introduce the International Programme in Management for Executives (IPMX). Once again, this is nothing but an executive MBA with yet another name.
    The same applies to the General Management Program (GMP) offered by the Xavier’s Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur.

Recent developments have brought some hope as far as clearing up this mess goes. The Parliament of India passed the IIM Act in December 2018, giving IIMs the right to offer Masters degree courses.

Whether the IIMs choose to offer official MBAs or continue to offer the various programs they currently do, remains to be seen.

We hope that this article has helped you figure out the difference between MBA and PDGM as well as the zillion other available options.

Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comparing ISB Hyderabad & ISB Mohali

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Let us take a guess:

You’re considering going in for an MBA and ISB is one of your top 5 dream B-Schools. The only thing is that you cannot quite figure out which ISB campus will be the best for you.

Wherever you go, you’re seeing “One School, Two Campuses” and that is not helping because – come on, there have got to be some differences, right?!

Well, here’s some good news:

You’re not wrong!

The management of the Indian School of Business has gone to exceptional lengths to maintain equal standards at both campuses. In all honesty, it is working very well. However, there continue to be some subtle differences between the two campuses.

Given that half the country falls between these two campuses, there are bound to be some differences between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.

We spoke to ISB alumni from Hyderabad as well as Mohali to find out exactly how the two campuses of ISB differ.

Here’s what they had to say.

  1. How would students of one campus know what the other campus is like?
  2. Campus Amenities: ISB Hyderabad vs. ISB Mohali
  3. Which Campus has Better Professors?
  4. What is the Campus Culture like?
  5. Which Campus is More Expensive to Live On?

How would students of one campus know what the other is like?

It’s a fair question – if you study at ISB Hyderabad, how would you know what the Mohali campus was like, and vice-versa?

The answer is simple. At ISB, students don’t just stay at the same campus throughout.

“There are a bunch of cultural activities that we organize while studying at ISB. Typically, the event management teams have members from both campuses, so we inevitably end up flying to the other campus from time to time,” says Aishwarya Tipnis, who graduated from ISB Hyderabad in 2016.

Anand Dubey from the 2018 batch at ISB Mohali agrees with Tipnis. “I’ve lost count of the number of times some of us went over to stay at the other campus for a while,” he says. “There were so many reasons to do that – case competitions, courses, summits, term exchanges…”

The key takeaway from this is that ISB students spend considerable amounts of time on both campuses, putting them in an ideal place to tell us about the differences between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.

Campus Amenities: ISB Hyderabad vs. ISB Mohali

The first thing we noticed when we looked to compare the two ISB campuses was that the Hyderabad campus was WAY larger than the Mohali one. So we asked the alums if that made a difference to the infrastructure and amenities available.

“Mohali being a newer campus had excellent maintenance. Sure, it is smaller, but it makes up for that by providing absolute state-of-the-art infrastructure. In the end, its size doesn’t matter,” Dubey says.

Tipnis is full of praise for the campus facilities ISB provides. “Mohali is a newer campus so the amenities are obviously newer, too. But the core support systems at both campuses were seamless. There’s free housekeeping at both campuses, which is a HUGE plus point. You wouldn’t believe how much time gets saved when you don’t have to bother about the upkeep of your room!”

The school appreciates the time and money its students have invested in getting their MBAs. It does what it can to ensure the most efficient use of that time.

ISB Hyderabad and Mohali both have 24-hr cafes, convenience stores, medical and emergency support, banking, postal, IT, printing and a plethora of other services constantly available on campus.

The idea is that students shouldn’t have to waste time traveling out of the campus for minor needs.
The amenities to ensure this are made available on both campuses.

Dubey points out, however, “Sure, we had the same stuff at our disposal on both the campuses but the staff and quality of service was better in Mohali.”

Which Campus Has Better Professors?

Apparently, when ISB employs professors, they’re not employed at any particular campus.

The reason being that every professor who teaches at ISB is expected to deliver lectures and oversee activities on both campuses equally.

This way, every course that is available at ISB Hyderabad is also available in Mohali. What’s more, the same professors teach these courses at both campuses, too!

“ISB takes the whole ‘One School, Two Campuses’ thing very seriously. There’s literally no point trying to look for academic differences between the campuses. They’ve taken every possible step to ensure there are none,” says Dubey.

And sure enough, we dig around only to find that he’s quite right.

So, we move on to explore other things.

What is the Campus Culture Like?

“There are tons of on-campus and off-campus activities at ISB. Most of them are organized by the student-run clubs, so it’s up to us whether we keep up the uniformity between campuses,” Dubey believes.

This is the first avenue for an actual distinction between the campuses that we’ve come across. It’s possible that one campus may have more enthusiastic students while the other may have more studious ones. That could affect the activities conducted at each campus.

“It’s possible but that hasn’t been my experience. As an institution, ISB actually encourages all-round development. For example, I got to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe during my time at ISB. On my own, I’d have to compromise on my career to get such an opportunity,” says Tipnis.

Even on a socio-cultural front, there appears to be no difference between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.

Both campuses take steps to foster inclusivity, with Pride Marches and panel discussions about topics affecting the LGBTIQ community. Adopting no social or political stances of its own, ISB promotes open dialogue on all issues from all walks of life.

All in all, the environment on both campuses is unbiased and open to all.

“If you’re REALLY looking for differences, though, here’s one – there are more weekend getaways close to Mohali than there are to Hyderabad,” Tipnis observes. “Not that it makes much of a difference, honestly, because you don’t usually get a lot of time to yourself at ISB. The learning curve is quite steep!”

What that means for you is this:

Even though ISB Mohali affords you access to more getaways than ISB Hyderabad, you aren’t going to end up visiting many. Sorry!
This brings us to the next question.

Which Campus is More Expensive to Live On?

It’s but obvious that the tuition fees across campuses will remain constant.

But given the differences in the politico-economic conditions of the respective cities, we expect there to be some variations in costs of living.

“Basically, ISB is like a self-contained township. And that goes for both campuses. Whether you study at ISB Hyderabad or ISB Mohali, your living arrangements are on campus. Everything else you need is on campus, too,” says Dubey.

The only way costs of living in either city will affect you is if you don’t live on campus.

“It’s just so convenient to live on campus that almost nobody, including local students, would choose to live outside. Getting an MBA from ISB is a package deal – you’ll make the best of it only if you partake in everything that comes with being an ISB student,” Tipnis says.

And as long as you’re on campus, prices remain uniform. However, there is a difference in some of the finer aspects of things.

For example, ISB cannot yet control the climate. So, the obvious difference, then, is that winters in Mohali will be considerably colder and dryer than winters in Hyderabad.

This means you’ll need to prepare accordingly, which may mean more expenses for some.

On the contrary, Hyderabad is more humid and warm. Depending on the weather in which you’ve grown up, you may have some trouble adjusting to this.

Further, the food available at Hyderabad and Mohali respectively is also different.

“You won’t get Paradise Biryani in Mohali,” laughs Tipnis. “But you can go get some while you’re visiting!”
On a (slightly) more serious note, South Indian cuisine is very different from North Indian cuisine and some people may have serious issues adjusting to something they’re not used to eating. This may not be a big issue, but it might be worth considering for some people!

“If you’re talking about career opportunities, well, placements take place on the same campus for us all. So, that doesn’t matter,” Dubey says. “I guess the only time your campus location matters is when you’re looking for internships. But you can always opt for an exchange semester and do your internship from the other campus if you land an opportunity at some company there.”

This goes on to say that you have equal access to every internship opportunity that’s available to ISB students, irrespective of your campus location.

So… What’s the Verdict?

We’ve read many resources and interacted with a whole lot of people in addition to Aishwarya Tipnis and Anand Dubey. The sole purpose was to see if we could crack open ISB’s “One School, Two Campuses” claim.

During the course of writing this article, we came across some claims that ISB Mohali saw more guest lecturers than ISB Hyderabad. However, we’ve found no evidence to back this or other similar claims.

The differences between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali are minor, subtle and entirely non-academic in nature. How deeply they impact your ISB experience depends entirely on your ability to adjust.

On the whole, ISB truly is one school with two campuses, with everything that’s humanly possible being maintained equally on both campuses.

Our verdict on the matter is that ISB has excelled at enforcing its ‘One School, Two Campuses’ policy, and that there indeed is no considerable difference between ISB Hyderabad and Mohali.

These Are Canada’s 10 Best MBA Programs in 2019

Top MBA Programs - Canada
Reading Time: 6 minutes

North American Business Schools take all the top spots on any list of MBA rankings in the world. But the current US Government isn’t exactly popular for its attitude towards immigrants, so we totally understand if you don’t want to do your MBA in the US.

MBA aspirants around the world are beginning to look at options outside the US, so if you’re thinking about this, you’re not alone.

In fact, many Indian MBA aspirants are beginning to wonder if they should even get an MBA abroad or in India itself. Luckily, though, Canada presents a great opportunity – not only is it right next to the US, but it has a much more hospitable environment and can provide competitive alternatives to US B-schools.

If you are considering applying to Canadian B-Schools, you should know about a recent trend that will have a great impact on your chances of getting in. Given the socio-political environment in the US, thousands of high-scoring applicants are now flocking to Canadian B-Schools.

There’s a weird phenomenon in Canadian B-Schools because of this:

The best B-Schools in Canada typically received applications with GMAT scores in the 670-710 range. Now, with would-be Ivy Leaguers applying to B-Schools in Canada as backup options, the range of applicants’ scores has shot through the roof. However, a large number of these applicants get into B-Schools in the US and don’t end up accepting offers from Canada’s B-Schools.

As a result, even though the average score of the applicant pool has risen dramatically, the average score of the students who study in Canada’s B-Schools hasn’t seen much of a shift.

Fortunately, though, this phenomenon has had no effect on B-School rankings within Canada. The top 10 MBA programs in the country are:

  1. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
  2. Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario
  3. Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University
  4. Schulich School of Business, University of York
  5. Smith School of Business, Queen’s University
  6. HEC Montreal
  7. Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia
  8. John Molson School of Business, Concordia University
  9. University of Alberta School of Business
  10. DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University

Here’s some more information on the specializations available at each of these, their locations, tuition fees, and what it takes to get in.

1. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Duration: 2 years
Average Work Experience: 4.6 years
Average GMAT Score: 658
Tuition Fees: $120,680 (Canadian)
Concentrations: Brand Management, Business Design, Consulting, Financial Reporting and Analysis, Funds Management, Global Management, General MBA, Health Sector Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Investment Banking, Leadership and Change Management, Process and Supply Chain Management, Real Estate, Risk Management and Financial Engineering, Sustainability

Rotman has topped charts for decades. Known to be one of the most innovative B-Schools in Canada, Rotman was the first to introduce video essays to its admissions process. The critically acclaimed Self-Development Lab and flexible Internship Program have earned Rotman its stellar record as far as campus placements go.

For more details, visit Rotman’s MBA Page.

2. Ivey Business School, University of Western Ontario

Location: London, Ontario
Duration: 1 year
Average Work Experience: 4.8 years
Average GMAT Score: 670
Tuition Fees: $106,500
Concentrations: You can choose from among five areas of focus, and your course will be tailored accordingly. The five areas of focus available are Finance, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Corporate Strategy and Leadership, and International Management.

The Ivey Business School is yet another chart-topper when it comes to MBA rankings in Canada. Their in-house career management team is internationally acclaimed for the work it does, which is just made better by the fact that 94% of Ivey graduates switch careers post-MBA.

For more information, visit Ivey’s MBA Page.

3. Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Location: Montréal, Québec
Duration: 20 months
Average Work Experience: 5 years
Average GMAT Score: 668
Tuition Fees: $89,000 (including international trip)
Concentrations: Global Strategy and Leadership, Finance, Business Analytics, and Marketing. 

The Desautels Faculty of Management offers a variety of MBA programs, some of which look to integrate other fields of study with the MBA curriculum – like the Law MBA or the MD MBA programs. The McGill Case Competition Association and the McGill Business Consulting Group offer you excellent opportunities to learn in real-world scenarios. 

For more information, visit McGill University’s MBA page.

4. Schulich School of Business, University of York

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Duration: 20 months
Average Work Experience: 5 years
Average GMAT Score: 660
Tuition Fees: $101,900
Concentrations: Accounting; Arts, Media & Entertainment Management; Business & Sustainability; Business Consulting; Entrepreneurial Studies; Finance; Financial Risk Management; Financial Services; Global Mining Management; Global Retail Management; Health Industry Management; International Business; Marketing; Operations Management & Information Systems; Organization Studies; Real Estate & Infrastructure; Social Sector Management; Strategic Management

This is easily one of the most recognized names on the list of top MBA colleges in Canada. It is known for being highly student-centric, offering flexible study options so that you can take classes at the Keele campus or at the Toronto satellite campus. The most interesting part for most students is the two-term strategic consulting project where you get to work with clients on real business problems and solutions.

For more details, visit Schulich’s MBA Page.

5. Smith School of Business, Queen’s University

Location: Kingston, Ontario
Duration: 1 year
Average Work Experience: 5 years
Average GMAT Score: 650
Tuition Fees: $97,000
Concentrations: Consulting, Digital Transformation, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Finance, Management Analytics, Marketing & Sales

Irrespective of the specialization you choose to go for, the Smith MBA requires you to undertake a mandatory Individual Project Course. As a part of this, you can work with an existing company to help deal with real-world business situations. Alternatively, you’re expected to come up with a new venture of your own. Often, these projects can even be launched as start-ups with the help of the Smith School of Business.

For more details, visit Smith’s MBA Page.

6. HEC Montréal

Location: Montréal, Québec
Duration: 1 year
Average Work Experience: 7 years
Average GMAT Score: 625
Tuition Fees: $34,050
Concentrations: Entrepreneurship; Finance, Strategy, and Consulting; Markets and Business Intelligence; General Management and Leadership; International Management; Digital Enterprise

HEC Montréal has 300 faculty members who are industry experts from various walks of life. The popular B-school offers an optional Global Immersion Program, which is integral to making the very best of the HEC Montréal full-time MBA. The school also has an excellent placement record with an average wage increase of 28% across the board.

For more details, visit HEC Montréal’s MBA page.

7. Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Duration: 16 months
Average Work Experience: 5 years
Average GMAT Score: 650
Tuition Fees: $80,060
Concentrations: Finance; Product and Service Management; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; or you can create a customized concentration for yourself

UBC Sauder is one of the few B-schools that allows you to customize and create your own concentration during the latter half of your 16-month MBA program. High on the customization factor, UBC Sauder has a multitude of self-development options headed by the Business Career Centre. Services available include one-on-one career coaching and guidance lectures and workshops.

For more details, visit Sauder’s MBA page.

8. John Molson School of Business, Concordia University

Location: Montréal, Québec
Duration: 16 months
Average Work Experience: 5.5 years
Average GMAT Score: 635
Tuition Fees: $50,528
Concentrations: You are expected to choose topics from the following themes to create your own concentrations – Business Analytics; Entrepreneurship and Family Firms; People and Organizations; Consulting and Strategy; Globalization; and Experiential.

Only 39% of an average MBA batch at the John Molson School of Business is made up of Canadian students. Clearly popular among international MBA students. A convenient class scheduling system allows you to pick out your own schedule, with the option to choose afternoon and evening classes per your convenience.

For more details, visit Molson’s MBA page.

9. University of Alberta School of Business

Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Duration: 20 months
Average Work Experience: 4.6 years
Average GMAT Score: 613
Tuition Fees: $57,909
Concentrations: Energy Finance; Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Operations & Business Analytics; Public Sector and Healthcare Management; and Strategy & Consulting

An MBA from the University of Alberta’s School of Business equips you with the right knowledge to help you succeed in all kinds of environments – from large corporates to start-ups. The mandatory Capstone Project at the end of the program requires you to work with an external organization, helping them handle a critical real-life problem.

For more details, visit Alberta’s MBA page.

10. DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University

Location: Burlington, Ontario
Duration: 20 months
Average Work Experience: 3 years
Average GMAT Score: 630
Tuition Fees: $82,000
Concentrations: Accounting and Financial Management Services; Finance; Health Services Management; Strategic Business Valuation; Strategic Marketing; and Data Analytics.

Housed in the Ron Joyce Centre at the Burlington campus, the DeGroote MBA provides a shuttle service from the main campus at Hamilton. The MBA is available in multiple formats, but the full-time program lasts a minimum of 20 months. An in-house career management service hosts company information sessions, mock interview nights, and one-on-one coaching sessions to help you take full advantage of the course.

For more details, visit DeGroote’s MBA page.

Typically, people choose to go in for an MBA because of two reasons: one is in pursuit of pay hikes and another is in pursuit of a career change. An MBA is known to be one of the safest ways to switch careers smoothly and it nearly always guarantees a higher income than before.

So, whether you’re looking to do an MBA for these reasons or for any others, you will need a solid profile to get an admit from any good MBA college in Canada or anywhere else around the world. Get your profile evaluated for an MBA to get a better understanding of where you stand!

Top 10 One-Year MBA Programs in the US

Top 10 One-Year MBAs in the US
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Here’s a scenario:

You enjoy your job but you want to do more with your life. You really want to do an MBA but you simply cannot afford to take two years off from work. What do you do?

It’s simple: you opt for an accelerated MBA program!

We know there’s a belief that one year MBAs are less valuable than two-year ones. But here’s the thing:

A one year MBA is exactly equal to any two year MBA.

Which one you should do depends almost entirely on what your academic background and work experience are. A one year MBA is just an accelerated version of the usual two-year program. The accelerated program normally relies on your existing knowledge of business while the two-year MBA takes the time to teach you the basics before moving further.

A one-year MBA is far more rigorous than the traditional two year MBA in terms of the pace and topics covered. This makes it ideal for anyone who knows their post-MBA goals clearly. You can read more on how to choose between a one-year and a two-year MBA in our post about the topic.

If you’ve decided to go for an accelerated MBA, you are probably finding that they are not very common in the US.

Worry not, we’re here to help!

Here is a list of the top 10 one-year MBA programs in the US:

  1. Stern School of Business, New York University
  2. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  3. SC Johnson School of Technology, Cornell University
  4. Goizueta Business School, Emory University
  5. Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh
  6. Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
  7. Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame
  8. F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College
  9. Southern Methodist University (SMU) – Cox School of Business
  10. Pepperdine University – Graziadio School of Business and Management

Read on to find out what it takes to get into them!


1. Stern School of Business, New York University

Location: New York, New York
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 5.8 years
Average GMAT Score: 689
Tuition Fees: $95,100
Concentrations: Accounting; Banking; Business Analytics; Corporate Finance; Digital Marketing; Economics; Entertainment, Media & Technology; Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Finance; Financial Instruments & Markets; Financial Systems & Analytics; FinTech; Global Business; Law & Business; Leadership & Change Management; Luxury Marketing; Management; Management of Technology & Operations; Marketing; Product Management; Quantitative Finance; Real Estate; Sustainable Business & Innovation; Strategy; Supply Chain Management & Global Sourcing

With a power-packed Tech MBA Advisory Board including the heads of Citigroup, Alphabet, and BuzzFeed, the Stern Tech MBA is designed to give you a sharp edge over all competition. The program is created as a crossover between technology and business, capitalizing on one of the greatest needs of the hour, which is a workforce of tech professionals who understand business.

Running from May to May, the course involves multiple hands-on learning experiences across New York City and Silicon Valley. Students have the opportunity to work with any of the companies that are on the in-house Tech MBA Advisory Board. Surely, this is work experience to kill for!

2. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, Illinois
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 5.1 years
Average GMAT Score: 732
Tuition Fees: $98,720
Concentrations: Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, and Managing Organizations

Unlike most other one year MBA programs, this is not a two-year course condensed into one. It is designed specifically to be a one-year course. Based on your existing business acumen, it allows you to bypass the core business subjects and jump straight into the deep end.

If you choose not to elect any of the available concentrations, you’ll get an MBA in “General Management”.

Kellogg also provides ‘pathways’ for students who are interested in building expertise in emerging areas and evolving industries. A ‘pathway’ is a sequence of extra courses that are meant to enhance certain skill sets and expertise in certain industries as per demand. 

You can pursue any number of pathways and go as deep as you like into each one. 

3. SC Johnson School of Technology, Cornell University

Location: Ithaca, New York
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 5.6 years
Average GMAT Score: 690
Tuition Fees: Summer term – $36,362; Fall/Spring Term – $66,290
Concentrations: Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Global Management, Sustainable Global Enterprise.

Cornell is a part of the Ivy League, which speaks for itself. 

The SC Johnson School of Technology offers an optional immersion program that focuses on performance learning. This provides you with hands-on experience under actual business conditions, which is more than what you’ll learn in theory. It can’t hurt to have that on your CV, either! 

As a part of this course, you will have opportunities to study with the Evening as well as the two-year MBA batches from the university’s NYC campus. Johnson Cornell also offers a one-year Tech MBA which runs from the New York City campus. 

Designed for tech professionals, this program focuses on developing its students’ business skills. If you are a STEM professional, this could be your ticket to a seat at the upper management table!

4. Goizueta Business School, Emory University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 6 years
GMAT 80% Range: 570-710
Tuition Fees: $95,853
Concentrations: Goizueta offers 20 concentrations including Corporate Finance, Decision Analysis, General Marketing, Healthcare Consulting, Investment Banking, and Management Consulting 

Goizueta’s one year MBA program was named by Forbes at the top of its list of courses that offer Fewest Years to Payback in 2017.

The school also offers an optional IMPACT program which provides experiential learning opportunities. You get to work with some seriously big and famous companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Mercedes-Benz, Delta Airlines and Carters, Inc.

Besides – in case you missed it – there are over 20 available concentrations to pick from!

5. Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
Duration: 11 months
Average Work Experience: 4.6 Years
Average GMAT Score: 621
Tuition: $68,167.00
Concentrations: Finance, Information Systems and Technology Management, Marketing, Operations, Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management, Strategy

You’ll need to have at least two years of work experience to apply for this course.
Katz focuses heavily on experiential learning, so you can develop real-world business acumen.

The school has a multitude of co-curricular activities including case competitions, wherein groups of students compete to find the best ways to deal with real-world business scenarios. There’s also The Katz Invitational, where the best of the best are invited for a harder version of case competitions.

Katz also offers a Consulting Field Project and a Management Simulation Capstone, both designed to provide you with opportunities to learn in real-world situations.

6. Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, California
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 11-12 years
GMAT 80% Range: 570-710 / Median GMAT: 630
Tuition Fees: $112,000 (Tuition & Program Fee)

This is designed to be a mid-career course, which should explain the high average age and work experience.

There are more international than American students in this program. The creators of the course say that it was created to function like a mini United Nations so that students developed a holistic, global perspective. The IBEAR MBA looks to make its students future-ready. 

As a student of this course, you’ll have access to Marshall School electives. This means you can create your own concentrations during the course of the program!

7. Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame

Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 5.3 years
GMAT 80% Range: 550-700
Tuition Fees: $75,768
Concentrations: Business Analytics, Business Leadership, Consulting, Corporate Finance, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Investments, Marketing

You will need to have completed three credit hours of financial accounting and three credit hours of statistics from an accredited university to be eligible for admission into this course.

One of the best parts of this program is its student-to-faculty ratio. It’s literally as low as 3:1! Can you imagine how much personal attention you get because of this? What further sweetens the deal is that 81% of the students receive fellowships.

With all its available concentrations, this sounds to us like quite an interesting program to take up!

8. F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College

Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts
Duration: 12 Months
Average Work Experience: 5.8 years
Average GMAT Score: 599
Tuition Fees: $82,496
Concentrations: Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Global Management, Marketing

An interesting fact about this course is that you can get a GMAT waiver. If you get or have a Certificate in Advanced Management (CAM), you’re eligible for a GMAT waiver, meaning you won’t need a GMAT score to get into this course.

Interestingly, you also become eligible for another added benefit: if you are a CAM holder, you may be allowed to apply your CAM credits to the Babson MBA once enrolled. Not many programs offer such GMAT and credit benefits, which makes this quite unique.

What’s even better is that if you opt for this course, you will have access to the same courses, experiential learning, and academic centers that are used by the students of the two-year MBA program.

9. Southern Methodist University (SMU) – Cox School of Business

Location: Dallas, Texas
Duration: 12 months
Average Work Experience: 4 Years
Average GMAT Score: 636
Tuition: $70,408
Concentrations: Accounting, Finance (with further specializations in Corporate Finance, Energy Finance and Investments), ITOM: Business Analytics, ITOM: Information & Operations, Management, Marketing (with further specialization in Customer Engagement), Real Estate, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, General Business 

To be eligible for this course, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree in business, economics, or any other quantitative field. 

Cox allows you to pick a minor subject along with your major, so you have an option to develop your knowledge and skills in two fields instead of one. It’s a great opportunity to study a subject that is related to your major. If you do this, you can find unique insights and applications to this extra knowledge in the real world.

There are a lot of student clubs at Cox, from industry-centric to hobby-based groups. The class tends to be a healthy mix of nationalities and gender, which will give you good exposure, too.

10. Pepperdine University – Graziadio School of Business and Management

Location: Malibu, California
Duration: 12 months / 15 months
Average Work Experience: 5 Years
Average GMAT Score: 648
Tuition: $24,875 per term
Concentrations: Finance and Marketing (12 months); Digital Innovation Systems; Dispute Resolution; Entertainment, Media, and Sports Management; Entrepreneurship; Finance and Marketing (15 months)

You will need an undergraduate degree in business to get into the 12-month program. If you don’t have this, you can enroll for the 15-month option. Both programs require a minimum of three years in work experience.

There are many differences between the two programs apart from the concentrations available, too. In the 12 month program, you can take one week to study abroad. The 15-month program takes an entire trimester to study abroad.

The most interesting part of studying at Pepperdine is the SEER Certificate. It is an optional course that stands for “Socially, Environmentally and Ethically Responsible” (SEER) Business Strategy. in a world increasingly interested in climate change and human welfare, this could be a pretty big star on your belt.

Indeed an impressive collection of courses to pick from, wouldn’t you say?

Well, we sure think so. At CrackVerbal, we help thousands of students get into their dream B-schools every year – we know how many would be dying to get into any of these programs. We also know how pressing the competition is and how taxing the application process can be.

That is why we offer MBA Application Services that are designed to take the stress off your shoulders. Whether you’re trying to figure out which B-school you should apply to or fretting over how to prepare for your MBA Admission Interview – CrackVerbal has you covered!

Head over to our MBA Consulting platform to get a better idea of how we can help you. Reach out to us if you are in doubt, we always have something for everyone!

ISB YLP – A “Catch Them Young” Leadership Program from ISB

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In conversation with Darshana Sivakumar, who got an admit to the ISB Young Leaders Programme!


Hi Darshana, first of all congratulations on your admit to the Indian School of Business under the Young Leaders Programme! This programme is only into its second year now, so how did you get to know about it?


Thank you so much. I initially got to know about this program through some of my friends who applied for the first batch of the ISB YLP. I interned with some of them last summer. Later, I came to know more about it through several websites, blogs and online info sessions.


The GMAT is a pre-requisite for the course. Would you please share your GMAT score with us?


I scored 740 on the GMAT!


Great! While still in college, how did you manage your GMAT preparation?

I prepared for the GMAT for about a month on my own. The Official Guide for GMAT was what I primarily used. I didn’t have much of a problem with the quantitative part of the GMAT, but the verbal part was a little tricky. Hence, I concentrated more on the Verbal section, giving the Verbal and Quant preparation an 80-20 split.

I also took several full-length practice tests, which gave me the stamina to give my best on the day of the actual test.My general suggestion for YLP applicants is to not stretch GMAT preparation for too long – especially because there is not too much of time gap between stage 1 results and stage 2 deadline (Unless you plan on starting your GMAT preparation earlier). Focused, dedicated preparation for about a month or two will suffice.

Also, the GMAT score is not the only component of the stage 2 application. Aspirants must also give importance to the essays that bring out their personality and achievements.

There are a lot of components in the entire selection process- essays, a video, recommendations, interview etc. How did you go about planning your application and what did you think was the toughest part of the whole process? Any tips for other aspirants on how to make a winning application?


The application is a three stage process. In the first stage, applicants need to submit a one page resume, an essay and video response, along with a listing of extra-curricular interests and achievements. In the second stage, the GMAT score, three essays and two recommendations need to be submitted. The third stage comprises a personal interview and case study at the ISB campus.


For every stage, I ensured that I had enough time to think over the requirements of the stage and what I wanted to put down on my application.


In the second stage, after I had given the GMAT, I had about three weeks to work on my essays. That gave me enough time to collect my thoughts and write down several drafts of my essays, which I reviewed over and over again, till I was completely satisfied with what I had put down. I got my essays reviewed by the CrackVerbal team, friends and family members too.


My recommendations came from a mentor at a company I interned in, and my professor at college. It is important to choose recommenders who know you well. Also, educate your recommenders about your application, essays, etc., without influencing their recommendations.


For the interview, I went through my entire application thoroughly. Every aspect of your application is a reflection of yourself, and it’s important for you to be able to talk about and substantiate each and every aspect. I also spent a lot of time getting to know about specifics of the YLP program and ISB – the curriculum, exchange programs, faculty, and other features of ISB that make it a unique, world renowned institution. This helped me to better understand why I wanted to be a part of the YLP program.


How did CrackVerbal help you through the different stages of the MBA application process?

I came across CrackVerbal through an online forum. I attended one of Arun’s webinars on the YLP and GMAT, which was very useful. After taking up the GMAT, I penned down my essays. That’s when I decided to approach CrackVerbal, to see if I was moving in the right direction.

It’s very important to be original in the essays and not let other people influence what you have to say in them. However, it is also important to get feedback on what you are missing and how to improve. The CrackVerbal team did a great job at that!

While still in your third year of college, what motivated you the most to decide upon doing an MBA, that too under such a scheme where you’ll be joining a class of students who already have an average at least 5 years of industry experience under their belts?


I was actually in my fourth year when I decided to apply for the YLP. I’m currently pursuing an integrated Masters degree in Software Engineering (5 year course) at PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. As a part of our curriculum at PSG Tech., we are expected to do two industry or research based projects, each for six months, in our seventh and tenth semesters.


Due to the structure of my program, I got the opportunity to intern in the technology division of an investment bank for six months during my seventh semester. It was during this internship that I observed the roles that my managers played in the firm. The roles fascinated me! This was one of the reasons that drove me to think about higher studies in management. I also spoke to several MBA graduates from various universities, some from ISB.

I spoke to them about their MBA experience and learning, their pre and post MBA roles, and discovered that what I want to do in future can be accelerated by a top MBA program like the ISB YLP. I believe that the fact that I will be joining a class of students who will be from diverse backgrounds and having different years of industry experience in their belts will give me a great opportunity to learn from their wide and varied experience.


Now that your seat in ISB’s Class of 2016 is reserved :), what are your plans for the two years before the actual date of joining the PGP?


Professionally, I will be working in the technology division of an investment bank over the next two years. Apart from that, I hope to spend time pursuing my other interests like artwork, playing Frisbee and so on.


A big thank you from us for taking time out for this! One last question- what advice would you give to future applicants to the ISB YLP?

Thank you! I would like to end by saying that it is important to be original throughout the application process. People often believe that clichéd goals for an MBA aspirant need to be stressed on to get into a top MBA program. I don’t think that’s true. In fact, programs look for originality and diversity. Try to bring out whoever you are, just the way you are, to the Admissions Committee.

The Admissions Committee will definitely see through clichéd applications. Also, make sure that you substantiate every aspect of your qualities and achievements. Most importantly, spend time on your application. Learn all you can about the YLP program. Understand why you want to do an MBA. The entire application process is a wonderful experience, and will help you get to know yourself better.

Good luck, future aspirants! 🙂

If you have any questions about the Young Leader’s Program at ISB, leave a comment below!

Want to know if you too can make it to the ISB?

Get your Profile Evaluated!

Sample MBA Application Essay Questions from Top B-Schools

Sample MBA Essay Questions
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A lot of MBA aspirants who come to us only write MBA essays because the schools they apply to demand it.

If that sounds like the obvious reason to you, too, then you’re in the right place.

There’s so much more to MBA essay writing than just the process, though! If you are only writing it because you have to, it’ll never have the effect it should have.

Instead, if you figured out the real reason you should be writing one, you’ll do MUCH better.

So, here’s the deal:

Your MBA essay is the only impression you’re going to make on Admission Committees (AdComs) when they decide whether you’re worth an interview or not.

You must’ve heard the phrase that says your first impression is your last impression – this is largely true, especially if you don’t do a good enough job on your essays, because your application will simply be dismissed. You’ll be left with no chance to make any further impressions.

That’s why you simply HAVE to write a great MBA essay. Here’s what you need to know:

Do you have a goal in life?

We’re sure you do. And that is exactly what your MBA essay needs to reflect.

Of all the things you need to do during the B-school application process, writing an MBA essay can prove to be quite a complicated task for most applicants. We’re sure you’re here because you aren’t absolutely confident about crafting a winning essay.

Worry not, for we are here to help!

In this article, we will discuss the three basic types of essays along with sample questions from B-Schools:

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. Why MBA?
  3. Why you?

So, let’s get straight to it!

1. What are your goals?


The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
What are your short-term goals, post-MBA? 
What are your long-term goals?
Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions have you considered? (500 words each)

Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. It should be written as if you were talking to someone at a social gathering detailing your career path with the rationale behind your choices. Discuss your short and long term career aspirations. (350 words)

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
What are your short- and long-term goals?
Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals?
Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

Emory University Goizueta Business School
Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
What are your short and long term goals and how do you see the Cornell MBA enabling you to achieve both? (500 words)

2. Why MBA?

Fisher College of Business
Why do you wish to earn an MBA? Why do you wish to earn an MBA from The Fisher College of Business? How will the Fisher MBA program assist you in achieving your immediate career goals? (750 words)

Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
Why Smith? Why an MBA? Why now? Be sure to include your short-term and long-term career goals. (300 words)

Washington Foster
Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue an MBA. (500 words)

IIM Ahmedabad
What do you expect to gain from the PGPX Programme at IIMA? (500 words)

Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University
Describe your short-term and long-term goals, and how the MBA will help you to achieve those goals. Include in your discussion: Why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA and why are you interested in obtaining a Rice MBA? (750 words)

Since this is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked MBA essay questions, we thought it deserved its own separate blog post. Take a look at our post on how to handle your Why MBA essay for more.

3. Why You?

Said Business School, Oxford
What should Oxford expect from you? (500 words)

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
List 3-5 attributes or characteristics that best describe you. (3-5 word maximum)

Olin Business School, The Washington University
At Olin, we pride ourselves on our close-knit community and aim to know every student by name and story. In an essay of no more than 500 words, please introduce yourself as you would to your future Olin classmates. (500 words)

Mendoza College of Business
At Mendoza, we encourage our students, faculty, and staff to Ask More of Business. We embrace a threefold commitment to achieve these goals:

Individual Integrity
Effective Organizations
Greater Good

Tell us about an experience in which you lived out one of those values. (Two double-spaced pages)

Indian School of Business (ISB)
If we were to admit just one more student, make a compelling argument as to why that student should be you by describing an (only one) achievement in your personal/ professional life that you are most proud of. What did you do that sets you apart from others? What did you learn? (400 words)

These essay topics are given with the intention of getting to know the real you (not what’s on your resumé but who you are, over and above the details in the application form).

These essays need to be thought out and written with great care. MBA essays help your personality shine through. They communicate why you are a great fit for the school, how you can make the most of your time at college and what you can give back to the university.

We hope that these sample MBA essay questions will help you direct your efforts in a more effective and efficient manner.

Let us know your questions, thoughts, and ideas on this topic in the comments section below!

  • March, 6th, 2019
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Why MBA – Essay with Real Answers

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Depending on the way you look at it, this can be a highly technical or philosophical question.

There can be two reasons for you to look for the ‘why MBA’ answer: you’re either wondering how to answer the why MBA SOP question or you’re wondering why to do MBA in the first place.

In either case, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a seriously tricky question. There can be no right or wrong answer, because after all, this is a subjective question. Yet, somehow, you’re expected to give an answer that appeals to the AdComs.

How would you know what the AdComs want you to say?!

Don’t worry, we know. And we’re about to tell you, too!

In this article, we will discuss:

  1. Why MBA is Important
  2. How to Write the “Why MBA” Essay
  3. Are you ready for an MBA?

This article will attempt to answer all your questions around doing an MBA degree.

Why MBA is Important

This profoundly philosophical question is so complicated that people fail to find answers even after getting an MBA. Heck, it makes the Kennedy assassination look like an open and shut case.

So, seriously. Why is an MBA important?

To find the answer, firstly, let’s look at what an MBA helps you achieve. An MBA is, at best, a “general management” program. It is not a specialization even if you choose to take up some electives during the second year.

In short, an MBA makes you a ‘generalist’.

And that’s a good thing! Here’s why:

Let’s presume that after completing your MBA, you get to be a CEO, CIO, CFO, CTO… in short, any CXO.

Your MBA will have equipped you with general tools and tricks of the trade, so you can manage multiple teams of specialists.

At that level, you don’t need to know the nitty-gritties of Company Law or the fundamentals of Bookkeeping, but you do need to know how those affect your business in a general sense.

You need to be able to pick up a balance sheet or a P&L statement and go a step beyond the obvious to figure out subtle implications.

You are not expected to understand each account the marketing team is handling, but you should be able to look at a sales graph and understand what is going right, and more importantly, what is going wrong.

This is exactly what an MBA prepares you to do.

There’s another huge reason why MBA is important:

If you get your MBA from a top school, it adds a lot of weight to your credentials and it gives you a fantastic opportunity to develop a global professional network.

For example, someone from IIM-A need not “prove” himself as hard as someone from say Mahaveer Jain Institute of Management Studies.

An MBA from a top institute instantly grants you the credibility that takes any average MBA graduate years of hard work to earn.

Quite often, people tend to go in for MBAs because of two reasons: they hate their current jobs or they want to make more money.

Most times, it’s a combination of both.

In any case, you can’t put this in a statement of purpose for MBA. Honestly speaking, you shouldn’t really opt for an MBA for such superficial reasons, either.

You need more grounded, well-thought-out reasons, like these 7 reasons to do an MBA.

There can be many more reasons that may prompt people to pursue an MBA. Generally, if you think about it enough, it tends to boil down to one of these seven reasons.

After you have figured out in your head why you want to do an MBA, you need to get down to writing your statement of purpose for MBA. Invariably, you will encounter one variant or another of the question, “Why MBA?” in your MBA Application essays.

How to Write the “Why MBA” Essay

Now for the real reason you must have started reading this blog: the Statement of Purpose for MBA.

Yes, we know that most candidates just want to know how to find the appropriate Why MBA answer and move on with applications. Handling MBA Applications is one of our main services, after all.

So, let’s jump straight in, shall we?

There are five steps to writing an awesome Why MBA essay:

  1. Identify Your Reason
  2. List out Relevant Work Experience
  3. Decide Which Skills You Want to Highlight
  4. Draw Up A Skeleton
  5. Flesh it Out, Edit & Finalize

1. Identify Your Reason

The most important part of writing the SOP for MBA is having a clear picture. Before you go about explaining your reasons to an AdCom, you need to know for yourself why you want to go for an MBA.

Forget all the reasons to do an MBA that we have listed in this article. You need to think of your own reason independently. Once you find your reason, write it down in a single sentence and really think about it.

Ask yourself: is this really why I want to do an MBA? Is there any other way I can resolve my problem instead of doing an MBA? Why don’t I try other alternatives, why is an MBA my choice?

The thing is, nothing can replace actual conviction in an MBA Statement of Purpose. AdComs go through thousands of SOPs every year – they can sniff it out if you are not being sincere in your SOP.

You can only sound sincere if you’re being honest with yourself.

That’s why it is important to take this step quite seriously and think about all the possibilities. Simply knowing the answer is not enough. You need to be sure that opting for an MBA is your solution of choice and you need to know why you think it is your best option.

2. List Out Relevant Work Experience

Once you have figured out why you want to pursue MBA, proceed to go through your CV and make a list of all the factors that support your decision to do an MBA.

Make it a point to think about everything you’ve left out of your CV, too.

You may have left some experience out of your CV, especially if it is irrelevant to your present job profile. For example, if you were the captain of your college football team, you may not have included that in your CV for a software development position. However, that stint as captain highlights your leadership skill – an important trait in an MBA candidate.

Enlist all such experiences that you can think of – whether they’re in your CV or not – which can strengthen your profile as an MBA aspirant.

3. Decide Which Skills You Want To Highlight

You may notice that the picture has already started to become clear by the time you finish the first two steps. Now, assemble your experience and reasons to do an MBA in bullet points and on paper, in front of you.

When you can see your purpose and experience laid out before your eyes, it gets easier to figure out which of your skills are relevant to the point you want to make.

Go ahead and take a call on which of your skills you want the AdComs to focus on.

For example, let’s assume you have led your college’s debate team to victory in a few competitions, been the captain of your football team, and earned a few accolades in theatre and painting. All of these achievements demonstrate your skills, but your debate and leadership skills are more relevant to your MBA application than your thespian and fine art skills.

Accordingly, select the experiences and qualifications you will elaborate on to demonstrate the skills most relevant to your MBA application.

4. Draw Up A Skeleton

So you have all your raw material ready: skills, experience, achievements, what have you – basically everything you’re going to need.

Now, we move to the tougher part – the actual writing of your “Why MBA” essay.

But here’s the thing:

If you start writing your essay directly at this point, chances are that you will end up sounding incoherent. The best way to avoid this is to make a skeleton structure of your essay before you begin to write it out.

Arrange the bullet points in the order in which you want to talk about them. Your instinct will most probably be to arrange everything in chronological order, but we’d suggest that you reconsider this. You could instead sort your achievements and experience by skill.

Let us explain with an example.

You could narrate the story of your life, so to speak, by starting with everything you did in college followed by your work-related achievements and personal development activities. That would follow a chronological order, as per your CV.

Or, you could try this:

Begin each paragraph by stating that you possess a certain skill, say you are a good and experienced leader. Then go on to describe achievements and experiences that demonstrate your ability as a leader, and that can go in a chronological order. For example, you can say, “I did (A) while I was in college, then went on to achieve (B) within the first year of my first job, (C) during the second year,” and so on.

5. Flesh It Out, Edit & Finalise

Once you have your essay skeleton in place, you can start writing out the details that will add mass to it. 

The most important thing to remember here is that it is very easy to get carried away. You could get caught up in the flow or the emotion and end up writing 3,000 words of which 2,500 have nothing to do with the skeleton.

Now, don’t be hard on yourself:

You can’t expect to write a precise and perfect 250 word essay in your very first attempt unless you’ve done this a bunch of times before.

Go in assuming that this process is going to consist of multiple rounds of editing your work. All you need to do is ensure you stick to the structure and follow the flow you’ve decided upon.

If you don’t do this, you’ll likely end up wasting a LOT more time than necessary on this.

No matter how long your initial draft ends up being, the next step is to edit it and ensure that it comes as close to the word limit as possible. Ideally, try to keep it within 5-6 words short of the limit – unless you can write exactly as many words as you’re allowed to.

Don’t make this mistake:

Many applicants assume that it’s a good idea to write far fewer words than the given word limit. This is a bad idea.

Your MBA essay – whether in written format or as a video essay – is the only way an AdCom gets to know you before they meet you. Take advantage of everything you have at your disposal to make the best impression possible.

Eliminate unnecessary detail, to be sure, but don’t overdo it. You essay shouldn’t look like a list of aims and achievements, it should have a human element to it.

End your essay on a high note – write about your hopes and aspirations, and add a touch of humility, showing your respect for the school you’re applying to.

If you follow these steps properly, you should end up with a rather fantastic MBA application essay by the end.

Take a look at what CrackVerbal’s founder and CEO Arun Jagannathan has to say about this:

Am I Ready for an MBA?

Now, we’d like to move on to talking about that doubt you might have in the pit of your stomach.

It’s all good and dandy to be taking the GMAT and applying to B-Schools because you think you need an MBA but are you in the right place in life to take the most out of the MBA experience?

Even after you find the appropriate reason to do an MBA and make it sound very convincing on paper, you might be wondering if this is the right time for an MBA.

Don’t worry, most people have this question in their minds.

An MBA is a huge decision. It would be abnormal not to question whether you’re doing the right thing at the right time. It’s kind of like getting married, in a way. You will ask yourself if you’re truly ready for it even when you’ve got the perfect partner, the perfectly planned wedding, the perfect life – the doubt is totally expected and normal.

Having said that, you shouldn’t dismiss this doubt when it comes to your mind.

It’s worth putting some more thought into the game. After all, the more you think about this, the more convinced and confident you will be at your MBA interview. That, in turn, will raise your chances of getting an admit.

The answer to, “Am I ready for an MBA?” won’t just come to you out of the blue because it is not just a feeling. It is a decision.

Like every major decision in life, choosing to pursue an MBA requires determination. It comes with lots of self-doubt and uncertainty. You need to have the strength of character to put aside your insecurities and doubts and maintain a clear mind that is ready to live fully in the present.

You’ll be able to make the best of your MBA journey if you’re able to put everything else aside and focus 100% on the experiences and learning opportunities that your MBA will bring your way.

So really, the only thing you need to know in order to decide whether you’re ready for an MBA is whether you’re capable of being fully present and aware of everything surrounding you.

If you’re not, give yourself the opportunity to develop that ability.

If you are, there can be no better time for you to go get that MBA.

All the very best on your MBA journey.

Do let us know your thoughts, experiences, and questions in the comments section below.

All You Need to Know About STEM MBA in 2019

STEM MBA in the US
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Businesses around the world are beginning to wake up to the power of data.

A business that can harness data science has a huge advantage over competitors who can’t. But business expertise and technology expertise have so far been mutually exclusive skill sets.

That’s the gap that a STEM MBA looks to bridge.

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM MBA programs have been specifically designed to cater to the career aspirations of STEM professionals who are interested in business and management.

In this article, we will discuss:

  1. What is a STEM MBA? How is it different from an MBA and a Masters in Business Analytics?
  2. Current Scenario of STEM Designation
  3. STEM MBA Careers
  4. Top STEM MBA Programs in the US

Let’s dive in!



What is a STEM MBA and How is it Different?

STEM is a designation given by the US Government’s Department of Homeland Security to a select few programs across the country. Non-American students who enroll in courses with this designation are allowed to live and work in the US without an H1B visa for up to three years after graduating. In any non-STEM degree program, the average time students can stay and work in the US without an H1B visa is one year.

Academically, think of a STEM MBA as a hybrid between the traditional MBA and an MS. A STEM MBA graduate can perform the business functions of an MBA role while implementing data processing and analytical skills that are expected from MS holders.

Unlike the traditional MBA, a STEM MBA requires candidates to have a strong technical background. It is designed to build on existing STEM knowledge, to help students understand how to put this knowledge to use in a business setting.

In essence, a STEM MBA opens up opportunities that were hitherto closed to MBA graduates.


Current Scenario of the STEM Designation

There are two simultaneous conditions that are affecting STEM designated MBA courses in the US.

First is the fact that the US is not producing enough skilled STEM professionals to fulfill the requirement created by its domestic job market. This means that the government is under pressure to produce more STEM professionals than it currently is.

Secondly, international admissions into US B-Schools are hitting an all-time low in the year 2019. This is mostly due to the anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration and the growing social hostility towards immigrants within the US. The drop in international admissions adversely affects B-School revenues, simultaneously adding to the first problem.

The extendable 3 year OPT period following a STEM MBA is highly attractive for international students. Furthermore, the STEM designation provided by the US Department of Homeland Security has proven to boost the number of international applications. As a result, the American government is under tremendous pressure to increase the number of STEM MBA programs in the country.

This goes to say that you can safely expect the number of STEM MBA programs in the US to rise in the coming years.

STEM MBA Careers

STEM fields are integral to the progress of humanity as a whole. From making advancements in machine learning and AI to developing alternative, renewable sources of energy, STEM professionals are at the forefront of it all.

Can you imagine what would happen if these STEM professionals also possessed strong business acumen?

That’s exactly what a STEM MBA looks to do; it imbues STEM professionals with advanced business skills. This leads to the creation of the next generation of professionals capable of meeting the requirements of a whole host of new professions.

Here are some of the industries you can expect to work in after gaining a STEM MBA.

  1. Data Science
    Known also as ‘Business Translators’, STEM MBA graduates with a specialization in data science are in high demand as organizations of all sizes look to turn into data-driven enterprises. The general idea is that the greater an organization’s ability to harness data is, the better it will do on all fronts.

    STEM MBA graduates have a powerful edge over pure STEM candidates because of their added understanding of what will work best for the business. They are specialists in comparison to pure STEM candidates.
  2. Environmental Energy
    World War III will be fought over natural resources. Lifestyles all over the world have developed around the use of oil, water, and other natural resources – but now, we’re running short of them all. Environmental Energy looks to discover the energy-creation potential within alternative resources that are far more abundant than the ones we use now.

    A trained professional who can not only understand the science but also the business angle of Environmental Energy is critical for most businesses in this field. A STEM MBA with a suitable background in engineering makes you exactly that.
  3. Internet of Things
    We live in the age of smart-everything. From cell phones and watches to entire homes and vehicles, everything is rapidly becoming automated and interconnected. There’s no better example of the limitations this interconnectivity can help us break than this video.

    If you have an academic background in computing and software, a STEM MBA is all you need to become a highly coveted professional for any business looking to automate or implement AI into its products or services.
  4. Cyber Security
    In the age of information, data is everything. From national security information to financial records and data, there is a lot of stuff that is highly valuable and therefore susceptible to hacking attacks. National governments and business of all sizes are equally at risk of cyber-attacks aimed at stealing sensitive data.

    In such times, professionals are needed to identify the greatest threats and proactively take measures to protect the most susceptible areas of a company’s online presence. A professional who understands the business knows exactly what data matters most – and there’s nobody better than a STEM MBA graduate.
  5. Technology
    The highest demand for STEM MBA graduates comes from the tech sector. We believe it’s easy to understand how valuable a business professional with a STEM specialization is to an industry seeking to use technology to bring about the best results for businesses around the world.

    Tech professionals have gone in for MBAs in pursuit of career advancement since many years now. The STEM MBA takes the advancement one step further by utilizing and furthering their existing STEM knowledge to sharpen the edge they have over traditional MBA as well as MS candidates.

In truth, there is no limit to the number of industries and professions in which a STEM MBA graduate can find success. The five mentioned industries are good examples, but in no way do they encompass the possibilities that open up after completing a STEM designated MBA from the best universities in the US.

Speaking of which, let’s now take a look at the best STEM designated MBA programs in the US.

Top 7 STEM MBA Programs in the US

  1. Texas Tech University, Rawls College of Business: STEM MBA
    A standard MBA program built specifically for students with an undergraduate degree in any STEM field, the Rawls STEM MBA is one of seven such programs available in the US. The program lasts two years and includes courses on accounting, business analytics, decision theory, finance, economics, information technology, law, marketing, management, statistics, and strategy, along with STEM-specific electives.

    There is also an accelerated program option which only requires 42 credit hours. The class schedule for this accelerated course can be condensed so that you can finish your STEM MBA in one year.

    Fill out this form to receive more information about this program.
  2. University of Rochester, Simon Business School
    The Simon Business School is ranked at #83 by Financial Times for its Global MBA. It is the first institution in the US to offer a STEM MBA irrespective of the concentration you choose.

    At Simon, you can pick any subject as your concentration to get your STEM designated MBA. Most other schools have acquired the STEM designation only for a select number of subjects. At those schools, your MBA will hold a STEM designation only if you major in those specific subjects, whereas at Simon, the entire program is focused on analytic frameworks and quantitative analysis.

    Take a look at the details provided on the official Simon website.

  3. University of Wisconsin, Madison: Operations and Technology Management, Supply Chain Management
    The University of Wisconsin at Madison offers two MBA concentrations that hold the STEM designation: Operations and Technology Management (OTM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). Both these courses are full-time, on-campus, two-year MBAs.

    Supported by the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management, the MBA in OTM is made for students with a background in engineering or any other areas of technology. There are focused courses on Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurial Management, Technology Product Management, and Production Systems Management within the OTM specialization.

    The specialization in SCM is delivered through the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management. Industry-standard tools like SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning system, and Lean Six Sigma training (culminating in Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification), are integrated into the curriculum to give you the skills employers seek.

    You can explore more about this program and the University on the University webpage.

  4. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Charlton College of Business: Business Analytics
    The Business Analytics specialization of the MBA program at the Charlton College of Business is certified with the STEM designation by the US Department of Homeland Security. The University of Massachusetts, a.k.a. UMass, is the parent University of the Charlton College of Business.

    Whether you take the STEM concentration or something else, the course will require you to complete 30 credits from 10 courses. 3 of these courses are electives while 7 are core subjects. The College assesses applications to see if any of the applicants need foundation courses in business before they commence their MBAs. Those who do can opt for the extra courses at Charlton.

    You can find more information on this program on the University website.
  5. University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business: MBA-MSBA Dual Degree
    The Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame offers a unique dual-degree MBA-MSBA program. This program is STEM-designated from the US Department of Homeland Security.

    The MBA-MSBA dual degree program is designed to build on a student’s existing knowledge in any of the STEM fields in a more enhanced manner than most STEM MBA programs. It is a standard program that requires 68 credits to be completed in two years. The MSBA electives are Emerging Issues in Analytics, Marketing Analytics, Marketing Research, SAP Predictive Analytics, Social Media Analytics, Sports Analytics, Strategic Business Technology, and Supply Chain Analytics. Interestingly, the program also offers a special optional course in Integral Leadership Development to further enhance students’ skills in a business environment.

    You can fill out this form to request for more information directly from the university.

  6. University of Connecticut, School of Business:Business Analytics, Digital Marketing Strategy, and Financial Management and Investments
    The STEM MBA at the University of Connecticut can be attained through three specific concentrations within the MBA program: Business Analytics, Digital Marketing Strategy, and Financial Management and Investments. The UConn School of Business offers a variety of other concentrations which do not carry the STEM designation for its MBA students.

    The Financial Management and Investments elective offers three further specializations within it: Portfolio Management, Real Estate, and Healthcare Finance and Insurance. Both, the Digital Marketing Strategy and Business Analytics concentrations offer a variety of electives to help enhance different aspects of the students’ skill sets and personalities. All three concentrations require students to go through the full two years of the MBA program.

    More information on this course is available on the University’s MBA webpage.

  7. University of Georgia, Terry College of Business: One year STEM MBA
    This is one of the only programs in the country to provide a one-year option along with a STEM designation from the US Department of Homeland Security. The only catch is that this program is only for current students studying in any of the STEM undergraduate programs within the University of Georgia.

    In addition to 8 Business Core subjects, students are expected to undertake one course each in experiential learning, business intelligence, and an additional elective of their choice. The Terry College of Business also offers an optional course in Communications and Career Effectiveness to help STEM-based students to overcome any inhibitions they may have in this regard and outperform their peers in the business arena.

    For more information, contact MBA Admissions at 706-542-5671, [email protected], or attend an Admissions Event to learn more.


The biggest takeaway from this is that your chances of getting into a STEM MBA program are the highest they can be this year. The competition among international candidates is lower than ever, and colleges value international applications more than ever, too.

Make the best of this opportunity! Reach out to us for help with choosing the right B-School for your STEM MBA today!

MBA Interviews – Everything you need to know!

MBA Interviews
Reading Time: 15 minutes

So you’ve received that MBA interview shortlist you were eagerly waiting for? Congratulations!

If you’ve come this far, it means that the B-school is considering you for admission very seriously indeed.

In the words of Wharton Admissions Director JJ Cutler – “We’re not looking for reasons to deny someone; we’re looking for reasons to admit someone.”

The biggest question on your mind right now should be- “How can I ensure that I give the best interview of my life?”

We’ve compiled this guide to MBA interviews from many years of working with diverse interview candidates applying to top B-schools all over the world.

This article is categorized into six chapters for easy reading.

I. Interview Format

II. What B-School Interviewers look For

III. Cardinal Sins of an Interview

IV. Preparing for your Interview

V. What to do on Interview Day

VI. Commonly asked MBA Interview Questions


I. Interview Format

B-school interviews come in all shapes and sizes. Let us discuss the various types of interviews you may face. With respect to the amount of prior information the interviewer/ interview panel has about you, there are two kinds of interviews:

1. Blind Interviews

In a blind interview, such as those conducted at Kellogg, Duke, and Tuck, the interviewer does not have access to your essays.

This makes the interview very open-ended. This can be either an advantage or a limitation, depending on how you look at it.

The advantage is that you have greater control over the direction of your interview if you word your answers carefully.

In a blind interview, the interviewer is trying to figure out who you are, and is likely to ask open-ended questions such as “tell me about yourself.” This kind of question makes it easier to speak about the things you want to.

The flipside is this:

With very little context, the interviewer comes with no preconceived notion about you. You start from square one, so to speak.

All the accomplishments and opinions that you carefully worded in the essays cease to matter because your interviewer hasn’t read them. You have to be on your toes to portray a comprehensive and impressive picture of yourself.

2. Comprehensive Interviews

In a comprehensive interview, such as those conducted at Harvard, ISB, and LBS, your interviewer has access to your application. Again, this comes with its pros and cons.

What is good about this kind of interview is that a strong application means that the interviewer is likely to have an unconscious positive bias towards you, even if to a small degree.

One more positive is that at least some questions are likely to come from what you have already written about yourself- which is your comfort zone.

The other side of the coin is that you are likely to be probed much further about what you have written, which means that you have to be very prepared indeed!

You need to add further value to what you have already said in your essays and resumé- this will require deeper introspection on your part.

With this understanding of blind and comprehensive interviews in mind, let us look at the common interview formats B-school aspirants face.

1. In-Person Interview with an Adcom Member

This can happen either on the B-school campus or in your city/country. Some schools that follow this approach are Harvard and MIT Sloan.

The advantage of this format is that you get to present yourself directly to the person with the most influence in the decision process.

These interviews are likely to be comprehensive interviews, where the interviewer has prior knowledge of your application.

2. In-Person Interview with Alumnus or Student

This is a one-on-one interview with an alumnus (at any place – could even be a coffee shop) or student (on campus).

Some schools that follow this approach are INSEAD, Oxford and Kellogg.

This could work to your advantage since the interview is likely to be more informal and relaxed, especially if you can strike an interpersonal connect with your interviewer.

The limitation is that there is an additional link in the communication between you and the AdCom, which may cause a gap in understanding.

However, do not worry unduly about this because AdComs choose students and alumni they trust will give an accurate representation of the interview.

3. Phone or Skype Interview with Adcom, Alumnus or Student

Most schools follow this approach in cases where an in-person interview is not feasible.

It may be more difficult to showcase your personality in a Skype interview. However, if you are able to strike a connection over this medium, it can make a hugely positive impression.

This is because the ability to establish meaningful contact via virtual media is a critical skill in today’s tech-savvy business world.

4. Panel Interviews

This is an in-person interview where you will face multiple interviewers. Your interview panel can comprise of a mix of AdCom members, students, faculty members as well as alumni.

The advantage of this mode of an interview is that your success does not hinge on the connection you strike with one individual, so the decision is likely to be more balanced.

The difficulty is that you need to prepare yourself to engage with all the panelists and to be quick on your feet and answer questions from two or three people instead of one.

Indian schools such as ISB and the IIMs follow this interview format.


II. What B-School Interviewers Look For

There will be three things an interviewer or a panel will look for throughout the interview. These are the three Cs: Content, Communication, and Clarity.

1. Content

One of the first things interviewers will look out for is whether you know what you’re talking about. Make sure you go through each and everything that you have written in your MBA application essays.

For example, if you say you want to get into Finance post-MBA, then you should be able to answer questions such as,

“What do you think will happen if the interest rates were to go up?”

“Why do you think the Rupee slipped against the Dollar?”

You need to be well-versed with what you want, why you want it, how you’re going to get it, and what you are planning to do after the MBA.

2. Communication

You may have aced the essays with impactful sentences and a heartfelt tone, but can you speak well too? One of the primary skills of a B-school graduate and leader is excellent articulation.

So, if you can speak clearly and with confidence, you are going to earn yourself a lot of brownie points. 

How well are you able to express your ideas? 

You will want to focus on body language, tone, clarity of speech, and ensuring that your answer is as crisp as possible. Yapping too much is not cool – but neither is it okay to sound curt or abrupt.

Here’s a suggestion:

Go through your application inside and out. Use whatever is in there to prepare for some standard questions that you’ll find near the end of this post.

Speaking well is an art developed over many years, so don’t worry if you do not feel like a communication guru yet. However, there are simple, actionable tips you can work on. 

For one, pace your conversation well. Do not be too rushed.

If you find yourself fumbling for words, just slow down, appear thoughtful and take a sip of water or tell your interviewer that you need a minute to think. Even little things will reap rich benefits with respect to the quality of your interview.

Psst! Here’s a hint: Practice makes perfect!

3. Clarity

What AdComs are really looking is clarity of vision and, specifically, what you want to take away from B-school and what you want from life.

As mentioned before, you need to know what you want, why you want it, how you’re going to get it and what you’re going to do with the MBA.

But simply knowing this isn’t enough. You have to be able to explain it, too. And you have to do so very clearly.

The key here is to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not.

Be genuine, it will help you ensure you don’t sound confused. If you don’t know something, be open about it and say so. That’s anytime better than giving an answer that makes you look confused and unsteady.


There is an additional set of things to keep in mind. Most interviewers will have an eye out for these things as well:


Until you walk into the interview room, the only thing the AdCom knows about your personality is what you conveyed through your essays.

Now, they are trying to figure out the person behind the essays. Do you really mean what you said? Are you for real?

» What can you do?

Soak up your essays! Internalize them. Get your story right. 

Allow the AdCom to see you as a person, not a cardboard cut-out of the ideal B-school candidate. Be frank about your strengths as well as your failings.

However, a word of caution here: 

There are weaknesses that are best not brought up in an interview- for example, if you’re actually confused about what you want to do after an MBA, it might be best not to bring that up in this conversation.

Creative Thinking

Can you think under stress? If you do not know the answer to a question, how do you think and what do you say?

As you know, professional life is full of sticky situations where you may not have the answers and still have to plow your way through a situation or a conversation.

This is the reason why your interviewers might ask you tricky questions that require creative thinking (or curveballs, in interview lingo).

» What can you do? 


Have your friends conduct mock interviews with difficult interview questions. Exercise your thinking muscles regularly in the weeks or days leading up to the interview, and you will definitely have done yourself a favor!

Leadership and Team Orientation

This is almost too obvious, but in all probability, the two most important qualities that you will need as a professional climbing up the ladder are how you lead and how you function in a team. Hence, these are definitely traits that the AdCom is evaluating you on.

» What can you do? 

Prepare extensively for questions about leadership and teamwork. Also, while you prepare for other questions, reflect on what your answers are indirectly saying about your ability to lead and work in a team.


Your confidence is a parameter that is going to permeate and influence your entire interview and the rest of your career.

Actually, make that confidence and self-belief- because the interviewer is on the lookout for not just how you portray yourself in front of other people, but how you competent you feel on the inside (a very smart interviewer can get a sense of this).

» What can you do?

If you have a naturally confident persona, that’s great! Just be wary of appearing over-confident. If your confidence could do with some extra help, you can read the following sections for hacks to present the most confident version of yourself.

III. Cardinal Sins of an Interview

There are some things you simply cannot do at an interview. Or at least, there are things you can’t get away with doing at an interview.

1. Trying Too Hard or Too Little

It is good to think through your answers and evaluate the potential impact they will have on the panel, but there is such a thing as taking it too far.

If you are trying to give ‘ideal’ answers to every question, rest assured that the interview panel will see through you. After all, they’ve done this more times that you can count.

Show your unique personality, your strengths and weaknesses- do not be a cookie-cutter MBA applicant, saying only what you perceive as the ‘right’ things.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the mistake of appearing as though you don’t care if you get in or not. B-schools are looking for people who are genuinely committed to getting in.

If the message you’re communicating is that you wouldn’t be bothered by rejection, that’s probably what you’ll end up with!

2. Appearing Overconfident or Underconfident

You have to display a confidence level that is within the right range. Don’t go overboard and brag too much; it is difficult to work with an egomaniac.

On the other hand, a B-school interview is not the place for unnecessary humility either.

If you do not showcase what you have done and what you plan to do, nobody else can. What you have to aim for is a quiet confidence that speaks for itself.

3. Not Doing Enough Research

This is a crucial point. You cannot go in with half-baked information about your goals, post-MBA industry or the B-school itself.

You can cause a lot of damage to an otherwise great interview with your ignorance on crucial points about your goals and career.

Prepare. No, over-prepare!

The aura of confidence and assurance that comes from really knowing your intent and subject thoroughly is unbeatable.


IV. Preparing for your Interview

Most of these simple things are fairly intuitive but it’s very easy to forget to do them, especially if you’re stressed about your interview.

1. Decide What to Wear

They say that it takes only 7 seconds for somebody to arrive at a first impression about you.

Think about it- just seven brief seconds! 

How much you communicate to the interview panel in these 7 seconds is crucial- and the clothes you wear will speak very loudly in these initial few moments.

Make your wardrobe selection as early as possible- preferably, as soon as you have the interview letter in your inbox. 

For men, whether you’re applying to an Indian School or an international School, the attire remains the same – Suit Up! And make sure your suit is dry-cleaned and wrinkle-free well ahead of time.

For women, if it’s an Indian school you are applying to, either Indian formals (such as a crisp cotton salwar) or western formals (a formal skirt/pant, shirt, and blazer) should do. For international B-schools, do as they do and stick to western formals.

2. Practice with Diverse Questions and Interviewers

Prepare for a wide variety of interview questions. To start with, you can refer to the common interview questions section at the end of this post.

Also, try and get more than one interviewer to conduct mock interviews for you so that you can be prepared for a broader variety of interviewers’ personalities.

If feasible, videotape your interview so that you can observe your body language and make necessary corrections.

3. Sort Out the Logistics

Make sure that you anticipate and sort out any logistical issue you may face on your interview day.

For a Skype interview, this could mean ensuring that your internet connection is fine and ensuring that you have a backup laptop/phone and a backup internet connection (such as a data card). 

For a coffee-chat interview with an alumnus, this could mean acquainting yourself with the location of the coffee shop and maybe even trying a dry-run with a mock interviewer at the same location. 

For an in-person interview with the AdCom, this could mean visiting the school a day in advance and familiarizing yourself with the campus.

4. Decide how you are going to open and close the interview

There isn’t usually a lot that you can control during your interview.

Here’s what you definitely can control though:

You decide how to open the interview and how to close it.

If walking into a room full of people waiting to judge you sounds or feels intimidating, imagine walking in unprepared! Nightmare, right? 

Make up your mind about the kind of impression you want to make on the interviewers and start off the meeting on that note. If you want to set a confident tone, think about the kind of confidence you want to portray.

You don’t want to seem like an overconfident person who doesn’t respect authority, but you shouldn’t appear meek, timid or afraid of authority, either.

A healthy dose of confidence is fairly easy to show.

Do something simple, like wishing the panel or interviewer a good morning/afternoon when you get into the room. Think of a few quotes or inspirational thoughts that may play out well as an endnote to your interview.

5.  Prepare for the tricky ones

Know that every interview is likely to have at least a few curveballs that are thrown at you – especially if you have performed reasonably well, and the panel is looking to decide if you’re a ‘good’ fit or a ‘great’ fit for their college.

How do you prepare for these tricky questions? For starters, conduct an interview in your head. Ask yourself tough questions and write down the answers.

Ask your friends to each come up with one very tricky interview question, and try to answer those. It may not be very likely that you will get the same questions on the actual interview, but your mind will be better able to confront a difficult question, with all this practice.

You can also read our section on tricky questions for some help.


V. What to do on Interview Day

1. Visualize Success

On the day of the interview, wake up early, eat well and keep yourself hydrated. Get to the venue early and try this exercise in visualization:


Think of an incident in your life that you are very proud of. 

Picture yourself at that moment, with all the joyous, powerful sensations coursing through you.

Do this a few times before you enter the interview room, so that you are in the best frame of mind to tackle your interview challenge!

2. Smile! 

A pleasant demeanor and a smiling face will have a powerful effect on the tone of your interview.

This is because of the ‘mirroring effect’:

During a conversation, we unconsciously mirror the expressions of the other person. So, make sure you smile even if you are in the middle of a stress interview with an interviewer who looks uninterested, bored or irritated.

If you maintain a positive presence throughout the interview, you can actually ‘de-stress’ a stress interview.

3.  Stay Calm

You do not have to be the Buddha, or Master Oogway while giving an interview. Some amount of stress is ok; it’s even good for your interview since it helps you be alert and on your toes.

If you feel yourself freaking out in the middle of an interview, the best advice we can give you, at the risk of sounding obvious, is to take a few (not-very-obvious) deep breaths and sip some water. 

If you have been asked a question and have temporarily blanked out, it is perfectly ok to tell the interviewer that you need a minute to think about the answer. 

Recite your favorite calming-down mantra, and give the question your best shot.

4. Ask the Right Questions

A special note here:

When the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, please refrain from asking when you will be notified of the results, even though that may be the biggest thing on your mind.

Ask thoughtful questions, for which you cannot find the answers elsewhere.

For example, you can ask the alumnus what he/ she enjoyed the most about B-school, or in what area his/her learning curve improved dramatically.

5. Strike a Conversational Tone

Think of a B-school interview not as a quiz, but as a conversation with your interviewers. This means paying attention to all of the below points –

During the early minutes of the interview, try to establish a rapport with a little small talk.

Make eye contact consistently during the interview. 

If you’re not clear about what the interviewer is asking, ask for a clarification. 

If you are not clear about what kind of an atmosphere you need to create, imagine the entire interview as though it were a conversation with a friendly manager at work (in other words, be friendly, but not too informal).

6. Write a Thank You Note

Well, you’ve given your interview your best shot! What can you do now to improve your chances?

The last arrow in your quiver is the thank you note.

Write a simple, heartfelt note to your interviewer, expressing your thanks. You can briefly touch upon something memorable from the interview that you appreciated.

Close it with a statement to the effect of how excited you are at the prospect of joining their MBA program. Keep your note brief- a couple of paragraphs at the most.

Now, sit back and wait for your results!

VI. Commonly asked MBA Interview Questions

The Basic Questions

The below questions are what we would call the fundamental, ground-level questions you can expect in a B-School interview. In other words, it would be madness to enter an interview unprepared for any of these questions. We recommend that you start your interview preparation with this bunch of questions.


    1. Could you walk me through your resume?
    2. Why MBA?
    3. Why do the MBA now?
    4. Why our school?
    5. What are your short term/ long term post-MBA career goals?
    6. What are your three greatest strengths?
    7. What are your two greatest weaknesses?
    8. What do you think will be the biggest concern of the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application?
    9. Do you have any questions for me?

Academic Experience

    1. What was the most rewarding aspect of your undergraduate experience?
    2. What are you most proud of about your undergraduate period?
    3. Why did you select this undergraduate major? Would you have changed your decision today? 
    4. To what do you attribute your strong academic performance? 
    5. In which campus activities did you participate? What did you learn or gain from this involvement? 
    6. Have you ever dropped a class? Why? 
    7. Which college classes did you like the best/ least? Why? 
    8. Do you think you received a good education? 
    9. Do your grades accurately reflect your ability? 
    10. Were you financially responsible for part or all of your college education?

Work Experience

    1. Describe your work experience (in general or with specific employers). 
    2. What did you find most frustrating at work? 
    3. What kinds of changes would you make at your work if you could? 
    4. Do you have any opportunities for innovative thinking? 
    5. Could you describe an incident where you disagreed with a superior? How was this settled? 
    6. What aspect of your job do you most enjoy? Why? 
    7. Of what accomplishment at work are you most proud? 
    8. If I ask your manager what he/she values in you, what will he/she say? 
    9. What problems have you solved in your previous positions? 
    10. What have you disliked in your job with employer X? 
    11. What are some recent responsibilities you have taken on? 
    12. What do you think it is about yourself that enabled you to earn achievements? 
    13. Describe a typical workday.

Career Path

    1. Why did you leave job A for job B? 
    2. What will you do if you are not accepted to any of the MBA programs you applied to? 
    3. What will you do if you are not accepted to our MBA program? 
    4. Why did you choose to do X? 
    5. Describe your ideal job after completing the MBA. 
    6. How does your education or work experience relate to your career goals? 
    7. Don’t you think that your career path has been a little disjointed? 
    8. If you do not bag a job in the area you like, what will you do?

Leadership and Teamwork

    1. Give me two examples of times when you demonstrated leadership. 
    2. How would others describe your leadership style? 
    3. What do you think is the right way to get things done through others? 
    4. What would you do if a team member wasn’t pulling his own weight? 
    5. What qualities should a successful manager possess? 
    6. Could you name someone you view as a strong leader? Why? 
    7. Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own? 
    8. Give me an example of your teamwork experience. 
    9. Do you prefer large or small companies? Why? 
    10. What kinds of people do you enjoy working with? 
    11. What kinds of people frustrate you? 
    12. What kind of people struggle to work with you?

Introspective/ Personal

    1. Tell me about yourself.
    2. Have you ever done any volunteer work? What was it? 
    3. Were your extracurricular activities worth the time you put into them? What have they taught you? 
    4. What do you like doing outside of work? 
    5. Tell me about something in your life you would have done differently if you had the opportunity. 
    6. What three adjectives would others use to describe you? 
    7. Can you recall a creative/ innovative activity of yours outside work? 
    8. Tell me about a time you took a risk and what the experience was like. 
    9. If you were to establish a set of values and beliefs on which to build a business, what would they be? 
    10. What do success and failure mean to you? 
    11. Tell me about a time in which you failed. 
    12. How do you make big decisions? 
    13. What would you like to change about yourself? 
    14. Discuss any experience you have had abroad. 
    15. Describe a life experience that had a strong impact on you? 
    16. What do you get passionate about? 
    17. Do you get bored or feel stagnated? How do you resolve boredom? 
    18. What is one thing you want to convey as your interview comes to an end?

Behavioral/ Situational

    1. In dealing with a customer, think of your most difficult situation and tell me how you handled it.
    2. Give an example of a case when you felt your boss made a bad decision and explain how you would have handled it differently. 
    3. Describe a time when you had to bend the rules a little in order to accomplish a goal. 
    4. Describe a situation where many different things had to get done at once and how you handled it. 
    5. Describe a disagreement you had with your boss. What did he say? What did you say? 
    6. Describe a major problem you have faced on the job and how you handled it.

The MBA Progam

    1. What are you looking for in our program?
    2. What can you contribute to your class? 
    3. Why do you think you would enjoy your chosen area of study? 
    4. What clubs are you considering joining? 
    5. It’s two years after graduation, what three words would your MBA team members use to describe you? 
    6. Which other B-schools are you applying to? 
    7. If you got into our B-school and B-school ‘X’, which one would you go to and why?

Curve Balls

    1. What is the most interesting conversation you have had this week? 
    2. Explain something to me as if I were an eight-year-old. 
    3. Tell me something you want to start doing, something you want to do more of, and something you want to do less of. 
    4. What is the one thing I would have never guessed about you, even after reading your application? 
    5. Assume you’re a cell phone salesman and I’m a goat herder in Spain. How would you convince me I need to buy one of your cell phones? 
    6. See that paperclip on the table? Sell it to me. 
    7. What is the worst thing you’ve heard about joining our B-school 
    8. How many truck tires are there in the United States? 
    9. How would you evaluate me as an interviewer? 
    10. Why are manhole covers round?

Everything You Need to Know About MBA Letters of Recommendation

letter of recommendation
Reading Time: 5 minutes

“What is an MBA loar?” a student asked us last week.

“Loar?” We were flabbergasted. “We have no clue!”

“Everybody seems to be talking about MBA essays and loars!”

“Loar?” We wracked our brains. Then, realization dawned. “Oh! You mean LORs?”

LOR is the acronym for Letter of Recommendation, an essential component of your MBA or Master’s application. This post will take you through everything you need to know about MBA recommendation letters themselves as well as about choosing recommenders.


Letters of Recommendation May Not Always Be Letters

Many Master’s or Ph.D. programs will ask you for 2-3 actual letters of recommendation – starting with “To Whomsoever It May Concern…”

The requirement for B-schools is slightly different.

For MBA recommendation letters, you will need to submit the names and contact details of your recommenders and the school will send them a web form. This web form will have some rating questions (for e.g. Rate the communication skills of the applicant in comparison to those of his peers: top 10%, top 25%, top 50%, bottom 25%) and some short answer questions (for e.g. What piece of constructive criticism have you offered the applicant? How did the applicant respond?)

The word limit of these short answer questions could be from 50 to 200 words.


Recommenders Need Official IDs

The recommenders you choose must have official email IDs because that serves as a verification of their identity. For eg., [email protected] shows that this person is a credible source who works at Infosys.

No personal IDs such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc. will be accepted by B-schools. For all they know, the person behind this ID could be you or your friend or relative!

If your recommender doesn’t have an official ID for whatever reason, you may have a problem.

One solution that schools suggest in these cases is to submit a hard copy of your MBA recommendation letter, sealed and signed by the recommender. To avoid delays in mailing such a hard copy, make sure you plan for these well in advance.


Family Members & Professors as Recommenders: NOPE.

The short version is – don’t do this.

Recommendations from family members and professors will never have the weight that recommendations from managers, bosses, vendors, clients, or colleagues can have.

Schools discourage recommendations from family members because they may give a biased view of you. If you work for a family business or have co-founded a company with family members, you cannot use them as your recommenders.

You will need to approach a mentor, client or vendor for this.

If you have more than 2 years of work experience (which is the minimum eligibility for most MBA programs), your recommenders must be people you have worked with. They can be from your workplace or from the company with which you volunteer or a company to which you offer freelance services.

But no going back to your professors from college!

However, if you have very little work experience (less than 2 years) and you have worked with a professor outside of class – for e.g. as a research or teaching assistant – you can approach him/her for a recommendation.

Here’s what CrackVerbal’s founder and CEO, Arun Jagannathan, has to say about choosing the right recommenders:


Do Not Write Your Own Recommendations

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we are still surprised by the number of students who tell us that their recommenders have asked them to write their own recommendations.

“I will submit whatever you send me!” your manager might say.

Should you take up this offer?

Of course not!

Apart from the (obvious) reason that writing your own recommendation is unethical, this is also a foolish decision.

For one, the admissions committee will be able to spot underlying patterns in your writing style in a jiffy – they will know that the same person has written the essays and the recommendations.

B-schools often engage external agencies to do audits or verifications of information that applicants submit. What if they call up your recommender and he/she has no clue what is written in the recommendation?

Both these possibilities can damage your chances of getting admission. So, DO NOT write your own MBA recommendation letter.

Instead, make your recommenders’ lives simpler by sharing relevant information such as your profile highlights and essays with them well in advance.

That is a succinct account of all the things you should know and the do’s of MBA recommendation letters.


Choosing Recommenders: What Not To Do!

Now, let’s talk about what not to do when it comes to choosing recommenders: how not to choose recommenders or how not to approach them.

One big problem that a lot of applicants have is, they end up choosing an inconvenient recommender.

For example, a boss.

You know you have to approach the boss, but you just develop cold feet; you feel awkward to reach out to the boss early on.

What happens then is, you keep waiting till a point where the application deadline is almost a week away and then approach the boss. Especially when the boss is busy!

Imagine this:

Your boss is doing something, and you go accost him and thrust the application at him and say, “I’m going to send you a link, can you take out the time and look at the recommendation?”

Now what happens in this case is:

  1. Your boss is not comfortable recommending you.
  2. He hasn’t had any time to think about it so he probably doesn’t have enough data to write a meaningful MBA letter of recommendation.
  3. Your boss could feel a little offended that he didn’t know you were planning to do this, or he could feel he’s going to lose someone, so he may not write the best recommendation possible.

That moment when you have walked into his office in the middle of a work day is NOT a time when you have much of an option to avoid this situation. You’ll have to walk away with a measly recommendation or worse – no recommendation at all.

So here’s what you actually can do to avoid such a miserable outcome.


Identify Your Recommenders Early On

In fact, the earlier the better. You don’t even have to tell them which schools you’re applying to. The best way is not to discuss this in the office environment, maybe you can take your boss to the cafeteria or a coffee shop.

If your boss drinks, maybe you can even take them out for a drink. Tell them what you really want to do.

Talk to your boss about why you want to do an MBA, what are the things that you hope you will achieve in life from an MBA, etc. Genuinely ask for your boss’s opinion, let them give their two cents.

Get your boss committed to your plan.

Nobody is going to come and say you shouldn’t do an MBA. They will say, “This is my opinion and this is what I feel.” Take their opinion into cognizance and keep them updated.

After a couple of months, gently bring up this topic and say, “Would you like to be my recommender? You know how much it matters to me.”

By that point, hardly anyone will say no.

Most people will agree to write you a recommendation letter for MBA. And because you’ve made them a part of your journey in advance, you’ll probably get glowing recommendations, too.

When the time comes, give them at least a month’s notice. Send them the link.

One way you can prep them is to give them your application form, resume, and other things that they could possibly use in order to write the recommendation. At no point should you encourage them to ask you to write it.

We think it’s unethical to write your own recommendation letter. Plus, trust us when we say that the college will definitely figure out who wrote the recommendation.


In Conclusion

It’s important to get MBA Letters of Recommendation planned and sorted out well in time.

If there’s one thing that cannot be rushed, it is a well-written recommendation!

You need to remember why you want to do an MBA and align your lifestyle accordingly. Everything else will fall in place if you develop the right mindset.

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The Ultimate Guide to Video Essays in 2019

How to Make Great Video Essays
Reading Time: 8 minutes

If you have the option to submit a video essay, go for it.

No matter which school in which country you’re applying to, submitting a video essay is a great idea. A video essay is the best way for you to present yourself to the Admission Committees before an interview can happen.

You do not want to miss out on this advantage:

Whether you’re excellent with words or someone who struggles to express their emotions in writing, a video essay goes well beyond your mastery with words.

If you are not exactly gifted when it comes to writing down your thoughts, a video essay plays to your advantage. It gives you a chance to display all the qualities and communication skills that can’t be seen through a written essay.

Even if you are great at finding the best words to say what you need to, a video essay is an added advantage. It allows the AdComs to make their own inferences about your overall personality, including what they written essays don’t show.

In this post, we will talk about:

  1. Types of Video Essays
  2. Schools Accepting Video Essays for MBA Applications
  3. Video Essay Guidelines


Types of Video Essays

There are two basic types of video essays. One involves recording it yourself, editing as per your preferences and sending it along with or after your written application. The other involves rehearsing your answers and using the University website to record and send them.

Let’s get into a little more detail.


1. Impromptu or Auto-Recorded Essay
This is the most common type of video essay. Almost every major B-school uses this format of video essay through independent third-party platforms. You cannot edit these essays.


There are two ways in which this works.

One is that you receive a link from the University admissions team after you submit your written application; the link leads to a platform where you receive questions and are expected to record your response immediately.

The other alternative is that your video essays are included within your application process. In this case, your application is not considered complete unless you record and upload your video responses. You can record your videos on the University application website itself.

Typically, you have 20-30 seconds to prepare before you need to start answering. The answer length is one minute.

You have to make sure you start and stop speaking within the given recording time because you don’t get to control when the recording starts or stops.

The question may be played in video format, appear on your screen or be played in audio format, but in any case, it remains visible throughout your video recording process.

In most cases, you can’t even re-attempt answers. You have one shot at answering and you have to get it right. Sure, the sound of it is intimidating, but that’s just the thing – the B-schools want to see how you perform under pressure!

A welcome relief is that most of these platforms allow you to practice a couple of times before you have to record your final essay.

Among the schools currently accepting video essays, these are the ones that require impromptu essays:

 Schulich School of Business
– Rotman School of Management
– Vanderbilt University
– Kellogg School of Management
– Ivey Business School
– Yale School of Management

All these schools, apart from Yale School of Management, have video essays as a necessary part of their application process. The typical prep time is 30 seconds and the videos are to be no longer than 60 seconds. 

Yale does things a bit differently. 

After finishing your written application to Yale, you will receive a link from the Admissions team. The link leads to a platform where you are expected to record and submit three video essays. You get 20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to record the first and third essays, but for the second essay, you’re allowed 30 seconds to prepare and 90 seconds to answer.


2. Self-Recorded Essay
Some schools give you the option to record and send in your own essay. It gives you significantly more freedom than the former type and is definitely much less stressful to complete. 


However, this is not a popular option. 

Its important to understand that schools are not interested in your video production skills, they’re interested in what you have to say and how you present yourself. There is no point in editing your video to include pictures and other fancy effects.

It may not be a bad idea to put in a couple of captions when you want to stress on a point you make in your video. But do not spend too much time on this as it is not really important.

There are only two popular B-schools that accept this format:

– MIT Sloan School of Management

– McCombs School of Business

The MIT Sloan MBA Applications website clearly states that they do not accept edited videos. You are expected to shoot your video in a single take and answer within 60 seconds. The advantage you have here is that you can do as many retakes as you need.

Things work differently with Texas McCombs, though – the essay itself is optional. What is expected is an introduction of yourself in writing or as a video; if you choose the latter, the time limit is one minute.

As we have said before, video essays present a fantastic opportunity for you to showcase yourself to the AdComs before the interview. If you have the opportunity to do this, do not pass it up!

If you read the blogs of any B-school that accepts video essays, you will find one common factor among them all – every single one of them is accepting videos because they want to get to know you better. It is meant for you to express yourself freely and openly.

Your MBA video essay is not meant to show off your video production skills, but how it looks does have a big impact on what the AdCom panelists think of you.


Video Essay Guidelines

Here are some video essay guidelines to help you make an impression:

1. Maintain High Audio-Visual Quality
The whole point of video essays is to let the AdCom see you and listen to you – so, they should be able to do this clearly and without hindrance.

The best way to put people off your video entirely is to have grainy visuals and noisy audio. The last thing you want is for your MBA application essay to look like a shaky selfie video from your phone or a home video captured with a low-grade camera.


However, the good news is that you don’t need to worry about having fancy equipment or a DSLR camera. The mobile phone in your pocket (or the one you are reading this article on) should be more than enough for the purpose.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Tip #1
    Try to buy a cheap mobile tripod. This is important because you want a place to keep the mobile and precariously balancing it on top of a stack of books may not be convenient. Having a friend to hold the camera might make you conscious. So it is best to invest in a cheap tripod. You get a lot of options below Rs.1000.


  • Tip #2
    Ensure that the camera is at face level and the place where you are going to record the video is relatively silent. Also, ensure that you are seen properly in the frame – typically waist-above is perfectly okay. You don’t need to get your whole body in the video. And keep your eyes on the lens. It makes you more confident.

    Remember that we are just trying to make sure your message is getting conveyed properly. The MBA program does not need the next Steven Spielberg!


  • Tip #3
    To get a good video, make sure that the light source is not behind you. Try an overhead light or one pointed towards you, instead. This is because you want to highlight your face and not look like you have attained nirvana (which is what you will get with the light source behind you – also called the “halo effect”.


  • Tip #4
    Your video will lose its entire point if you cannot be heard clearly. So, make sure you speak directly into the mic or in the direction of the camera, as the case may be. Also, ensure that the room is not noisy (in India you might underestimate traffic sound).

    You need to be serious about your application and the video should reflect that very clearly.


2. Be Creative… or Not
An MBA Application video essay is no place to show off your video production skills. Honestly, all the AdComs want is to get to know you better.

You don’t need to focus excessively on providing the best light or the highest quality sound. Don’t waste your time trying to perfect your make-up and hair, you don’t need to be a diva. Your face should be clearly visible, your voice loud and clearly audible, and your appearance should match that of a confident young professional.

The entire point of video essays in MBA applications is to showcase who you are. Your personality matters to AdComs because they want to be sure you will fit into the overall batch. Display your thought process, your strengths and beliefs and just your very personality in your video essay.

If you are a creative person, let it show. If you’re not, don’t try to look otherwise.

Really, there are no rules for how you should communicate what you want to. You just need to make sure you communicate it well.


3. Keep it Crisp!
Wait – we know you don’t need to be told to keep it crisp when you have all of ONE minute to speak. That’s not what we’re saying.

There will always be a whole lot of things you will want to say in response to a question – we all do. The trick is to pick the right and most relevant things to say, especially since you only have 30 seconds to figure out what to say.

Use those 30 seconds to jot down your thoughts.

With all your ideas on paper, you will know how to structure your answer. It becomes easier to organize your thoughts when you can see them. It also helps you stick to the point.

It’s too easy to end up talking about the same thing for too long and end up with no time to mention other important things. If you ramble on or get into too much detail about any specific point, it can belittle everything else you’ve said. That is what we’re asking you to keep crisp – every point you mention should be succinct.

Typically, the prescribed time limit will be one minute. You have to be able to make all your points clearly and convincingly within that much time.


4. Keep it Simple!

You don’t need to use big words to make an impression.

Nobody expects you to speak like Barack Obama, whether your essay is self-recorded or impromptu. After all, even President Obama had an entire team of professional speech writers behind him – we’re not sure even we know what he would sound like by himself!

The point is, AdComs expect you to sound like no one but yourself. If you don’t usually use big, uncommon words, don’t try to throw some in only to sound smarter. It shows when you’re saying words you don’t normally use by the way they roll off your tongue.

It’s better to sound less “smart” and use your usual vocabulary than to use fancy words and sound fake.

The AdComs will be impressed by how well you communicate the ideas you have in your mind. Make sure you’re good on that front and you don’t need to worry about the other aspects of your video essay.


5. Practice Before Recording

An almost obvious but super-important tip is to practice saying your answers out loud before you start recording.

If you can, do a couple of dry-runs; record yourself and watch the video.

This gives you a good idea about how long you’ll need to finish and whether that fits within the required time limit. It’ll also give you a good idea of how you appear and whether you need to change anything. 

If you’re a camera-shy kind of person, these practice sessions will help ease your discomfort, too.


We know that the prospect of appearing on video may be exciting for some of you and daunting for others. It’s bound to be – after all, it is similar to appearing for an interview. In fact, it might be scarier because you don’t get any clues from the viewers’ facial expressions.

Look on the bright side, though!

It’s only one minute long – you can’t really go too wrong in such a short time!

On a parting note, a quick word of advice: don’t leave video essays for the last minute. Research has shown that video essays are turning out to be the biggest factors influencing AdCom’s decisions regarding candidates.

If you’re overwhelmed with your MBA Application work, feel free to reach out to us.

A Definitive Guide to Post MBA Career Paths

Reading Time: 9 minutes

You’re an MBA aspirant, who wants to have a fulfilling career, post graduating from one of the top B-Schools across the globe. You obviously don’t want to spend money on a quality MBA to eventually end up at the same boring job, take home the same meager salary or settle for less than what you deserve.
Now, you’re wondering what exactly you can do after an MBA. Sales? Maybe work as a bank manager. Or perhaps get hired as a consultant. But, trust me, the options don’t end there. An MBA can be a great career booster and once you have a fair idea of the opportunities available, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Literally.
Be it sales, HR, Technology, Operations or finance, MBA graduates. So let’s start with Technology. Even if you’re not from a tech background, there’s no need for you to shy away. All you need is the passion for and knowledge of technology, along with sound logic behind your decision to make a career switch.

Career Paths in Technology


Once you’ve got that stated clearly in your B-School application, here are the technology career options available:

1. Project Management:

Are you looking for a post-MBA job opportunity that enables you to put your penchant for technology to good use?
Apart from being tech-savvy, do you consider yourself a born manager?
If you’re nodding your head in the affirmative to both these question, you could definitely excel at project management, where you would be given the onus of overseeing a company project right from scratch.

2. Analytics:

Big Data Analytics is indeed big, when it comes to the field of IT. It plays a major role in gathering insights, determining business trends and accordingly making informed business decisions.
In fact, in recent years, the job of a big data scientist or analyst has seen an unprecedented growth in popularity, so much so that organizations are willing to shell out large sums of money to attract experts in the profession.

B-schools renowned for Technology

– MIT Sloan
– Tepper
– Haas
– Cornell Johnson
– Boston University
– Krannert
– Scheller
– Olin
– Fisher
To learn more about the job opportunities in this field, read Post MBA careers: Technology

Career Paths in Sales and Marketing


Sales and Marketing have always been popular with MBA graduates. The options are limitless and make for highly fruitful careers. These are the most popular career choices in this particular field:

1. Sales/Business Development:

Who do you think is responsible for the large number of new clients acquired by a company? Yes, it is the sales or business development team.
To be able to lead such a team with your knowledge and expertise is a coveted career opportunity. Be it delivering that flawless sales pitch or closing a major deal, your skills in sales can make or break an organization.
Getting into business development after your MBA can be the perfect way to kick-start your career or give it a much-needed makeover.

2. Account Management:

The function of sales doesn’t end with lead generation. Most companies have a client servicing team in place to interact with customers on a regular basis and resolve issues pertaining to the present project.
However, the gap between a business development manager and a client servicing personnel is often aptly filled in by an account manager. Account management requires special flare for sales, where new business is constantly generated from existing clients.
Since this job entails exceptional communication skills and the ability to overlook as well overcome hurdles in the way, account managers are in high demand

3. Brand Management:

Brand management is indeed one of the most difficult roles in the field of marketing. If you decide to become a brand manager, you need to be doubly sure that you’ve got excellent communication skills, foresight, creativity and the ability to work with people across various divisions.
If you step into this playing field, you will be responsible for increasing your company’s brand awareness and recall. Along with the afore-mentioned skills, if you’re equipped with an MBA from a prestigious college, dive straight in!

4. Product Management:

Project management doesn’t so much involve clients as much as it involves the product or service itself. Any form of marketing is incomplete if you’ve not got this right. Again, creativity and foresight ranks topmost in the list of prerequisites for this job.
After your MBA, if you think you can utilize your knack for designing and describing product features to benefit your company and your future, product management might as well be the career of your choice.

5. Product Marketing:

The difference between product management and product marketing is often a very fine line.
The management bit requires you to envision the selling features of the product. Product marketing on the other hand involves the steps that follow.
As a product marketing expert, you will need to shoulder responsibilities such as creating product awareness, educating potential buyers and pricing the product.

6. Market Research:

Product marketing remains a game of trial and error unless the market research expert steps in. Before launching any product, comprehensive information should be collected about the needs of customers.
It is also important to gauge the tactics employed by competitors for similar products. This is especially important if you’re targeting a new demographic profile or an unfamiliar geographical area.
If you love studying consumer behavior and are passionate about statistical figures and data, go ahead and specialize in market research after MBA.

7. Online Media:

This is another field of work that many MBA graduates now find alluring. What with almost all businesses seeking an online presence, an Online Media Specialist is responsible for the company’s SEO needs and marketing.
An online media specialist needs to prove his/her mettle in all facets of online marketing, be it web analytics or social media marketing or paid search ads, in order to shine in his career.

B-schools renowned for Sales and Marketing

– Kellogg
– Harvard
– Stanford
– Booth
– Haas
– Duke
– Ross
– UCLA Anderson
– USC Marshall
Thinking of specializing in Marketing and Sales? Check out Post-MBA Careers: Sales and Marketing for more information on the career opportunities available.

Career Paths in Consulting


Consultants are in great demand these days, either as a part of a company’s in-house team or as an external advisor. They help companies identify problems and suggest possible solutions to those.
However, consulting can be classified into various kinds, depending on the type of problems it addresses. Here are some of the job opportunities that come under the gamut of consulting:

1. Strategy Consulting:

You can opt to become a strategy consultant if you have a penchant for making long term plans and devising strategies to help a company grow as a brand.
Strategy consultants need to work in tandem with the highest authorities of an organization, such as the President or the Board of Directors. They recommend plans and policies to the decision makers and work during the pre-implementation phase.

2. Operations Consulting:

What an operations consultant does, differs in its scope from the roles and responsibilities of a strategy consultant.
Instead of developing strategies which will help an organization in the long run, an operations consultant addresses current issues that affect the progress of a business.
This kind of consulting, unlike strategy consulting, involves working hand-in-hand with the decision makers during the implementation and post-implementation phase.

3. Technology Consulting:

As the name suggests, this career choice lays emphasis on how technology can be beneficial for a company. This could include IT compliance, data analytics, information security and scalability.
Other than having an MBA, it is also essential that a technology consultant is adept in the intricacies of the IT discipline.

4. HR Consulting:

From recruitment to employee engagement, an HR consultant is considered to be the superhero of any business. As an HR consultant, an MBA degree helps you learn how to frame human resource policies, manage people and address their concerns tactfully.
In fact, it is an HR consultant who acts as the bridge between employers and employees.

B-schools renowned for Consulting

– Kellogg School of Management
– Tuck School of Business
– Harvard Business School
To find out more about Consulting as a career path post-MBA, read our post on Post-MBA Careers: Consulting 101

Career Paths in Operations


Just as any business cannot take off without its sales function, it cannot sustain without a strong operations team. The operations function deals with the delivery of a service or product to customers. Check out the job opportunities available within the scope of operations:

1. Operations Consulting:

An operations consultant finds solutions to questions such as “What are we doing wrong?” and “How can we do things differently and more effectively?”
Irrespective of which industry you work for, an operations consultant plays an invaluable role in the growth of a company.

2. Operations Management:

If you’ve always like keeping a track of trends in supply chain management and logistics, chances are you’ll excel in operations management.
Operations management deals with framing and implementation of business practices that help an organization carry out day to day business effectively. Be it optimal utilization of resources or improvement of productivity, an operations manager has to shoulder a wide range of responsibilities, depending on the level at which he works.

B-schools that specialize in Operations:

– MIT Sloan
– Ross
– Tepper
– Krannert
– McCombs
– UNC Kenan-Flagler
To know in detail about a career in operations, read Post-MBA Careers: Operations

Career Paths in Finance


Who doesn’t love money? If you eat, sleep and drink money, and if you’re keen on helping a company manage their moolah, you might want to consider a rewarding career in finance. Here are the ample options you can explore in finance after an MBA:

1. Corporate Finance:

If you were one of those rare students in school who had a love affair with numbers, or if you have an affinity to statistics, you could consider corporate finance as a successful career.
In such a role you would be working in the CFO- office of a large company making decisions related to investments, shares, credit, all keeping in mind the company’s budget.
From ensuring that your company has adequate finances, to choosing the right source of funds and utilizing them to generate maximum revenue for the firm—a finance manager has to shoulder big responsibilities. This role would also include capital budgeting, hedging funds and making important investment decisions

2. Investment Banking:

If terms such as “capital markets”, “acquisitions”, “mergers”, “bond financing” and “underwriting of deals” leave you exhilarated instead of flustered, you should undoubtedly think of becoming an investment banker.
As an investment bank associate you will be responsible for assisting organizations raise funds for expanding business. You would also have to advise the company based on their financial assets and liabilities.

3. Private Equity:

A Private Equity Analyst helps companies invest in other firms through various kinds of funding, such as IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) and Equity Financing.
This role involves extensive research and analysis using a variety of financial modeling strategies. An expert in private equity manages the investment funds of a company.
This career choice involves a thorough knowledge of the different types and sizes of firms. It also necessitates the ability to make informed investment decisions.

4. Venture Capital

Venture capitalists are responsible for performing due diligence on potential business enterprises that corporate establishments have decided to invest in. Before an investment is finalized, a venture capitalist has to scrutinize financial documents and bank statements of any startup.
Based on his/her report, a business’ potential for growth and profit is assessed and informed decisions are taken. Hence, if you are drawn to wherever money is, this could be a coveted job opportunity.

B-schools Renowned For Finance

– Wharton
– Harvard
– Stanford
– Chicago Booth
– NYU Stern
– Cornell Johnson
– London Business School
If you need more information, read our blog post on Post MBA Careers: Finance

Career as an Entrepreneur


In recent years, the trend of pursuing an MBA with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur, has drastically taken off.
Though starting a business was earlier considered a risky proposition and the “business mentality” was often looked down upon, times have changed.
Many working professionals are ready to give up their high-paying jobs and begin a venture of their own—all for the satisfaction of treading a different path.

B-schools Renowned for Entrepreneurs

– Harvard Business School
– Stanford’s Graduate School of Business
– MIT’s Sloan School of Management
– Chicago Booth School
– Columbia Business School
So which career path do you want to tread upon after MBA? Tell us in the comments below.
Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
Get your Profile Evaluated!

Post-MBA Careers: Management Consulting

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This is the first blog in our series on Post-MBA Careers. Stay tuned for more insights in the coming weeks!

The hero of our story is an enthusiastic MBA Aspirant. For the sake of brevity, let’s call him EMA. In this short chat session, he is discussing his career goals.

Qn: What is your short-term career goal?

EMA (confident): I want to be a Management Consultant.

Qn: You want to be a Business Consultant, a Strategy Consultant or a Tech Consultant?

EMA (thinking ‘What’s the difference?’): Er… Strategy Consultant?

Qn: Okay. Which firm do you want to work with?

EMA (sweating): Er… McKinsey…

Qn: Why McKinsey? Why not any of the others? Why not Kurt Salmon?

EMA (thinking ‘Because that’s the only name I’ve heard of!’): Er…
At the end of the  tête-à-tête, EMA decides that there’s more to this Consulting business than meets the eye.
EMA is not alone – 7 out of 10 MBA aspirants say that their career goal is Management Consulting. But very few of them have the first clue about what a consultant does or what it really takes to become one. The objective of this blog is to give all the EMAs out there a clearer idea about Management Consulting as a career option.

Who is a Consultant?


Companies often encounter business problems such as new product launches, revamping operations, entering new territories, redesigning the organizational structure etc. While some companies have in-house consulting teams to evaluate such strategic and tactical problems, many others approach external Consulting firms to do this for them.


In a nutshell, a consultant is an external advisor who steps in to study a business problem and make recommendations to help the client solve it.


What are the different types of Consulting?

Strategy Consulting:
Answering the question “What Should The Client Do?”, Strategy Consulting is aimed at the general direction an organization should take, its long term plans, its organic and inorganic growth strategy, and increasing profitability. Strategy consultants interact directly with the CEO, President, Country Head or Board of Directors of the client company. They mostly recommend solutions and conduct workshops or sessions to help the client implement them, but are rarely involved in the actual implementation phase.
Top Strategy Consulting firms: McKinsey, BCG, Bain & Co., Booz etc.
Operations Consulting:
Answering the question “What Is The Client Doing Wrong And How Can It Be Done In A Better Way?” The scope of Operations Consulting includes evaluation of the functioning of the client’s business, operations or processes. Projects could range from resource optimization and productivity enhancements to process re-engineering and supply chain design. Operational consultants – particularly at the senior level – would typically require functional or industry expertise and typically engage with the Vice President or Business Head of particular divisions of the client company. Operations Consulting firms often work with their clients in the implementation and post-implementation phases. The 4 strategy consulting firms mentioned above also come out top in the operations consulting category, but are usually uninvolved in the implementation.
Top Operations Consulting firms: Deloitte, Accenture, AT Kearney, IBM, PwC etc.
Technology Consulting:
Focus on how best to leverage technology to help organizations grow. The scope includes IT scalability, security, design and development, analytics, compliance etc. Due to the nature of their work, technology consultants are experts in their field, but do not necessarily have intricate knowledge of the functioning of the client business.
Top Tech Consulting firms
: Deloitte, Accenture, Capgemini, IBM etc.
Human Resource Consulting:
The scope ranges from organizational development, HR policy, people strategy, actuary and organizational design and restructuring, to managing human resources (recruitment, engagement etc.)
Top HR Consulting firms: Towers Watson, Mercer, Aon Hewitt, Hay Group etc.
Boutique Consulting:
Boutique consulting firms focus on niche industries in which they have expertise. While working with boutique firms can be as challenging as working with strategy/operations firms, some boutiques may have a regional client base. Therefore, travel opportunities to client locations may be fewer. Similarly, the teams tend to be smaller and client interaction more in boutique consulting.
Top Boutique Consulting firms: LEK Consulting (M&A), OC&C and Parthenon (Private Equity), Kurt Salmon (Retail & CPG), Cornerstone Research (Economic Consulting) etc.

What Does It Take To Become A Consultant?

Analytical skills
Problem-solving aptitude
Interpersonal and Communication skills
Ability to deal with uncertainty and change
During recruitment, consulting firms look at spikes in 3 areas of your profile:
(1) Academic potential: Your GPA, the schools you attended and even your GMAT score
(2) Work experience: Your role, performance at work, promotions and pedigree of the companies you worked with
(3) Extracurricular achievements: What outstanding/exceptional accomplishments do you have outside of work?
If they see something they like in these areas, you will be called for an interview. The interviews of most major consulting firms will involve case study analyses. You can look at sample interview case studies from McKinsey and Bain

Career Progression in Consulting

With only a graduate degree, you may be able to work with a consulting firm as an Analyst (the smallest cog in the wheel!), but this is one of the few professions in which you need to have an MBA degree to progress to the next level. i.e. Associate.
This is the typical career progression in a consulting firm:

Management consulting is a field that has cutthroat competition – the motto of most top consulting firms is “Move up, or move out!” There are many Associates who somehow do not manage to make it to the Principal level, and many Principals who are somehow not made Partners. They will be eased out of the door sooner or later.
But here’s the good news – just the fact that they’ve worked with a McKinsey or a BCG is enough for numerous doors to open elsewhere! They will get red carpet treatment from other firms for senior management roles – thus, as an ex-consultant, you will never be out in the job market looking for openings.

A Career In Consulting: The Pros and Cons

Pros: The prestige, the opportunity to work with senior client executives (at Principal levels and above), excellent learning and training opportunities and fancy paychecks

Cons: 70-hour work weeks (Management consultants top the list of professionals with the highest divorce rates!) and crazy travel schedules (often to unheard-of places with no facilities)

Further Reading: To learn more about the world of Consulting, do read The McKinsey Way.
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Sales & Marketing
Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
Get your Profile Evaluated!

Wharton School Of Business Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this article I am going to discuss the Wharton MBA program. If you’re looking at applying to Wharton, you’ve come to the right place.


Let’s first look at the Wharton MBA program and what differentiates it. As we all know, it’s an Ivy League school. It’s part of the three schools, considered to be the elite trio – Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.


What I think truly differentiates Wharton is that though it is known as a finance school, more importantly, it has a certain quantitative rigor to it. There is a lot of focus on quantitative skills, analytical skills and a lot of rigorous thinking. If you’re a person who likes that, Wharton is the place for you. Can you apply to the financial industry? Sure! Can you apply to consulting?  That’s also possible! I don’t think you should look at Wharton as a pure finance school. I know it’s known for finance but the quantitative focus is a larger bet.


Second,  among all the top schools, Wharton has the most diverse profile. It has the highest percentage of international students among the top schools, and that provides you with rich classroom experience and outside classroom experience. It is not just the country they represent but also the functions. In that way, Wharton is truly global.


Third, you probably have to pick the flexible curriculum. There is a fixed core course but you have the flexibility right in your first year to pick a lot of electives. This is great for people who feel they don’t want to have the rigidity of a course where they are told what they have to study. Once you’re done with the basics – statistics, accounts and economics and all of the required courses, you can pick and choose what you want to do. I think that’s another big draw for people applying to Wharton.


2018-2019 Wharton Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 18, 2018

Interview Invitation: October 30, 2018

Decision Release: December 13, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 3, 2019

Interview Invitation: February 7, 2019

Decision Release: March 21, 2019


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 2, 2019

Interview Invitation: April 18, 2019

Decision Release: May 9, 2019



2018-2019 Wharton Essay Questions


Now, let’s look at the specific questions that Wharton has. It has two essays



Essay 1 (Required)


What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)


Now, if you think about it, it’s very specific, and a classic career goals essay, which you cannot answer by just saying what you will get from a Wharton MBA. You have to first say what it is that you need from a Wharton MBA, and in order to say that, you also need to say what it is that you’ve done so far.


It kind of goes back to the same three step process. Tell them what it is that you have done so far, what it is that you see ahead of you and hope to do in your future. Now that you have said what it is that you hope to do, tell them what you need to reach that goal. Once you say what you need in order to reach there, in the last part you need to say how specifically Wharton can help bridge that gap.


S500 words gives you enough space to write a pretty detailed and descriptive essay. In the first part, tell them what you’ve done, where you are in this career juncture, and what you see ahead; this would include your short term and long term goals.


In the second part, say what you hope to do to equip yourself to achieve those short term and long term career goals?


In the third part, describe how specifically a Wharton MBA will help you achieve your goals. Use the standard 150 + 150 + 150 words for the three parts and maybe 50 words for the beginning and ending.



Essay 2 (Required)


Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)


Interacting with people from Wharton has given me insight into what Wharton is like. On our panel, we have Aruna who is an MBA from Wharton. Some of my former colleagues are from Wharton, and we have had students going to Wharton. One thing that say when we talk about the Wharton MBA program is the fact that most of the student activities are student run. This means that you volunteer to go talk to an alum to get him on campus. Don’t expect the college to do this for you. From that perspective, what they really want to know is, what it is that you will contribute to the Wharton community.


400 words is a lot of space. I would perhaps pick two or three specific things that I bring to the table. For these two or three things, you need to talk about both, what you can give, and how you will benefit, or what you will gain.


Let us say that your interest is in science. Now, what does an MBA student really require from science? But you could say that you have an interest in astronomy and you would like to show your classmates how astronomy can be interesting. You can maybe say that when you look at the star filled sky in Philadelphia, you could show them certain constellations. It’s about what you can contribute to the community.


What I gave you is just a small example. It could be a sport; maybe you practice yoga. You could say that you like to practice yoga and it helps you calm your mind. In an MBA, people get overwhelmed with a lot of things that are thrown at them. You can say that at such times you could probably take a yoga class. Maybe every morning, you could conduct yoga classes.


It could be anything, but you need to say what it is that you can give to the community, but remember that teamwork is a two way street. You can also say what you would benefit from it. What would you benefit from teaching astronomy to others? Maybe it’s a personal passion that you have. Maybe teaching yoga would allow you the opportunity to practice yoga.


Whatever you write, pick two or three things. 150 to 200 words to explain each of these would give you enough space to elaborate. Otherwise, you talk about 10 things, and it will look like a checklist that you’re ticking off. It would be like you went to the Wharton website, looked at all these things and wrote“I want to be a part of the Consulting club”, or “I’ll be part of the Cricket club”. Don’t do that, just stick to two or three ways in which you can contribute.



Essay for Re-applicants


Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words).


You also have the option to write an essay, say, if you have had gaps in your education, or your experience, or there is something else that you think could not fit anywhere else in the application essay. In this case, you utilize this space, but one piece of advice that I always give to the student is, “Do not try to retrofit something that could not find a place anywhere else, just because you have another 250 words to write.”


I hope this article was useful to you. If you’re applying to Wharton, and if you would like to know more about how we can help you with your application, just go ahead, and click the link below.


  • September, 28th, 2018
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Kellogg School Of Management Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

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  • September, 5th, 2018
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Cambridge University – Judge Business School Essay Analysis 2018-19

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we’ll discuss the Judge Business School at Cambridge, UK. If you’re applying to Judge this year, 2018-19, you have come to the right place.


Let’s first look at the program. The first thing that sets Cambridge and Judge apart is that though the B-School is relatively new,  have this connection to this university, it’s a tradition! Cambridge is over 800 years old. Just imagine! That’s a lot of history. This is where Sir Isaac Newton actually held Chair. This is the place where the whole university system started. These are things that very few schools can boast of!


The second aspect is, If you’re looking for a one year program then yes, Judge has a  great one year program. There are very few one-year programs. Typically, you have two-year programs but the UK usually has a one year program, and of course, Cambridge is one of the best. A one year program entails accelerated learning, so if your opportunity cost is high, this might be the place for you.


The third thing is the fact that you’re in an English speaking country if you’ve decided to go to the UK.  The economy and Brexit apart, it’s an English speaking country, and it is culturally very similar. From an Indian perspective it makes a lot of sense to go to UK rather than to a place like France and Spain where language can be a huge constraint for you. Also, back home in India, and in many the other Asian countries, Cambridge has a brand value. You’re going to be Cambridge educated for rest of your life.


The last aspect, about the program itself is their curriculum. If you look at the website, they talk about their unique curriculum where they say it’s not just going to be about learning within the classroom but also through all the other activities that you do outside the class, be it Business Plan competitions , conferences that you will attend, or exchange programs, and so on. In fact, this is true for typical European MBA programs as opposed to US MBA programs. US MBAs have a  very quantitative rigour, while in a European MBA, UK MBA, it’s a lot about the experience and the ideas to transform you in that one year.



2018-2019 Cambridge Judge MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 7, 2018

Round 2

Application Deadline: October 26, 2018

Round 3

Application Deadline: January 11, 2019

Round 4

Application Deadline: March 8, 2019

Round 5

Application Deadline: May 3, 2019




2018-2019 Cambridge/Judge Essay Questions


There are three main essays that the Cambridge MBA application requires.


Essay 1: Please provide a personal statement.

This is similar to a Statement of Purpose, which you may have heard of when you were in college.  It must not exceed 500 words, and must address the following questions:

• What are your short term and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?

• What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?

• If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?


Essay 2: What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (up to 200 words)


Essay 3: Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)  



Essay 1


Personal Statement


This is similar to a Statement of Purpose, which you may have heard of when you were in college. Let’s look at each of the questions.


  • What are your short term and long term career objectives and what skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?


What is the function, what industry, what geography, and what are the potential employers and f titles you can potentially get? You must be very specific, especially for the short term goal. For the long term goal, maybe it’s okay if you’re not so specific; you can talk about personal aspirations, something that is more of a passion. You have a little leeway to talk about other things. However, whatever you say, it has to be aligned with what you have done. Which is why the second part asks “ What skills/characteristics do you already have that will help you achieve them?” This tells them that you’re the best equipped to reach those goals. So it’s very important for you to make that connect.


  • What actions will you take before and during the MBA to contribute to your career outcome?



Here, they ask for very specific things that you’re going to be doing. So again here, there are looking at whether you have the required focus. Have you already planned on what you’re going to be doing in Cambridge? Maybe you want to work in Europe, in which case you’re probably learning another language. One of our students who went to Cambridge actually learned German. In India, we have Max Mueller Bhavan; he learned German from there.  The whole idea was to say that he was already equipping himself for a career in the UK.


Another student who wanted to get into the financial world, and had a CA ICWA finance background, ended up taking a CFA. He took CFA level 1 and 2. Why? Because you’re already equipping, you’re not putting everything on an MBA degree and saying that you’re banking on this MBA degree to get a job. This is before you get an MBA.


Then, within the MBA program, what is it that you would like to do at Judge. There is a plethora of options; what is it that you’re specifically looking at doing? Articulate this well.


  • If you are unsure of your post-MBA career path, how will the MBA equip you for the future?


In this case, my suggestion would be to not tread the unsure path. You need to tell them you’re very sure about this but you could possibly talk about a Plan B. Plan A could be to get into consulting, but your Plan B could be to get into operations within a company. The reason behind providing Plan B is to make the school comfortable that this is a person who knows that sometimes the best of our plans don’t work out and we need to have a back-up in place. They wouldn’t want someone coming and saying, “I am putting all my  eggs in this one basket called Cambridge MBA.”


How would you structure these 500 words?


My suggestion would be to first talk about your background. Who are you? Where is it that you come from? What do you possess? Based on this, where do you want to go? What are your short term and long term ambitions? Then talk about what you are going to do to bridge the gap. This could beat the MBA program or outside of it. So I would probably put around 150 words for each of the three parts and then 50 words for the starting and the finishing. Make sure that you have a strong start, and a strong finish. All put together, this essay should be about 500 words. Again, this is a very classic career goals essay.



Essay 2


What did you learn from your most spectacular failure? (up to 200 words)


The term “spectacular failure’, if you search for it, you realize it’s a management term that is sometimes used to say, “it’s a huge failure but it’s a failure from which I learned something.” I have heard that in Australia they have elite fighter pilots, and one of the questions that they ask them is “Have you failed at any point of your life?” and if they have not failed, they are actually NOT considered for the program. Guess why? Because they feel that if they have not handled failure, they will not know how to handle failure in the future. It is not a shame to admit failure. A lot of us wonder how we can tell someone that we failed. Well, trust me! Everyone fails in their life at some point or the other.


What is important here?


How did you bounce back? What did you learn? How does that make you a better person? How are you able to apply this learning to all your future endeavors ? That is what they are looking at! Don’t worry! Whatever your failure, don’t try to mask a success by talking about failures. Some of the mistakes students make is that they start writing “Oh, my project was in the doldrums. We had this….and we’ve been making losses…but…” and they eventually talk about how they eventually became successful. Don’t do that. If it’s a failure, just say you cut your losses and moved on.You could pick a personal or professional incident;  it could be something you learned from a relationship, or maybe something that you learned at work. Just describe the failure, and what you learnt.



Essay 3


Describe a situation where you had to work jointly with others to achieve a common goal. What did you learn from the experience? (up to 200 words)


A lot of your MBA experiences is going to be about teamwork. Most of the events, conferences and competitions are all student run. Hence, they are looking for someone who can gel well with others. Here, I would probably first talk about the differences, the diversities in the team. It is very easy to gel well with people who have very similar experiences but if you worked in a team where people have different backgrounds, different experiences, different exposure, you need to say how you were able to build a consensus.  The idea is not to say that you wielded a stick and told them that this was how you wanted it, but say whether you were you willing to let go of something, did you negotiate on something. So they would like to know more about this.After you have done this, say how you became a better person as result of that. How do you take this forward?.


I will give you an example of what someone had written about team-work. He said “One of my biggest problems was dealing with another team member. The problem was that whenever I asked him for anything, he would always say he couldn’t do it, and he would never go out of his way to help me. He is a negative guy.” Then he wrote that was one instance when the team member actually came to him and said “Hey, you know, I feel that you’re struggling at this point. Would you like me to help you?”  and he helped him in that particular case. The writer of the essay then asked the team member why he always said he wouldn’t do something when he was clearly helping now.  The team member answered, “Whenever I help someone, I would like to do a 100%. I don’t want to extend my help and then make you feel that I am here and I am not able to work on my promise.” That is the mindset he got to know. It’s always about learning something. That’s the whole idea behind an MBA experience. That’s what this essay is about.


So this is pretty much what we have for the Cambridge MBA Program. If you’re looking at applying to Judge we would love to see if we can work together on it. Why don’t you just go ahead, and click on this link below!


  • September, 4th, 2018
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University Of Oxford Said Business School Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

Oxford Said
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we’re going to discuss the Said MBA program at Oxford. If you’re looking at applying to Said Business School, here are a couple of things you need to know. Firstly, at this business school, similar to Cambridge, you have this huge connection to the Oxford University system. In fact, if you go to the Said Business School website, you will see a lot about Oxford and you might ask, “why is there such a big deal about Oxford?” It’s because you’re not just looking at the business school which is relatively new but are also getting access to a university that is 700-800 years old. In fact, one of the students who had gone to Oxford said, “One of the first things you do when you join the college, is go on a parade where you walk through the streets of Oxford, wearing black robes and hats, and eventually go to the amphitheatre and the chancellor of Oxford actually addresses the students, believe it or not, in Latin. There is a lot of tradition, a lot of pride. You are Oxford educated! Nobody is going to say what you did there but it’s the university with brand equity.


Second, it’s a great one-year program. If you’re looking at accelerated learning, one-year is a relatively lower opportunity cost. I would definitely pick Oxford as one of the top 5 to 10 schools in the world that I would apply to if I am looking at a one-year program.


The third thing is that Said Business School also prides itself for having a practical approach to an MBA. It’s not just academics.  During the one-year, there are also lots of assignments; there is exposure to real world problems. That’s the other important part of the education. If you look at most European MBAs, they are more qualitative in their experience. They want to make you grow as a person. They want you to have a growth mind-set. While a lot of US schools have more quantitative rigor. If this is the kind of school you want to experience and you want to create a better version of yourself,  Oxford Said should be the top school for you.


These are some of the aspects you need to be looking at for “Why Oxford?”.


Now let’s look at the application deadlines.


2018 – 2019 Said Business School Deadlines


Stage 1

Application Deadline: September 7, 2018

Interview Decision: September 21, 2018

Final Decision: October 19, 2018


Stage 2

Application Deadline: November 2, 2018

Interview Decision: November 16, 2018

Final Decision: December 14, 2018


Stage 3

Application Deadline: January 11, 2019

Interview Decision: February 1, 2019

Final Decision: March 22, 2019


Stage 4

Application Deadline: April 5, 2019

Interview Decision: April 26, 2019

Final Decision: June 7, 2019



Said Business School MBA Essay Analysis 2018-2019


Essay 1


Consider a statistic or trend that shocks you. Why is it important to you and how could it be changed for the better?  (Maximum 500 words)


The first thing is to note, “something that shocks you”, and not “something that surprises you.” What would shock me? Something would shock me because I have my own personal guideline.  I have my own sense of ‘what is right and what is wrong”.

So very clearly it’s in conflict. Maybe it is a poverty figure, maybe it is about how people are consuming more calories. You have all this soda and fast food by which people are getting obese, even in a country like India. It could be anything, so first,  what is the statistic or trend and why is it important to you?  There has to be a personal connect.


One mistake that people make in this essay is that they talk about something like poverty and they say, “Oh! I am so moved by this statistic.” However, what have you done about it? The question states, “why is it important to you, and how could it be changed for the better?”  These are the two questions that you should actually focus on. How does it matter to you?


For example, one of our students wrote about geriatric problems. When people grow old, they tend to have mental illness like dementia. He was shocked that in a place like India, there is not a lot of respect given to people with such issues. If a person goes to a psychiatrist, people just say that he has gone mad. It’s very insensitive in India. So he said, “I was very shocked…”, and he also quoted statistics about people growing old in India without proper geriatric care, especially for mental illness. He said he had personal experience with his grandfather. He said, “I grew up in a household where I saw him, and it pained me.” There is a personal connection to it.


“How could it be changed for the better?”. He had a couple of plans and suggestions. Also, after his grandfather passed away, he had done a few things. He worked for an NGO which took care of old age homes and shelters. That’s what you have to do with 500 words. You have to cover the following points:


• Statistics, and ‘why it shocks you.’ This is very important. Don’t assume that the reader will know why it’s shocking. You need to tell them why it’s shocking, based on the personal parameter you have.


• Why is it important to you? You could have picked any other cause, that’s why you need to tell them why you picked this cause. Say something which has a personal thread to it.

• What is it that can be done to make it better? – You should have already started doing something about the issue, and it should not be like you’re going to wait for 15 years and do nothing about it, and then one day you hope to change it. You can talk about tiny baby steps you have already taken in doing so.


500 words, that’s plenty of space for you to write. Don’t worry, saying “will this will improve my candidacy for the MBA program?” They are just looking for smart and interesting people. They want to see whether this guy has something interesting to say; is he passionate about a cause? One leadership trait is being passionate about something. You pick any leader and you’ll see that he or she has this one particular thing that they feel passionate about, and they have actually done something in that area. That’s what they are really looking at.



Essay 2


Is there anything not covered in the application form which you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you? (Maximum 250 words)


For this essay, pick either:


1. Something that is a gap. For example, a gap in education, a gap in experience, or some anomaly in your GMAT score that you would like to explain.


2. Something that you plan to do but perhaps it’s too early to put the information into your essays. For example, you have a year to join the school, so you can say something like, ‘I would like to let you know that I plan to get my B Level certification in German. That’s something in the future but you think it’s important for the Admission Committee to know.


Either of these two pieces of information can fit into the 250-word essay.


That’s pretty much what we have for the Oxford Said MBA program, and if you’re applying to the program this year, please let us know if we could work together on this, by clicking the link below.


  • August, 30th, 2018
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McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University Essay Analysis 2018-2019

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I am going to talk about Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business. If you’re looking at applying to this school in 2017-2018, you have come to the right place.


First, let’s talk about the college itself.  McDonough is part of Georgetown University, which is one of the oldest universities, and is located in Washington DC; most politicians’ children have actually gone to this university. It has a very good alum network, and that is a huge plus point. Another plus point is that being in Washington DC, the university is part of a large city. Hence, its location is great!


Now, apart from the great alum network and the location, what differentiates this program is the international focus and global experience. For example, in the second year, they have the Global Experience program as part of the MBA curriculum where students are given practical consulting projects in numerous international locations. That is one example of the kind of international focus they have. In fact, if you look at the whole curriculum, it has a lot of focus on international business. This is because Georgetown University itself has the School of Foreign Services. This is definitely one top reason for you to apply.



2018-2019 Georgetown McDonough Deadlines


Round One

Application Deadline: October 9, 2018

Notification Date: December 19, 2018

Deposit Due: February 15, 2019


Round Two

Application Deadline: January 7, 2019

Notification Date: March 26, 2019

Deposit Due: April 26, 2019


Round Three

Application Deadline: April 1, 2019

Notification Date: May 15, 2019

Deposit Due: May 28, 2019


Round Four

Application Deadline: May 1, 2019

Notification Date: May 31, 2019

Deposit Due: June 6, 2019 



2018-2019 Georgetown MBA Essay Questions


Essay 1:


Describe a defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations. (The moment can be a professional or personal one. If personal, then please also include how it had an impact on your professional development) (500 words or fewer)


This is a classic essay where you’re talking about that one moment in your life, or that one thing that you did which possibly defines you. 500 words is a lot of space for you to craft out a good essay. Pick something where you felt that more than the impact it caused others you learned a lot from the experience.  You want to pick something through which you had an impact on others, but remember that the question says, “Describe a defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations.”  Now think about it. Expectations can be very low, you may have overcome the expectations, you might have done well above them. Here, you have to tell them more than what you did; say what it did for you!


After you pick the story, you can use the standard START framework. You talk about the SITUATION – When did this happen? What was the background? What do you think would give gravity to the whole story?  Consider all this while describing the situation. The second thing to cover is the TASK. What were you supposed to do?  What was expected of you when you walked into the situation?. Third, the ACTION. What was the action that you did? What did you eventually do? Did you go and look at the scenario and think something can be done? What action did you take? Fourth, the RESULT. What was the result? Remember that you’re talking about the “Defining moment when you were challenged and exceeded expectations.” The last factor is the personal TAKEAWAYS. This is very important. What were the takeaways?  You have to cover the situation, task, action, result, and takeaways; I would probably spend a lot more on the takeaways. What did I learn about myself? Did it help me in other areas of my life? If it did, how did it help me? The B-School is trying to understand you as a person; that’s what the really want to know. Who are you? Is this the person they would like to see in their class?. You need to bring a personal aspect to the story. More than the occasion, I would say what you learnt should be the larger, overarching thing.


Video Essay:


The required video essay is an opportunity for you to bring life to your application. Please introduce yourself to your future Georgetown MBA cohort in a one minute video. The Admission Commission would like you to appear in person during part of your video and we strongly encourage you to speak outside of the experiences we can read on your resume. Use this video as an opportunity to bring life into your application.


Don’t repeat the things on your resume. However, you need to introduce yourself to your cohort, which is your team. What is it that you’re going to say in one minute, which is not already in your resume? You should pick just two or three things you want to share about yourself because 60 seconds will be done very quickly. Share certain things that are personal to you. Maybe you want to say “My name is…”, followed by an adjective, then go on to describe what that adjective means in your context. Talk about your hobbies. Say how you would like to share that hobby with your classmates. You’re bringing your personality into this. What they really want to know is, “if I look at you, are you a paper tiger? Or are you a person that I would like to talk to? Are you a person that I would like to interact with? How good is your communication? Are you able to maintain eye contact? What is your body language?


You don’t need any fancy equipment. One thing people ask me is, “Do I need to get it professionally shot?” These days, with the kind of phones we have, all you need is to keep the phone at a particular place and shoot the video.

  • Make sure that the source of light is not behind you but is on your face or even above you.
  • You need to be confident, you need to use your hands. You need to be yourself.
  • You can take as many retakes as you want. Maybe you’re going to first get comfortable talking and then take the final version.
  • You can have it directed. Maybe your friend who holds the camera, who gives an unbiased opinion about the video, could also help you.


Optional Essay 1:


If you are not currently employed full-time, use this essay to provide information about your current activities. (250 words or fewer)


If you’re utilizing this essay, remember it is not about having a full-time job as long as you can show them that you are creatively engaged in any activity, and utilizing your time well. Maybe you are taking some online courses. You have 250 words and you can tell them anything else in your application that has not been covered. Ensure that you talk about something that is relevant. Don’t try to fit in some story because it did not find a place elsewhere. Talk about what you would probably do in your future, maybe there is some course that you are planning to do next year, or any other passion that you would like to pursue. Maybe you want to learn to play guitar before you join the B-School.


Don’t just write another story, like, “At work, I was given an opportunity to do this and ….”. Don’t do this.


Optional Essay 2:


Please provide any information you would like to add to your application that you have not otherwise included. (500 words or fewer)


Re-Applicant Essay:


How have you strengthened your candidacy since your last application? We are particularly interested in hearing about how you have grown professionally and personally. (500 words or fewer)


So that’s pretty much what we have. If you’re applying to Georgetown McDonough, please go ahead and click the link below. We’ve had a lot of students who went there in the past, and we can share our experience of what it takes to really get in. So.


  • August, 30th, 2018
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Duke – Fuqua School of Business Essay Analysis 2018-2019

Duke Fuqua
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Welcome to this article! In this article, I am going to show you what you need to do if you’re looking at applying to the Duke Fuqua MBA program 2018-19.


Let us first understand what we can about this school, especially if you’re an international applicant or if you’re applying from a country like India.


A lot of US B-Schools take their culture very seriously. If you go to the Duke website, they talk about Team Fuqua. Team Fuqua is essentially about how collaborative they are in spirit. This aspect is different from Harvard, or other larger college, which do not pride themselves for their team spirit. Fuqua has a huge advantage when it comes to demonstrating its pride of bonding. If you reach out to people who have been alums, you will see that most of them are happy to help you.


We’ve had many students from CrackVerbal joining Fuqua. In fact, every year, we’ve had one student who has gone to Fuqua. We have Mansha, who got into the program last year, and you can see her interview here.


The second big thing about the Fuqua program is the healthcare specialization; it is hard to miss. Duke Fuqua School of Business is connected to the Duke University, which has one of the best healthcare programs.


In terms of location, Duke is in North Carolina, where there is a research triangle. Thus, if you’re looking for healthcare, Duke is the place to be. However, if healthcare is not your cup of tea, don’t try to retrofit it inside your story or into your essays.


Thirdly, Duke is famous for the way the curriculum is structured. If you look at its curriculum, in the first year, the program has a lot more electives, and the actual courses are a lot shorter. It gives you the flexibility to choose a lot more electives.


By the time you complete the first year, you’re ready for your summer internship; you have the right stories in your resume, and in the interview you can express your interest by saying why you took these electives, and how you’re in a better position to do well in the job.  


In this respect, Duke Fuqua is different from other B-Schools where the first year is rigid, and you have to go through a bunch of core courses. Most of the students who apply to Duke from CrackVerbal India are looking at it as a top 10 B-School. Duke is usually ranked somewhere in the 7 to10 range, depending on which ranking you look at, be it US News, Business Week, or Bloomberg ranking.


By just looking at the data, the average age is probably slightly higher, but you really don’t have to read too much into this. The important thing is the GMAT score.


The average GMAT score ranges from  640 to 670. In my experience, students who apply to Duke have typically got in with a range of 710 to 740. You definitely need to get into the right zone which is the lower 700s, if you’re looking at realistic chances.


Now, coming to something very important. Duke is said to have an Early Action Round. The Early Action Round this year is by  the 12th of September.


What is an Early Action Round for Duke?


One of the important things about Duke is the Early Action Round. So what really is this Early Action Round?

A huge problem that many colleges whose ranking is in the 7th to 25th range  face is that many students are looking at applying to other similar schools as well.


The person who is applying to Duke is also applying to HAAS Berkeley and Darden. The metric that Duke would look at is the yield percentage, that is, the number of people to whom offers were made to how many really took up the offer. B-Schools really work on that number, they really want a high yield percentage.


So what Duke has done is that it has this binding offer. If you apply to the Early Action Round, you are really telling them that you’re  going to join them, and you won’t apply to any other school. If you are made this offer and you decide to take up this offer, you will not apply to any other B-School. You can see how it makes sense for Duke.


They have a pool of very competent people that they are admitting, and they know that these people are going to join the program.


From the student’s perspective, how will this help?


It is better than applying in Round 1 or Round 2;  you have an advantage and a probability of getting a seat. Not many schools have this advantage of an Early Action Round, but Duke has it. If Duke is the school you’re looking at, please go ahead and take this offer.


Now let’s get to the meat of it, the application process.


2018-2019 Duke / Fuqua Deadlines


Early Action

Application Deadline: September 12, 2018

Interview Notification: September 25, 2018

Decision Notification: October 19, 2018


Round One

Application Deadline: October 10, 2018

Interview Notification: November 8, 2018

Decision Notification: December 13, 2018


Round Two

Application Deadline: January 3, 2019

Interview Notification: January 31, 2019

Decision Notification: March 18, 2019


Round Three

Application Deadline: March 20, 2019

Interview Notification: April 10, 2019

Decision Notification: April 29, 2019



2018-2019 Duke / Fuqua MBA Essay Questions




Required Short Answer Questions


Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

What are your long-term goals?

Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?


First Required Essay: 25 Random Things About Yourself


Instructions: Present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.


The question that most of the students have is, “what do I write, and what are the possible things I can write?” 25 things is a lot to write. This is not one of those essays for which you can do an all-nighter to complete. It’s very important that you plan this essay well. What you need to do is to create the following buckets:



The first bucket should include personal information about you – It could be the place where you were born, something about your siblings, something about your parents, or something about the city in which you grew up.


I will give you a couple of examples. Some students from CrackVerbal wrote about both their parents being teachers, and how they got to understand early in life that teaching is such a noble profession. Someone spoke about their name, mentioning that the name is very interesting, and what it actually means in Sanskrit. It’s just a random fact; you don’t need to have each and every fact saying why you need to get into an MBA program. Don’t try to retrofit it. People have spoken about their siblings; one student mentioned an interesting thing saying, “we are three brothers but the eldest one is 10 years older to me, so it’s almost like he is my surrogate father.” These are some of the interesting things you can write from a personal aspect.


Then the second bucket could be hobbies, or even quirks that you have. For  example: “I like riding my bike late at night, I sometimes go on a 30 to 40 miles trip. I see that it sometimes clears up my thinking. I just go out on the road without really thinking too much, and by the time I am back I just have this moment of clarity.”


You can also talk about a particular hobby that you picked up when you were in school, maybe you are a trivia quizzer, and you like quizzing. Pick something which is interesting that you did when you were in school or college. It could also be at your work. One of my students had written this, “Whenever I look at a car registration number, I look at the four digit number, and start mentally doing the math. I see whether it is divisible by 4, and whether it  is divisible by 6, or if there is any unique combination that I can get out of the numbers” She also went on to say that this was possibly one of the reasons why she played Sudoku.


The third bucket could be things that are in relation to work, slightly more professional, maybe an NGO involvement that you have had, or something else at work, maybe something that your colleagues call you. Write anything but try not to make it into a bullet point that should go into your resume. That’s definitely a NO but you can pick something interesting from your professional life. Here is an example:


One student had written how he figured out a solution in the company, and it got them recognition and he actually had his name in the annual newsletter for the company. He said, “that was my biggest achievement in life.”  It could be about small things that you did, with great outcomes you got out of them;  something that really excited you.


The last, fourth bucket could be something internal, something that is introspective, something about you as a person.


For example, you could talk about things like:


What are the qualities that really define you

What are the adjectives people would use to describe you

For example, you could say “I am a person who would like to be constantly challenged at work…” That’s probably one of the things you can write.


hese are the buckets, or broad categories in which you could divide the 25 things. If you really look at it, you just need about four or five in each of these buckets. Don’t keep it for yourself, go and ask people. Maybe you can ask your friends and family, “what are the things you think are unique about me?”, and you can then have a list of 40 to 50 things, and slowly cut it down.


Again, this is not so much about them deciding whether you’re fit for an MBA but they are really seeing, “is this person interesting?”, “Has he or she done enough things in life? Have they done enough introspection themselves?”


That’s what this essay is really looking for. “Would I want to meet this person for a face -to-face interview? Would I want the person to be part of our school for the next two years?” eep that as the focus of this essay.


Second Required Essay


Instructions: Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.


Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.

Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?

As I have said, it’s a huge part of Team Fuqua. They want people who are not here to just take take take…. but rather give give give…. They want to know what you can contribute. The best way to approach this is to probably pick three or four things that you can contribute. The mistake which most of the students typically do in this essay is that they go to the Fuqua website and pick a laundry list of 500  things and then just write one line for each. Please don’t do that. Pick three or four things that are central. For example, you’re in technology, so you need to pick something that you’re going to do in technology.You can say you want to be in the technology club. Tell them what you can contribute and what you can take from the club, and it should be personal. Write three to four points, each one having about 250 to 300 words. You need to have an opening and an ending. It will take at least two pages. Pick only 3 to 4 things, and not 100 things.


Optional Essay


If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance).


Students ask, “should I write the optional essay?” Write the optional essays when you feel that there is something really important for you to say. The common mistakes I have seen students making over this essay is that they just feel like there is one thing that they want to say, and they just try to fit in an accomplishment, which really doesn’t make any sense. Here are some of the things that you could possibly add.  


  • If you have had an academic break,

  • if you have had a break in your employment,

  • if you want to explain a poor integrated reasoning score in your GMAT.

  • If you want to talk about something, for example, “I have my own network and I would like to let you know that though I believe in career advancement and placements help me, I would also like to rely on my network. ”

Write anything which can explain and improve your candidature.



  • August, 26th, 2018
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Yale School Of Management Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

Yale SOM
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Let’s look at Yale School of Management. What really makes Yale different from other B-schools? What makes it unique?


1. Yale is one of the original Ivy League schools. The term “Ivy League” is used for a set of schools which are 100+ years old; they have ivy creepers. Yale is one such school. The School of Management is a relatively new school but Yale has the brand equity that makes it “gold” standard for employers in the US, and across the world.


2. Another thing that Yale prides itself for is its innovative curriculum. If you go to Yale’s website, they tell us that in their curriculum, they do not go discipline by discipline but rather understand that management is the relationship among multiple disciplines that constitute any company. That’s the best thing you can talk about in your essays and interview with Yale.


3. Yale has just about 300 students when compared to Harvard, Stanford and Wharton, which have a larger number. With just 300 students, the class is a very intimate group, and you get easy access to the professors. The culture is not as competitive as it would be in larger classes simply because you know all your peers well.


4. Yale has a good connection with the financial center of the world which is in New York because Yale is in New Haven, which is close to New York. You have many Yale alumni in New York city; in the business district, so the connection with the financial market is also very strong.



2018-2019 Yale MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 12, 2018

Decision release: December 5, 2018


Round 2

Application deadline: January 7, 2019

Decision release: April 2, 2019


Round 3

Application deadline: April 16, 2019

Decision release: May 21, 2019



2018-2019 Yale MBA Essay Analysis Video




2018-2019 Yale MBA Essay Question


Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)


So, what really is this commitment? This commitment may be a particular idea or particular cause that really is your passion in life. This commitment can also be the one thing that drives you.


One of our students from CrackVerbal faced the same essay question last year. He was a technology geek. He loved technology, and believed that every problem in the world can be solved by technology. When he had to write this essay he went back and wrote on how he started something on his own, along with his full-time job.


He also mentioned in his essay what he felt technology could do to fix problems.He spoke about how he had the patience to complete the research for which he had filed a patent application, while he was at his first job.


If you look closely here, he did not speak about his interest in technology but rather how he felt technology could solve problems in the world. This statement perfectly matched his goal to be a product manager after completing his MBA. The idea here is not to say why MBA, but to talk about you.


Most of the B-Schools are focusing on this line of thought where they want to know who you are. When it comes to writing essays, most of us make a common mistake. We search for information about the school, and write a few nice lines about why this B-School, and why it’s a perfect fit for you.


Considering these factors, schools like Yale take a first step in analyzing you thoroughly. They will want to know, “Is this person interesting?” So when writing this essay, make sure you don’t write too much about the B-schools and why an MBA.


A student from CrackVerbal, while writing this essay, mentioned his commitment to helping people who did not have the same opportunities he had.


He did his schooling at Ramakrishna Mission in India.  During his school days, he decided that he had to do something to help people around him. This zeal continued while he was in college, too. In his essay, he also talked about a major calamity which happened in India, where he volunteered, and did sizeable on-ground work for two weeks during the floods.


The most important thing that moved the essay forward was the kind of personal commitment he had.  It wasn’t just writing a cheque to some orphanage saying that he was committed to the cause. He rolled up his sleeves, and helped those in need.


Although he was applying for an MBA from a business perspective, in his everyday life, he realized that this was a privilege he had, and helping others was a commitment he had. This very strong statement pushed his essay through.


You can pick that one thing that has been a thread throughout your life, and this one idea can have multiple instances. You don’t need to worry about it having to be just one incident.


Make sure you’re running a thread which talks about all of these instances. Make sure that all these instances are under a super thread, which is basically your idea; your commitment.


This process is not easy, and it requires a lot of brainstorming.


That’s what happens when a student comes to CrackVerbal for the application process. We spend the first few sessions just talking through their stories, trying to understand the student a little better.


If you feel that we can help you, go ahead, and click the link below.


  • August, 16th, 2018
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ISB Essay Analysis 2019 – 2020

Reading Time: 33 minutes

Let us guess – you’re here because you got a decent GMAT score, so you’re planning to apply to ISB, but the essay questions have you confounded.

If you’ve spent a lot of time staring at a blank word document or writing a ton of stuff only to end up deleting it, you’ve come to the right place. This blog is going to be pretty useful even if you’ve come here before trying to write your own essays.

We’re going to help you write powerful ISB application essays for 2019-20.

Now, we wish we could promise you that following a couple of steps will guarantee you a spot on the ISB PGP batch of 2020, but there’s no clear formula for getting in. Here’s the next best thing: a few steps that will significantly improve your chances if you follow them well!

In this article, we will take you behind the scenes to analyze what exactly ISB is looking for through the essays. Then, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to tackle the ISB application essays this year.

We will be touching upon the following sections:

  1. Important Dates and Rounds for ISB
  2. ISB MBA Application Essay Analysis
  3. What does ISB look for in Applicants?
  4. Typical Applicant Categories at ISB
  5. How to Write to Impress the ISB AdCom

Let’s get started right away!

1. Important dates and rounds for ISB

Here’s a quick summary of ISB’s history to show you what perspective ISB might come at this from:

ISB was a pioneer of one-year MBA programs in India; its PGP has been around for nearly 20 years now. ISB’s brand value has grown massively over the years, especially since it started ranking among the top 30 business schools worldwide. It has developed a very strong base of alumni not just in India but also around the world.

ISB pioneered the concept of ‘One School, Two Campuses’, with one campus in Hyderabad, Telangana and another at Mohali, Punjab. There are 600 to 650 students in Hyderabad and 250-300 students in Mohali, making it a batch of 900 students. You can read our take on whether the two campuses are truly alike in our article about it.

Now, let’s come to what you can expect this year.

First, let’s look at the dates released by ISB:

ISB deadlines 2019

A note above this Admission Calendar on the ISB website reads, “Though applying in either round does not impact your chances of securing an admission offer, we encourage you to apply in Round 1 to improve your chances of receiving a scholarship.”

As per the ISB official website, here are a few reasons why you should be doing so:

  • Full tuition fee waivers will be offered only to Round 1 applicants
  • 50% of all merit and need-based waivers will be offered to Round 1 applicants

The obvious difference between rounds is the application fee. But while these benefits may look quite tempting, you should know that there’s more to it than meets the eye. We can tell you from experience that this is a result of the marketing team’s push to ensure that ISB is your first choice.

So, is applying in the first round actually advantageous?

Our recommendation is to apply in the round where you think you stand the highest chances of getting in. So, if you think you need to retake the GMAT and then apply in Round 2 or 3, do that. If you have a strong profile and a well-written application, the round you apply in won’t affect your chances very much.

No matter which round you apply in, the program only begins in April 2020 and ends in April 2021.

The PGP has a total of 8 terms, which in turn have mid-term and end-term exams. In all, you have to take 16 exams in 12 months. Further, there will be five courses per term.

Don’t let this scare you off; the info is just meant to help you understand why ISB is so picky about choosing applicants. They have to choose students who won’t break under the pressure but will thrive in it, instead.

This brings us to the next section in which we discuss the application process and ISB essay analysis 2019-2020.

2. ISB Application Essay Analysis 2019-20

This year too, as it has done traditionally, ISB has stuck to two themes in its MBA application essay questions:

  1. Tell us how you are different from others
  2. Tell us why you want the ISB PGP

On the face of it, the premise seems pretty simple but let us dig deep into what ISB is trying to gauge through these questions.

Essay Question 1

There will be 900 students in the Class of 2021. Why should you be one of them?

A. What is ISB looking for?

This essay is really asking WHO are you.

Think of it this way, ISB already has your undergraduate transcripts, your GMAT/GRE scores, your work experience, your application form, your extracurricular activities, the awards and recognition you have received, and letters from your recommenders detailing your strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself: Why does ISB still want me to write this essay?

The answer is clear:

ISB wants to know more about you than the numbers / the statistics / the records reveal.

What they want to know is what makes you who you are. They want to get a sense of what you would be like in their classroom.

And you have a generous 400 words to show them exactly that.

B. How to approach this essay

There are many ways you can approach this essay but we would recommend telling two stories that showcase your personality.

Now, you may have mentioned some achievements in your profile so you might think you should not repeat things.

But here’s the thing:

If you write about how a certain achievement was made possible, it can be a powerful story. It provides more depth to the achievement itself. So, don’t hesitate to write about something you may have mentioned briefly elsewhere in your application.

Further, we recommend that you pick two stories from two different areas of your life for maximum effect. For example, one could be a work-related story and the other could be a personal one. Whatever you choose to go with, consider using the ‘START’ framework to effectively tell your stories.

The START framework is:

Situation: Explain the background in which this story takes place
Task: Even if you achieved something as a result of team work, mention what your specific contribution was
Action: Write about what steps you took to complete your task
Results: Elaborate on the direct outcomes of your actions
Takeaways: Talk about what you learned from that experience

Before you start writing the essays, sit down with a bunch of post-it notes and do this:

Write down everything you would like to say about yourself, one idea on each post-it.

Ask your friends or family for help if you have trouble recollecting stories that highlight your strengths. Once you have it all written down, try to pass each of them through these three tests:

  1. Relevancy Test:
  2. – Is it relevant to your application?
    – Does it showcase your capability?

  3. Recency Test:
  4. – Is this something that happened in the last 2-3 years?
    – If from earlier, does it have an overarching impact on me?

  5. Uniqueness Test:
  6. – Is this something that is different from what my peer group does?
    – Does this help differentiate my candidature from others?

At the end of the process, you should be left with the top 2-3 things you should write about in your essays. Then, on to the next step!

C. How to structure your essays

Here is the deal:

The last thing you want to do is sound abrupt or over-eager to impress. So, take your time and come up with something to open and close your stories with.

Here is a structure you can follow if you’re weaving two stories together:

  • Introduction – 50 words. This is the preamble to the essay
  • Story #1 – 150 words. You need to say what quality, why you think so, and how you would contribute to ISB with that trait.
  • Story #2 – 150 words. Repeat what you do for story #2.
  • Closing – 50 words. In this conclusion, try to come back full circle and tie this to what you opened the essay with.

Note that a well-rounded essay will get you extra brownie points for driving the central point home.

What this structure does is, it hints at a certain set of qualities in the intro, describes them in detail through the stories, and ends by emphasizing that the point you started to make in the intro has now been made.

But wait, we’re not done with this essay till we take you through the next section.

D. What NOT to do in this essay

Here are the most common mistakes that people commit in this essay so beware:

  • Writing stuff from your resume: If there is stuff you have mentioned in detail elsewhere in your application then do not rewrite it here. Just focus on the subjective parts of the story so you can reveal the person behind the numbers.
  • Explaining in too much detail: Wasting valuable space explaining the problem in so much detail that you are left with no space to explain your personal takeaways and contribution to ISB. Remember that the details can be explained in the interview.
  • Stuffing: Trying to mention too many qualities and ending up with nothing memorable. For example, if you say you are empathetic, creative, passionate, honest, responsible, kind, courageous, self-aware, a life-long learner, a good listener, a strong leader… You get the drift, right? It’ll never work! Stick to just 2-3 adjectives and drive home the point.

Keep in mind that there is a word limit to this essay. You have to be able to say everything you need to within that much.

Essay Question 2

What will you be doing in 2025 and 2030? How will the ISB PGP help you to achieve these goals? (400 words)

A. What is ISB looking for?

In our opinion, this is nothing but a short-term and long-term career goals essay.

ISB wants to make sure you’re not just another “cubicle rat” who only wants a higher salary and is willing to do anything for it. They don’t want people who don’t have a clear and specific idea of what they want from their careers.

ISB wants people who have some long-term goal clarity and know exactly how the PGP will help them achieve that.

Note that ISB is asking you to write about your goals a couple of years after graduating. This is because it wants to allow you some time to find your feet and maneuver things in your direction. Things might take time to work in your favour so it doesn’t make sense to ask what you’ll do immediately after you graduate.

In 3-5 years, though, you should expect to be doing what you really want to do.

ISB wants to know if you have a enough goal clarity to know what you really want.

Here are a few more aspects that ISB will look for in this essay:

  • High Employability – Someone who won’t have to struggle to find a job after graduating.
  • Realistic Expectations – Someone who knows exactly what she can gain from ISB rather than expecting it to be Alladin’s magic lamp.
  • Clarity of Thought – Someone who knows not only where she is headed but also how to get there.

Given this, it is important that you come across as a person who has a “plan” in place through this essay.

It is also important that you don’t fall for the typical “myths” that abound on the internet about what kind of career paths are available post-ISB: Check out the 14 Post-MBA Career Questions that ISB Answers!

B. How to approach this essay

There are three parts to this essay: your 2025 goal, your 2030 goal, and how you think ISB’s PGP is going to help you. So, you need to figure out three answers.

First, identify your career goal by considering three things:

  • Function: Figure out the role in which you see yourself. Do you want to be in Consulting, Finance, Marketing, Operations, or HR? Pick any one you like!
  • Industry: Since any function will have applications in every industry, pick out which one you want to be in, too.
  • Geography: Do you want to stay in India or go abroad? In case of the latter, where exactly do you see yourself?

Use Linkedin in your research to see the kind of positions you could get into after your PGP. Here’s a great place to start!

Once you elaborate on your 2025 goal, the 2030 goal becomes sort of self-evident.

In any case, we recommend not getting into too much detail on the 2030 goal because you don’t have much space. You can only write 400 words. The AdCom will be okay with getting an idea that you know where you’re heading.

To address the second part of the question, spend some time researching how ISB will help you meet your goals.

Remember, ISB also wants prospective candidates to know that it can help them meet their goals. So, a significant amount of their own content could give you the answer to how this PGP will help you. Start by taking a look at the ISB website itself and go where intuition takes you from there.

Soon enough, you will have answers to the “what you need to say” part of this essay.

Now, we move on to talking about how you should say it for maximum effect.

C. How to structure your essay

There are three things to talk about in this essay, and the structure of your essay needs to consider what ISB wants to see, too. The focus should be equally divided between what you want to say and what ISB wants to see.

So, here’s approximately how you should split up your essay to answer both these questions:

  1. Career Goals – 150 to 200 words
  2. How this PGP will help you achieve them – 200 to 250 words

But let’s get a little more specific about this for the sake of clarity.

You can get straight to the point on this essay. It is a direct question and there isn’t enough space to accommodate an introduction. Start off by describing the job you see yourself doing by 2025. Remember to mention the function, industry, company size, and location you’ve thought of.

Do this in about 150-170 words.

Don’t get into too much detail about the 2030 goal; just make sure that it logically follows your 2025 goal. Try not to exceed 200 words including both your career goals.

The next part is the most important; it’s about how ISB’s PGP will help you.

Start with the tools you will need in order to achieve your goal. For example, if you have a background in marketing, you’ll need to understand how Finance, Operations, and Logistics work to get into a management role.

So, you need cross-functional knowledge. Similarly, you need leadership and team management skills, too. Talk about how the PGP will help you gain these things.

Also mention how ISB’s vast network and brand value will help speed up the whole process of achieving your goals.
Conclude by summarizing your goals, and dedicate one or two lines to talking about how ISB can give you the tools to achieve them.

D. What NOT to do in this essay

In the first part, you need to walk the ‘Goldilocks line’ with regard to your career goal.

The goal you speak of has to be ‘just right’.

What we mean is, you need to ensure that your goal sounds lofty enough to make ISB believe that you wouldn’t achieve it without their PGP. At the same time, you have to make sure that it is also realistic.

So, don’t end up saying you want to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company within a decade of graduating.

That’s clearly an impractical expectation to have, even from yourself.

But you have to avoid sounding too basic, as well.

For example, becoming a project manager at an IT company is not something you need ISB’s brand value for. You could do that with an MBA from elsewhere, too. Make it a point to explain how you can achieve a goal and why you need ISB’s help to do so.

Further, this is a very tight essay, so ensure that you use your words wisely. Make sure you don’t:

Repeat things that are already in your profile or in the first essay.

Be vague about career goals. Wanting to “dedicate the year to learning, self-discovery, and exploration of possible careers” may sound very cool, but it shows the exact absence of focus that ISB will want to avoid.

Offer generic praise for ISB’s “world-class infrastructure”. What ISB wants to know is if you understand how to use those facilities to get ahead in life. Showing general appreciation for them will work against you.
Let’s now turn to what ISB wants in your personality.

3. What does ISB look for in applicants?

To be quite straightforward, there are three basic things that ISB wants from applicants.

A. Academic Credentials

This would be your 12th standard grades, graduation grades, post graduation and certification scores and of course, the all-important: GMAT/GRE score. Here is our analysis of the GMAT and GRE scores needed for ISB:

> 5 Things You Should Know About The GRE Scores for ISB

> The Secret Behind the GMAT Score for ISB

B. Leadership Potential

To quote the ISB site: “Applicants are evaluated on the basis of the impact they have made in their past professional and personal life.”

What this essentially means is this: tell us something that was a big deal. Either at work or outside of it.

This should be quantifiable – you should be able to say what you achieved by this. Typically this can be measured by out of turn promotions, and/or awards that attest your achievement.

C. Personal Attributes

To quote the site: “At ISB, we would look for versatile and well-rounded individuals who can contribute to the society in positive and meaningful ways.”

Essentially this means: We don’t want self-absorbed people who cannot look beyond their own personal gains. We want people who can be team players because almost all the activities at ISB are organized by the students.

Also, given that ISB follows the “case study” methodology – it is important to have a diverse opinion in the classroom so that the quality of participation is higher. This is good news for people who bring a different perspective.

Here are some of the “myths” that stop people with lower GMAT scores and higher work experience from applying to ISB.

As long as you have these three attributes, you stand a good chance to get an admit!

4. How does ISB Categorize Applicants?

ISB has never officially revealed this information, but you need to know the answer to improve your chances of getting in. So, we’re giving you our analysis of the categories that we think you could fall into.

A school like ISB will typically have 4 types of applicants. Let’s take a look at each type:

A. High Achievers

So you have been a topper/ranker/any-term-that-says-you’re-a-high-achiever all of your life. You typically went to one of the IITs and have ended up with an obscenely high GMAT score. Moreover, you work for an employer that most people would die (or kill) for.

You have a very high chance of getting in! I don’t need to say this to you.

Just a word of caution:

You need to ensure you navigate through this application process carefully. You don’t want to be misunderstood as either an 800-pound alpha male gorilla who suffers from low EQ or an applicant who is aiming for the top 10 US B-Schools but wants ISB on “stand by” mode.

B. Diversity Candidates

So, not many people can claim of having the demographic profile you enjoy. You typically work for a very underrepresented industry. Say, you are a NIFT graduate working in the merchandising department of Levi Strauss. Or you are a doctor who practices in the Vidarbha region. Or how about an Army major who has served on the Siachen glacier. Foreign applicants fall in this pool too.

ISB would love to have you in the class to improve its diversity.

There is only one thing for you to be worried about:

Most people in this category end up not having great GMAT scores – which is fine as long as it is above 600 (read why here!). So, you need to help address concerns about your ability to manage the coursework. The second part of the concern would be – no one in your industry NEEDs an MBA so what would be your “why”. If you can articulate clearly how an MBA is going to help you then you should pretty much nail the application.

Note: Though women applicants are favored – you won’t be in this group if you are from the typical pre-MBA industries of IT, Finance, etc.

C. Poor Profiles

Typically you come with one of 3 issues in your application:

You have a gap in your academic record – typically patchy with “breaks”

Your experience level is on the lower side – again with some gaps

Your GMAT score is about 50-point lower than your peer group’s

In some cases, you may have more than one issue to tackle.

ISB is really worried about taking you in the Class of 2019 because you just don’t seem exciting enough for them to take you in.

If retaking the GMAT is out of the question, then our recommendation is to focus on the unique traits and characteristics in your personality. Write kicka$$ essays and pray that you get an interview call. And if you do get an interview call – dazzle the interview panel with your wit, personality, and humor. Do you get the drift? So you need to really outshine in the other departments!

D. Demographically Disadvantaged

There is a very high chance you are probably in this category. You have a decent GMAT score – 680-720 types. You have decent academics (top 25%) from a decent college (think: DCE, RVCE, PEC, etc). You work in a very traditional industry (IT, Finance, Operations) with an employer who recruits heavily from campuses (TCS, Wipro, Infosys, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, Reliance, Tata).

There is nothing wrong with your profile but ISB is just confused on how to evaluate you. There are just too many of your ilk applying this year. With the startup scene slowing down, and tech & manufacturing sector not looking very rosy in the face of automation – there are just a LOT of applicants this year who have similar profiles as yours.

So what do you do:

Here are 3 key things you need to do:

Differentiate! Differentiate! Differentiate!

The biggest mistake people make is that they try to “fit in”. They will say the same things that everyone else is saying and pick the same post-MBA goals (consulting). So the essays read the same “I was working on this tough project, the client was demanding, and my boss had quit – so I stepped up to the plate, worked late hours, and won laurels for completing the project on time.”

Here is a simple exercise. Create an imaginary character. Let’s call him Amit.

Amit has a profile “similar” to yours but just a little better.

So, if you have 3 years working in Infosys, Amit has 4 years experience working in Microsoft.

If you have graduated from BITS Pilani then Amit has graduated from IIT-Delhi.

If you have a 720 on the GMAT then Amit has a 740 on it.

Do you get the picture? Everything like you – but just a little better.

So, the challenge you have now is: how do I convince ISB that I am better than “Amit”.

Note: For women applicants, just replace Amit with Anjali

The idea is that you have to fit into one of these four categories. If you haven’t already understood where you fit in, seek help from a friend or another third person. Finding out where you stand will have a major impact on how you need to frame your application. So, make sure you find out before you start writing your essays!

5. How to write to impress the ISB Adcom

Okay, we know the heading sounds interesting but the answer is quite contrary to what you might expect:

Do not attempt to impress the ISB AdCom!!

Not only will they be able to see that you are not being yourself, but you will also do a great disservice to yourself by sounding similar to all the other applicants!

Being yourself can be a pretty daunting task. Not only do you need to figure out who you are but you also have to be that person!

Still, that’s the strategy we recommend very strongly.

10 Things to Check Before Submitting Your ISB Application Essays

1. Make sure you have answered the question – and that you did not meander into something else while writing. This typically happens when we write – edit – proofread multiple times.
2. Ensure you clearly state your point and not leave it to the reader’s imagination. It is important not to let anything be assumed and consequently misconstrued.
3. Remove any sentence that sounds negative – either about people or about organizations or about circumstances. You need to take it on your chin and move on.
4. Avoid cliches and superficial ideas – you start using business jargon in an attempt to sound “smart”. Remember to write the way you would speak – using your own unique voice.
5. Do not try to “impress” the admission committee. You will not only come across as shallow but also as someone who is not true to himself/herself. The adcom can sniff a “fake” from a mile away.
6. Do not rewrite your resume. It is important that you write about facets of your work and personal life that are not captured elsewhere in the application form.
7. Be honest – anything you say – can and will be used against you. Also, remember that when you embellish your achievements – the interview panel is sure to catch you.
8. The last thing you want is to have some silly spelling or grammatical mistakes. This may show you in poor light: as someone who doesn’t have an eye for detail.
9. Talk about different aspects of you that have not been captured elsewhere. A story about you growing up that has had a profound impact on you? Sure! A difficult part in your life that has shaped who you are today? Of course.
10. Always focus on the personal takeaways you have had through the story. Else by itself the story will lack the “soul”. The schools want to know who is behind the story – the real you.

You can take a printout and post it where you will be sitting to write the essays.

The key to drafting a successful ISB application essay lies in your ability to clearly communicate your thoughts in detail yet without exceeding the word limit.

If you have a great GMAT score with an excellent profile and are confident about your way ahead then you should be able to manage the application journey independently.

However, we also realize that people who don’t have a stellar profile and are unfamiliar with writing detailed essays might find it difficult to come up with an amazing essay highlighting their story and adhering to the word limit. You might run the risk of speaking your mind at length or getting to the point too quickly and losing the soul of your story. It’s a tightrope walk all the way!

Don’t lose heart!

That’s about it, folks!

We hope that this blog has given you a fair idea and an outline on how to go about with your ISB MBA application process. This blog is a good starting point but in the end, it’s the execution that matters!

If you have any feedback, do let us know in the comments section below. We will personally answer all your queries.

In case you’re wondering whether you will get an interview call from ISB, try out our ISB Interview Predictor, now!

  • June, 25th, 2018
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Non-Cosigner Loans Given by the MBA Program

Non-Cosigner Loans
Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you get into a top MBA program either in India or abroad, there is a chance that the school might provide you with a non-cosigner, non-collateral loan.


What does this mean? It means that the school itself will stand as your guarantor.


Think about it! What are the chances that a person who has completed a Harvard Business School MBA would default on a loan – risking credit history and employability?


Here is a list of schools in the US that offer a non-cosigner loan in India:


1. Harvard Business School

Harvard University Employees Credit Union (HUECU) provides private educational loans to international students with no co-signer.

For more details visit: http://www.hbs.edu/mba/financial-aid/international-students/Pages/default.aspx


2. Stanford Global School Of Business

Stanford GSB works with Prodigy Finance and Star One Credit Union to provide loan options for international students.

To know more: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/financial-aid/international-students 


3. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Wharton has a new partnership with Quorum Federal Credit Union that will provide a non-cosigned loan up to 80%  of the MBA Course fee for incoming international students.

For more details: https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/tuition-financial-aid/


4. Cornell University

Johnson has partnered with QUORUM Federal Credit Union  to offer a no co-signer loan at a competitive rate to International students for their full-time two-year MBA and one-year MBA programs.

For more details: http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Programs/Full-Time-MBA/Admissions/Financial-Planning/International-Students


5. Duke Fuqua School of Business

Duke Fuqua School of Business, in association with Discover Student Loans provides a no co-signer loan to eligible international candidates. This plan enables students to take a loan up to 80% of the total school-certified cost of attendance at an interest rate of 7.24%

For more details, see:  http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/financial-aid/international-students/current-student-loan-no-cosigner/daymba-2018-loan-options/


6. Haas School of Business

Haas School of Business, in partnership with Elements Financial and Discover Bank, provides a no co-signer loan up to $62,000 to eligible international candidates, with a 20 year repayment option.
For more details, see:  http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/finaid/MBA/international-loans.html


7. Yale School of Management (SOM)

Yale SOM has a student loan program for international students that does not require a U.S. co-signer. The program provides a maximum loan of 80% of cost of attendance with an interest rate varying from 6.5% to 9%, depending on a credit risk assessment.

For more details, see:  http://som.yale.edu/programs/emba/admissions/tuition-financial-aid/student-loans


8. The Darden School of Business

The Darden School of Business and the Darden School Foundation have signed a multi-year MBA Loan Program agreement with Discover Bank.  The Maximum borrowing limit is $89,000 with a standard repayment term of 20 years.

Learn more here: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/mba/financial-aid/loans/


9. UCLA Anderson

UCLA Anderson has partnered with Elements Financial Finance to provide no co-signer loans up to $100,000 ($50,000 per year) for International students.

Know more: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/degrees/mba-program/admit-central/financing-your-mba/financing-options


10. Kenan-Flagler Business School

Kenan-Flagler Business School has tied up with Credila to provide no co-signer loans exclusively for Indian students.

For more details, see:  http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/admissions/mba/tuition-financial-aid/student-loans


11. MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan provides no co-signer student loan funds for International students through the MIT Federal Credit Union, except for students from countries on the current OFAC sanctions list.

Know more: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/mba/admissions/tuition-and-financial-aid/


You may have realized that not many of the top business schools have such tie-ups. This is because after 2008, (which was when the financial meltdown happened), banks became more wary of giving loans at low interest rates to international students.


However, if you do get an admit to a school which has such a tie-up, it should be a no-brainer.


Your entire fees get covered! What more could you ask for?

Non-collateral Education Loans by Non-Banks/Specialized Institutes

Reading Time: 2 minutes

After the market crash in 2008, banks stopped offering non-collateral loans very easily, and if they did, the amount offered without collateral was rather low. Other financial institutions saw this as a huge opportunity to build their own business, and started providing non-collateral education loans at high rates of interest.


This article provides information about non-banking institutions that provide non-collateral education loans for MBA.




Avanse provides unsecured loans up to INR 50 lakhs. The rate of interest that Avanse typically charges for  education loans is 12.75%; this rate might be higher in some scenarios.

For more information, see http://www.avanse.com/start-smart


The Paras Education Foundation


There is no limit on the amount that can be borrowed under the Paras Education Loan Scheme. You can avail of loans to meet the full amount covering your tuition fees and living expenses, after deducting any scholarships and financial aid.

Paras Education Loans are available at an interest rate of 3.5% to 6.5%, linked to the Wall Street Journal Prime Lending Rate (PLR).

Typically no collateral, physical mortgage, security, or margin money is required for the Paras Education Loan. A valid and credit-worthy co-signer may be required but the co-signer is not required to provide any collateral, physical mortgage, security, or margin money.

For more information, see: https://www.isloan.org/


Prodigy Finance


For MBA Students, Prodigy Finance provides up to 80% Cost of Attendance (as provided by the school) with a minimum loan size of Rs 15,000.

The interest rate varies from 5.0% to 7.5% (fixed) over the three month GBP Libor or USD Libor Base Rate (variable). Rates are dependent on individual applicant profiles.

For more information, see https://prodigyfinance.com/


MPower Financing


Currently, the maximum an individual can borrow from MPOWER is $50,000. This is limited to $25,000 for each academic period.

Their fixed interest rates are between 7.99% (8.85%APR) and 13.99% (14.87% APR). You can receive a 0.25% rate discount by repaying your loan through automatic withdrawal, and an additional 0.25% discount for making 24 consecutive on-time payments while repaying your loan through automatic withdrawal.

Rates are dependent on individual applicant profiles.

For more information, see https://www.mpowerfinancing.com/




Candidates can apply for a loan up to a sum of $25,000 from Stilt. Their interest rate varies from 10% to 15.99%

For more information, see:  https://www.stilt.co/




Credila provides a maximum loan amount of INR 20 lakhs for higher education abroad and INR 10 lakhs for higher education in India.  Their interest rates starts from 9.33%.

For more information, see http://www.credila.com/abroad/partial-list-of-universities-funded.html




GyanDhan provides loans up to INR 30 lakhs. For collateral loans, the interest rate starts from 9.1% while for non-collateral loans, the interest starts at 11.5%.

For more information, see https://www.gyandhan.com/

All You Need To Know About MBA Scholarships Offered By Top B-Schools

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Many schools offer scholarships but you cannot bank on doing your MBA using just scholarships. You have to be a little careful with that one. That said, many schools, especially after the rank of 15 or 20, offer substantial scholarships if you have a very high GMAT score, and if your profile is very good.


We have had such students at CrackVerbal. We would be happy if you contacted us; we can share profiles of students who got as much as 70 to 80% of their tuition expense waived off. This means that their MBA was done in around INR 20 lakhs. There are scholarships, for example, the Reliance-Stanford scholarship which offers 100% of your Stanford MBA in return for you coming back to India and working here. There are some clauses you might want to look at, but scholarships are definitely an option that you could consider.


Here are the scholarship details of some top B-schools:


Harvard Business School


This school provides need-based fellowships to students with limited financial resources.  The special interest fellowships are for those with various interests or backgrounds.


50% of HBS students are eligible for need-based Fellowships.


These scholarships include The Robert S. Kaplan (MBA 1983) Life Sciences Fellowship (for students interested in a science-based career), Junior Achievement Fellowship( for students with Junior Achievement experience) and Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship (non-profit).


Click here for more info – http://www.hbs.edu/mba/financial-aid/international-students/Pages/default.aspx



Stanford MBA scholarship


All MBA students, regardless of citizenship, are eligible for financial aid. Due to the rigorous nature of our MBA curriculum, they don’t recommend that students rely on part-time work to cover the cost of the program.


The Stanford GSB Financial Aid Office offers “need-based” fellowship and not merit-based fellowships


The Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program provides future Indian leaders with the educational foundation for affecting positive change in India. Every year up to five students are selected for the program with a condition to return to India to lead organizations that are at the forefront of growth and development in the rapidly emerging Indian economy.


Click here for more info – https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/programs/mba/financial-aid/us-citizens-permanent-residents



London Business School


London Business School offers a wide range of scholarships. Most of the scholarships are available to successful applicants who apply in Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the MBA application process.


You’ll find out more about scholarships, including how to apply, when you receive your offer.


All these scholarships are subject to change without notice.





INSEAD Scholarships are the most sought-after source of financial assistance. The number of scholarships is limited,  and there is significant competition for each award. These scholarships are granted under various criteria, and there are essentially two basic categories of scholarships:

  • Need-based: demonstrate financial need
  • Non-need based: based on either merit, nationality, gender, professional background, leadership abilities, field of previous studies, etc.

For all INSEAD scholarships, they require applicants to provide accurate details of their financial situation.


Click here for more info – https://www.insead.edu/master-programmes/mba/financing



Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)


Scholarships and fellowships are awarded to full-time MBA candidates who exhibit a high degree of potential for success in the program and in their careers



National University of Singapore


The National University of Singapore (NUS) offers a number of merit based scholarship schemes to better support and ease the financial burden of students.



HEC Paris


Once admitted into the HEC Paris MBA Program, you will have the opportunity to apply for HEC MBA Scholarships. These scholarships are highly competitive. Once admitted, you will receive guidance from your Admissions Officer to apply for a scholarship.



Wharton MBA scholarship


Wharton provides a broad range of scholarship opportunities for exceptional students.


Some of the fellowships offered include the emerging economy Fellowships (students from emerging economies), Joseph Wharton Fellowships (outstanding achievements), Howard E. Mitchell Fellowships (outstanding students from under-represented backgrounds) and Social Impact Fellowships (public or not-for-profit sector).


Click here for more info – https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/tuition-financial-aid/



Cornell (Johnson)


In addition to the Park Fellowships, Johnson has over $1.5 million in merit-based scholarship funds to award each year to new students



Chicago Booth scholarships


All Chicago Booth scholarships and fellowships are awarded based on merit. The eligibility for many of the fellowship programs is decided by the criteria of individual alumni and foundation donors.


There are several scholarship programs like India Trust Fellowship (for those living and working in India), The Wallman Fellowship (for women from underrepresented minority groups) and the Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala Fellowship (for students from India)


Click Here for more info – https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/full-time/admissions/tuition-financial-aid



Said Business School


For over two-thirds of Oxford scholarships, nothing more than the standard course application is usually required. If you fulfill the eligibility criteria, your will automatically be considered.


There are various fellowships available like the Forté Foundation Fellowships (Two scholarships of £15,000 for female candidates), Alumni Annual Fund Scholarships (academic excellence ) and Saïd Business School Foundation Scholarships (strong career progression and excellent career potential)


Some scholarships you have an obligation to submit a scholarship essay.


To find out more about the scholarships available at Oxford, and how to apply for scholarships which require applications, please use the Fees, funding and scholarship search.



Michigan (Ross)


You are considered for scholarships when you apply to the Full-Time MBA Program, and you are notified of any award when you are admitted. This applies to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international students.


No separate application is required.


Awards are based on academic ability, professional and personal achievements, and potential to contribute to our community.


Scholarships range from $5,000 to full tuition.



UCLA (Anderson)


Many private organizations offer scholarships and fellowships to graduate students in all fields. The UCLA Graduate Division offers an excellent resource for finding these external awards





IMD offers a variety of merit and need-based MBA scholarships. Applicants may apply to several simultaneously. However, only one scholarship is awarded per candidate.


Scholarships granted are subject to nomination by the scholarship selection committee, acceptance into the program and confirmation of your intention to participate in the program by paying the advance deposit.


The various scholarships include MBA Class Scholarship for Emerging Markets (good academic results (GMAT), strong reference letters & steady career progression), IMD MBA Future Leaders Scholarships (exceptional leadership understanding – essay based), & Nestlé Scholarship for Women (women from developing countries)


IMD reserves the right not to award a scholarship if the criteria are not met to the satisfaction of the jury/sponsors.



IE School of Business


About 40% of the students receive every year some help between 15% and 45% of the cost of tuition.


The scholarships program of the IE Foundation offers multiple targeting options for different profiles, giving different amounts and to a limited number of candidates depending on each year’s budget.


Click here for more info – https://www.ie.edu/financial-aid/



SDA Bocconi


There are several scholarships and tuition waivers offered by the School, as well as by companies, consultancy firms, and other organizations.


These are usually awarded before the Program begins.

Admission to the Program is independent of the allocation of any scholarship or tuition waiver.



Melbourne Business School


Generous scholarships are available to students to  support their full-time study for an MBA at Melbourne Business School (MBS).


There are scholarship opportunities for candidates applying in any round who meet the specific criteria and some scholarships are connected to each Round.


To be considered for their Scholarships you must first complete an online application and refer to the application deadlines for the specified round date.


All full-time MBA students, who have been successful in obtaining a place in the program, are automatically considered for scholarship support. Therefore you do not need to submit a separate application for a scholarship.


When you receive an offer of admission into the MBA program, you will be advised of any scholarship award and if additional documentation is required.


Click here to know more – https://mbs.edu/above-search-links/current-students/scholarships



Yale School Of Management


Yale School Of Management provides a small number of partial scholarships to exceptional candidates for the MBA for Executives program.


Recipients of these highly selective awards will have to demonstrate a track record of outstanding leadership at the intersection of business and society.


Scholarships will be awarded to individuals whom the selection committee members believe will enhance the program experience through their distinctive perspectives and experiences. In addition to merit, demonstrated financial need will play a major role in determining award recipients


Click Here to know more – http://som.yale.edu/programs/mba/admissions/financing-your-mba





ESADE Business School offers and awards a considerable number of scholarships to outstanding Full-Time MBA candidates during their admissions process.


Most of these Scholarships are possible by the allocation of the Business School funds, as well as the generosity of our donors and alumni contribution. The aim is to recognize and encourage talented candidates applying to ESADE Business School.


There are two criteria in which the scholarship can be evaluated. The Talent criteria evaluate the academic excellence, personal achievements, proven professional acumen and a determination to influence the future of business.


The Need based criteria, evaluates not only the merit profile but also the financial need of the candidate.


Click Here to know more – http://www.esade.edu/ftmba/eng/fees-financing/mba-scholarships



Imperial College London


Imperial College Business School offers a significant scholarship funding to their most talented applicants.


A range of scholarships are available and all self-funded candidates are automatically considered for all scholarship schemes for which they meet the eligibility criteria and application deadlines.



St. Gallen


The University of St.Gallen MBA is committed to help outstanding individuals from various regions around the world.


There are several scholarships offered like the Expert Scholarship (For candidates with academic background in sciences or engineering), Emerging Markets Scholarship (For candidates from emerging markets), Outstanding Candidates Scholarship, & MBA Event Scholarship (For candidates who meet one of their Recruitment Managers face-to-face at regional fairs or events)



Warwick School of Business


A number of scholarships are available to students admitted into the Warwick Full-Time MBA.


This is to promote gender, geographic and sector diversity, alongside recognition for academic and professional excellence. WBS scholarships are highly competitive and awarded on the basis of three broad criteria: Academic performance including GMAT score, strong career profile and the ability to fulfill future ambassadorial duties for the school.



NYU (Stern)

Up to 20% of admitted Full-time students are awarded a merit-based scholarship. Awards range from partial to full tuition and fees. All full-time applicants (both domestic and international) will be considered and reviewed for merit-based awards.


Click here to know more – http://www.stern.nyu.edu/portal-partners/financial-aid/loans/private-loans/international-students



Emory (Goizueta)


There are a number of scholarships available through both Goizueta and partnerships with local and national organizations.


Profile Evaluation Crackverbal

How to Finance Your MBA – Especially When You Don’t Have Any Money

Finance your MBA
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Okay, so you are planning to do an MBA from a top business school such as Harvard in the US, INSEAD in Europe, or ISB in India.


You are fairly confident of cracking the GMAT, and you feel that your profile is good enough to get a foot in the door for the interview.


However, you are still worried about the ROI of an MBA!


You have read that a two-year MBA can cost upwards of a crore! That is 10000000!


Heck! you can’t even count the zeros without putting your finger below the text.


If you are wondering how to fund your MBA abroad when you don’t have that much money in the bank (of course you don’t), you have come to the right place.


In this blog, we are going to cover a LOT of ways in which you can get loans and scholarships to fund your MBA. By the end of this blog you will know exactly what to do. It might make sense for you to even bookmark this blog right away!



1. Non-cosigner Loans Given by the MBA Program


There are a good number of US B-schools offering student loans without a U.S. co-signer. This means that the B-school itself will stand as your guarantor.


Here is a list of a few US colleges which provide a non-cosigner loan to international students:


Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan, Yale, Berkeley Haas, Tuck, NYU Stern, Duke Fuqua, Cornell Johnson.

If you want to learn more about non-cosigner loans, see our detailed blog on

Non-cosigner Student loans given by Top MBA Colleges for International students



2. Non-collateral Education Loans by Indian Banks


Almost all Indian banks work with the following rules:


  • In India, you can easily get a non-collateral loan up to INR four lakhs.

  • For amounts up to INR 7.5 lakhs, the bank will assess the risk involved, before making the decision to grant the loan.

  • For any sum above INR 7.5 lakhs, you need to show collateral to the bank.


The loans from India are either collateral, or non-collateral.

Non-collateral loans may be offered against your admission to a top B-school, but typically, the maximum offered is somewhere near INR 10 Lakhs, while the norm is closer to INR 5 to 6 lakhs.


If you look at collateral loans,  they are granted against property that you mortgage. However, the upper limit could be very high, depending on what you have mortgaged.


Following are some of the top banks which offer study loans by exceeding the limit of the loan without issues of collateral security:


Source: https://www.bankbazaar.com/education-loans-without-collateral.html


Here is the list of banks in India where you would get a non-collateral loan if you make it to ISB:

For more information, see http://www.isb.edu/pgp/fees-financing/loans



3. Non-collateral Education Loans by Non-Banks/Specialized Institutes


Nowadays, many non-banking institutions provide unsecured loans, i.e., loans without pledging collateral, as typically, banks do not extend loans beyond 7.5 lakhs without collateral.  


The amount that a student can borrow varies, depending on the  B-School and the cost of tuition for the program. In most cases, the student can borrow up to the full cost of tuition. However, this also varies, depending on the profile of the individual applicant.


Though non-banking institutions such as Avanse, Prodigy Finance, Stilt & Credila provide higher value loans without collateral, they also charge a higher rate of interest when compared to banks.


See the list of various Non Banking Institutes that offer Non-Collateral education Loans to Indian students.



4. Self-finance


This is something that a lot of people ignore. But when you look at self finance, you’re going to look at every little thing. You don’t look at just the bank account but also look at mutual funds, provident funds, and maybe gratuity. You’re looking at all the money you have invested in other places, such as bonds or fixed deposits. If you have a bike or a car you can sell, you can get some money.


If you are living in a rented house, you probably have a deposit; you can get the deposit back. Even something as simple as liquidating an asset on OLX could better your financial situation. It sounds stupid but people really sell electronic items they have, and may not use. You could possibly look at getting money that way.



5. Soft Loans


Something that a lot of people do not consider. Typically, you get a soft loan from friends, family and what is known as “fools”. You want to get a loan from someone who can lend you about INR 5 to 10 lakhs for a couple of years, and you give your word of honour. It’s maybe an uncle in London who can give you INR 10 lakhs, and you can pay him after you start working.



6. Scholarships


An MBA scholarship can ease your financial burden to a large extent but to get a good scholarship, you often need a very high GMAT score, and an excellent profile.


Many top MBA colleges offer various scholarships, and there is a general perception that these scholarships are difficult to get considering the number of students applying for them. It might be difficult but surely not an impossible task.


The scholarships are generally classified into merit-based and need-based.


Need-based scholarships are given after considering your financial background, including various assets and liabilities, while the merit based scholarships are offered based on your GMAT score and profile.


If you are looking at scholarship as an option, do check our blog on the various scholarships offered by Top B-schools.



7. Collateral Loans in India


If you look at collateral loans, you pretty much know the interest rates that typically work, and you get the loan against property that you mortgage.

You can get up to 85% of the expense as a loan if you have sufficient assets to show.

The upper limit however, could be very high, depending on what you have mortgaged.



8. Co-signer Loans in the US


While applying for an education loan, international students have two options: the no co-signer option, and the co-signer option.


We have already covered the no co-signer option at the beginning of this blog. We will now talk about the second alternative, the co-signer loan option.


Co-signing mainly involves getting someone who’s been in the U.S. for a while to sign the loan contract with you.


Yes! You are still liable to pay the debt after you graduate but if you fail to pay off the debt after you graduate, your co-signer comes into the picture.


With the co-signer option, the bank reduces their risk by having an opportunity to recover their money from the co-signer.


Being a co-signer comes with some risk, and that’s the reason co-signers are often skeptical about it as their credit ranking and history would be in jeopardy.


Some of the institutions that provide loans to international students with a US co-signer are Wells Fargo, Citizens Bank, Sallie Mae, Union Federal, and Discover.



In a nutshell, there are five important ways to fund your MBA at a top B-School. You could get a no co-signer loan from a bank that the college is tied up with. You could get an Indian loan against collateral, or no collateral. Third, look at self finance. Fourth, look at soft-loans from friends and family, and fifth, look at scholarships.


If you found our article useful, do share it with your friends who are looking to pursue their MBA abroad, or at ISB, India.


Thank you, and if you have any questions, feel free to comment; we’ll be glad to help you. Thank You!


Wondering which top B-School you can get into this year? Let us help you!


Profile Evaluation Crackverbal


Here’s What an Ideal ISB Profile Looks Like

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Are you curious to know what will it take to get into ISB?
Or maybe you are wondering, “how do I enhance my profile to get an admission to ISB?”
Perhaps you want to know the kind of placements offered at ISB? And whether it fits your career goals?
Well, fret not.
You have come to the right place.
In this article, we will dig into data from the ISB Class of 2018 and see what mystery it unravels.
We will deep dive into specifics such as what the GMAT scores for the latest batch are, the average work experience the class has, the placement profile, offers rolled out and so on.
Well, let’s get started by answering the top questions most applicants have about the Indian School of Business (ISB)

1. What are the typical profile requirements of a student to be selected at ISB?

Well – there is no one type of person who gets into ISB.
Students came from a variety of different profiles and work experiences. There were students from merchant navy, there were dentists, there were army majors who had spent time in Siachen, there were startup founders,…….and the list is endless.
There also were people who came from traditional backgrounds: coders and testers in the technology domain, some who had spent years in the manufacturing shop floor, and bankers who spent most of their waking hours looking at balance sheets.
ISB will gauge your application profile basis the following parameters:
      a) Academic credentials
      b) Leadership potential
      c) Personal Interests
To help ease out your research, we have written about this “myth about ISB MBA applications” in detail on our blog!
So no matter what your experience level is – chances are that if you have a good story to tell, ISB will listen to you.

2. What was the average GMAT score in 2018 at ISB?

The average GMAT score at ISB increased in 2018 as compared to 2017.
Average GMAT score at ISB for the Class of 2018 is 707.
The Class of 2017 average GMAT score was 704.
So if you really want to get into ISB next year, you need to make sure you work towards a score of above 707.
Read this article to understand the real secret behind GMAT scores for ISB.

3. What was the average GRE score in 2018 at ISB?

After ISB started accepting GRE scores last year, this has been a question many students have had.
Well, the secret is finally out:
The Average GRE score at ISB for the Class of 2018 : 324
To score a 324 you probably need about a 165 in Quant and a 160 in Verbal. This corresponds to roughly the 87th percentile in Quant and the 70th percentile in Verbal.
Sounds doable? Then perhaps GRE is the test for you!
Still thinking? Read our blog on GRE scores for ISB.

4. How many female candidates were accepted to the ISB class of 2018?

The total intake for the 2018 batch was 857, out of which 31% (272 students) were female candidates.
Women applying for an MBA at ISB would like to know that in 2017, the class consisted of 30% women, (apparently an increase since 2016).

Also we estimate that the number of female applicants to ISB is lower than 30% that means (all things being equal) as a female applicant you have higher chances to getting in.

5. How many years of work experience does a typical ISB student have?

In 2018, a majority of 507 students had a work experience between 3- 5 yrs, followed by 270 students who had an experience of 5-10 years. There was just one student from defense background who had more than 20 years of work experience.
Here is how the class of 2018 looks:

This is good news for students having fewer than 2 years of experience and those having substantial work-experience. Also remember, many of those students with 2 years experience could be coming from the ISB YLP intake.
For those who are just starting your career – remember that 5% of the ISB class were in the same boat when they applied last year.
And those with 10+ years of experience – remember that if the 23 students who made it to ISB last year could do it – so can you!
Here’s the work experience breakdown of the 2018 batch:


6. What are the various professional backgrounds that students in ISB class have?

When reading this data – beware of confirmation bias.
Don’t assume that since 70% of the students at ISB were Engineers – hence ISB prefers Engineers.
You couldn’t be further from the truth!
Typically a lot more Engineers apply to ISB. We are willing to wager a bet – perhaps 90% of applicants are Engineers!
So it is not necessarily an advantage 🙂

Also to a lot of people asking: if your academic background is average – can you still make it to ISB?
The answer is yes.
We have worked with students who have had backlogs in their graduation and were still able to make it to ISB.
In 2018, if we look at the educational background of the applications, the list was dominated by Engineering graduates. Here are the top 3 undergraduate degrees students at ISB had:
    Engineering : 606 students
    Finance & Accounts : 72 students
    BBA/BBM : 51 students
The rest were from other backgrounds – Medicine, Media & Communication, Economics, Mathematics & Chartered Accountants.

7. What are the feeder schools at ISB?

Along with the usual suspects the IITs (36) and the NITs (36), VTU has an equal number of students, making it a three way tie for the top position.
Next on the list is Manipal University which sent 21 students followed by Sri Ramaswamy Memorial Institute of Science and Technology (SRM), in Chennai which had 8 alums in the ISB class of 2018.
There were also students admitted from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in Anantapur, Sardar Patel Institute of Technology and St.Xavier’s College (University of Mumbai), Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering in Mysore, Hansraj College in Delhi, Krishna Inst. of Engg. & Technology in Ghaziabad, among other institutions.

8) What were the job placements in at ISB like?

More than 98% of the students who graduated in 2017 claimed to be employed within three months of graduating with a salary bracket between 14 lakhs – 17 lakhs.
Remember that salary usually has a performance linked variable component – so not the entire amount would be “take home”.
Recruiters from consulting and IT/TES constituted 20% to 21% of the total number of offers rolled out, followed by BFSI, healthcare and pharma.
Leadership programs in general at ISB came from companies such as Aditya Birla Group, Axis Bank, Amazon, Bharti Airtel, HCL, HUL and Ashok Leyland among other big players.
Recruiting companies for General Management and Strategic Planning roles included:
    • Accenture
    • ABG
    • Infosys
    • Lodha
    • HUL
    • P&G
    • Godrej
    • Hero Motocorp
    • Max Healthcare
In 2017 too, a majority of the candidates received placement offers from the IT and the consulting industry.
In 2018, ISB witnessed a 39% increase in the number of recruiters participating in the current placements season with over 400 companies.
Read this article to know more about the typical post MBA careers at ISB.

9. Has CrackVerbal helped students get into ISB?

Sure! We have plenty of students who make it to ISB every year.
We helped Sivaprasad score a 750 on his GMAT exam.
In his words, “CrackVerbal’s Verbal course helped me in a great way especially their Sentence Correction classes. They’re all about the basics. I only practiced using their given material. I would say their material is the key to my GMAT score”, and he got placed in ISB.
Sreejith Ramachandran, who also got into ISB, wrote a detailed debrief about his GMAT experience on our forum. Read it here.
If you want to read a few more CrackVerbal student success stories, click here!
That’s the GMAT.
If you’re looking for MBA admissions, read about Gautham – An Engineer’s journey from NIT to ISB.
Or you could read a few more MBA admission success stories, here.
Everyone has a different story to say, and we think ISB will listen to each one of you.
What you really need is a way to tell this story, in a compelling way.
We hope this article helped you understand ISB admissions, placements and profiles.
Do let us know if you liked this article, and if you would want to know how we can work together to get you into ISB this year!
If you’re applying next year, and need help with building your profile, we’re just a click away 🙂

The Ultimate MBA Planner (Step-by-Step)

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Applying for an MBA through the GMAT is scary. We know.
The amount of information you need to read, process, and make sense of? Even more scary.
But don’t worry.
We’ve got you covered!
In this article, we will guide you by providing step-by-step plan to cracking the GMAT and applying to a b-school of your choice.
It will also help you set daily/weekly goals, and help track progress.
This guide is broken down into 4-phases, each giving you the perfect tools and techniques you need to plan your MBA admission process through the GMAT.
It’s time to get over the fear and start planning.
(Note: Depending on the phase you’re in, skip to the relevant section)
Phase 1: Study and take the GMAT (January to May)
Phase 2: Research about MBA applications (March to August)
Phase 3: Work on your essays and applications (July to October)
Phase 4: Prepare for Interviews and Admissions (October to December)


Phase 1: Study and take the GMAT

Let’s be honest – the most important part of the MBA application process is having a kickass GMAT score, right?
Don’t get fooled when people say b-schools look at only your application profile and that GMAT is a prerequisite.
It’s not.
In fact, it is the first thing that the admission committee is going to look at. Make it your leverage.
Given that you cannot alter your admission profile post submission, you can most definitely re-work on your GMAT score.
Just two things:
    1. If you are taking the test for the first time, plan to keep some buffer time. (incase you want to retake the test before sending in your application profile.)
    2. And if you are retaking the test, check if you have enough time to study and work on your application profile. (yes, worst case scenario, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.)
But why put in half-baked effort when you can ace it the first time?
Don’t worry – with a proper study and focused effort of a few months, you can definitely get the score you need to get into a b-school of your choice.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1 : Understand the GMAT syllabus and how the GMAT algorithm works
Step 2 : Collect essential GMAT resources & build a research repository
Step 3 : Create a GMAT study plan
Step 4 : Start studying and do the right things to motivate yourself.
Step 5 : Take multiple GMAT mock tests
Step 6 : Schedule the GMAT test and take it.
Make sure you bookmark the links above. It will help you structure your GMAT test-prep plan.
We hope this 6-step test-prep plan helps you prepare for the GMAT.
However, if you are facing a roadblock at any point, feel free to get in touch with our training experts.



Resources :

Want to find out about some of the best advice on the GMAT? Read the articles below:

All about the GMAT

Changes in the GMAT

3 month GMAT study plan

Mistakes test takers commit while preparing for the GMAT

Things you should know before taking any GMAT Practice Tests

You are all set up for Phase 2 now.

Phase 2 : Research about MBA Applications

If you thought taking the GMAT is the toughest part, think again.
What should you be doing in this phase?
There are two things you need to focus on:
    1. Build your profile for an MBA
    2. Shortlist the right b-school
This phase is crucial.
Now that you have an essence of what your GMAT scores are, the score will add immense value to your MBA application profile and give you the confidence to shortlist schools that match your profile.
It should also give you an insight into your post MBA career goals.
Let’s get started!

a) Build your profile for an MBA

A lot of you are wondering if you are good enough to get into a top school. Especially, if you hail from an over-represented demographic profile such as Indian – IT – Male.
Here’s where your fear of “what can I contribute to the class that’s different?” kicks in.
For a successful MBA application to a top b-school, it’s important to have something in your profile that really stands out.
They will expect you to showcase :

Pick something that will stick in the minds of the admission committee.
Here are a few ways you can go about building your profile :

Plan out the what’s, how’s and why’s of these achievements being a part of your profile. Think of ways it will add value to the b-school, your career and your MBA degree.
We’re sure you already have something already in mind. But just in case, here are
40 ways you can build your MBA application profile.

Now that you know how to build a profile, let us tell you how shortlisting schools for an MBA works.

b) Shortlist the right school

When you see the website for most schools – they show the same sunny day, the manicured lawns, and the impressive facade of their majestic buildings.
How do we really spot the great ones from the not-so-great ones?
Well, selecting the right MBA program for you is more art than science. It involves a variety of different variables such as:
   1. Location: India or Abroad
Geography changes the way you approach building your profile, and the choosing a b-school.
Pan out your pros and cons of each location and see what works best for you. Maybe you can get family for friends to help you settle in.
   2. MBA program vs. career aspirations
Understand the ratio of people being placed from your dream b-school to a company/sector of your choice. Ask yourself if the odds are good enough to meet your career aspirations.
   3. Duration of MBA & Finance
Here’s where your inner finance guru comes into play. Estimate the cost of living in the city you pick + the course fees (if you have a scholarship, lucky!)  
Second thing you will have to close on is the duration of the course (1 year or 2 years)
   4. GMAT score
Most top b-Schools have a strict cut-off score for the GMAT.  If your score is above average, that’s great.
If not, make damn well sure that your profile mind-boggles the minds of the admission committee members.
Need help picking the right b-school? Read this.
You can also follow these good-to-have tips:
    Subscribe to b-school newsletters
    Join their public forums – helps keeping you up-to-date with events/queries
    Get in touch with the alumni (we recommend LinkedIn…it’s the easiest way)
Now that you know the right way to build your profile and shortlist on a b-school, let’s jump to Phase 3!


Resources :

3 Factors that GMAT accepting B-schools Want to See in your Profile!

How To Select The Right B-School For You

How To Finance Your MBA Especially When You Don’t Have Enough Money

GMAT Section Select Order : Everything You Need To Know


Phase 3: Work on your essays and applications

The admission committee reads and assesses a lot of essays.
Essays are designed to help the admission committee understand the aspects of your personality and mental make-up.
They want to know the real you.
Here is a checklist to help you prioritize.

MBA admissions checklist & requirements:

    An above average GMAT score is key to increasing your scholarship chances.
          Read this: A solid GMAT score to understand how a good score helps your career post an MBA.
    Experiment with the way you portray your best-self in your application essays.
          Read this article on what typical B-schools look for an application essay to get a clearer picture.
    College transcripts – Keep the necessary college transcripts at an arm’s length. Don’t flutter around later like a headless chicken.

    Letter of Recommendation – Try and identify your recommenders early on – it’ll save you a lot of time later on.
          If you need more input on what aspects to avoid while choosing recommenders, click here.
    Other requirements – Some schools may require you to take the TOEFL. You can read more on that here.
And with that checklist in place, you should be good to go.


Resources :


5 Ways AdComs test your Communication Skills

Sample MBA Application Essays for Top B-Schools


Phase 4 : Prepare for Interviews and Admissions

If you’ve come this far, it means that the b-school is considering you very seriously for admission.
This is the time when a lot of people who have sent in their applications would have started receiving their interview calls.
The personal interview is the last and most crucial point of interaction between the applicant and the school, where ‘fitment’ will be assessed.
The biggest question on your mind right now should be – ‘How can I ensure that I give the best personal interview of my life?’

    Review your application multiple times with a fresh mind (run spell checks too). Always keep an eye out for news and updates.
          Make sure your content is credible and backed by facts.
    Communication is key – verbal and non-verbal.
         Express your ideas in a way that best portrays you. Stick to simplicity and honesty.
    The sign of leadership is to communicate with clarity with the intent of helping yourself and the place you work for.
         B-schools are impressed with when a candidate has a crystal clear vision of his goals.
If you want an in-depth explanation of how MBA interviews work, click here.
While you wait for the b-schools to get back with the results, start planning your logistics. Here’s a checklist to follow:
    Plan your finance (tuition fees, visa, tickets and other expenses)
    Apply for your visa (avoid delays, and keep buffer time, just in case)
    Befriend fellow peers (join the college forum and know your peers)
    Check for pre-MBA courses (gives you insight into how the school and course is)

And you’ve made it!
We wish you all the best with your GMAT exams, and your MBA application.
You can also watch this video where our Founder and Admissions Expert Mr. Arun Jagannathan explains the four phases of planning an MBA through the GMAT.

And if you are stuck anywhere, you always know you can reach out to us!
Good luck!

Top 7 Reasons to Do an MBA!

Reading Time: 8 minutes

We seem to be living in an era where everyone – from fresh graduates to those with some years of work experience – seems to want to earn an MBA degree! Often, people make this decision without really knowing how an MBA helps or how to get one.


Given all the information available on the internet, the biggest blunder most MBA aspirants commit is to start preparing for their MBA application without answering the fundamental question – ‘Why MBA?’

Why MBA’ may be one of the shortest questions in the professional world, but it is also one of the most important ones. For one, you will be making numerous sacrifices on your professional and personal fronts in order to get the MBA tag. It will be a life-changing experience for you; possibly the second most important decision in your life. (I think you can guess the first one.)

As a Chinese proverb says,

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

If you are toying with the idea of applying to an MBA program, you need to have a Pre-Application Plan before anything else. Yes, you may have done your bit of research on B-Schools or even taken your GMAT, but if you do not have a clear idea about WHY you want to pursue an MBA, it is going to be a tough (and perhaps unfulfilling!) journey.


2 Categories of MBA Aspirants:


There are basically two categories of MBA aspirants, especially in the Indian context:

1. Those who have just completed their graduation or are in their final year. These people typically take the CAT journey.

2. Those who have some years of work experience (typically two to six years) and whose objective is to reach their maximum potential in their professional life. This could entail either Career Progression or a Career Shift. These people typically follow the GMAT route.

2 Common Reasons to Do an MBA:


However much you try to be diplomatic and politically correct in your essays, recommendations and interviews, the truth (that even MBA Admissions Committees are aware of) is that most MBA aspirants want to earn an MBA degree because:

1. They want to earn more money

2. They hate their current job

biggest reason to do an mba, mba for more money, mba for more job satisfactionHowever, if these are the only two reasons you wish to do an MBA, you have a very limited and short-term perspective; because after a point, neither of these aspects will mean much to you.

For example, if you are a senior manager at a reputed IT company, and your job involves client interaction, business development, international travel, etc., you need not do an MBA at all as you will already be earning well and will have an envious job profile, too.

However, if you want to enhance your knowledge and perspective, or want a life-changing experience, you may still consider doing an MBA.

So, if you present these two reasons to the MBA Admission Committees you will definitely be considered as a misfit to their MBA program. There is such a thing as brutal honesty! 🙂


You need to have more value-based and well-thought-out reasons to pursue an MBA.


Here are the Seven Real Reasons to do MBA:


1. Career Progression

Typically, a professional begins his/her career with an operational role. Being fairly smart, hardworking and result-oriented, you get promotions and reach a decent position in the management.

You now have a good academic profile and good work experience. What happens next? After a few years, you start feeling stagnated. This could happen after three years or it may take 10 years for you to reach such a stage.

This is because in today’s performance-oriented professional world, most of the people around you also have the same qualities and credentials that you possess. At this point, it is crucial for you to ask what unique traits you have that will differentiate you from the herd.

The answer is: an MBA degree. Actually, not just any MBA degree but an MBA degree from a premier business school. An MBA from a top B-School will help you make a quick transition from a mid-level role to a senior management position, where you will have the opportunity to take strategic decisions.

If you browse through the job descriptions of senior positions across industries, you can see that MBA is the preferred degree, though perhaps not mandatory. Consulting is one profession where an MBA is mandatory to grow to an Associate or higher level.

The lack of an MBA degree may not be a show-stopper but it will be a huge reason for career stagnation.

2. Career Shift

What are the chances that with your current education, role and experience, you can actually switch to any other role or industry? Very little!

Consider this situation – you have been in IT for the past five years, but with time, you realize that your true calling is marketing. What steps can you take to make a switch?

You can take up small marketing projects over the weekends – Read about marketing on the internet and make changes to your resume – Take an online marketing course.

Even if you manage to get past the interview for a marketing role, you would still be joining at an entry level. Your great IT experience will not help you much to get a senior level role in marketing.

It is here that an MBA program can help. In fact, one of the most important reasons why professionals choose to do an MBA is to change career tracks smoothly.

3. Knowledge

An MBA from a top business school may set you back by about INR50 lakhs for a 10 month course. The figure may be even higher depending on the location of your school and the duration of the program.

This works out to about 1.2 lakhs per week. In India, you may end up spending 20 lakhs for a similar MBA program. Imagine spending such a huge sum of money just to gain knowledge!

Wouldn’t it be prudent to quit your job for a year and browse the internet to get all the knowledge in the world?

However, the truth is that the knowledge that will help you progress in your career will not be found only in books or on the internet. The interaction and intellectual debates that you will have with your professors and peers at a B-School will be extremely enriching.

Secondly, the pedagogical methods employed in top schools are very innovative and effective – these include case studies, presentations, projects, research papers, etc. If you are joining a typical two-year MBA program, in the first year you will have the core curriculum consisting of marketing, accounting, finance, statistics, economics, management, organization behaviour, etc.

These subjects lay the foundation of your understanding of business. To be a future CEO, you need to have a 360 degree view of how to run a company and manage people. The language of business is the language of money.

Apart from the core subjects, B-Schools offer a plethora of electives, usually in the second year, depending on the stream you want to specialize in. It is at this point that you need to have a very good idea of your career path so that you can make full use of your MBA program.

4. Networking

What is networking?

Knowing people? Getting contacts?

Yes, knowing people is a big part of networking, but surely it is not just that!

Even with all the social media hype, how many people from your college are you in touch with? 20? 50? At the most, 100! Even at work, how many people do you really know? Your immediate superiors, your team, and the people you meet at the cafeteria.

And what happens once you quit your current job and meet your ex-colleague after two years in a mall? You may even find it hard to remember his/her name! So, according to this definition of networking, it means you are ready to spend 1 crore just to know 100 more people!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

So, what is networking all about? Networking at business schools means that you will be carrying the same tag as thousands of alumni.

You may or may not have studied together, but if a Harvard alumnus receives an email or a job request from another Harvard alumnus, or is interviewing a candidate who went to the same school, there will be an immediate bonding between them, something like an Old Boys Association!

We all want to be identified as part of a group of high achievers. Doing an MBA from a reputed B-School gives you a great opportunity to network with smart, talented people who will hold top strategic positions in major companies or will be great business leaders someday.

5. Brand Equity

An MBA degree is certainly a feather in your cap. But an MBA from a top B-School is a more brightly colored feather! You can feel this difference within India itself. All things being equal, there is a big difference if you do an MBA from a lesser known B-School in your region and if you graduate from a top school such as ISB.

As most recruiters are aware of how difficult it is to get into a top B-School, an MBA degree from such a school holds a lot of brand value.

Employers already know that you have cleared the first level of acid tests: high GPA, high GMAT score, essays, recommendations, the tough interview itself and of course, a very rigorous MBA program.

Just like gold, an MBA from a reputed B-School gives you a certified hallmark that you are competent to become a successful leader in the near future. As the job of assessing a candidate is already done by the MBA Admissions Committee, recruiters are well-assured of your potential.

6. Self-Growth

What do you really learn at a B-School?

Most importantly, the confidence to be somebody who matters, in your professional life.

A reputed B-School program gives you the opportunity to think in the direction you want to. Whatever goals you may have had before joining an MBA program, once you join, you may realize that your true calling lies elsewhere.

The entire classroom experience, interaction with faculty and peers, student activities, case studies, all these may radically change your perspective, both personally and professionally. Many MBA students discover a new person in themselves once they graduate from business school.

The irony of life is that when you were a student, you had no responsibilities, but you also lacked the right perspective. Once you started working, gradually, you learned who you are, what your potential is, but at this stage you are so burdened with responsibilities that you don’t get the chance to follow your passion.

An MBA gives you a second chance in life to do what you always wanted to do. It gives you the independence of a student’s life as well as the perspective of working for many years.

7. Change of Geography

There must have been instances when you wanted to move to Australia or Canada or any other foreign country to work there. In your current role, you may be able to move to an international market as a C++ coder but definitely not as a project manager.

An MBA, say from Stanford or INSEAD can help you understand the foreign market well, increase your international network, learn about the requirements for an international career and get exposure to a totally different culture and way of life.

Do you identify with some of these reasons why you should do an MBA? At the end of the day, it’s all about your passion, your career and your long-term goals. Before you even think of applying anywhere, analyze why exactly you wish to pursue an MBA and articulate it well in your essays and interviews.

A systematic approach to following your dreams will make your MBA journey meaningful and enjoyable. 🙂

Hope this post makes a positive difference to your MBA plans! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.

Head over to our E-book library for more useful information on GMAT/MBA!

Ideal GMAT Score for ISB (Secret Revealed!)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You would agree that it is almost impossible to get anyone to answer this question:

What is the GMAT “cutoff” required for ISB?

There are varying answers:
Some people tell you not to apply with a sub-700 score.
While others tell you the story of their cousin who got in with a 640.
Worry not! In this in-depth article, you will find the answers to all your questions related to the GMAT scores required to successfully apply to ISB.
We will also look at the trend over the last 10 years, the highest and lowest scores at ISB during this period, and look at the mid 80% range of the students.
Take a peek into the differences in the GMAT scores at the Hyderabad campus, and the Mohali campus, and finally you will get a framework to apply to your specific profile.
We pulled out the data from the ISB website.
Some of it exists in ISB PGP class group
And for some historical data, we had to resort to some hacks (such as using wayback machine to look at the archived data).
We went all the way back to 2006 because we reckon that 10 years are about as much as you need.
Let’s get started!

1) What have the GMAT scores been at ISB?

Here is the average GMAT score at ISB over the last 10 years:

Average GMAT Score at ISB from 2007 to 2017

YearAverage GMAT score


Here are a couple of things you will notice straight away:
1) GMAT scores have 7 in the most significant bit. For the less technically inclined, what I meant was – you have scores in excess of 700 in all the 10 years 🙂
2) The highest average GMAT scores for any year was 2010 with a whopping 716. The lowest average GMAT score was in 2016 with the number just at the border of 700.
Let us look at the same data from a perspective of analysing the trend. This time we are changing it to Class of 2007 and Class of 2017.

Let’s be honest: there is no such trend.
But if you do want to read into it – you can perhaps see a spike around 2010 but the average scores are now back to what they were in 2007.
The biggest drop was for the ISB class of 2016 for which the number dropped from 711 to 700.
Takeaway: Though the class size at ISB has been increasing (just in 2012 the class size was 574, while this year around 812 students graduated), the average GMAT scores have consistently been hovering above the 700 mark.

Okay, so this is a lot of data thrown at you. What does this mean for you? Read on!

2) What GMAT score do I need for ISB?

If you are reading this article this far, it means that you are in one of the following categories:
1) You have taken the GMAT, and are not sure if your scores are enough.
2) You have not taken the GMAT, and are wondering how much would be enough.
Let us tackle the second category first.
If you have NOT taken the GMAT, go ahead and score as high as possible.
In our experience, there are fundamentally three things that ISB looks for:

1) Clarity of vision that shows you are a person who can get what you want.

In our opinion it is very, very important that you figure out what you want to do with your MBA degree.
If you have not seen the ISB essays for this year, do check the ISB essays 2017-18 now!
However, this is the part that really cannot SEPARATE you from the rest.
It is a hygiene factor: necessary but not sufficient.

2) History of excellence that tells them that you have the potential to lead.

This is stuff that cannot pretty much change.
You need to have taken interest in the world around you.
If you spent the entire summer goofing around, watching GOT, there’s not much hope.

3) Pedigree that is shown through GMAT, Undergrad institute, and Employer brand.

You wish you could have studied harder in the 12th to get into a better college – or have gotten a better rank.
You wish you could change your marks at college – (never knew inorganic chemistry mattered in life 🙂 ).
You wish a better performance in the campus interview would’ve gotten you that dream job.
Here is the deal:
You can stop wishing.
And start studying for the GMAT!
Now, let us look at the last bit of data: the mid 80% range.
What this means is, you stack all the students in order of their GMAT scores and remove the outliers.
Outliers are the extreme cases: say someone like an astronaut-turned-monk-turned-olympic-athlete got in with a 600 🙂 (<- just kidding!).   Interestingly this data is not available for the class of 2007, and again published after 2015.    

Mid 80% Range for Years 2007 to 2016


YearAverage GMAT score


What can we interpret from this?
– You pretty much need to have a GMAT score above 670 if you are not an outlier. In other words, a 650 will be of no use if your profile is average.
– Getting a score around 750-760 will put you in the top 20% – not the top 2%. In other words, it is not a big deal if you have a 760 on the GMAT.
– In general, this data also means that if you are in an over-represented demographic such as IT or Finance, you need to make sure that you bulk up your GMAT scores.
Read how one of our students teamed his 750 GMAT score with his profile to impress the Ad-com members at ISB.


3) What else can we interpret about GMAT scores needed for ISB?

Let us try to see if we can get some more juice.
Good news is that we did get data for the GMAT Score range. More importantly, we got the comparison between the ISB Hyderabad GMAT scores and ISB Mohali GMAT Scores.
Bad news is that we did not get data for all years.

GMAT Range for ISB for the Class of 2007 to the Class of 2017

YearGMAT Range @ ISB Hyderabad CampusGMAT Range @ ISB Mohali Campus


– = Data was not found on the ISB website
NA = Not Applicable as the first graduating class of ISB Mohali campus was in 2016
Here are some interesting observations from this trend:

1) What is the lowest score ever at ISB?

The lowest GMAT score EVER was 590, scored in 2016 by someone who got into ISB Mohali campus.
Except for that, the lowest score seems to be 600.
So, if you have a GMAT score lower than 600, don’t even think about applying to ISB

2) Is there a difference in GMAT Scores at the Hyderabad and Mohali campuses?

There is almost ZERO variation in the scores for the last two years. This pretty much means that there is no difference in the two campuses as far as GMAT Scores are concerned.

3) What is the highest score at ISB?

Let’s admit it: this is more of a voyeuristic question 😃
The highest score ever at ISB was a 780.
However, interestingly in the last few years the highest hasn’t been more than 770.

4) Can I apply to ISB with a sub-650?

As we mentioned above, with an average profile, try to shoot for a higher than 650 score.
So what if you have a 620? Or a 650? Should you use the application money to buy beer instead?
Our advice – you have a fighting chance, provided you are a diverse candidate.
Otherwise, as we said above, build your GMAT muscle.
You might want to read how one of our students from a non-IT background made it to ISB with a 670 on the GMAT.

Okay, so with that said, you have enough to think about your own GMAT scores for ISB.
Did you like this in-depth article?
If yes, let us know in the comments below.
We can even skim through and predict your chances at ISB with your GMAT scores (and profile).
Get your Profile Evaluated!

Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 12 minutes

If you’re applying to the Johnson School of Business at Cornell, you have come to the right place. In this article, I am going to take you through the details about the program as well as analyze the MBA application essays for 2017-2018 so that you know how to approach the essays.


First, let’s look at the program itself. Cornell is an Ivy League school, it’s one of those large universities with a very good brand name. In the Johnson MBA program, if you look at the class size, it’s a lot smaller than many of the large programs. In that sense, you have a large university set-up but you have a very small program size. If you’re looking at an MBA program where you get to be a part of a university infrastructure yet have the bonding, connection and bonhomie of a small class size, Cornell is the program you should be looking at. That’s one important point.


The second point is, in terms of location, it’s really beautiful. It can get cold but it’s a very beautiful location. It’s about three to four hours from Downtown New York – Manhattan. It’s probably a bus drive away.  In terms of location, it’s a lot of better than some of the schools in the Mid-west which are in the middle of nowhere. In that sense, though it is not a Columbia to be right there in Downtown, it’s still accessible.


The third thing is perhaps a unique feature of the Johnson program. They call it immersion learning. All the students at Johnson have a very career focused experiential program where the students starting the second semester of the first year get hands-on career training. You get a practical experience in whatever you’re learning. That is  a big difference in Johnson as opposed to other MBA programs. In fact, the student management opportunities are enormous. Just to give you specifics,  BR Ventures and BR Consulting, both at Johnson School of Management, provide opportunities to the second-year students to actually manage a venture capital fund and a seed stage consultancy. Those are the kind of opportunities where you can roll up your sleeves and dig into real world experiences. In fact, there is also The Cayuga Fund, an MBA fund, where you have a chance to oversee a portfolio of eight million dollars. It’s a hedge fund. Why is this important? It’s important if you’re the kind of person who feels that apart from theory, you are kind of a doer, you’re a  a kinaesthetic guy, and you learn by doing. In that case, the Cornell program could be ideal for you because there is so much of your own doing, your own experiences, along with the knowledge you gain from an MBA.


2017-2018 SC Johnson School Of Business MBA Deadlines


October Round

Application Deadline: October 5, 2017

Initial Notification: November 15, 2017

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: January 10, 2018


November Round

Application Deadline: November 15, 2017

Initial Notification: January 10, 2018

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: March 1, 2018


January Round

Application Deadline: January 10, 2018

Initial Notification: March 15, 2018

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: April 23, 2018


April Round

Application Deadline: April 5, 2018

Initial Notification: May 1, 2018

Deposit & Official Transcript Deadline: June 1, 2018




SC Johnson School Of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018


The first essay is the goal statement. What Johnson has done here is very interesting. What they have done is, they realised a lot of people don’t know how to write a goals essay. Maybe they haven’t watched my videos or haven’t read my articles. While writing, people just meander, and they go all over the place. The point is, they are not specific. The school, as I have said in my other videos as well, requires you to be very specific with regard to your goals. What is it that you really want to do?  If you see, it explicitly states, “if invited to interview, you will have the opportunity to elaborate further and should be prepared to connect your prior experience with your future aspirations.” They are actually mentioning in a way that they don’t expect you to say “Why”. Let’s keep out the “Why” part. Let us just focus on the “What” part. In most career goal essays, the “Why” part is also required to tie your past experience to why you want to do whatever you plan to do. In this case, you don’t need to worry.


Here is what it reads:


Goals Statement


A statement of your goals will begin a conversation that will last throughout admissions process and guide your steps during the MBA program and experience.  To the best of your understanding today, please share your short and long-term goals by completing the following sentences:

Immediately post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:


In 5 – 10 years post-MBA, my goal is to work as a(n) ____[Role]____ at ___[Company]___within___[Industry]___.

Targeted Job Role:

Target Job Company:



Example of Completed Statement:

Short Term Goal: Immediately post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) Consultant at Accenture within Media and Technology.

Long-Term Goal: In 5-10 years post-MBA my goal is to work as a(n) Founder and President within Nonprofit.


You have the role, company and the industry. Which one? Pick any that you want. You need to pick your targeted goal, targeted job company and the industry that you want to work in. The same thing gets repeated in your long-term goal. They even specify how long a long-term should be, 5-10 years.


Now, a couple things here. First, your best friend is LinkedIn. Make sure that you go to LinkedIn, and research about people who have graduated, and people with experiences similar to yours. So don’t look at someone who probably went to an Ivy League in the US, born and brought up in the US and is working on Wall Street. You need to make sure it is your background, be it in tech, be it in finance, whatever is your background, that background. Try to see if you can get people who are not Americans but Indians or anyone else who doesn’t have a PR status in the US. Now that you found the person you need, find out what it is that they are doing. Look at people who are now at one-year or two –years after they have graduated. That will give you a good sense. It will give you a good sense of the kind of companies that are recruiting and the kind of typical roles that you would get.


Now, if you want to ask, I would say “Employability” plays a huge role. You don’t want to put something that is so weird that not many people can get that job. That cannot be held against you but they are going to look at it and say, “Is this guy going to get this job? And if not, he is probably in the wrong place.” Pick something, for example, I know that some of the largest recruiters like Amazon recruit heavily from most schools, including Cornell. You have the top consulting firms. You have the top tech firms like Microsoft and Google. So try to pick an employer who has employed people with your kind of a background and look at the title and role they have. What do they join as? Do they join as Poduct Managers? Then you talk about the companies and the roles, which go hand-in-hand, and then the sector. Is it e-commerce? Is it technology? Is it finance? Is it consulting? “I want to be an associate at Mckinsey working in the consulting sector”, or something like, “I want to be a Product Manager working at Google in the tech space.” You have to be very clear.

Now coming to the 5-10 years which is your long-term goal. In this part, there are two things you could do. The one thing you could do is that you could think of a career path that is a progression along this. For example, if you’re a consultant, you want to talk about being an engagement manager or maybe a partner. If you’re going to be a Product Manager, let’s say you want to be the Vice President of Products of a start-up. So that’s one path. Now the second path that you can take in the longer term is something that is allied to what you have done but is completely different. For example, you can talk about entrepreneurship. You could say, “I did consulting (or a tech role). I was a Product Manager in Google for five years, and in five years down the line, I want to be a founder or a co-founder, or a CEO or maybe even a CTO at a tech company. At my own company perhaps, and work in the high-tech sector, work in the healthcare sector.” Whatever sector interests you.  You could play that card as well.

Going back to what I said before, make connections on LinkedIn. It is also very important for the next essay. I am going to be talking about that but if you haven’t really created your LinkedIn profile, please do so today. My LinkedIn profile is down below (LINK). If you want to connect with me, I’ll be more than glad to connect with you.



Essay 2#




The second essay is the impact essay. Now, the essay clearly states “Whether doing the program or following graduation, our students and alumni share the desire to positively impact the organizations and communities that they serve”. Remember, I told you about the experiential learning. This kind of ties with that part. “To help you explore your potential for impact, we encourage you to engage with our students, alumni, faculty and professional staff”. Very important, when they say “We encourage you.” It goes on to say, “You can choose to connect with them via e-mail or a phone or in-a person during one of our campus or off campus events”. If you’re not from the US, perhaps it’s not applicable to you. “As you seek their input and insight, please be respectful of their time and prepare a few discussion points or questions in advance.” Why they have given this background is very important because the actual essay question is going to follow.



Impact Essay


At Cornell, we value students who create impact. Please indicate the opportunities for the impact that you’ve identified through engagement with our community and describe how what you learned has influenced your decision to apply to Johnson. (500 words)


Many people, the moment they see this essay, just blindly carpet bomb all the people on LinkedIn who are from Cornell. It really pains me because I have a lot of my alumni students who are current Cornell students who come and tell me, “ We mostly get messages like, Hey, can you please look into my profile and tell me if I got a good chance.” You just blew your chance, you just blew the opportunity to have a meaningful engagement with someone. Nobody can say if you can get into a B-School. Even I cannot say that. Remember, the probability is above 0% and below 100%. Nobody can say that 100% you’re going to get in, and nobody can say you have 0% chance of getting in. Somewhere, it is a probability, it could be 30%, 50% or 60%. What you should do is to be respectful; you should understand that they are busy and they have a hundred other things to do. Do your research and look at the profile to see if there are any common connections. That’s one thing you can do. See if there is any common connection through whom you can get introduced. See if you could approach them, talk about some similarities in your past. Be very specific in what you want to ask. You have a background in “XYZ”, now give them a summary.  What is it that you want to ask them about? It’s very important that you do so. Now that you have connected with them, it’s very important that you put that in your essay. Now that you’ve connected with them, you know what the story is.


It’s important for you to pick two or three opportunities. Remember, these are opportunities while you’re at Cornell, or maybe life beyond. Things that a Cornell/Johnson MBA can equip you with. As I mentioned earlier, we spoke about the investment fund. Do you want to be part of it? Just don’t say it because everybody is saying it. What is it in your background that you can bring to the table? Have you done investments before? Are you good at quantitative modeling? Is there anything else that you can bring to the table? Talk about how you could create an impact, and also say what you will gain from this experience. It has to be what I will give and what I will get.


Pick two or three opportunities for impact, and you need to say, “Why is that a reason for you to apply to the Johnson program?”. It’s very important that you tie it. It should read in such a way that someone says, “Wow! This guy has done his research; he has spoken with people. He is very clear, these are three opportunities that he has identified, and this is how he going to contribute, this is what he going to learn, which is why Cornell/Johnson is the number 1 choice for him. They have kind of twisted the “Why Johnson MBA essay” in a slightly different way but that’s really what it is. As I have said earlier, that’s because they value student contribution so much.



Table of Contents


This is the table of contents essay. They say “This is your opportunity to present yourself as an individual. We encourage you to think about your proudest accomplishments, moments  of adversity that have been overcome, interesting personal highlights, that will help us to get to know you as a person and potential community member”. hey really want to know about your life. They want to know the highs and lows and not the boring resume. They want to know something interesting, something that pops out, something that makes them feel, “I want to meet that person.” That’s the goal. After reading it, they should say, “Wow! I want to meet this person, I want this person in my class.” Are you able to articulate yourself that way? Let’s look at the specific prompt.


Table of Contents Essay


You are the author of your Life Story. Please create the table of contents for the book in the space provided or upload it as an attachment. We value creativity and authenticity and encourage you to approach this essay with your unique style. Alternative submission formats may include a slide presentation, links to pre-existing media (personal website, digital portfolio, YouTube, etc.), as well as visually enhanced written submissions.

Maximum file size is 5 MB. If you choose to submit a written Table of Contents, please limit your submission to 500 words or fewer. Multimedia submissions should be under 5 minutes.


First of all, what I want you to do is, sit down, chronologically write down all of the things that you have done in your life. Maybe something interesting about the place you were born. Maybe you can talk about that, maybe that’s a story. What about your education? Is there anything interesting? Don’t tell me what degree you have. That, I already know from your resume. Talk about something interesting. Did you learn anything about yourself? Maybe you met your childhood sweetheart and you got married to her. Maybe that’s the most interesting thing about your education. You can also think of a great story about your life, which can be put here. It’s very introspective. What about work? Where did you work? What was your biggest challenge? What did you accomplish? Now, remember each of them very clearly, remember that it’s table of contents and not the content.


What actually happened? They will get to know the details of it later. At this point, they want to know, “What was the life event?” Once you have listed out all of your life events, just write it down. As I have said, it’s not just professional but also personal. When you were born, when you got married, or when you had a kid. Whatever it is, just write it down. You could also write about adversity, for example, you had a major accident, you were in hospital for three weeks and that taught you something. Put it over there.


Once you have put all of that down, I would say the “How” is actually of lower importance. If you’re a creative person, you would figure out a good way to express this but if nothing else, make sure that each of these points kind of stands out. For example, let’s say that one of things you want to talk about is about when you got an opportunity to face an audience and you had stage fright all of your life and it took a lot of grit and determination to face an audience. Can you put a YouTube link? Yeah, even it’s a small hand held mobile camera that someone took,  like a shot, or maybe you have your own personal blog and you wanted to express yourself. Make sure you link it here.


Essentially, you need to keep it very concise. Don’t try to elaborate things. They are not wanting to know “Why”. Just because it is 500 words, don’t exploit it and write paragraphs. It should be one heading followed by a small blurb. The heading can be very interesting. For example, the heading could be, let’s say you want to talk about the time you got laid off and you started hunting for a job and you realized that you don’t want to go back to the job you were doing earlier and you wanted to do something new. Now that’s a lot of things. The heading could be “Second innings” and you could say, “After an unsuccessful attempt at my first innings of the….I started my second innings doing…..” Just one sentence. Just a small blurb.  


So, you would have:

<Title> <Blurb>

<Title> <Blurb>

<Title> <Blurb>

<Title> <Blurb> …..

Maybe five or six. I am imagining you’re somewhere under 30, or just about 30. I don’t think your life can have 15 to 20 chapters. That’s perhaps what I would do. Don’t worry about the “How” part. You could figure out a way to be creative, maybe express it differently, or put it in the form of a chart, but I wouldn’t bother too much about that.



Optional Essay


This essay is required for applicants seeking re-admission and should call attention to the steps taken to strengthen one’s candidacy. Candidates may also use the optional essay to call attention to items needing clarification or to address any gaps in experience.


My advice always for the optional essay is to write about a huge gap in your experience or your education or something that couldn’t be written anywhere else. Don’t try to retrofit a story just because it didn’t find a place elsewhere.


There is also this Roy H.Park Leadership Fellows Program essay. This is available only to a US citizen who is applying for a two-year MBA program. If you find it in your application form and you’re an international applicant, I am sorry, it’s not for you. I just wanted to let you know.


If you’re applying to the Cornell Johnson MBA program, I would be interested to know how your application is going. Are there any questions? Are you stuck at any point? Is there a way in which we can work together? Please let me know by clicking this link below.


  • October, 5th, 2017
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INSEAD Business School Essay Analysis 2018-2019

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I will discuss the INSEAD Business School, which has campuses in France and Singapore. If you’re looking at applying to INSEAD this year, you have come to the right place.


First, let’s look at the program. What works for INSEAD is the one-year program. It’s actually crunched and more like 10-11 months rather than a year. It offers accelerated learning and if you’re looking for a one-year program, this is definitely one of the top three one-year programs in the world today.


Secondly, INSEAD is truly international. Although most of the US B-Schools have diversity, with 30 to 40% of their class coming in from outside of the US, theirs are predominantly an American programs. It’s the same thing if you look at Europe. However, if you look at INSEAD, the kind of diversity that you have, the kind of geographies that you have with about 40 to 50 different nationalities every year in the program, you see a program that is truly international. I think that’s a huge plus.


One more thing that probably works well for INSEAD is the fact that it has dual campuses (France and Singapore). It is possible for you to take advantage of the exchange opportunity; you can do some courses in the other campus. Thus, you can get a mix of both.


I think one thing you need to look at when applying to INSEAD is the fact that because it’s such an international program, they require you to have some amount of international background. Make sure you go to the website and read their admission criteria. The criteria are:


  • Ability to contribute

  • Academic capacity

  • Leadership Potential

  • International motivation (adaptability and flexibility in multi-cultural environments)”. Unless you have experience working very closely with people from different cultures and different geographies in your home country, this is going to be a little tough. You need to have some amount of international exposure. Just keep that in mind while you’re applying for the INSEAD program.


2018-2019 INSEAD Business School MBA Deadlines


INSEAD has two intakes


September 2019 Intake


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 19, 2018

Interview Decision Notification: October 19, 2018

Final Decision Notification: November 23, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: November 14, 2018

Interview Decision Notification: December 14, 2018

Final Decision Notification: January 25, 2019


Round 3

Application Deadline: January 9, 2019

Interview Decision Notification: February 8, 2019

Final Decision Notification: March 15, 2019


Round 4

Application Deadline: March 6, 2019

Interview Decision Notification: April 5, 2019

Final Decision Notification: May 10, 2019


You also have the option of the January Intake, that’s the beauty of it. The flexibility is that you can join by September or you can join in January. If you’re looking at January 2020, the deadlines are:


January 2020 Intake


Round 1

Application Deadline: February 20, 2019

Interview Decision Notification: March 22, 2019

Final Decision Notification: April 26, 2019


Round 2

Application Deadline: April 17, 2019

Interview Decision Notification: May 17, 2019

Final Decision Notification: June 21, 2019


Round 3

Application Deadline: June 5, 2019

Interview Decision Notification: July 5, 2019

Final Decision Notification: August 9, 2019


Round 4

Application Deadline: July 24, 2019

Interview Decision Notification: August 23, 2019

Final Decision Notification: September 27, 2019




Insead Business School Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019


You have four job essays and three motivational essays. We have had students getting into INSEAD almost every year for the last many years, and one thing I can tell you is that for all the other schools one week or 10 days is doable but for INSEAD, it takes a lot more.You need to factor in more time for your application. Now, let’s look at the Job essays.



Job Essay #1


Briefly summarise your current (or most recent) job, including the nature of work, major responsibilities, and where relevant, employees under your supervision, size of the budget, clients/products and results achieved. (short answer)


You need to have a short answer. Now, the deal with this is  that it is a crunch or a summary of your overall career progression. Don’t try to copy paste your CV over here. Try to be slightly more human in your approach. Try to describe it in a way that a layman can understand because many of these essays are going to be looked at by people who may not be in your industry. See, for the resume that you send to prospective employers, you assume that since they are in the same industry, same domain, they understand a lot of jargon.

For example, don’t write “Ten Thousand LOC”, instead, write “Ten Thousand lines of code”. You need to make sure that you explain in simple terms.


A key thing is that the question also talks about the “…results achieved.” You need to be able to quantify what you did, it’s not just what you did. Just don’t go to the company’s portal and look at the job description for your particular title and copy/paste and say “I developed…I designed….I managed”. You should talk about what  the result was. There is a very simple framework that you could use:  Situation, Action, and Result. You could talk about the background of the project given to you, what you did in the project, and what the result of the project was. You could easily break it up into three parts.



Job Essay #2


What would be your next step in terms of position if you were to remain in the same company? (short answer)


Obviously, they are not just looking at the title so don’t say that “I am a manager and I’ll become a senior manager.” You need to also explain what the senior management role would. entail Perhaps you need to quantify it. For example, if you’re currently handling ten accounts, as a senior manager, you would probably be responsible for 50 accounts, so you need to basically quantify the role.



Job Essay #3


Please give a full description of your career since graduating from university. Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices. (short answer)


Don’t try to keep this in the resume format. When you graduated, what were the options you had? Why did you pick your first employer, was there a reason for you to do that? After that, why did you pick the second employer? What was the learning that you had with the first employer? What was the learning that you had with the second employer? You need to gradually take them through the journey of your life.


Again, try to be brief. Don’t try to elaborate too much. Don’t try to dramatize it. In fact, this is not an essay where you should bring quotes and emotions and all that into the play. To some extent, keep it dry. That’s what your third job essay is going to be like. One key thing is, “Describe your career path with the rationale behind your choices.” You’re not just telling them what you did but also “why you did” “what you did.”



Job Essay #4


Discuss your short and long-term career aspirations with or without an MBA from INSEAD. (short answer)


Here, the deal is that they are not looking at why you want to do an MBA. So tell them, “what is it that you want to do eventually in life?” If you’re not applying, this is still what you want to do. For example, “I want to be a Product Manager. As a Product Manager, I feel that I am going to be responsible for the life-cycle of a product. I feel I will be able to affect and influence the way users deal with the particular problems faced.” That is what they want to hear from you. You can dream about your long-term. It may not be as concrete as your short term but you could say that you eventually want be in a role where you start your company where technology is going to directly affect in a particular area that you are passionate about. You can have slight leeway in not being very specific but don’t try to pick a bizarre thing. One mistake that people make is that they are good at writing short-term goals but when it comes to the long-term goal, they say something like “I want to be an entrepreneur.’  You want to be “an entrepreneur” is too vague. You need to be slightly more specific. Tie it to your motivation, your passion.


Now, let’ discuss the optional job essays.



Optional Essay


If you are currently not working or if you plan to leave your current employer more than 2 months before the programme starts, please explain your activities and occupations between leaving your job and the start of the programme.


First, if you’re currently unemployed, it’s okay. You don’t need to sweat it but you need to show them how you are constructively utilizing your time. You cannot say, “I quit my job, and I am preparing for the GMAT and applying to INSEAD.” Instead, you can say, “I am taking these courses and I am making sure that I am investing in myself so that I can develop further professionally”, or you can talk about your personal reasons for which you have taken a sabbatical. Whatever the reason be, write it. Make sure that you’re not telling them you’re sitting at home and binge-watching Netflix, and goofing off.


Also if you have plans to quit to do something meaningful to you. Well, one of my students who went to INSEAD this year, went and took his pilot license because that was his dream since childhood. He wanted to be a pilot. So he said, “I am going to take this opportunity and spend 2 to 3 months getting my pilot license.” Now, that’s something that is not related to an MBA. People don’t try to see how you’re putting all these dots in this perfect linear curve which is leading towards your goal. It’s okay to do things that appeal to your passion even if it doesn’t link directly to your MBA goals but if it is, please mention it here.



Motivational Essays


Motivation Essay #1


Give a candid description of yourself (who are you as a person), stressing the personal characteristics you feel to be your strengths and weaknesses and the main factors which have influenced your personal development, giving examples when necessary (approximately 500 words).


This is a slightly complex essay. Let’s go through it one by one. You need to talk about two or three life incidents, hobbies, things that have happened to you, and things you did but out these two or three things that you’re going to talk about, you need to be able to cull out the strengths and weaknesses that you’ve discovered in yourself. The strengths and weaknesses cannot be isolated and your stories cannot be different. They have to be merged together.


Let me give you an example. One of my students spoke about how she grew up in a joint family and she said, “Growing up in a joint family, the one thing that I realised was that I always had to share my things and initially, it was very tough because as a kid I would want everything I would get. Every time my parents would get something, they would get five of it because there were five other kids growing up in the same family.” Then she spoke about how that deeply influenced who she was today and how she spun it as positive. Now, going ahead, she spoke about a particular thing that she gained from her father. Her father was someone who believed that you have to go all out and give it your best, and at some point she became slightly high strung. It was always like you had to go for the kill. You always want 100%;  it’s not that you’re expecting this from just yourself but it’s something that you’re expecting from others as well. Once she started working, she realised that sometimes you “Let perfection not be the enemy of getting things done.” She realized that there were constraints that she had to work around and not everything goes according to plan but as humans we need to know how to deliver the maximum. Not 10/10 but even if she got 8/10, she learned to be fine with it. This was a potential weakness. She said, “I still go back to the urge of perfection but now I have perhaps come to terms with this fact.”


You talk about a couple of strengths, you talk about a weakness or two, and then you kind of weave your stories into it. At the end of the essay, what does INSEAD really want to know? It wants to know who you are as a person. What are the gifts? What are the gaps? One mistake that people make in the weakness part is that they kind of mask the weakness by saying that it is a strength. For example, in the earlier example, she said, “Perfection is my weakness and it’s not something that I am proud of.” However, people say, “Oh, I am a perfectionist but you know what? Sometimes I have to deal with these people who don’t understand who I am.”  Or here is another example of incorrect weakness, “I work so hard. I am a hard worker and I don’t know when to stop. I work for 16 hours a day.”In this example, they try to showcase that as a weakness. A weakness has to be slightly more genuine.


That’s pretty much the first essay we have. As I have said, you need to tie it up together. 500 words, two strengths, and one weakness, 150 words to develop each story. That’s 450 words, then the starting and finish will be 50 words. 500 words will nicely cover it all.



Motivation Essay #2


Describe the achievement of which you are most proud and explain why. In addition, describe a situation where you failed. How did these experiences impact your relationships with others? Comment on what you learned(approximately 400 words).


Very clearly, 200 words for success, 200 words for failure. In the 200 words for success, talk about why you are proud of it. It does not have to be something that is earth-shattering but something that you personally relate to well. Maybe it’s a small thing that you did at work that completely changed your perspective towards leadership. It states “Explain why.” why are you proud? It’s not just the “What’ but also the “Why”.


The second part, “….Where you failed…” Here,what people do is, they say, “I failed but then eventually, I succeeded.” No, it has to be failed. There is really no escape, you failed and it was a spectacular failure. You learned, you fell flat on your face but you know what? You got up. You bounced back. You learned so much about life. In fact, as I have mentioned earlier, in Australia, there is an elite air force where they ask this question, “Have you failed?”, and if respondents say, “I have not failed”, they are actually not considered for the elite corps. The reason is, if you haven’t failed in your life you don’t know what failure is and B-School can be a tough place. They want people with very high EQ. That’s a huge part of the whole B-School experience, which is why the second essay is about your failure.


It’s not so much about what happened, it’s okay if you have made mistakes because everyone makes mistake but what really matters is, “What did you learn?  How did that impact your relationship with others?” You also need to talk about how this success and failure have changed you as a person. If you haven’t thought about it, it’s a good time to think about it now. As I said, EQ is a quality that INSEAD looks for in their applicants.



Motivation Essay #3


Describe all types of extra-professional activities in which you have been or are still involved for a significant amount of time (clubs, sports, music, arts, politics, etc). How are you enriched by these activities? (approximately 300 words)


One of the things that INSEAD or any other B-School looks for is leadership qualities. So now, what do you mean by leadership? Leadership Is when a person says, “My life is not just going to work, coming back home, watching TV, and going to sleep. I am passionate about certain things”, and a leader will typically have one more thing he is going to pursue on the side. You need to pick what it is and quantify it but more than the ‘What’, again I will tell you, it’s about the “Why”. Why is that cause so dear to you? Why did you not pick something else? Why did you pick that sport?Why do you jam with your band every weekend? What about music inspires you? What can other people learn from you? 300 words is plenty of space to elaborate on that part.


Optional Motivation Essay


Is there anything else that was not covered in your application that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee? (approximately 300 words)


This is the usual optional essay. If you have any gaps in your education or work experience, the optional essay is the place to address it, or if you feel that there is something that the Admission Committee needs to know, you can write about it. Make sure that this is not something that you’re trying to retrofit, like a story which does not fit anywhere else. Don’t do that. You’re better off not writing this essay than writing something for the sake of it.


I know there is a lot for the INSEAD essays. If you’re applying this year and you think there is any way in which we can work together and we can help, please let us know by clicking the link below.


  • October, 5th, 2017
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Harvard Business School Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I’m going to talk about the Harvard Business School MBA program, and its application essay. Firstly, with Harvard Business School, brand credentials are really gold plated. When you think of an MBA, Harvard is the name that comes to your mind. That’s the top selling point for Harvard Business School. In terms of global reach, whichever country you go to, it really gives you the passport of having an alumni network, and having credentials that people will take seriously. The name recognition is a huge thing.


The second thing is the case study method. Harvard really invented this thing, where they said, “We don’t want to teach you by theory, we don’t want to teach you by putting a ppt but we will actually give you a scenario so that students themselves participate”. Everyday, you don’t just walk into class and try to hack it and try to wing it by speaking something. You have to conduct your research the previous evening before you walk into the class. You need to have all your points noted down. You need to make sure that you’re able to present a very cogent argument either for or against the study that is mentioned over there. Remember, if you’re thinking that class participation is going to be easy, you’re wrong. Remember that you’re going to be surrounded by peers who are probably as rabidly competitive as you are. Everybody there wants to make sure that he/she gets their points across. It’s not very easy.


From our students who’ve been to Harvard, we have learned that there is one more thing that is special about Harvard. They have seen that public speaking and confidence level really shoot up in the two years. You are really confident of expressing your thoughts,  of dealing with objections, and of putting your points in a way that can be received better by the other person. You learn all of this at the Harvard Business School.


Next, you’re on the Harvard University campus, and you have various other departments at Harvard. Thus, in terms of infrastructure, the diversity of the student population, and in terms of taking courses/electives in other departments, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity here. You’re in Boston, you’re just across the road from MIT. It’s really a great place, and though it gets a little cold in the winter, it’s a great place to be.


Harvard Business School MBA Deadlines


Round 1 – Sept 6, 2017

Round 2 – Jan 3, 2018

Round 3 – April 2, 2018


So let’s look at the deadlines.


Most of the students come and ask, “what does it really take to get into Harvard?”. Harvard is looking for significant impact that you’ve made, either in your education, or in your experiences, or maybe even in your extra-curricular activities. You cannot be an average guy. You cannot be a mediocre guy; you cannot just have good grades and average experience. To give an example, let’s say you did your engineering with a score of 70%, and then went to work for a large IT company. You’ve worked there for four years and you did routine stuff and maybe a little more here and there but pretty much stuck to that. You have also participated in a little bit of an NGO activity or a hobby that you’ve pursued. You’re average.


Unfortunately, if you’re looking at Harvard, you need to have something that pops out of the paper. Something that makes people say, “Wow!”. People are not looking at a hundred things. One of our students, Raviraj, got into Harvard.  was from IIT Bombay, with a 750 GMAT. All of the things were in place, but what really made a difference was that he started a company while he was still in his fourth year at college. It got picked by a lot of media houses. In fact, he was featured in 27 different publications. He was also featured in Business World, Business Week and on Young Turks on CNBC. He made a huge impact. Now, here is the funny part, his company did not do well and they actually folded in. But the bigger thing is the experience that he had. There was something he did that was very significant. Something that had a huge impact. For that reason, he was able to put in a strong candidature at Harvard.


Let’s now get into the actual essays that you have.




Harvard Business School MBA Essays 2017 – 2018


Essay 1


As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (No word limit)


There is no word limit and it goes on to say, “Don’t over think, over craft or overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language and that those of us who don’t know your world can understand”.


So don’t give me a lot of jargon and don’t expect me to understand a lot. I already have your resume, I already have your recommendation letters, I have your undergrad transcripts, I have your entire work experience, I have all your achievements, I have your GMAT scores with me, I have your Quant and verbal split. I have everything about you. I know all of this and now tell me something else about you. Now if you think about this at a very fundamental level, what Harvard is really looking at is that one story that inspires you. That one thing that gives me the “Why” about you. “What’ I already know but the “Why” I need know. Who’s the person behind all these achievements? What is the real inspiration behind what you do in life?


I will give you an example of a student who had applied to Harvard. He essentially had an entrepreneurial venture in the social space. Hewas into micro-financing and microcredit. He spoke about how he grew up in a family where his father and grandfather were farmers, and he saw the hardships that they went through. While growing up, he realized something as simple as taking loans. Farmers are usually affected by the vagaries of the weather. Sometimes, the monsoons are good, and sometimes they are bad. Invariably, they went to the local money-lender who used to arm-twist them and make them pay through their nose. That’s why he said that growing up and looking at these experiences, he realized that this was something he wanted to set right. He did not know how to do it, but education was the answer. He said, “I went to college not knowing what I would do to fix the scenario but I worked hard and got educated here, and went on to do my Bachelors in St. Stephen’s College in Delhi.” He then went on to get his Master’s. He also said, “When I went back and contributed, I felt in some sense that I am vindicating my parents, my grandfather, and my ancestors because this is something that they faced.”


Talk about something that is very close to you. Something that is personal to you, something that talks about impact because everything in Harvard is about impact. Are you a person who can make a strong impact in the world? It could be through anything, it could be through technology also. If you’re a technology person and you think Harvard is your calling, how will technology have an impact on the world? You need to understand that for Harvard, you can no longer talk about the small things. You need to talk about the larger vision. This essay also has the scope of what you want to do because that’s not mentioned anywhere. You need to talk about your experiences, your background and how you will change the world. I know it’s not easy but that’s how this essay has been designed. It requires you to think and brainstorm. It also requires you to talk to your friends and family, and really put in that core message. Once you have the core message you want to convey, you can blow up the other parts and figure out how to say what. ‘Why” is the core of this essay.


If you’re applying to Harvard, and would like to connect with us, go ahead and click the link below. We can help you draft your essays and can help you brainstorm.


  • October, 5th, 2017
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USC Marshall School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we will discuss the USC Marshall MBA program. They have two programs, the one-year IBEAR program, and the two year program. The former is a one-year accelerated international MBA for mid-career professionals. The average age of students doing this program is 33; it’s meant for people who want a quick accelerated one year program.


However, the main program we’re looking at is the two-year degree, which is their flagship program. A couple of things about the USC Marshall program that you need to know up-front if you’re applying this year. The first is that Marshall has a focus on global outlook. They use their location on the Pacific rim. They have the “Pacific RIm Education” program, which is their prime program, and requires international travel of all students. This is something that differentiates it from other schools.


Apart from the global perspective, because it’s in California, the location makes a huge difference. Southern California has great weather. It is as India as you can get in terms of  weather, culture, and people. It’s one of the best places to be in the US. Because of the location, you have a tech focus, and an entrepreneurial focus. You find a lot of tech companies in the LA area, in Southern California. There are a lot of opportunities to work for exciting new start-ups. I think that’s a huge draw for the USC Marshall Program.


The third important factor is the emphasis on team-work. They believe that since classes are often small, the student body as a whole allows each student to receive a great deal of individual attention. The students participate in a lot of programs that are conducted on campus. A student has to work with other students, so teamwork is a huge focus at USC Marshall.



2017-2018 USC Marshall MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 15, 2017

Decision Notification: December 31, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 5, 2018

Decision Notification: March 31, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: March 1, 2018

Decision Notification: May 15, 2018


Round 4

Application Deadline: April 15, 2018

Decision Notification: June 15, 2018


Round 5

Rolling Admissions*





2017-2018 USC Marshall Essay Questions


Essay 1


What is your specific, immediate short-term career goal upon completion of your MBA? Please include an intended position, function, and industry in your response. (100 words)


With 100 words, you don’t have a lot of leeway to talk about things. If you remember, in the usual career goals essays, we talk about how you go from where you are and how an MBA will help you. No such options here. We have to be very specific..What do you want to do after your MBA? Tell them the role, and give an example of the kind of companies you want to work for. “I want to work for the Retail Leadership Program at Amazon.” Maybe that’s your dream. You probably want to talk about what you would do in that role. You have 100 words so you can  probably have a little leeway to explain in a sentence, “In such a role I would be doing….”


Remember that you have 100 words; keep it tight and steer clear of things that are generic. Don’t say something like, “I want to be in a general management position” or “I want to be in strategic position.” Be very clear. “Associate Consultant at McKinsey working in their LA office” –  you have to very specific. Now that was the easy part. If you know what to do, writing it is easy. (100 words)



Essay 2


Please respond to ONLY ONE of the following essay topics. (500 words)

    1. Please describe the contributions you expect to make to your classmates outside of the classroom during your time at USC.

    2. You have been asked to design a course to be taught at the Marshall School of Business. Please provide a title and description for the course.

    3. What has been the most interesting day or moment in your life and why?

    4. You have been hired by the Marshall MBA Admissions Committee to create an essay question for next year’s application. Please state the question and answer it.


Option 1#


A B-School experience is not so much about what you learn in the classroom. It’s a lot about what you learn outside the classroom. What we are really looking at is, “what is it that you would do with your classmates?” You can talk about extracurricular activities. If you have a passion, let’s say, cycling, you need to say how you will bring that passion to Southern California, to the USC campus. Talk about how you would encourage your classmates to follow your passion and help them perhaps take their mind off studies. You can also talk about anything that differentiates you. I would suggest that you pick two or three traits. Although it is 500 words, you need to flesh out the details. You need to say what it is that you have done, and then you need to talk about how you will contribute. It’s going to take 100 to 150 words. You could probably talk about three specific things that you can contribute. Try to steer clear of professional things.


Option 2#


Not just the title and the description, but I am assuming you would want to say why you want to pick the course. Why do you think it’s important? First, please make sure that it’s not the course that is already offered by the school.


I am going to give you a very general guideline of what to write. Talk about something which is futuristic. Talk about something that would probably be required in this changing world. For example; “How to manage millennials” Now, if you don’t know what a millennial is, go ahead and Google it. Managers are getting worried about how they can manage these guys who grew up in the last 20 years with the internet on their fingertips. Maybe you would want to talk about something futuristic like that.


Options 3#


You need to say what is the most interesting day was, but more importantly, you need to say why. For example, a student once wrote, not for this essay, but for something similar, “My most important day was the day I got married, not so much for the fact that I got married.” It’s a very Indian custom that the parents of both the boy and the girl need to meet and agree. In this student’s case, something went wrong. The parents were not on talking terms, and the boy and girl decided to get married with the help of their friends. He went and negotiated with the girl’s father and with his own parents, and somehow got them all together.


He said, “More than me getting married, my family is very important to me,and that is why this day is important.” Now, the idea is not to just talk about the event. That would be shallow. You need to say why it’s so important. In this case, his family was important and he also said, “This gave me the confidence that I have this inner strength. “When the times are weak and dark, I am able to take this inner strength, and push myself to achieve what I want to do”. This should be something else that they can know about you.


Option 4#


Here is what I would do. I would pick this if none of the first three resonates with me. Let’s say there is no specific day in my life I can remember. It happens, right? If you don’t have anything to say, leave it. Let’s look at , Option 2#, the contributions. I really don’t have three contributions that I can make. You leave that one too, and let us say there is no specific course that comes to my mind. What else do you think that Marshall would like to know about me?


What you can do is, you could spin it a little bit and could talk a little about why it is important for you and Marshall. For example, you could say “One essay that I would like Marshall to talk about is, “Your biggest failure, the most spectacular failure. The reason I would like to know this is because in my life, I learned from my failures.” You can go ahead and talk about your failures and what you have learned. You can also say “More than the successes in life, it is the failures that teach people things that make them who they are.”


That could be an interesting spin of you putting your story while underscoring the fact that this is an important aspect that you wish to see in your classmates.


Optional Essay


Please provide any additional information that will enhance our understanding of your candidacy for the program. (250 words)


As always, you can talk about your educational gaps, experience gaps, or something that you think is necessary for the admission committee to know and they would not know through the application form. It could be stuff that you plan to do in the future, let’s say you plan to take a course in 2018.


What you should not do is retrofit stories that could not find their way elsewhere. Don’t do that.


I hope this article was useful. I wish you all the best for your application to the USC Marshall Program. I know it’s a little tough; I know it’s the first time you are probably writing essays. If you think there is any way in which we could work together, just click the link below, and we could get in touch.


  • October, 4th, 2017
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UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’re applying to the Kenan Flagler program at the University of Northern Carolina, you have come to the right place. In this article, I am going to take you through the program and the application essays for 2017-2018.


Kenan is a good top 15 program. If you look at the various B-School rankings it appears at the top although it’s not in the top 5 programs. It’s definitely a very good program. We have talked to several of our students who went to this school, and one thing the students talk about is the school’s focus on “Leadership development”. Kenan Flagler has something called the “Leadership Initiative” where it brings a lot of guest speakers and exposes the students to them. They also have something called the “Star Program”. You can check this program on their website. The program gives the students the opportunity to gain real world experience in leadership. These are the things that you want to look at when applying to the program.


Secondly, Kenan has a strong international focus. They have an MBA exchange program, and a vast network of partner schools. You can do a semester in another school that is part of the network program.


You also have the ‘Global Business Project Program” wherein the students work for companies in various regions of the world. Furthermore, they also have the “Working Languages Program’, where they teach you foreign languages such as Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish, and more for students who plan to use those languages in their career. If you’re looking at a very global expand where you are not limited to the US, you can check this program.


2017-2018 UNC Kenan-Flagler Deadlines


Round 1 (Early Action)

Application Deadline: October 16, 2017

Decisions Released: December 11, 2017

Deposit Due: January 8, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: December 4, 2017

Decisions Released: January 29, 2018

Deposit Due: April 16, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: January 15, 2018

Decisions Released: March 12, 2018

Deposit Due: April 16, 2018


Round 4

Application Deadline: March 12, 2018

Decisions Released: April 23, 2018

Deposit Due: May 7, 2018





2017-2018 UNC Kenan-Flagler Essay Questions


Essay One (Required)


Please describe your short and long term goals post-MBA. Explain how your professional experience has shaped these goals, why this career option appeals to you, and how you arrived at the decision that now is the time and the MBA is the appropriate degree. Additionally, please briefly address a backup plan should your short-term goal not come to fruition for any reason. (500 words maximum)


This is a classic career goal essay with a few twists. Our strategy should be the same. First, make sure that you talk about your career progression until now. It’s very important to talk professionally, and personally to say what it is that you bring to the table with an MBA or without an MBA. What is the value you would be able to give? What has been your experience? This is not a  replacement for your CV. your CV details your employment history. It details what you did. Here, they want to know what your progression has been. Now that you have talked about all of these great things you have done, you need to say where you see yourself going from here. That becomes your second paragraph. Four years ago, when you started your career, perhaps you did not know what you wanted. Now that you have had all this exposure and you did all these great things, you realize your actual goal is to be ‘X’, ‘Y’ or  ‘Z’. You need to mention that career goal. It has to tie to what you have done. Don’t say, “I have been in the IT industry but I want to be an investment banker, because my Quant is good and I have a 51 in GMAT” or something like, “I did my engineering and I am analytical in my approach.” Don’t make it like that. Give it a very clear fit with what you have done. In this second paragraph, you say what your long term and short term goals are. As I have maintained, short term goals have to be specific whereas with long term goals, you have the leeway to be slightly more generic. As long as you’re able to connect the dots. So that is your second paragraph. Let’s look at the third.


In the third paragraph, you can explain how else you can reach there. Is there any other path to reach there? If you feel that there is an alternate career path to reach there, talk about it here. Tell them about that path. You also need to tell them why the MBA is the best degree for you to get there and when you say an MBA, you need to say t “why a Kenan-Flagler MBA is the best program to getting there.”. So this pretty much becomes your third paragraph.


500 words are enough for you to build a good story. You need to first say what you bring to the table. You need to tell them that now that you have done all of this, what is it that you want to do. Next, say what ways there are for you to get there, including an MBA from Kenan-Flagler. You can write about 150 words for each of these parts. Then you can use 50 words for a strong opening and finishing.


Two very important things:


They specifically ask you for an alternate backup career path, in case your short term goal doesn’t materialize. So I would say, keep your long term goal as it is. Keep two paths to get there with your short term goals.


Next, they very specifically ask you why “now”, so you need to specify why “now” is the correct point to do an MBA, and why now is the point of inflection in your career. Until this point, you couldn’t have done it but at this point, you’re able to figure it out.



Essay Two (Optional)


What personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? How do these qualities or experiences equip you to contribute to UNC Kenan-Flagler? (300 words maximum)


Not just do you need to tell me what the special qualities about you are, but you also need to make a pitch of how you will contribute using those qualities in the MBA program. My suggestion, for 300 words, don’t pick more than two qualities. You can say something like “I am different because….I have this…..particular trait”. Here is an example of what one of our students had written:


“If you were to summarize me in one word, it’s passion. As Yoda said, do or do not, there is no try. If I take up something, I am so passionate about it. I give my 100% doing that. People have asked me, why I am doing this. If I am doing something it rather be worth my while or I might not do it. That same passion, I want to bring to Kenan-Flagler. I want to participate in” and he went on to list a couple of things he’d like to participate in, based on what he had done in the past.


Passion became one point. So 150 words gone. For the next 150 words, pick another adjective that describes you. So that’s how I would play this essay out, but not more than two qualities. If you’re going to write three qualities for example, it reduces the words available for each quality to 100. One quality might be less and three qualities might be more. Choose a good fit. I have seen successful applicants writing about just one quality, and I have also seen applicants writing about three qualities being successful. So you can pick either one, two, or three. Just make sure you’re able to flesh out the details.



Essay Three (Optional)


If your standardized test scores are low, or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum. (300 words maximum)


According to me, if you have done engineering, chartered accountancy, or if you have done any of the professional degrees from India, youprobably meet the requirements.


This essay could be applicable only for a candidate with a Humanities background. If you’re from the Humanities background, or you have a score lower than 48 in Quant in the GMAT, you can probably take any of the online courses to build an alternate transcript. In fact, you could ask them if there are any ways in which you can improve your profile by showing quantitative rigour. If you’re an engineer and you have a good Quant score of 48 and above, don’t worry about this essay. It’s optional for you.



Essay Four (Optional)


Is there any other information you would like to share that is not presented elsewhere in the application? (300 words maximum)


This is one of the places where you can tell them something that is very important. Don’t try to retrofit a story that you just couldn’t find another place for. Don’t do that. Typically, you would talk about the things that you have probably planned to do before you join the program. The things that you cannot put in your resume but have planned. For example, “I plan to learn Spanish next year, and I hope to be in Level B by the time I join the program”. Great! This makes sense to put in here. But don’t put anything that otherwise is just a story about your past.


So that’s pretty much what we have for the UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA program. We’ve had a lot of students who went there, and we keep in touch with them. If you feel that we could help you in any way, if you’re stuck in any part of the application, we would love to help you, so go ahead and click the link below.


  • October, 4th, 2017
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MIT Sloan School Of Management Essay Analysis 2018 – 2019

MIT Sloan
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we will look at the MIT Sloan School of Management. If you are looking at applying to MIT this year, you have come to the right place.


Let’s first look at the MIT Sloan MBA program. The first thing you think of when you look at MIT, is Technology. You think of the focus MIT has on technology and engineering. You might think that MBA is isolated, but it’s not. You need to understand that it’s a university system. You can actually take courses in the technology programs that the other departments have. Even if you’re pursuing an MBA, you can still take an elective from other departments, and being on the MIT campus, you have a different way of looking at things. MIT is obviously a big place for a technology focus.


Second, MIT Sloan is one of the few programs which has a very condensed core. You just have the first semester where you are required to take the core courses, and the rest of it can be based on electives. You can pick and choose whatever you like. Very few schools have this flexibility so it’s a big plus point.


Third, in terms of international flavour, MIT Sloan has the maximum number of international students for any top MBA program.That’s again a huge plus if you’re looking at diversity among US MBA programs.


Finally, maybe because of the technology focus, MIT also has a strong focus on entrepreneurship. In fact, it is said that if all the companies out of MIT were to form a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP in the world. That’s the kind of history of entrepreneurship that you have in one single place. This is definitely a huge place for people who come from a tech background. If MIT is something that you have been dreaming of, you should be looking at the MBA program.


MIT Sloan 2018-2019 MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 25, 2018

Decision Notification: December 19, 2018


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 22, 2019

Decision Notification: April 2, 2019


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 8, 2019

Decision Notification: May 8, 2019





MIT / Sloan Essay Topic Analysis 2018-2019


Cover Letter


MIT Sloan seeks students whose personal characteristics demonstrate that they will make the most of the incredible opportunities at MIT, both academic and non-academic. We are on a quest to find those whose presence will enhance the experience of other students. We seek thoughtful leaders with exceptional intellectual abilities and the drive and determination to put their stamp on the world. We welcome people who are independent, authentic, and fearlessly creative — true doers. We want people who can redefine solutions to conventional problems, and strive to preempt unconventional dilemmas with cutting-edge ideas. We demand integrity and respect passion.

Taking the above into consideration, please submit a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA Program. Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions (300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation).


You can see that there are a lot of questions asked. Don’t get lost. Just read it a couple of times, make sure you get a sense of what it is. Remember that you need to write in 300 words or fewer, excluding address and salutation.


You need to be writing a cover letter seeking a place in the MIT Sloan MBA program, taking into consideration “Your letter should conform to a standard business correspondence, include one or more examples that illustrate why you meet the desired criteria above, and be addressed to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions”. Now, first of all, what do you mean by “Standard Business Correspondence”?. Well, you need to first address the letter to Mr. Rod Garcia, Senior Director of Admissions, MIT, and then you need to write the content of the letter.


What is the difference between writing a letter as opposed to writing an essay? You are writing to a person, so make sure that your 300 words exclude the addresses and salutations. The actual meat of it is you talking about something more than one can get from your resume. Think about it. They have your resume, they have your application form, your recommenders and to top it, they also have your GMAT scores and undergraduate transcripts. They have everything about your working experiences so do not repeat what they already have. Pick one or two things about you that they don’t know. Perhaps you’re an innovative thinker, maybe you are a problem solver. Maybe you believe in problem-solving under frugality (or in India, as they say, “juggaad”). What have you done?  Maybe it’s a small motor pump that you took out from the engine and used for something completely different. Showcase through examples. One thing about MBA applications is, always give examples. First, list down four to five traits that you think define you well. You can talk about innovation, risk-taking, leadership, team working, for example. Whatever you want to pick, pick and list out. You have 300 words. You can pick two things, and convey them in 300 words. Make sure you flesh out all the details and tell them why you are unique. Tell them what it is that you hope to get through the MBA program, and what you are going to learn from the program. It’s really important that you pick those two things.


Now that you have told them who you are, talk about why MIT Sloan particularly excites you because you are this person.  What at MIT excites you? Why do you think it gels so well with who you are as a person? For example, if you spoke about innovation, you can have come to the “Mecca of Innovation”, but you have to be very specific. Mention the academics and non-academics pursuits that you want to get out of the program. You may not really be able to get it all out because you have the 300 word limit. You may not be able to write about your post-MBA goals, and be specific, but you can mention “This is who I am, this is what I am going to get from the MIT program.” Then allude to your post-MBA career without getting into the depth of it.


That is how 300 words should be structured. You can be creative in the way you want to express yourself but make sure you’re going to pick one or two important aspects. One mistake that people do is that they talk about ten different things. It just loses the focus of the message. Don’t do that, two should be the maximum.



Video Prompt


Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.

You will need to use an internet-connected computer, with a webcam and microphone.  As part of the application review, the Admission Committee will evaluate your response to see how you express yourself and to assess fit with the MIT Sloan culture. The simple, open-ended question is designed to help us get to know you better.



   • Please make sure you are using a working Internet connection not wireless or shared wireless connection. If your Internet is not a strong signal you will not be able to upload. Please also make sure you have the most up to date browser.

   • You will need to use an internet-connected computer with a webcam and microphone.

   • We suggest using Google Chrome* or Firefox as your browser.

   • If using Google Chrome – please click the camera icon in your browser to allow the site to access your microphone. If you are having issues with your microphone please re-start your computer for Google Chrome to access your microphone.

   • Once the video statement question is viewed you will have 60 seconds to prepare, and then 60 seconds to record your answer.

   • You will only have one attempt to record your response.



Now, you’re introducing yourself. What you wrote in the cover letter is very different. You’re not going to introduce yourself to your classmates by saying “I am an innovator, I am a problem solver.” Instead, you need to talk about something about you, perhaps something more personal. Maybe you can talk about what you expect from the MBA program. Remember that you have only 60 seconds, and 60 seconds is very less. If you have a very long South Indian name, maybe 60 seconds gets consumed over there. You have to be very prudent in what you say. Be casual.


You just need a simple camera phone and it’s all sorted. Today’s phones come with very good picture quality and video quality. Now you need to make sure that you keep the camera in front of you. Keep it very simple, and nothing fancy. Make sure that the lighting is bright. That is another mistake that people make. Don’t keep the light source behind you. You would look like Gautam Buddha. The light source should be in front of you so that your face looks clean. Also, make sure that your surrounding is clutter free. Make sure that the voice is being captured very clearly; again, your phone microphone will do its work so don’t really sweat too much on that.


When you’re speaking, take as many retakes as possible. Keep saying the same thing, do it for like 20 to 25 times in front of the mirror before you come in front of the camera.


Initially, when you start, you will become very conscious. Do you know how I know this? Well, I have done this, and I have been in your shoes. I know you get very conscious when you see the camera. Sometimes, you know capturing that moment is for posterity, and you feel a bit stressed, but here is the thing, if you keep doing this multiple times, you will get the hang of it.


What is it that I should speak?


    • Speak about yourself. Be casual.

    • Talk about your interest

    • You can even include a quirk

    • You can say what you love doing


For example, “I love gaming and I challenge all you counter-strike aficionados to come challenge me for a game.”


Something of that sort; make yourself sound interesting. I should be able to look at the video and say, “this is the guy/girl I would like to meet.” That’s really the intent of the video essay.


Optional Essay


Please provide any additional information you would like the Admissions Committee to know that may be helpful in evaluating your candidacy (i.e. choice of recommenders, areas of concern in your academic record, other extenuating circumstances, etc.). This information should be provided in a written format (200 words or less).


You can use this essay to convey your gaps in education or gaps in employment or use it to convey something that you couldn’t say anywhere else. But please don’t try to retrofit stories that you couldn’t fit anywhere else. Don’t feel pressured to write anything over here.


I know it’s not easy, especially if you haven’t done a video essay before. It can be tough. If you would like us to help you with your application to MIT, please let us know. You can click the link below.


  • September, 22nd, 2017
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University Of Michigan’s Ross School Of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I will discuss the Ross MBA program at the University of Michigan. If you’re looking at applying to Ross this year, 2017-2018, you have come to the right place. In this article, i will analyze the MBA application essays, which by the way, if you haven’t noticed, has changed.


Firstly, let’s look at the program. Based on our discussions with students who went to Ross, we understand that a specialty at Ross is their MAP ( Multidisciplinary Action Project). With MAP, what happens is that you actually do consulting as part of a team. This is real field work; you’re solving real problems. You won’t be just looking at the MBA as a way to gain knowledge but also to actually apply the knowledge you’ve gained. I recommend that you to go to their website, and read more about MAP.


The University of Michigan is one of the largest public universities You have around 40,000+ students, undergraduates and postgraduates from various disciplines. You will get access to that network, to various departments, and you can take electives from some other departments. That’s a huge advantage as opposed to many MBA schools that are standalone business schools.


The third important factor is the focus on operations and manufacturing. You have the Tauber Institute of Global Operations. If you’re looking for operations, you’re definitely in the right place. Although Detroit isn’t doing well in terms of being a manufacturing hub, in terms of operations, logistics, and supply chain, Ross is the place to be. It is definitely one of the top schools when it comes to specialization in operations.



Michigan / Ross MBA Deadlines for 2017-2018


Round 1

Application Due: October 2, 2017

Decision Released: December 15, 2017


Round 2

Application Due: January 2, 2018

Decision Released: March 15, 2018


Round 3

Application Due: March 19, 2018

Decision Released: May 11, 2018




Ross School Of Business MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


Short Answer Questions




   •  I want people to know that I:

   •  I turned an idea into action when I:

   •  I made a difference when I:





   •  I showed my resilience when I:

   •  I was humbled when:

   •  I am out of my comfort zone when:



   •  I was aware that I am different when:

   •  I find it challenging when people:

   •  A valuable thing I have taught someone:


In each of these groups, you have to pick one prompt and write your answer in less than 100 words. Now, if you have started writing application essays, you know that fewer than 100 words can actually be very, very tough. As Mark Twain said once, “If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter.” Writing fewer words is a lot harder than writing more.


Let’s look at each of these groups and analyze them.




   •  I want people to know that I:

   •  I turned an idea into action when I:

   •  I made a difference when I:


So now you need to complete the prompt. If you look at all of these prompts, it’s about you they want to know. Is any advantage of picking one response over the other? Absolutely not! Don’t even try to game this by saying “this response is better than the other.” This is going to completely be your personal choice.



   •  I made a difference when I:  


Well, I don’t know when I made a difference. Maybe I haven’t thought about it, so I don’t have to pick that. I am just giving an example here. If you have no idea about it, you don’t have to pick it.



   •  I turned an idea into action when I:


I have a lot of ideas, but have I really turned them into actions? Maybe yes? Or Maybe not? Ican’t think of many.



   •  I want people to know that I:


Now I would like to say something about myself, right? This is probably easy, and there is something that i really want to say. I would probably pick this prompt. Now, Icould use this same justification for the second or third prompt. I am not saying the first is better than the others but that’s really the thinking process you need to have. What is unique to you? What is personal to you? Which of the following prompts best resonates with you? That’s what you need to look at.





   •  I showed my resilience when:


Tell them something that you bounced back from. Some failure that you faced. Some dejection, some frustration. Tell them how you were able to work on it.



   •  I was humbled when:


When I got to know something that is larger than me.



   •  I am out of my comfort zone when:


Tell them something that they would want to know about you as a person. With 100 words as the limit, you can write only three or four sentences, so talk about the “What” and don’t forget to spend time explaining the “Why”. People do not understand just the “What” so you need to tell them “Why”.


For example, “I was in my comfort zone when…My manager assigned me to lead a team of people who came from diverse backgrounds with  different function expertise and I had to show them the path to what was really required in this project.” Well, great! You know what? I didn’t learn anything about you. You need to tell me why it was a challenge. That is the point I am interested to know about. So what should you do? You need to keep it simple and say “When I was asked to lead a multi disciplinary project with people from various geographies because I  had only dealt with people who think in a similar manner as I, and I had to put myself in other people’s shoes. I had to show empathy. The moment you start speaking more about you, the Admissions Committee comes to know who you really are.





   •  I was aware that I am different when:


What makes you different ? It could be anything. It could be your way of thinking or maybe it’s something else. What is it that makes you different? Tell them.


   •  I find it challenging when people:


What is it that people do that you find yourself being challenged?


   •  A valuable thing I have taught someone:


As I said, more than the story, focus on the “Why”. In 100 words, you can probably devote 20 words to the ‘What” and the remaining 70 to 80 words  can be devoted to the “Why”. You can focus on the “Why” more, so that they get to know about you. When they read it , it must make them say “This is the person I would like to meet”.



Career Goal Essay


Please share your short-term and long-term career goals. What skills/strengths do you have that will be relevant to your career goals? How will Ross prepare you for your goals? (300 words)


300 words can be challenging because there is lot to cover over here. This is how I would structure this essay.

First, talk about your career so far.Give a quick synopsis. Give them a summary and don’t tell them too much.but show them progression.

“This how I was when I graduated, this is who I am today.”


Next, tell them  what you see for yourself. What are your short term goals? Talk about your function, industry, geography, companies you would like to work  for, job functions you would have in these companies.  Whatever it is, be very specific when it comes to short term goals. The huge mistake that people make is that they keep it very general. They say, “I want to get into a general management function. I want to be in a strategic role in a company.” No. You need to be more specific in what you say.


You do have some leeway when you talk about your long term goals. You can afford to say, “This is what I plan to do. This is what I intend to do.” You have a lot of leeway here because long term goal is 5 to 10 years. There is a little room for you to be creative here. However, you still need to have something that ties back to your education, experience, MBA, short term goals and all of it in your long term goals. So don’t make a blanket statement like, “ I want to be an entrepreneur.”, or something crazy like, “I want to save the world”, or “I want to save whales.” Whatever you say, it should make sense, so be carefull in what you say.  It cannot be a flight of fancy.


Then comes the third part. How are you going to bridge the gap ? This is where you are, and this is what you need to do. What is the delta? What is the bridge? The bridge has to be the MBA. Tell them what it is that you need in order to bridge the gap. Do you need knowledge ? Do you need to be a different person? Does your perspective have to undergo a change? Do you need the network ? Do you need the brand equity of the school Tell them all of your requirements.You need to tell them specifically hat in the  Ross program will help you address this delta.


So that becomes your third part. Overall, there are three parts.


   1. Your journey so far

   2. Short term and long term goals

   3. How an Ross MBA can help you in this goal.

For the first part, you can look at 60 to 70 words, for the second part, you can utilize another 120 words. With this, you’re left with 100 words for the third part. 300 words can be a little tight. So it’s important that you work this well. Work on the language to cut down the extra words so you can get your message out in 300 words.



Optional Essay


Talk about gaps in your employment, talk about gaps in your education and you can also talk about something like,a low GMAT score. Something that you think they should know. Don’t try to retrofit a story just because you’re not able to place it elsewhere. You do yourself a big disservice. Don’t say things that they don’t need to know. That’s the thumb rule i have for all the optional essays.


So yeah, we have covered a lot for the Ross MBA Program. If  you’re applying to Ross, we can help you; we’ve had many students who applied to Ross in the previous years. We would like to see if we could work together. Please go ahead and click the link below, and drop in your comments. I will be more than happy to respond to each one them personally.


  • September, 22nd, 2017
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Tuck School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Welcome to this article in which we will look at the Tuck MBA program at Dartmouth, walk through the essays, and discuss what is unique about the program.


Firstly, Dartmouth is one of the Ivy League schools in the US. So Tuck has rich reputation in that sense, but if you ask what is really unique about the program, it is the community spirit that you see in Tuck. It’s a small class, and it is not next to a large city. In that sense, it’s “tucked” away. Due to this bonding you have in two years, you form a deeper network with the alum, and your classmates. That can be seen as an advantage.


In the US, the culture of colleges plays a huge role. If you’re okay being in a big city, maybe Columbia is what you should be looking at, but if you would like the warmth, the small class size and the bonding, Tuck is the place you should be. This should reflect in your application essay where you say why this particular style resonates best with you.


Another important factor is that they don’t have a Ph.D. program so the entire focus in on the MBA program. All the professors are 100% devoted to taking classes for the MBA program.


If you look at the Tuck program, they speak about General Management. It’s known for leadership and general management. That’s a very strong theme that comes with the program and if you see “The Center for Leadership” at Tuck, you will see that they have various concentrations where the largest department by far is Strategy and Management. Therefore, if you’re looking at general management, and developing your leadership skills, Tuck should be the place for you.


Dartmouth / Tuck MBA Deadlines 2017-2018


Early Action Round

Applications Due: October 4, 2017

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: October 31, 2017

Admissions Decision: December 15, 2017


November Round

Applications Due: November 1, 2017

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: November 10, 2017

Admissions Decision: February 9, 2018


January Round

Applications Due: January 3, 2018

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: January 31, 2018

Admissions Decision: March 10, 2018


April Round

Applications Due: April 4, 2018

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: April 4, 2018

Admissions Decision: May 11, 2018


First Round Consortium

Applications Due: October 15, 2017

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: October 31, 2017

Admissions Decision: December 15, 2017


Second Round Consortium

Applications Due: January 5, 2018

Applicant-initiated Interview Complete: January 31, 2018

Admissions Decision: May 9, 2018


Let’s look at the application deadlines. You have the early action round which is similar to Duke. If you apply for an early action round,  and you’re made an offer, it’s a binding offer, which means that you will not apply to any other schools. You need to be very clear whether Tuck is one of your top choices. If it is your top choice, please apply to the early action round.


It’s either the early action round, the November intake, or the January intake. Do not look at the April intake, especially if you’re an international applicant. Now, students say “between early action round and the first round, am I at a disadvantage with the first round becoming the second round?”. Not necessarily, but if Tuck is not your top school of choice and you end up applying in the early action round, what may happen is that you get an offer but you’re waiting for the other schools. You may not be able to take up the offer. That’s why you have to be a little careful.



Tuck School Of Business MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


Essay 1


What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)


Three questions, 500 words. Here is how you break it down. First, you need to be talking about your career so far. It’s not a rehash of your resume but a quick synopsis of your career progression to date. You can tell them, “This is where I started…this has been my journey…but at this juncture in my life… this is what I see ahead.” Something you couldn’t have seen three years ago. What is the clarity you have about your life and career? That becomes your short-term goal. Once you have your short-term goal, you have to be specific about the function, industry, and geography. All of it has to be very specific. One mistake that people make when writing the short-term goal essay is that they are vague. Don’t be vague.


However, in the long term goals, you can be vague. When I say “vague”, I don’t mean that you put some generic statement like, “I want to be an entrepreneur 20 years down the line.” No! Five to ten years down the line is long enough, and you can say, “five to ten years down the line, this is what I hope to do with my life.” If you want to pursue entrepreneurship, you should be talking about the areas in which you’re going to start your own venture. There is some leeway to be generic and at the same time, you need to have something that ties your past experience, your MBA, and your short-term goal into your long-term goal. That pretty much would be your second paragraph. In the first paragraph, you write a synopsis of what you did, in the second paragraph, your goals and in the third paragraph, you say that if you’re here and this is your goal, this is your bridge. What is stopping you from getting there? That really is the reason you want to do an MBA. You want to look at the specific thing that you want to learn from the B-School. Is it knowledge? Is it different perspectives? Is it brand equity and the network? Whatever your requirements are from an MBA school, you list that in the third part.


In the final part, for each of the characteristics that you have mentioned you require from a B-School, say how Tuck is uniquely positioned to meet those requirements. My suggestion is take up the opportunity to connect with Tuck alum from the website; they call them the Tuckies. Make sure that you connect with some Tuckies, people from your background, and try to understand more about the school, try to understand the culture and the community spirit at Tuck.


That pretty much is going to be your 500 words. You have four paragraphs, roughly about 120 words for each of the paragraphs, and of course you can use your judgment, maybe 80 words in one paragraph and 150 in another. That doesn’t matter. According to me, 500 words is more than enough for you to articulate clearly. Just one point here. For the question,“Why are you interested in Tuck specifically?”, please refrain from making general statements. Don’t say something like “World-class infrastructure” or ‘Globally renowned faculty”. Every top school has it, so you need be very specific.



Essay 2


Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better.

With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:

received tough feedback,

experienced failure, or

disappointed yourself or others.

How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)


Now what this essay is really asking you is to help them understand you as a person. In Australian Elite Corps, they have this as a question, “Have you experienced failure?”, and if you respond with a “no”, you are not considered suitable. Why? Because they feel that people who have gone through failure understand life better. They know what it takes to bounce back.  What this essay is really looking at is sometime when you did something that you’re not proud of. It could be a failure. Again, there is a trap over here, a lot of students make this mistake. They don’t really reveal the failure, they don’t reveal when they disappointed others. They will say something like, “Oh, this was a failure but eventually, it was a success”. No, it has to be a failure! It has to be a point where you fell flat on your face, where there were no options left. All you have to do is pick the broken pieces and move on. What is more important is not what happened to you, instead, it is how your response was. Did it really affect your sense of judgment? Maybe you stopped trusting your judgment, and then it took some time for you to regain confidence. Perhaps you also realized that sometimes it’s not possible for us to control the outcome, we can just control the decision.


That’s probably the learning you had, or probably the learning that you had was that it is important for you to trust others. Whatever the learning be, you need to make sure that you devote a significant portion of this essay to that learning. It’s not about the failure part. It’s about what you learned from it. How were you able to grow as a person? It’s very important. Again 500 words, plenty of words for you talk about this aspect.



Optional Essay


Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere and may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.


For optional essays, talk about either a gap in your education or employment, or say something that really could not be said anywhere else. Something that you probably planned to do and that might affect your MBA candidature, but don’t try to retrofit stories that you picked to tell the Admission Committee that you were not able to tell anywhere else. That’s not what optional essays are meant for, and in fact, you do a bigger disservice to yourself by mentioning something you shouldn’t be talking about.


That’s all we have for the Tuck MBA application process. If you’re applying to Tuck this year, just go down and click the link below. We’ve had students who went to Tuck so we understand the program well, and we would love to share our knowledge with you. We could work together.


  • September, 20th, 2017
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Columbia Business School Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In this article, I will discuss the Columbia MBA program. If you’re looking at applying to Columbia this year, 2017-2018,  you will find this article useful as I am going to discuss the school, and the application essays.


When people talk about Columbia, the first thing that comes to mind is Finance. Yes, it’s very strong for finance and if you look at it, it’s a virtual cycle. Often, when people at Wall street want to take a break, they end up coming to Columbia. They do their MBA and get back to Wall street, and after a few years, when they want to recruit, guess where they come? Columbia again! So it’s a nice symbiotic relationship they have with Wall Street.


You must have a heard of Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing. He taught at Columbia. So in terms of its reputation and finance, Columbia is very strong. It’s known as a very strong finance school.


The second thing is the New York City location. The fact that you’re right there in Downtown New York, Manhattan, where there is a melting pot of culture. So many diverse things, so many people. I think very few schools can boast of a location like that. That’s a huge plus that Columbia has. If you look at their website and application, you’ll see that they also exploit this aspect. They also say “Hey, it’s our location and nobody can offer you this location!” You may have all the money in the world but you can’t be in the heart of New York. In terms of not just culture but also the kind of connection that you have with companies, the Who’s who is headquartered in New York. I think that plays a huge role.

Now let’s look at the deadlines.


Columbia MBA Deadlines for 2017-2018


August Entry

Early Decision Deadline: October 4, 2017

Merit Fellowship Consideration Deadline: January 5, 2018

Regular Decision Deadline: April 11, 2018



Application Deadline: October 4, 2017




Columbia Business School MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


So now let’s look at the essay questions that we have. Essentially, we have three essays. Over the years it has been constant, and we’ve had students applying and getting into Columbia and what I am saying is based on the discussions we’ve had internally with them.


Essay #1


Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3 – 5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)


First off, they are saying “I know what you have done; don’t bore me with that. That’s the information I will find elsewhere in this application.” 500 words to talk about your goals. That’sa lot of words if you think about. They require you to be very clear about the function you want to be in, the industry you want to be in, and the geography you want to be in. Usually, if you’re trying to change your career, you want to make sure that you’re not changing all three. You’re probably changing two out of the three which means if you’re coming from India as an applicant, your geography anyways gets changed. You’re left with industry and function. You need to make sure that you’re at least sticking to the same industry. If you have come from the financial sector industry, you’d want to stick to the financial sector industry. Maybe your function changes, or maybe it remains the same, but you want to be in a different industry.


Another thing is that in a place like Columbia, it’s not necessary that only finance professionals go. Think about it! If you’re Columbia, you aspire to be a Harvard or a Stanford, and nobody even asks you what your specialization in Harvard or Stanford is. That’s a general management program. Even in Columbia, it’s is not a Masters in Finance program. You’re going for an MBA program. You can go for consulting, or you can go for product management. Even tech companies are headquartered in New York.


Whatever you want to pick, make sure that you’re able to clearly articulate what you’re going to be doing. If you’ve not already done so, here is a tip: Make sure you go to LinkedIn, and look for people who have graduated from Columbia. People who are in a similar industry. Try to connect with them, and understand more about what it takes to get that job. The school is also looking for employability. They don’t want this guy saying, “I want to change everything about me. I was a software programmer working in Bangalore and suddenly I want to become an investment banker without even having an idea of what it takes.”


The second part of the question says, “…in your imagination, what would be your long-term dream job?” Let your thoughts come out freely. Nobody is going to judge you. I would say they would judge you only through your short-term goals and they are not going to judge you through your long-term goals. They are really looking at, “What is your passion?” In my short-term goal, yes I would like to look at employability and a little bit of passion but if you were to take all of this away, ‘Who is it that I really am?” What is it that I really want to do with this canvas called Life?” How would I like to paint it?”  That’s what they really want to know, and I think you should dedicate at least a good 150 to 200 words for your long term goal; it gives a great opportunity to express who you are. Dedicate about 250 to300 words for your short-term goals. Be very specific in the short-term. For the long-term goal, you can be slightly imaginative, expressing your own personal choices of what you want to do in life, for the next 200 words or so. That’s how 500 words can be played out for the first essay.



Essay #2


The full-time MBA experience includes academics, recruiting and networking. What are your personal priorities and how do you anticipate allocating your time at Columbia Business School? (250 Words)


The whole idea about this is essay is about the business school experience. Two years of staying in a place like New York can be overwhelming for a lot of people. They just don’t know what to do, and they go berserk. They go to B-School, they want to do a little of this, and a little bit of that, plus there is a huge opportunity cost, and there the cost of an MBA. All of this playing in your mind, and you really can get lost.


What this essay is really saying is, “What is it that you want to do?”There is really nothing like a right answer or a wrong answer for this. You could say, “My priorities are really to experience the student life.” You don’t need to talk about academics. It’s okay. You can say, “I want to use this opportunity to network with people. I want to bring my Columbia credentials and go out into the city, and meet people.” If that’s what you wanted to do, make sure you say so. There is really no harm in saying that, or if you feel that you are really there for the knowledge, and your priority is to sit in class, attend lectures, and learn from the faculty, learn from the kind of resources you’re going to have in the B-School, that could be your answer.


There is nothing such as right or wrong.  Pick your priority. 250 words, a very little leeway for you, so you need to stick to the story. You need to get directly to what you have to say.


Essay #3


Please select and answer one of the following essay questions: (250 words)

a: Please tell us what you feel most passionate about in life.

b: If you were given a free day and could spend it anywhere, in any way you choose, what would you do?


Firstly, neither of the two essays has an edge over the other. I have had students coming and asking me, “ Which one should I pick to maximise my chances?” In Columbia, 50% of the incoming class is going to pick one essay and the other 50% is going to pick the other essay. There is really nothing that discriminates one essay over the other. Let’s look at these essays


A.Remember what you’re passionate about in life. If you remember, in the first essay, we spoke about what your career goals, long-term goals are, and what you really want to do. I would imagine that this has to somewhere connect with that. You cannot have a long-term career goal not involving your passion. You need to make sure that you kind of tie that. You don’t want to talk about your career in this essay, but keep the generic theme.


  1. Pretty much whatever you want to express, express it here. They are just trying to see “Is this person interesting?, would I like to meet this person? Is he the person I would like to see in my class for the next two years?” Be imaginative and creative. I have noticed that students who are expressive may sometimes write weird things. I am using the word “Weird” but they end up really popping out of the paper. They just come out of the application paper. That will compel the reader to say, “This guy is interesting and I would like to meet him.”


These are the points  I would like you to keep in mind for the third essay.


Optional Essay


Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, please use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 words)


You can talk about your academic gaps or work experience gaps if you have any to talk about. Otherwise, stay clear. Don’t try to retrofit a story that did not find a space for anywhere else.


Columbia Business School is one of the schools for which you have to write a lot. If you compare it with other schools, they don’t require much writing, but this one has a lot to write. Make  sure you get your application form done as soon as possible. Don’t prolong it, the essays can take a long time to write.


If you think there is a way in which we can help you, please feel free to click the link below, and let us know. We would be glad to connect with you and see how we can be a part of your MBA journey.


  • September, 19th, 2017
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Goizueta Business School, Emory University Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I will tell you what you need to know about the Emory MBA program, and the Emory MBA essays for the application season, 2017-2018.


Let’s discuss the features of the Emory MBA program. Over the last few years, CrackVerbal has sent many students to the program, and we can help you from our experience.


First, the school offers a one-year program as well as a two-year program. All of you who are looking at a one-year program in the US must certainly look at Emory.


Second, Emory has a university attached to it. What people don’t realize is it’s not just an MBA school that you’re going to but a school that has a university eco-system that is attached to it. For example,  the hospital at Emory. If you remember the Ebola virus, there were two American doctors who went to Liberia and when they came back to the US with Ebola, they were actually treated in Emory. They were the first cases in which Ebola was treated successfully; guess where it happened? In Emory. It’s not just the MBA school but also the university system that you should look at. One more thing about Emory is the location. It’s situated in Atlanta. Atlanta is one of the southern states, and a huge hub. In Atlanta, you have Coke, whose CEO, by the way is after whom the college has been named, the Goizueta School of Management. You also have AT&T and a bunch of other companies in Atlanta. If you are looking at an MBA program, my advice is to stick to a program which is near a large city so that your employment chances go up.


That’s pretty much everything you need to know about the program.



2017-2018 Emory Goizueta MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 6, 2017

Notification Date: December 1, 2017

Deposit Due: December 22, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: November 17, 2017

Notification Date: January 26, 2018

Deposit Due: February 23, 2018 (International & One-Year) / April 18, 2018 (Domestic)


Round 3

Application Deadline: January 3, 2018

Notification Date: March 9, 2018 (Domestic) / March 16, 2018 (International)

Deposit Due: March 30, 2018 (One-Year) / April 18, 2018 (Two-Year)


Round 4

Application Deadline: March 9, 2018

Notification Date: Rolling (One-Year) / May 4, 2018 (Two-Year)

Deposit Due: Upon Notification (One-Year) / May 15, 2018 (Two-Year)




Emory Goizueta MBA Essay Analysis 2017-2018


Essay 1


Define your short-term post-MBA career goals. How are your professional strengths, past experience and personal attributes aligned with these goals? (300 words)


If you look at it, it may not be necessary to start with your goals. You could also give a quick summary of what you have done until now. This does not mean regurgitating what is on your resume, this is not about what is in your application form. It is more about your own personal journey and has to talk about your professional strengths, your past experience, and your personal attributes. You write maybe 100 to 120 words on this and then you get on to the second point which is on what you want to do from where you are. Talk about where you have reached in your career, and then the natural progression to get to the next part. While writing about the short term post MBA goal, remember to write down details of the function, the industry you’re going to work in, and the geography you’re going to be at.Try to list a couple of companies, and specific programs within the company that you would like to apply for. Ensure that you do your research. One thing that could kill you is, picking a short term goal that is improbable. Something that will not fit with your background. You need to make sure that the goal is aligned to what you have already done, and if there is a slight change, you need to justify why you are equipped to handle that change.


That’s pretty much 300 words. You can use about 100 to 120 words talking about yourself, and another 150 words talking about the short term goal in detail, and then you have 30 to 40 words, which you can use for an introduction and conclusion. Make sure that the introduction and conclusion are fairly strong so that you have a packed essay.



Essay 2


The business school is named for Roberto C. Goizueta, former Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, who led the organization for 16 years, extending its global reach, quadrupling consumption, building brand responsibility, and creating unprecedented shareholder wealth. Mr. Goizueta’s core values guide us in educating Principled Leaders for Global Enterprise. Provide an example of your leadership – professional or personal – and explain what you learned about yourself through the experience. (300 words)


This is a leadership essay. You’re looking at principled leadership. What you need to pick is something where you went above the circle of concern. This could be a time when you were supposed to do something but took the initiative, the ownership of going beyond that. It could be very small. The question says “Professional or personal”. So it may not be work. One mistake a lot of students do is talk about something that is run of the mill. They say something like, “I was doing this, and my manager quit. We weren’t able to find a replacement, and I took a step-up responsibility, led the team, and executed the project.” Well, the problem with this story is that it is very common.


Write something that is unique. Something that gives me an insight into who you are, and also something that tells me more about your leadership style. Are you a consensuc building leader? Are you a leader who believes that taking affirmative action? Is that what differentiates you?


Whatever the reason be, you need to first talk about your background, the situation you were put in because that is very important for you to talk about what you did. In the second part, you can talk about the actual action that you took.


So you have the background, your action and third, you need to talk about what you learned. If you look at the essay, it clearly says “What have you learned about yourself through the experience?” What are the takeaways? You could say “Before I went into that situation, I did not know certain aspects of leadership but then, I got to know about them”. You need to tell them what you learned about yourself.


Let me give you an example. One of our students who got into Emory a few years ago had written this story. He said that when he was in his hometown, he managed the Ganesh Pandal, which is a religious thing that happens every year in India.  We install an idol, and for about a week or so there are a lot of activities around the occasion. He volunteered to be the President of the local association. On the face of it, it looked very simple because in his corporate life he had dealt with managing projects. He thought, “how hard can it be?”


In that one week, he learned everything from accounts to logistics to supply-chain to all kinds of corporate management jargon. The student said that whatever he needed to know about management, he learned through that experience. Earlier, he had a very different view on leadership. He thought leadership was where you work without variables changing too much. He realized that leadership is about making a decision when you don’t have enough information. He became a lot more comfortable making decisions even when he did not have all the information at his disposal. The student spoke in a very touching way about how he grew as a person.


As you can see, this is a very simple example but you can think of something that has happened to you, and write about it. Again, don’t restrict yourself to only professional experiences; even personal experiences will count here.



Essay 3


Complete one of the following statements. (250 words)

• I am passionate about…

• The best piece of advice I’ve received is…

• The best day of my life was…

• A personal goal I want to accomplish is…


I am passionate about…


They are not looking at the “What”. The mistake people do in answering this question is they talk about the “What”.


The best piece of advice I’ve received is…


They don’t want to know just what the advice was. They want to know other things like when did it happened. You can say, “Initially when I heard this advice, I was not very receptive. My father gave me this advice when I was going to college and I never bothered about it, but when I started working, his words came back to me, and I realized how true it was and now it is the founding principle behind what I do.”


The best day of my life was….


Maybe it is the time you got married. The idea here is not to just talk about the act but what went behind it. Maybe you got married, both the sides did not agree, and you had to go through a lot of personal hardship and that’s when you realized your emotional strength, the core that you have, and THAT was the realization.


The more important thing here is the “Why” and not the “What”.


A personal goal I want to accomplish is…


Here, don’t just talk about your personal goal but tell them why it is your personal goal, and why not any other goal. Maybe you want to start your own orphanage. Why? Maybe when you were a child you went through something, or maybe a personal experience you have observed that deeply affected you. They really want to know you as a person.


Students come and ask me, “which is the better response?” There is nothing like a better response. Whichever statement you pick, after you have written, they should be able to look at it and say, “Is this a person that I would like to meet in person? Would I want them in my school?”. That’s the kind of question you need to ask yourself after you have written your statement.



Essay 4


Share with the committee and your future classmates a fun or noteworthy fact about you. (25 words)


This is the shortest essay with 25 words. People usually say “What do I write?” Again, don’t think of this sentence as something that is going to have an impact on your MBA. Just say something that makes people say, “Hey, this guy is interesting”. I’ve had people who have talked about all kinds of things. One student talked about the way he is addicted to solving Sudoku first thing in the morning.People have spoken about how a special sweet that they make is something that is their specialty because they put cinnamon at the end. Talk about things like this; people don’t really care. Make it fun, make it frivolous. Don’t get serious in this essay.


So I hope you got all the information you were looking for, and you have some sense of what you need to be doing for the essays. Just one point over here is that you have the usual optional essay. In this essay, you can talk about any gaps in your academics or in your work experience. You also have the re-applicant essay, which essentially is about your short term goals.


Optional Essay


If you have additional information or feel there are extenuating circumstances which you would like to share with the MBA Admissions Committee (i.e. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance issues or areas of weakness in application). (250 words)


For this question, make sure that you’re talking about something different, and not repeating what you’ve already said the first time. Talk about the delta progress that you have made.


I hope this video was useful to you. If it was, and if you need us to help you with your application to Emory, please go ahead and click on the link below.


  • September, 15th, 2017
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London Business School Essay Analysis 2018-2019

London Business School
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to this article in which I am going to be talking about the London Business School MBA program. If you’re looking at applying to the program this, 2018-2019, you have come to the right place.


Let’s look at the program. What are the highlights of the London Business School program?


First, if you have been to their website you see a lot about the fact that it is in London, similar to what Columbia does because it’s in New York. London Business school – the name itself has the location of the B-School. You really are in the financial capital of the world, and location plays a huge role. The reason why geography plays a huge role is because when a recruiter comes to a particular college, he is going to come to the college to which he has easy access. Most of the top companies will have their headquarters in London. For that reason, London Business School is a top choice in terms of location.


Second, although London Business School is in the UK, it doesn’t necessarily mean that only UK folks come in. You have a lot of people coming in from Europe, a huge representation from Asia, and people coming in from the US and Canada. It has a nice international mix and there is a lot more international diversity here than you would find in US programs.


The third highlight is the flexible scheduling the London Business School offers. You have the 15-month option, 18 month option, and the 21-month option. You can even arrange your schedule so that you can pursue a second internship. This flexibility of scheduling and flexibility in the course are a huge draw for this B-School. You might want to look at their website for more details.


The next aspect is the experiential learning. This is something that a lot of schools are talking about these days. This school talks about organizational audit and global business experience, both of which are required of all students. Experiential learning gives the students a way in which they can apply classroom knowledge in real world scenarios. Schools are now focusing on practical knowledge rather than just theoretical knowledge. If you are a person who believes that you like to apply what you learn, London Business School would be a great place for you.You would have a simulated real life environment. You’re not actually taking the same risks, but you get to explore what you would do in real life.


Another important point is that because of its financial connection with the city of London, London Business School has a lot of people getting into the financial sector.


Having said all of this, one thing I would like to bring to your attention is that if you’re an international applicant, an Indian who is applying to London Business School, you also need to be aware of the economy right now, with the impact of Brexit. One of my students was placed in a tech company and the tech company was not able to get her a visa that year. They actually got her back to India, got her a visa for the office in Switzerland, and from Switzerland, she was moved to London. What I am trying to tell you is that if you’re smart, if you’re good, and if the company wants to hire you, they will. Large companies will figure out a way to work around the process.  



London Business School Deadlines 2018-2019


Round  1

Deadline: September 14, 2018

Interview Notification: October 11, 2018

Decision Notification: November 21, 2018


Round 2

Deadline: January 3, 2019

Interview Notification: February 5, 2019

Decision Notification: March 28, 2019


Round 3

Deadline: March 1, 2019

Interview Notification: April 4, 2019

Decision Notification: May 22, 2019


Round 4

Deadline: April 17, 2019

Interview Notification: May 14, 2019

Decision Notification: June 19, 2019





2018-2019 LBS Essays


Required Essay


What are your post-MBA goals and how will your prior experience and the London Business School program contribute towards these? (500 words)


You have your post-MBA program goals, your prior experience, and then you have the London Business School MBA Program. How will all three of these fit? You have 500 words, and here is what you would do. Break it down into three parts. In the first part, you need to talk about your prior experience, that’s how the flow would go. You need to talk about what you have done so far in your life. Bring it to a stage where you say, “this is what I have done, and this what I have come to realize. When I started my career, I didn’t know what I wanted but now after my career of 4 to 5 years, I have realized that I want to get to the next level.”This is where you need to talk about your post-MBA career goals. Be specific. Try to say what kind of industry, what kind of job role you’re looking at.


You have spoken about your background, you have spoken about what it is that you want to do after your MBA, and then you talk about what it is that you need in order to get there. You might want to talk about what roles that would entail, and what you need to equip yourself with. That becomes the second paragraph.


Then in your third paragraph, you need to say what you will gain from London Business School that will help you meet these requirements. It’s very important that you tie London Business School back to the requirements:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you want to do, and what you need
  3. How London Business School will help you get there

Sounds simple? You have 150 words for each of the three parts. A strong start and a strong finish – maybe another 50 words. So all put together, 500 words.



Optional Essay


Is there any other information you believe the Admission Committee should know about you and your application to London Business School?


In this essay, you need to make sure you’re writing about either a gap in your academic life or your professional life, or it could be something that you plan to do but did not find any place to talk about it in the application. Don’t use this space to retrofit another story. One mistake that students make is, “ By the way, since you’ve given me this opportunity for an additional essay, let me tell you about the one time when I did this great project”. Don’t say something like that.


I hope this was useful. If you’re applying to London Business School this year, just go down, and click on the link below. We would love to help you, and work with you in your application process.


  • September, 13th, 2017
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UCLA Anderson School Of Management Essay Analysis 2017- 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this article, we will discuss what you need to do if you are applying to the Anderson School of Business at UCLA for their MBA program. If you look at the UCLA Anderson Program, one thing that strongly resonates with the students is the location. As they say about the restaurant business; the same thing goes for MBA schools as well, location location location. You are talking about LA, which is pretty much California. In terms of the economy, and more than the economy, when compared to most other states in the US, California comes close to India. Not only in terms of the weather, but also with the people being inclusive. You will never feel out of place when you go to a place like LA because it is very diverse.


Apart from the location, if you look at the program, the strength is relatively small with 360 students, and the faculty to student ratio is very low. This gives you more of an intimate feel as opposed to what you would find in larger schools.


The other important factor to look into is the career orientation at UCLA. The UCLA program is deeply focused on preparing students for their desired careers. You will see that in terms of the first year course, the way it is arranged, the 20-week experiential project, all of this is aligned to be more career-focused. This is very important to help you get a job, especially when you are going on an F1 (Student) visa.


The last part is the entrepreneurial focus; Anderson has a huge network of entrepreneurs, and the mindset of the B-School is to participate in -School competitions and the start-up movement. If you’re interested in entertainment and media, LA is the place to be, and Anderson itself focuses highly on media and entertainment.



2017-2018 UCLA Anderson Deadlines


Round 1

Deadline: Oct. 6, 2017

Decision Release Date: Dec. 15, 2017


Round 2

Deadline: Jan. 5, 2018

Decision Release Date: March 29, 2018


Round 3

Deadline: April 12, 2018

Decision Release Date: May 24, 2018


Again, There are a lot of applicants from India. If you ask which three schools in the US receive the maximum applications from Indians,  UCLA is one of them. A lot of people from the tech sector apply to the US, and most of them have similar stories. So it’s very important that you use the essay to differentiate yourself. 750 words is a lot of space, and there is a lot of scope.



UCLA Anderson Essay Question 2017-2018


First-Time Applicants (Required Essay):


We believe that the best results are achieved when you share success, think fearlessly and drive change. With this in mind, what are your goals at UCLA Anderson and in your short-term and long-term career? (750 words maximum)


Remember, “best results are achieved when you“

• Success

• Think fearlessly

• Drive change

Now, why are these three things important?  you look at the Anderson website, you can find that this is the motto, the mantra that they have as a school. They are just trying to see if students applying to the B-School resonate with this mantra. You have 750 words – hence, there are very clearly, three parts to this essay. You can write 250 words for each part.


In the first part, you have to talk about your journey. What is it that you have done so far in your life? Please do not regurgitate your resume; that’s not the intent. They already have your resume and application with them. In about 250 to 300 words, try to tell your story. Write not just your story, but your successes and failures too. Write on how you these three qualities resonate with you, and how you have been able to taste them. Instead of just saying that these three qualities perfectly resonate with you, say why they resonate with you. You need to describe the “why”. It’s very important for you to spend a good 250 to 300 words talking about your journey, talking about why these three factors have been instrumental in your life.


Now for the second part:  you have done so much in your life. At this career juncture, what is it that you see when you look forward? What is that post you aspire for? That position you look forward to? What is the industry that you want to work in, and where do you see yourself? It’s very important that your short term goal is crisp. You need to communicate the function, industry, the geography, the kind of companies you are going to look for, and the possible titles. It’s a lot of R&D on your part. You need to have a very fixed short time goal.


However, you can be a little lenient in your long term goal. You can be a little flexible. Don’t be very vague, for example, don’t just say you want to be an entrepreneur, and leave it like that. It should be something more finite but you can keep your long term slightly more relaxed. Make it five to ten years. Nobody is looking at 20 years, and you can keep your short term as two to three years, which is immediately after you graduate. When you’ve finished articulating your long term and short term goals, you can start with the third part of your essay.


The third part should be about what you feel you require in these roles that you do not possess currently, and that you will get from the UCLA/Anderson experience. This now becomes the delta; the first part is about where you are, the second part is about where you want to go, and the third part is the bridge because it is how Anderson is going to help you get where you want to be. One thing I always say is that whenever a school asks you “why this school?”, do not make generic statements. Students typically say,  “It’s LA”, and “It’s California”, or they write about the school infrastructure, which the school already knows! How does it matter to you?. You need to tell them how these facts about the Anderson School will benefit you.


You need to also add how you can contribute to the UCLA Anderson experience. You talk about what you can get, and about what you can give.


With 750 words, although you have space to be a little creative, once you start writing, you could realize that 750 words can get tight,  especially when you have just one essay.


If you would like CrackVerbal to help you in any way in your MBA journey, please go ahead, and let us know in the link below.



Optional Essay:


The following essay is optional. No preference is given in the evaluation process to applicants who submit an optional essay. Please note that we only accept written essays.


Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware? Please use your best judgment. (250 words maximum)



Re-Applicant Essay:


Reapplicants who applied for the MBA program starting in 2016 or 2017 are required to complete the following essay:


Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)


Good luck!


  • September, 5th, 2017
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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In this article, I will look at the Chicago Booth MBA program, its application essay, and how you tackle it.


One of the advantages of the Chicago Booth program is that the university that Booth is associated with boasts of six noble laureates since 1982. The program has a very strong finance focus, and to add to it, it is in Chicago, which is a huge hub for the financial sector, in that area. Approximately 40 % of the Booth graduates go back into the financial sector.


Chicago Booth’s website talks about the flexibility they offer in the program, You have professors teaching both the weekend and evening MBA. Hence, you can take the course in the evenings or weekends, apart from your full-time MBA. There is good flexibility in the program, it is good for Finance, and Chicago being the Finance hub make for great points you can put into your essay for “why Chicago Booth?”


2017-2018 Chicago Booth Deadlines


Round 1

Application deadline: September 21, 2017

Decision released: December 7, 2017


Round 2

Application deadline: January 3, 2018

Decision released: March 15, 2018


Round 3

Application deadline: April 3, 2018

Decision released: May 17, 2018


One thing that Chicago Booth has done traditionally has been essays, This time, it’s a set of six pictures; each of these pictures captures what they call a Booth moment. The whole idea is that a B-School can mean different things to different people. The one thing I usually tell my students and applicants is that the reason the B-Schools want to understand why you want to choose a particular school is because they want to understand your goals. Think about this scenario. You’re walking down an orchard and there are food bearing trees on both sides; you can pluck as many fruits as you want provided you know what you’re going to make at the end of the journey. If you want to make a fruit salad, you need to know what fruits you need to pick.


A lot of times people don’t know what they want to do at the end of two years. The B-School experience can be overwhelming because there is so much to do. For example, if you go to the library, every single issue of Harvard Business Review since it started would be available to you. There are so many business plan competitions, There are so many great professors coming and teaching you these great courses that really get you excited; the ones that give you goosebumps and make you think, “Wow! I really want to learn this!”.   However, if you don’t have a goal, you could get lost, so Booth is really trying to see what it is that you hope to get from the Booth MBA experience.


Let’s do it! I will go through all the six visuals, and give you a background of what you could express for each of the visuals.



2016-2017 U. Chicago Booth Essay Topics:




View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tells us why.


Presentation/Essay Guidelines:


Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.


Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.


Technical Guidelines:


File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.


Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.


Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.



Six visuals


Visual 1 – Person walking down an art gallery.


The first visual you see here is a person walking down an art gallery. The key is given: one of the nearly 500 conceptually challenging pieces which inspire conversation and push people to think differently.


The whole idea is not about the art but looking at the piece of art from a broader perspective. How do we interpret

Art? We interpret it in different ways. If you are a person who likes to think differently, Chicago Booth gives you an opportunity to think differently. That should be your theme. If this painting resonates with you, you need to talk about something in your background where you were inspired to think differently, and then say what you did in that situation.



Visual 2


Let’s take the second one, two Boothies (that’s what they call the graduates of the Booth School) remain grounded even when standing 1353 feet above the city streets of Chicago. This one is talking about how you essentially are a team player. If you feel that this resonates with you, you could take this topic.


For example, Many of us have gone through the motion where we have succeeded because of someone else. You can probably pick stories that say how you succeeded because of somebody else, or you have been part of someone else’s success, and how sharing the bonhomie is what really makes you tick.



Visual 3


This visual is about a fun-filled Spring Break in Central America, where you see a group of Boothies with sharks. The whole idea is whether you are  a person who does not see an MBA as purely an educational journey but rather a journey to do things that you have perhaps never done before, and perhaps will not get the opportunity to do when you go back to your corporate life after you finish your MBA program.



Visual 4


This visual talks about diversity. It is about a student snapping a photo of friends at a school-wide celebration organized by multiple student groups in recognition of the support and diversity within the Booth community. If you look at it in terms of Indian, or even an Asian perspective, there are a lot of opportunities where people have seen diversity. emember diversity could mean anything: it could be economic diversity, social diversity, or it could be just diversity of thoughts.  Again the whole idea here is you’re looking at MBA as a whole journey to actually explore diversity. When you’re confronted with different thoughts, different viewpoints, is when we are really challenged, and we grow.



Visual 5


This is a visual of a student taking notes during an afternoon class. The unique perspectives and individual insights of each student play a vital role in Booth’s classroom experience.

Let’s be honest, though there is a lot of fun and frolic, one of the reasons you want an MBA is for the in-depth knowledge that they wish to gain.  After working for a few years, you’ve now realized what you don’t know. You now want to learn more. How will the Booth experience help you realize this goal? That is the way this visual resonates with you.



Visual 6


This is an image of the central pulse of Booth, which is the Harper Center, the atrium where “it all” happens. This is the place where lasting friendships form, ideas take place, and Booth comes to life! In other words, you’re talking about the Booth network; what does the brand equity of Chicago Booth mean to you. Is that why you’re pursuing an MBA? To just have access to this enormous network of highly talented and gifted people.


Whatever the case be, there is nothing like one image is better than the other. I have had students come and ask me, “which one do you think is the one that will increase my chances?” It doesn’t work that way. You need to pick one that really resonates with you because not just in the essay but also in the interview, you need to be talking, and you need to have one consistent image of you coming across, and that will happen only when you’re true to yourself.


It doesn’t matter which one you pick. How do you express yourself? Do you want to write an essay? Sure? Do you want to create a slide show? Sure.  If you want to create just a graphic? That is also fine. We had one student, who for something similar to this, created a collage of all his life moments. He used text and arrows to show each of his life moments, and how that defined who he was.


There was another student who created a graph which goes almost like a stock exchange graph, and he had pointed to the high point in his life, and when the arrow went down, he said it represented that he flunked in his fourth year, so his stock price went down.


You need to express yourself freely. You need to be creative but at the same time don’t worry too much. People are worried whether text would work, or whether they should create a presentation. Pick the medium that you’re comfortable with.  Booth also stipulates that your file can be a maximum of  16 MB, so make sure that you convert it into pdf.


If you feel that you need to have a discussion with someone, or if you want to have a brainstorming session on what to write and how to write, we at CrackVerbal would be glad to help you.


  • September, 5th, 2017
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Stanford Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’re looking at applying for the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) program this year, I can tell you what you need to know about the Stanford program, and how to address the very tricky essays for 2017-18.


Well, first let’s look at the Stanford program. Arguably, it competes with Harvard as one of the top B-Schools in the world. Stanford has a class with very high GMAT scores, and a very diverse peer set.


Now let’s look at Stanford’s real USPs. The first is, Stanford has just 400 students and if you want to compare it with Harvard which has about 900, Stanford takes pride in the fact that it has a small class so there is a lot of bonhomie among the students. There is more connection and personal touch, which dovetails to a personalized program.


Starting from the first year itself, you can pick the electives. Stanford allows the students to tailor their courses. This aspect, and the small class size makes the program more personal than let’s say Harvard. But there is another thing about Stanford that is very unique. Stanford is in the heart of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, as we know, is the birthplace of most of the significant technology players – Google, Yahoo, and Apple. If you think about it, it fosters this sense of entrepreneurship. It’s a very cultural thing in Stanford, where you’re enamored by all these entrepreneurs around you. You get inspired by them, and you want to start something on your own. So, if you’re an entrepreneur in the technology space, the bay area is where you need to go; Silicon Valley is where you should be. What other place than Stanford for this?


Stanford MBA Deadlines – 2017-2018


Round 1

Application Deadline: September 19, 2017

Notification Date: December 14, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 10, 2018

Notification Date: March 29, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 4, 2018

Notification Date: Mid-May 2018


Let’s get into the essays if you have not already done so. You may have already realized that the biggest challenge is the first essay.



2017-2018 Stanford GSB Essay Questions


Essay A: What matters most to you, and why? (750 words)


For this essay, we would like you to:

Do some deep self-examination, so you can genuinely illustrate who you are and how you came to be the person you are.

Share the insights, experiences, and lessons that shaped your perspectives, rather than focusing merely on what you’ve done or accomplished.

Write from the heart, and illustrate how a person, situation, or event has influenced you.

Focus on the “why” rather than the “what.”


This essay has been there for several years, and we’ve helped many students from CrackVerbal in writing this essay. So one thing I usually say about this essay is that you need to pick that one grain, that one single thing. I will give you some a couple of examples, which will help you understand the thinking process.


One of our students from CrackVerbal who was in IT wrote about how he had gone to Nigeria and was actually mugged by armed robbers who kept a gun to his head. He had a providential escape; he was an inch away from being dead as such people are often high on drugs. He said that it was the point when he realized what matters. This was not Stanford asking him a question but a question he asked himself. He said, “I was away from my family. What would have happened if I died?  Would people really remember me for the money that I earned, or the stuff that I have?” He realized that what mattered to him the most was the people around him. “People” could be family, friends, or the community. He then quit his job, came back to India, and started something in the area of social entrepreneurship. He wanted to give back to society because he felt that the biggest legacy he could have was what he could give back to society, not what he could take from society. That’s the kind of story that gets you thinking, right? What is that one thing! In this case, what mattered most to him was the impact he could create.


There is another story of a student who had written about how he actually he had worked in various sectors, and he then picked entrepreneurship. He said why being an entrepreneur meant so much to him. Here again, it is about impact. How he was able to give back, and in this case, it was not “not for profit”; it was a “for profit” organization, but he said that the biggest jumps that happened in the history of human civilization happened because someone somewhere decided to do things differently. There was some innovation that was happening; not invention but innovation, there is a difference. Someone said they are not going to do something in this way, but were going to do it in a different way.  That’s when progress really happened for mankind. What really mattered to him was innovation; doing things differently. He said he was not someone who was happy with status quo.


When you have 750 words, it’s a lot. You need to take multiple stories and thread them to an underlying theme. You could have a story of when you were growing up, a story of what happened in college, a story of what happened at work, but all of this must be woven into the underlying theme. It’s very important that you bring in your personal aspect. Don’t make it look like a resume. Don’t make it look like some bullet points you’re reading through. It should be personal; it should be about you. It should make them want to meet you because you sound interesting; make them wonder what else they can learn from you. That’s the kind of impact you need to have!



Essay B: Why Stanford? (400 words, or 450 words if applying to both the MBA and MSx programs)

Enlighten us on how earning your MBA at Stanford will enable you to realize your ambitions.

Explain your decision to pursue graduate education in management.

Explain the distinctive opportunities you will pursue at Stanford.

If you are applying to both the MBA and MSx programs, use Essay B to address your interest in both programs.


If you think about this essay, it cannot be answered by going through the laundry list of things Stanford is known for. In fact, that’s the biggest trap people fall into when they try to address this essay. They go to the Stanford website and say, “oh, it’s in Silicon Valley’. How does that matter to you? Then people write that Stanford has a great network, but you need to write how the network matters to you.  You need to connect “why Stanford” to your personal cause; what is it that you want to do, and how you think that Stanford will enable you in that mission, in that journey.  Unless and until you make that connection, it’s a waste of your time.


Here’s a litmus test. For every sentence that you write, ask yourself, “Is this a sentence only I could have written?” because it has to be unique to you as it ties back to the requirements you have from a B-School. If it is going to be a sentence that anyone could have written, it’s probably not going to be worth the real estate of your application essay.


We’ve discussed the two essays; there is also an optional essay. As I say for most optional essays, make sure that the optional essay covers something that addresses something that is deficient; it could be a gap in your employment, or a gap in your education. It should be something that you think is important information for them to know. The mistakes which students make in optional essays is that they try to retrofit a story. It’s like, “I have this bunch of stories that I want to tell a B-School. I have gone through five of them;  there are these two orphan stories and I don’t know what to do”. Then you see an optional essay, and you say, “Wow! Here is the time for me to plug it in.” Don’t do that. You will do more disservice to your application by writing things that are random than by not writing anything at all. Keep that in mind, and wish you all the best for your Stanford MBA application. If you think you want an another pair of eyes to look at your application, if you want someone who is been there and done that to vet your stories, someone who comes from maybe an Indian perspective or way of looking at it, someone with an Ivy league MBA. If you think that would help, let us know, using the link below.


  • August, 31st, 2017
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University of Virginia Darden School of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to this article, where I am going to discuss the Darden MBA program, and Darden’s application essays 2017-18.


If you were to look at what Darden is known for, what its USP is, it has to be the case based method. In fact, if you look at the website and talk to their alumni, (we have students from CrackVerbal who went to Darden), that’s the one thing that differentiates Darden from the other B-Schools – the case based method, which you realize, is a derivative of what Harvard does. Apart from the case based method, the specialty of Darden is that it a small, close-knit community and it is away from major towns, unlike New York, Columbia, Harvard, and Boston. It’s a relatively small town.


Darden has a ritual called first coffee, for example. After the first class, the entire Darden community comes together and for half an hour to forty minutes, have coffee; they interact. The reason why I am pointing out this ritual is that it gives the sense of its culture; it involves a smaller community where the students bond with each other. This translates into a stronger and deeper network, even if the network is small. That’s pretty much what I would are the unique, salient features that set Darden apart from other schools.


2017-2018 UVA Darden MBA Deadlines


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 5, 2017

Round 2

Application Deadline: January 9, 2018

Round 3

Application Deadline: April 3, 2018



2017-2018 UVA Darden Essay Topic


“When preparing for class at Darden, students formulate an opinion on each case before meeting with their learning teams and class sections. When encountering different views and perspectives from their own, opinions frequently shift. Tell us about a time when your opinion evolved through discussions with others.” (500 words maximum)


You need to understand fundamentally what Darden is looking for in this. B-schools are moving away from the very traditional questions such as “why Darden?”. This is because they know that everyone has access to the internet. Now with access to the internet, everything is out there. So I can live a very vicarious life, with the internet. I can follow whom I want on social media, and get a lot of information. Hence, they want to understand the applicant from the softer perspective. “Let me try to understand how he would be if he were to come into the class.” That’s the whole idea. What Darden is really looking for is how you would react if you’re sitting in the classroom for a case study.


It is very important that you have to give a background to this. You cannot start and directly talk about what happened, and why you changed your opinion. You’re already given a setting and I am assuming if you’re at work, you could give a background about the project, what this person was, was the person a colleague?, was he your subordinate?, what kind of a relationship you shared, and what the gravity of this project was. If it was on the personal side, was he your friend or relative?, how close were you to this person?, etc. You need to provide the background so people understand the dynamics involved. We have 500 words, and that is enough to work on the background part.


Then you come with the actual difference of opinion. What did you believe or what was the differing opinion you had? Then you talk about why you realized there was merit to the other point of view. So, you need to give your point, the other point, and why you felt that the other point had merit.


Finally, you can conclude by saying how you as a person have changed because of this new perspective that you had in life. All of us go through this one ah ha moment when we realize that there is something else to the way we did things, and how our perspective changed.


I can give you an example of one story that one of our students from CrackVerbal had written. This student said that in the way she worked, she believed in efficiency. She had a very clear checklist of how things should be and she would just work on optimizing the list when it came to work. but then she had a colleague and what she noticed about the colleague is that the colleague would always question, and say, “why can’t we do it differently this time? We have always done it this way; why can’t we do it differently this time? Let’s have a different approach to it.” Initially, this student had this inertia, some resistance, and she would say “this is how we have always done things, and we know it works”, and the other person would say, “how do you know that this isn’t the better way to do things?” That clicked! She slowly started accepting that instead of just optimizing and improving the efficiency, sometimes it makes sense to be completely disruptive. If you think about it, most innovations happen when we are disruptive.


I remember Steve Jobs once said that if he had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said, “a faster floppy disk”.


The student learned that there are multiple approaches to doing things, and one has to constantly innovate and experiment. Now, this was an example. Whatever your story be, you need to make sure that you’re able to showcase how it helped you in life. So this short essay of 500 words is easy and manageable but picking the right story is going to be the key to cracking this one.


If you need any feedback, or if you need us to have a look at your application essay and give our opinions, just click the link below.


  • August, 30th, 2017
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Texas McCombs Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 4 minutes


If you’re looking at applying to the Texas McCombs MBA program 2016-2017, stay with me, In this article, we will discuss Texas McCombs, and its MBA application essays.


The advantage about this program is the location. After California, Texas comes close in terms of great weather and opportunities. It’s a place where there are a lot of significant cities like Dallas.


Secondly, in terms of the program, there is a huge focus on the energy sector. So, if you belong to the energy sector, Texas is the best place for you. The best thing is that Texas McCombs has the center for energy, finance education, research, and a lot of other programs that help you if you’re in the energy sector.


Apart from this, I’ve learned from our students who went to the Texas McCombs program, that a lot of the campus life is driven by the students. There are a lot of competitions such as the business plan competition, investment competitions, and much more, all run by the students.


Thus, you can get an actual experience of working in cross functional and multicultural teams. All of this happens while you’re still a student!


The student experience, the diversity, and the fact that the students run so much by themselves is a huge plus. Now let’s look at the application deadlines.

2017-2018 UT Austin McCombs MBA Deadlines:


Round 1

Application Deadline: October 10, 2017,*

Decision Notification: December 19, 2017


Round 2

Application Deadline: January 9, 2018

Decision Notification: March 29, 2018


Round 3

Application Deadline: April 3, 2018

Decision Notification: May 10, 2018

*Priority deadline for scholarships and fellowships.




2017-2018 UT Austin McCombs MBA Essay Questions:


Essay 1

It is the first day of Texas MBA orientation. You are meeting your study group, comprised of five of your classmates from various backgrounds. Please introduce yourself to your new team, highlighting what drives you in your personal and professional life. Select only one communication method that you would like to use for your response.

Write an essay (250 words), OR

Share a video introduction (one minute)


Introducing yourself is more than just giving your name, especially when you have only 250 words and you say, “my name is….” and then go on to say where you did your graduation, and go on in that vein. They do not want you to read out your resume. This is the common mistake which most of us make. So, what are they looking for? They are looking for “Who you are” as a person. You need to get creative.


If you feel that you can do well in front of a camera and give a great video with your best expressions, you can do it; you don’t need any fancy equipment. You can just use a good camera phone.


A one minute video, or 250 words are similar. Your one minute video may speak out 250 words, and your 250 words may speak for a one minute video.


So what is it that you want you to say about yourself?


   • Something that is not on your resume

   • Pick an adjective.

   • Pick something that is interesting about you.

Ask yourself how you can define yourself with just one word. It has to be something more personal than the data on your resume. That data is boring.


Talk about yourself, your opinions are more interesting than data.


What they want to know:

   • Would I like to meet this guy?

   • Would I like him to be in the class of 2019?


Essay 2


Picture yourself at graduation. Describe how you spent your two years as a Texas MBA student, and how that experience helped to prepare you for the post-MBA world. (500 words)



If you look at this essay, you will find a slight shift in the tense. Rather than looking through the lens of the future, where you talk about how you think Texas MBA can help you,   you will talk about the future where you’re looking at your experiences at Texas McCombs, and reflect on it.  


With most MBA programs, you would like to focus on three things:

  1. The courses you took, and how they helped you get a job

  2. Your experiences with your peers and the quality of students you dealt with, and how they made you a better version of who you are

  3. The broad network you built, and the ability to brand yourself for the future.


You can pick these three points because you have 500 words,  which provides you with plenty of space to write about 150 words on each point. Make sure you have a good start, and a good finish. So you have these three points;


   1. Your electives and courses

   2. Your experiences

   3. How the alum network, the brand equity, and the long investment for your future has helped you.


Optional Essay


Please provide any additional information you believe is important and/or address any areas of concern that will be beneficial to the Admissions Committee in considering your application (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, academic performance, or extenuating personal circumstances). (250 words)


Typically, you write an optional essay if you’re a reapplicant, or if you want to explain a gap in your education or career.


Don’t just try to retrofit some story that you’re not able to write elsewhere.


As an international applicant from India, don’t even think of R3 because you need to keep some buffer time for the processing of your visa, and to get your MBA funds sanctioned.


The other thing which you should know about the Texas McCombs program is the GMAT score. Indian applicants should note that the average GMAT score is a lot more than the score you see on the website. Don’t get misled by the average GMAT score that you see there. A lot of Indians apply to this program just like they do to UCLA and Emory. You need to be careful with your GMAT score. Anything below 700 is not recommended.


If you liked this article, and would like us to help you with your application journey, Click Here.


  • August, 25th, 2017
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Tepper School Of Business Essay Analysis 2017 – 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Applying to Tepper School of Business as an Indian applicant


If you’re looking to apply for an MBA program at Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, you’re in the right place.


In this article, I am going to discuss the program, essay questions and how you can frame your responses to those questions.


Tepper is one of the top schools where most of the Indians apply. When I say Indians, I am talking about the technology folks!


If you’re a technology geek and you’re looking at Tepper, I have good news and bad news for you.


The good news is that you have come to the right place; we can help you! Carnegie Mellon has always been on the leading edge of technology.  The CMU Tepper MBA program itself is well known for its management science education. It has very good placements for technology professionals.


The bad news is that there are so many people from Indian IT applying for this program; you need to make sure that your application is kind of different. The GMAT scores have been shooting through the roof, so you need to have an above average GMAT score when applying to Tepper.


2017-2018 CMU Tepper MBA Deadlines


The four stages of applications, referred to as rounds, are as follows:


Round 1


Application deadline: October 4, 2017

Decision notification: December 13, 2017

First Deposit and Re Vera Release: February 15, 2018

Second Deposit: May 6, 2018


Round 2


Application deadline: January 4, 2018

Decision notification: March 14, 2018

First Deposit and Re Vera Release: April 16, 2018

Second Deposit: May 6, 2018


Round 3


Application deadline: March 9, 2018

Decision notification: May 9, 2018

Deposit Deadline and Re Vera Release: May 21, 2018


Round 4 (For part-time only)


Application deadline: April 20, 2018

Decision notification: May 23, 2018

Deposit Deadline: May 30, 2018


As an international applicant from India, don’t even think of R3 because you need to keep some buffer time for the processing of your visa, and to get your MBA funds sanctioned.


Let’s dig into the actual essays you need to write for Tepper.



Required Essay 1:


Imagine that you meet up with a member of the admission committee at an airport while on a layover. You have an opportunity to make a memorable impression. Use this essay to introduce yourself. Include any information that you believe is important for the committee member to know about you both professionally and personally. (Maximum 300-350 words, 12-point font, double-spaced)


This essay is not about your academics, profession, or any data point which is already covered in your application. If you log in to the Tepper portal you will find that the application form is extensive. There is a lot of information that is collected about you.


This is what Tepper is trying to say they want to know about you. Make sure you tell them the following:


   1. Tell them why you are interesting

   2. Tell them why they need to choose you

   3. Tell them why they need to have you in their program for two years


Remember “memorable impression” is something that is unique. 300 – 350 words is a huge constraint; you realize you hardly have two paragraphs before the essay is over.


One thing you need to be aware of is, do not say something that most people would say. To understand this better, let’s take an example of a person called Amit who is applying to Tepper.


Amit has been working in technology for the last five years. He has scored 740 in his GMAT. He has solved a fairly high number of complex problems for his clients. Imagine that this is the guy you’re going to compete with.


Now, you decide what it is that you want to say about yourself.


Try to pick one theme.


For Example:


One of our students from CrackVerbal who applied to Tepper tackled this essay saying he is a problem solver. He called himself a problem solver and defined problem solving as ‘innovation with frugality’. He also said that there is a term for it in India, “Jugaad”.  He told them that right from his school to his college the problems that really excited him were the problems that came with constraints. The problems which made him say “I can do this but I cannot do that” or ” We have to solve this but we do not have the bandwidth for it”.


He told them what he can do to solve a problem under these constraints. He realized that a start up was the place for him, and not the large companies. He clearly mentioned that this is who he is, and he cannot fit in large companies because this problem solving with frugality comes only in an early stage startup.


The funny part is that he has worked in large companies. Working in large companies told him what it is that he didn’t want to do.

Another student from our CrackVerbal wrote about her passion for teaching. She said that  at school she was the person who would go around helping friends the day before an exam. She helped everyone around her who needed help in understanding concepts. This continued even until college; in her dorm room, the entire class would assemble the day before the exam, and she would teach them what they could expect in the next day’s test.


She also told them how she took this teaching to her workplace. To her, teaching was her way of giving back what she learned from her teachers. She never planned to make a career as a teacher but did it out of sheer passion, and the joy it gave her.  In a way, she saw this as an opportunity to give back to society.


So, say something more about yourself which is not on your resume. You really need to pick that one thing, that one adjective that defines you, and then blow it up. Make sure that you put it in a way that is interesting.


They need to see your interesting part. Make them want to meet the problem solver, the teacher – your interesting part.


A big mistake people do is that they write 100 things such as, I am dedicated, I am hardworking, I am sincere, etc. You say ten things about yourself,  and they will forget about you. Tell them one thing, and make it memorable. This is what an elevator pitch is about.


Optional Essay


Use this essay to convey important information that you may not have been able to convey otherwise. This may include unexplained resume gaps, context for recommender selection, etc.

If you are a re-applicant, explain how your candidacy has strengthened since your last application.


There is no set word limit for this essay. The guidelines you need to follow for this essay are:


Write something that they don’t know about you. It could be a gap in your career or education, or it could also be something that you think is important for them to know.


I hope this article was helpful. We have worked with many students who have gone to Tepper. We also understand this space well. If you feel we could help in anyway, please click the link below.


  • August, 22nd, 2017
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A Guide to choosing the right MBA program

Reading Time: 18 minutes

One question that frequently pops up in a MBA aspirant’s mind is – ‘How do I go about choosing the right MBA program?’

This is probably the second most important decision of your life, after the one you make about whom to marry! ☺

In terms of your commitment, an MBA costs you 1 to 2 years, and between 50 lacs to 1 crore on an average ( including opportunity costs).

The difficulty of choosing the right MBA program is further aggravated by the fact that all the brochures and websites look the same and talk the same language!

But let us begin with a more fundamental question –

Why would anyone do an MBA?

There are two reasons we keep hearing again and again:

My job sucks: Many of us are stuck in jobs we don’t enjoy. Maybe the work is boring, maybe there is no easy way up, maybe we just want to start over. An MBA seems like a very alluring ticket out of boredom.

I want to make more money: For good or bad, we live in a capitalist market – and a lot of us seem to want to make more money and retire rich. An MBA seems like a good option to achieve this end.

But, these are reasons you would ( should not) not put down in your application.
If you were to look deeper, beyond just money, there are many valid, real reasons why an MBA will help your career.

Career progression-

In some positions, in order for you to reach a particular position, it is mandatory to have an MBA. If you look at a typical IT profile, you eventually become a project manager because of your skills. But after that, becoming a delivery manager or a VP is not as easy. What has taken you so far may not be enough to take you forward. What does it take to be successful at the start of your career? You need to be smart, hardworking and show results. After a point, once you reach middle management, you will realise that everyone else on the table has similar traits which is what bought them there. At this stage, an MBA could be your differentiator.

Career switch-

This is applicable for people who are still in the early stages of their career. ‘I got into IT, because there is no option but to do engineering- the only companies worth paying something those days were IT companies. When I looked at the package, I didn’t think I would end up doing mundane work. But now with experience, when I look forward, the future looks really bleak, my potential lies in something else.’

Does that sound like you?

An MBA gives you the pedestal to reach out to another career.

It’s not easy to switch careers after a certain number of professional years have passed. If you have 10 years of experience and you’re 32, your chances of breaking into the financial belt are slim. In fact, it may not be worth it because after 10 years of experience, you don’t want to start at the bottom of the ladder once again. But if you are aiming to shift your career after 2-3 years of working in one area, an MBA fits the bill perfectly.


An MBA is not really going to make you an expert in anything. Knowledge is important but how much of what you learnt in school or college do you remember? Probably very little. When you go to a Bschool, you have a better appreciation and perspective of the business world, but in terms of pure cold knowledge, you won’t learn much that you can’t learn from a book.

B-schools don’t want you to be an expert or manager, but a leader- a CEO. You’ll have a lot of people reporting to a CEO- HR, Sales & Marketing, Finance. On an average, the span of control of a CEO is not more than 6 reportees. The idea is that each one of them manages the entire vertical by themselves.

For example, in the technology field, is the CEO expected to understand technology and argue with the techie on why a particular architecture should be in that way? No. He only needs to understand what is the cloud and how it will affect the total cost of ownership of his solution, how to implement or leverage IT for whatever he’s doing.

Similarly, if you deal with Sales, you just can’t go and say to your salespeople “My next target for you is 5 million dollars.” They will tell you how the market is poor and give you dozens of reasons as to why the target can’t be met. As a CEO, can you stand, look eye to eye and say, “these are the numbers and this is how we’re going to do it. “

Take finance for example. This guy has a truck load of charted accountants working for him. Are you going to say that you know more accounting than him? Probably not right? However, you do need to know enough of finance, you need to know how equity is raised in a company, how underlying money is being utilised and so on. You need to know how to read a balance sheet and recognize patterns in it.

If you look at HR, one of the toughest jobs that a CEO has is the mandate that is usually given when he enters the company. The morale of the company is very low and you are expected to charge them to have a high performance team. It’s like you went to college, got 50000 graduates who have no clue why they’re there, put them on bench and you’re expected to somehow magically transform them on how they see the company and how they see the future. But that’s a challenge right. Sometimes the HR would say, “There’s no need to worry, some other company is having a 20% acquisition. We can have a 17% acquisition.” The right question to ask at this point would be, “Why should our company have 17% acquisition? “

So coming to the point, an MBA at best, is a general management program teaching you cross functional skills. It is not expected to make you an expert in any one field. You need to be a generalist rather than a specialist – this is the knowledge that an MBA imparts to you.


This is a word you keep hearing. So what is networking? Do I go to a B-school to build my network? How do I measure it? Do I measure it by the number of people that I add on Facebook? Or the number of connections I’ve made in LinkedIn?

I think a lot of people have a misconception that networking is the number of people that you directly know. But it’s not that. The way in which you need to probably look at this is how many people do you know who in turn know people who are important enough.

If I were to give an analogy, you are surrounded by 10 other powerful people who have large networks. If you have 500 such connections and each of them in turn have 500 connections, you actually have 250000 connections- the actual reach you can access.

How do I know each of these guys? Here’s the good news. When you graduate from a top B-school, the whole world acts like an old boys’ school association- that’s the truth. People like you not because they know you but because you went to the same school. How many times has it happened to us that we meet someone who happens to come from the same city as we do, or went to the same school and the first conversation that you strike up is “Hey, so good to see you. What happened to that guy? That teacher we had? Which dorm were you living in? and so on.

So the point is, people know you only because you graduated from the same school. They don’t know you because you added them on Facebook or LinkedIn. But eventually, if you were to add them – if you tell them you’re an alumnus from Stanford, they would become your friend. Now, how do you leverage that? Let’s say you’re a businessman. There are 180 places where HBS has an alumni association. If you go to Botswana and you want to set up your business over there, you just need to go to HBS Botswana chapter and you’ll probably find a couple of people who are going to help you deal with the government and the local policies.

Of course you need to know people, but it’s important to know people who are in turn powerful.

Brand Equity-

What does brand equity mean? It means the recognition or the value of your title. Let’s assume you were to come across someone who has an MBA from a top school – the moment you hear that the person has an MBA from Stanford, you automatically confer a high level of intelligence and smartness upon that person that would otherwise take a person a few months to prove.

A lot of times I’ve seen that in consulting when there is a client case, the manager would come in and say “Hey, we got the new associate on role. Don’t worry he’s a smart guy- he’s an MBA from Harvard.” The moment they say this to the client, the client is assured. He assumes that he’s perhaps got one on the best minds to work on his case. So brand equity definitely helps.


This is a question that usually comes when people have accumulated more than a few years of experience. Usually self-growth occurs when you start working- you spend a couple of years of doing the same thing. And then, one day you wake up and say- “Hey, you know what? I don’t want to wake up to the sound of the buzzing alarm and the grind of the traffic and get to work and sit in this little cubicle tucked away somewhere in some corner of my company’s premise. I’m looking for something a lot more fulfilling in my life.”

An MBA helps you take out 2 years of your life and give time to yourself. This is something that a lot of people won’t accept readily, but I think it’s a great way to think about an MBA. So think about all the financial instruments that you’ve invested when you probably started your career. Think of fixed deposits, think of the stock market.

Probably, the only financial instrument, if I could call that one, is your career. The biggest investment that you want to make is in yourself which is why self- growth is a very important aspect.

Probably the last time you had the freedom to learn and grow on your own time was when you were in college. At that point of time, you had the independence, but you did not have a perspective. Now, when you’re working, you have the perspective, but unfortunately you do not have the independence and the time.

What an MBA does is it gives you that independence along with the perspective because the next time that you’re going to get the same independence for a year or two is probably after 35 years – after you retire.

Change of Geography-

You have lived in India, worked in India and India’s been all that you have known, but let’s say you now want to go and work in the US. But, you don’t want to work as an entry level programmer and the chances of going through an Indian company through L1 seem to be very slim.

Whether you want to go to Singapore, Europe or the US, an MBA gives you an opportunity to explain to them that you’ve been in this culture for the last 2 years and you’ve have taken so much course work, you’ve worked with peers and professors, all of whom understand this culture. The entry-level barrier drops steeply when you have studied in the country you want to work in.

Choosing the right MBA program

Post MBA Goals-

The first thing you want to ask yourself is what is it that you want to do post your MBA? Can you specify which country you want to work, which industry you want to work in, what is the kind of title you’re looking at. It is very important that you look at your post-MBA goals and fit in the MBA program that will help you realise your goals. For example, if I want to be a consultant at McKinsey and I end up going to a B-school where McKinsey does not even come for interviews, then the chances of getting into McKinsey are next to zero. Be clear about your post MBA goals and how your MBA program fits into it.

1-year v/s 2-year courses-

The second question that I keep hearing a lot is whether I should go for a one-year program or a 2-year program. According to me, if you’re above 30, if you’re married, have kids, you already invested in a house, then probably a one year is meant for you.

If you’re 24, you have a couple of years of college experience and you don’t have any liabilities, probably you should be looking at a 2-year program. Especially if you’re deciding on a career change, a 2-year course is always preferable over a 1-year program.

Is there a thumb rule or a way in which I can decide whether one year is better or 2 years is better? It’s like neither is better- it’s just a question of where you are. It’s a very subjective question. Usually what happens is, the people who are struggling with this question would be 28, about to get married – they are just around the threshold- they are not 22 and unmarried. Nor are they 32 and married with kids- they are somewhere in between – this zone is where the confusion is.

2 years is more expensive but you also have an opportunity to do your internship- it’s a lot easier on you mentally because you have time to assimilate the course. One year is obviously going to be relatively inexpensive because you finish it off in half the time but one complaint that I’ve heard from a lot of people who did a one-year course is that it got over so fast that they wished they had more time. So it’s a call that you need to take.


The third thing is that you need to also be very clear on the Geography. As I mentioned earlier, that if you want to work in the US, then probably you shouldn’t be doing an Indian MBA or MBA in Europe and vice versa. If you want to eventually work in India, why would you want to do an MBA from the US? So the question eventually becomes- India vs Foreign MBA.

Should I apply for ISB or Greatlakes or XLRI v/s should I apply for a top b-school abroad? According to me there are pros and cons so let’s look at the pros and then the cons.

So what works for an Indian MBA is – Most of the times you have a non-collateral loop- for example if you get into ISB, you probably have 8-9 nationalised banks waiting for you. You just have to hand over your degree certificates and whatever else they require to give you a complete loan for the course.

When you are to apply to a foreign b-school, it is a little tougher for you to get the loan. So, that’s one thing that you need to consider.

All your experience and education has been in India which means that your maximum network is in India and there are maximum chances for you to get a job. Because if you think about it, this is a culture that you understand, this is a culture that you very readily fit in and people know you. So that I think works for an Indian B-school.

I’m assuming that if you’re going to be applying to an Indian b-school, you’re an Indian citizen, then you don’t need to really worry about visa. Whereas if you were to look at the schools abroad, that usually becomes a very big problem.

If you go to US, while you’re studying there, you have an S1 visa. Post that, for a period of 12-24 months, it’s called the Optional training period (OTP) during which time you have to find an employer who can give you an H1B1 visa- H1is the work permit.

About 3 years ago, I used to think that UK is probably the easiest place for you to go post MBA to get a job but that has changed. They used to have something called as HSMP – Highly skilled migration program which is now being scrapped and now it is almost very tough. It is very hard to get a visa post your MBA in UK. So things keep changing.

On the flip side, here’s what works for an International b-school

Brand equity-

So IIM and ISB, these are all great brands within India, but the fact is if you look at the global arena, it cannot really beat the brand equity that a Harvard or a Stanford or a Wharton MBA has. It is almost like a global passport that will take you anywhere that you want.

The second thing you need to consider for a foreign MBA is that most of these MBA’s – they have various departments. You can optionally take courses across these departments. So the variety of electives that they offer is mind boggling if you go to say, one of these top schools.

So Harvard means you also have access to Harvard law, it means you also have access to Harvard medicine and the alumni base of these institutes is huge. Every year Harvard churns out 1000 MBA’s and maybe 10-20000 other different streams which means that over a period of time because these schools are 100 years old, the kind of depth that you have in alumni in terms of internationalisation is pretty huge.

The third part that probably works for them is that it is really a passport to a global career and you have a very international mix. Lot of people want to do an MBA because they want exposure to different perspectives.

Although Indian b-schools have little variety in that sense, that they take people from different backgrounds, its predominantly Indians. If you go to an IIM or PGPX or if you go to an ISB, you can be guaranteed that majority are going to be Indians, but not true for example, a school called IMD in Switzerland- they have a batch of around 90 students and usually the nationalities represented are between 45-50 and even of the others, it is not necessarily an Indian staying in India. It could be an Indian staying in Singapore or US.

So the kind of diversity that you have in terms of culture is probably a lot more when you look at a foreign MBA.

Specialisation/ Expertise-

Though it might sound a little contradictory to what I said earlier which is that MBA is a general management programme that provides you with a cross- functional exposure, the fact is you don’t become a CEO by becoming a deputy CEO or becoming associate CEO. There are no titles like associate CEO or deputy CEO. You essentially are going to end up becoming a CTO or Senior VP Sales or CFO or COO in order to become the CEO.

So MBA will essentially help you rise along these individual growth paths. So that’s what an MBA does, it helps you reach the pinnacle of these individual growth paths before you eventually end up thinking of becoming a CEO. If I were to choose between specialisation/expertise and the school ranking, I would probably choose school rankings.

For example, a school called Babson in the US specialises in entrepreneurship. If I get a choice between Babson and MIT, I would still go in for MIT because even if they don’t have a proclaimed specialisation, I know for a fact that MIT in terms of the brand, in terms of the network, in terms of the infrastructure and facilities would give me a far greater reach than Babson.

Just to give an idea, if I were to take all the companies that were started by MIT graduates and if that were to be a country, it would have the 5th largest GDP in the world. So you can imagine the size of something like MIT. But all things being equal, you know for a fact that Kellogg is good in marketing, you know that Columbia is good in finance, Wharton is good in finance, etc.
So there are some stereo typical specialisations that we want to consider which is aligned with what we plan to do.

Profile Fitment-

This is one thing where you’ll have to be conscious. It is important that you do that and try to ask yourself, “Is this the class I really want to be in? Do I want these classmates to be the ones who I’m going to spend one or two years with?”

I’ll give a very simple example. Take IIM PGPX- the average age is 34 years and when you compare it with Stanford, the average age is 24. So not only do I have a question mark whether I’ll get into a program where the average age is a lot lower than my age, but I also want to know if I want to sit with people who are 34 and more mature, who probably can understand the conversation, who have the depth of experience that I have rather than with people who are just starting off their career- they are also equally smart.

On the other hand, if you’re 25, you probably want to sit in a class where the average age is around your age rather than sit with a bunch of oldies- if I could call 34 year olds that. Make sure your profile is fitting into what the school has to offer because at the end of the day, it’s what you learn from them which is more important and a coronary to that is also accepted. So be very clear that you don’t end up applying to 5 schools which are going to be very picky.

If I’m going to apply only to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg and MIT, then I’m going to tell myself that with my profile I may get in but there is a chance that I may not get in – in which case I choose not to do an MBA.
But if you’re very clear that you want to do an MBA this year and you’re ok to go to beyond the top 5 or 10, just pick 3 categories:

Dream schools– Schools that you really dream of getting into. E.g.: Harvard, Wharton’s
Reach category– I can get there, It’s a stretch but I can get there.
Safe category– Now what happens is its easy for me to get in but the question I have to ask myself is “Do I want to get in? Do I want to be in that school?” It’s very important that you don’t lay all your eggs in the same basket.

Typical Post MBA Career Paths

Product management & Marketing

Project & Delivery management

IT Consulting


Hedge Fund & PE

Venture Capital

Investment Management

Investment Banking




Strategy Consulting


Just one thing, be careful not to confuse IT consulting with strategy consulting. These are 2 different things so when you look at IT consulting, it is where the Accenture’s of the world come in and strategy consulting is where the Bains and McKinseys of the world come in. So they are slightly different in that orientation.

So lot of IT guys end up doing one of the 3 things. If you get to be the product manager of Microsoft or Google or any of these awesome IT companies that have pure product management or delivery management roles, you will end up taking care of large turnkey projects or you could get into IT consulting where typically you’re working with enterprise software such as CRM or SCM or ERP.

When it comes to finance, it requires a lot of background work to get into hedge funds, PE and venture capital. You need to very well networked and you already need to know key people before you get into a b-school.

But investment management and investment banking are two areas that you can get in; it requires a lot of quantitative skills especially something like investment banking which will require you to structure these but with obviously a knowledge of finance.

With regards to entrepreneurship, people ask if they should do an MBA before they get into a start-up. My personal opinion is probably not. You don’t want to start a business with a 100k loan on your head.

But if entrepreneurship is few years down the line then I definitely think you should consider it because that time your student loan would have gone, you would have got significant experience and built your network and you know exactly what you’re getting into . That’s also the right time to leverage the brand equity of your MBA.

I think sales has a lot to do with personality. So just ask yourself if you’re cut off on a sales role. Can you handle the pressure of taking a monthly quota, quarter after quarter? If that’s you, then an MBA is a great way to get into sales.

Marketing has digital marketing, offline, PR- there’s a whole bunch of things that come under marketing so these are all valid post-MBA careers.

You need to be very clear on what is it that you’re planning to do and how do I actually get there. These are 2 questions you need to ask yourself.
North American Schools

Great economy

Land of opportunities

Great schools

In North America the economy is still great. If you think about it, all the top IT companies, great product and service companies are there. It’s a land of opportunities- you really get a break, you can rise as far as your potential can take you. Not many countries can say that but the US and Canada can help you do that. It has great schools that has helped build MBA so they know what they’re talking.

M-7: Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Sloan, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg
Top: Haas, Darden, Fuqua, Ross, Tuck, Duke
Mid: Marshall, Kelly, Krannert
Canada: Richard Ivey, Schulich, Rotman

Most of the programs in US are 2 year programs, whereas in Canada there are some great one year programs. In fact, in US I think there are only 3 programs which are 1 year- top programs like Cornell, which offers a one-year program for those who have a master’s degree. Then you have Kellogg which offers a one-year program if you’ve already completed a set of prerequisites. And you have Emory which provides you a one-year program if you have the relevant experience and background.

APAC Schools

Closer to home

Growing economy

Relatively inexpensive

It helps since these schools are closer to home. Some of them are advanced countries but still growing. So lot of growth options are there. It is relatively inexpensive but it’s not going to be less than 20 lakhs or so.

Australia: Melbourne Business School, AGSM Sydney
Singapore: NUS, NTU
Others: HKUST Hongkong, AIM Manila, CEIBES China

Schools in Australia like MBS have started an accelerated one-year program. Other than NUS and NTU, SUM in Singapore is also there for people with a slightly higher level of experience.

One question that a lot of people ask is, “How good is AIM Manila?” The point is you can’t ask a very objective question. There is nothing like how good or how bad. It is subjective- what is it that you want to do? If it helps achieve your career goal, it’s a great school but if it doesn’t help achieve your goal, either you have to reset your expectations or you have to choose a different school.

So instead of asking that, ask yourself what is it that you want out of a program and whether the program will be able to deliver it. None of the programs can guarantee anything. There is nothing like 100% guarantee.

You will have a reasonably safe probability that you’ll end up doing something. So if you go to Harvard, you can have reasonably good probability that not now, but 10 years down the line the brand equity will help repay the loan.
European Schools

Good Schools

Easier work permits

Great culture/ quality of life

What has changed over the past few years is the easy work permit. It isn’t as easy as it was earlier. It has a great culture. Just imagine, SDA Bacconi is in Italy- who doesn’t want to spend 2 years of their life in Italy – going to Rome and Milan and all these nice places.

Mid: SAID, Judge

Others: SDA Baconni, Rotterdam, Eramus, IESE, ESADE, HEC

A lot of people ask if INSEAD is a Singapore college or French college. The idea is, INSEAD started its campus in France and even now the admission happens out of France. You can choose whether you want to be part of the French or Singapore campus. But you have to be good enough to get into INSEAD in the first place. So I’ll still put it as a European school.

The reason I put SAID Oxford and Judge Cambridge as mid-tier schools is not because they are mediocre. They are awesome schools- think about the brand that they carry. They carry the brand of Oxford and Cambridge – this is as gold plated brands you can possibly get.

Plus, they offer a one-year program if you’re interested. Probably what works against them is right now the economy and the fact that these are relatively US Schools. Oxford has been there since 1300 or 1400s, but these schools have started relatively recently so in terms of the alumni penetration and a lot of other things, they are probably not up there as some of the top US b-schools are.









SPJain, Dubai

On our website, we have listed all the programs which take GMAT score, so you might want to check that list because this list constantly keeps getting updated as more and more schools have started to accept GMAT scores. ISB and the PGPX programmes offered by most of the top IIMs are pretty much the most preferred schools.

XLRI has a great 1-year general management programme. GLAKES started GLIMS- Great Lakes Institute of Management Studies, a one-year program in Chennai. SP Jain has an international global MBA with one campus in Dubai and another one in Singapore, so you actually get an option to do it in Dubai or Singapore.

You also have a part time course offered by IIM Bangalore called PGSEM, so those of you who have a few years’ experience and are okay with a part time MBA, would want to consider this. The forms of this are already out for this year and the deadline is around December and they take GMAT or CAT scores.

You can google for Businessweek MBA rankings or check the financial times for the current year rankings. With this list, you would be able to think about where is it that you should apply.

Pro Tip: Curious about how to start off your own journey towards an awe-inspiring GMAT score ? Try out our free GMAT Online Trial course.

Mays Business School, Texas A & M University Essay Analysis 2016-17

Mays Business School essay analysis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

So the essays that we are going to be looking at in this video are from Texas A&M University, Mays Business School.

Location-wise, it’s a great place. Also, Mays Business School has a pretty good ranking. This is one of those underrated B-Schools that a lot of people ignore but I would seriously recommend that you have a look at the school.
Great infrastructure, great faculty, great reputation and it’s a school which is in Texas. As I said, location-wise it is advantageous, because of where it is.

Essay 1


What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? To the best of your ability, please describe the type of position and type of organization you plan to target. How do your experiences to date align with this goal and how will the Mays MBA program assist you in reaching this goal? (Maximum length: 2 pages, double-spaced)

The maximum length indicates that you have roughly around 600 words.
I usually use a thumb rule of around 300-350 words per page, so keep the length to 500-600 words.
I will give you a very simple structure. Split it into three parts.
The first part that you need to talk about is the fact that you are looking at a very specific post-MBA goal.
This is where people end up missing it out. They say things that are very generic. They say, “I want to get into a general management position”, “I want to get into consulting”, and “I want to get into finance”
Now that’s a very broad term. What they’re really looking at (this is where you can probably make a note) are:
What is the industry?
What is the function?
What is the geography?
For example, the industry could be technology. The function could be product management. And the geography could be West Coast.
This shows that you have a very specific goal. If you have these three, then you should also be able to tell who your dream employer is, what is the typical title of people at such roles (So you could say, “I want to be a product manager at Google). So you have a very specific title and you have a very specific company. It has to be at this level of detail.
So I would say, that more than writing the essays, you probably need to think through what is it that you want to do.
Once you’ve written this, now you need to talk about how your experiences are aligned to this goal. This means, you cannot just wake up one day and say, “hey, I want to be a product manager. Seems to be cool.” You need to tell what in your background (it could be a professional experience or it could even be some personal traits that you have) equip s you for this career path.
Are you very analytical in nature? Is it that you worked in a hardcore technological field?
What is it that helps you get to this career point?
The only people who need to be super cautious are those who are looking at a career switch.
So if you were in engineering and you want to get into finance, you need to back it up.
Otherwise you just need to plot a line from point x to point y as to how you think your background helps.
Now, you obviously don’t have everything you need to get to that point. Otherwise you would have done that without an MBA. So what do you do?
In the third part, you specifically talk about how Texas A&M University and specifically the Mays Business School is going to help you get there.
What are the tools that it would give you?
What are the skill sets that you would like to learn?
How would the network and the community help you?
All of these are very crucial. One thing I always maintain—don’t write platitudes. Avoid sentences that say world class infrastructure and renowned faculty—they know everything. Don’t tell the B-school what they already know.
Tell them how they will be able to help you. Tell them how you will contribute to the program.
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Essay 2


Please select three of the following prompts to answer. Each of your three answers should be no more than 100 words in length. Please clearly identify which prompts you are addressing.
• My greatest passion is….
• The most important lesson I have learned is….
• I am unique because….
• My biggest challenge has been….
• The best advice I have received is….
• My greatest professional contribution is….

The beauty of a fill-in the blank structure that it clearly tell you what to write. There’s no chance for you to meander. So focus on completing the blank. Think of it as a fill in the blank. Once you complete the blank, you have a sentence.
Let me give an example:
• My greatest passion is….
My greatest passion is helping others
Now this is my mission statement.
I now have about 80 words to say why helping others is my greatest passion.
Often, it’s human nature that you’re attracted to something. So you can say that as a child I’ve always been attracted to helping others. And then give proof of how you’ve helped others.
• The most important lesson I have learned is….
Second one, it is not the lesson itself but why that lesson is important. What have you learnt? How have you been able to implement it in life?
• I am unique because….
Unique means special. It doesn’t mean one in the world. If that is the case, they would have said, “I’m a freak because…”
So it’s not something that only you have, but it’s something that could be a little different. For example, there are people how have actually performed on stage in front of an audience of thousands of people.
That’s a very rare quality to have. So, if you’ve done something offbeat, you should pick this one.
• My biggest challenge has been….
It is not just knowing what the challenge is, but why you perceive that to be a challenge and how you’ve overcome that. Again, this gives an insight into who you are as a person.
• The best advice I have received is….
Let me finish this for you….that I should not be so self-critical. Now, why are you self-critical? How do you overcome that? How is that reflected in the way you approach work? Again, 100 words, keep that in mind.
• My greatest professional contribution is….
This one has to be really big. It cannot be something that is normal. It cannot be something that you did well. It has to be something g more than that.
I would pick this only if I have done something really big and significant at work and I really want to showcase it. Otherwise, you’re probably better off licking the other softer aspects.
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Optional Essay


If you would like to share additional information with the Admissions Committee, please do so here. Suitable topics include gaps in post-college work experience and concerns about academic/test performance. (Maximum length – 1 page, double-spaced)

As I have always maintained about optional essays, use it only if you have something unique to say, something that is not addressed anywhere in your candidature.
So if you have a GMAT score of 630-640, you need to mention it over here.
If you have a gap in your work experience of 6 months, while pursuing a startup idea, you should mention it over here. Apart from that just let it be.
Thanks a lot for being with us. In case you think we can help you with your applications, please feel free to let us know, we’d be more than glad to have a look and see if we can help you in your MBA journey.
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  • January, 9th, 2017
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Foster School of Business, Washington—Essay Analysis for 2016-17

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So the school that we’re going to be looking at in this video is University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

One thing about Foster obviously is the location. Being in Seattle, you have Amazon, you have Microsoft, you have Starbucks, but more importantly Amazon and Microsoft are the two giants of IT.
Being right there in Seattle helps—it’s not just recruitment for these two companies but also a lot of ancillary companies, a lot of consulting companies that work for these two larger organizations.
So that’s what we’re going to be looking at. A lot of Indians end up applying to Foster as well, especially for those who are from a tech background.

Optional Essay


Please include this essay if you have additional information that you believe would be helpful to the admissions committee in considering your application. (500 words maximum)

Three essays, third one optional, you know the rules for the optional essay—write only when you think there is something important. If you think it’s not important, perhaps it’s not.
Usually I would encourage writing only gaps in academics, gaps in work experience or something that is very pressing for you mention there. Apart from this let’s take the first essay.

Essay 1

Post-MBA Plans– Tell us your ideas about what lies ahead for you in your career. What are the gaps or deficiencies currently preventing you from pursuing these potential career paths? How do you plan to use your time in the Foster MBA program to fill these gaps and advance your career? (750 words maximum)
Though 750 words are plenty of words, we need to structure it very well.
You cannot tell the first part until and unless you walk them through your career progression till date.
Remember this is not a repetition of your CV; this is not a repeat of what you’ve written in your resume. This is stuff that tells others how you have grown. That upward trajectory should come through.
You’ve grown, no doubt, but at some point you’ve hit a glass ceiling. You’ve arrived at this point in your career where you say, “I’ve done so much but now I’ve realized that I have to go to the next point”.
What is that next point?
You have to be very clear as to what lies ahead of you in your career.
So complete the first paragraph telling what lies ahead.
In the second paragraph you start off with what are the gaps or deficiencies you’ve identified.
What are the things that you need to equip yourself with?
It could be like a Swiss army knife. You might need multiple tools to equip yourself for that career path.
So you need to ask yourself, what it is that you need to achieve that career goal.
In the third paragraph, be very specific.

Why Foster?

Don’t keep it generic. Don’t just say great faculty and excellent infrastructure. It has to be very specific to Foster. So that forms the last 250 words.
So 250-250-250, in 750 words, your entire structure is done.
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Essay 2

Inspiring Experience Essay – Please tell us about an experience that inspired or confirmed your decision to pursue the MBA. (500 words maximum)
Here is the deal. You have to talk about something that made you think about why you should pursue an MBA.
Now if we go back to the first essay, it has shown your career progression and what you want to do next. But, you haven’t said why you want to do it.
This is the essay where you want to talk about why you’ve felt that career path is important for you.
Let me give you an example.
There was someone we knew, who got into Foster last year. He wrote about his experience of being a developer and about most problems that he would face that were technical in nature.
But after a few years he realized that more and more of technology wasn’t getting him anywhere. But he had this opportunity to work with a product manager. And he said, that really opened his eyes.
He said, “I saw that the product manager sees the same world, but I tend to have a limited perspective of looking at things only from a technical standpoint while he had a wider approach to looking at things. Working with him on that project for 6 months made me realize that I wanted to be a product manager.”
Obviously the other product manager had an MBA so that also motivated him to do an MBA. He realized that though he could take up other courses, this was the shortest and cleanest path to get there.
So try to make sure that you also touch upon a personal angle—as a person what attracts you towards the career path.
The first two essays, if crafted well, should get you an interview call and what you say afterward can help you get into the B-school.
In case you think there’s a conversation we can have and if you need any help, do let us know. We’ll be glad to be a part of your MBA application journey.
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  • December, 7th, 2016
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Jones Graduate School of Business Essay Analysis 2016-17

Jones essay analysis
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The school that we’re going to be looking at is the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.
Being in Texas, we see a lot of Indians applying to this school. We’ve also got students who’ve got scholarships in the past. So if you’re applying to Rice, let’s go ahead and take a look at the essays they have.

They have essentially two essays. The first essay is a standard goals essay.

Essay 1:

Describe your short-term and long-term goals, and how the MBA will help you to achieve those goals. Include in your discussion: Why is now the appropriate time to pursue an MBA and why are you interested in obtaining a Rice MBA? (750 words)
This has 750 words, that’s a lot of real estate for you. Make sure you don’t mess it up by writing a lot of things. It’s very important that we structure it properly so that the question gets answered.
Here is how I would put the structure:
In 250 words describe what you’ve done so far.
See, it’s very important that you talk about your life accomplishments, but don’t make it into a replica of your resume. It should be a short career progression—this is what I learnt and this is where I’m at this juncture in life.
You need to stop the first 250 words at a point where it says that it says at this point this guy has done so much, what else do you think he can do?
The next 250 words is where you need to invest in talking about at this juncture in your life, why is it personally and professionally the most apt time for you to pursue an MBA? What is it that you want to do?
Sometimes it could also be a moment of epiphany. Like, “I started my career, things were working fine but at this point I realized I have this aha effect. I just said, ‘Wow! This is what I want to pursue next.’”
And the moment you looked at what you wanted to pursue next, you also realized that there were certain challenges that you had to overcome. What are those challenges? What are the things that you need to equip yourself with, to do well in this career path?
A lot to write, but do it within 250 words.
The third paragraph is, now that you know what you need to equip yourself with, how specifically would Jones Graduate School of Business, help you achieve that?
I’ve said this multiple times, steer clear of platitudes. Don’t give reasons such as world class university and excellent infrastructure. Be very specific. That’s the key.

Essay 2:


Choose between the three options:
A. “Describe a defining moment or event that changed your life.” (300 words)
B. Tweet: “If you had to tweet something to the world for the first time about yourself, what would you tweet?” (140 characters)
C. Video: “Introduce yourself to your classmates in a 90 second video.”

You’re probably thinking which among the three you should select. Here’s the deal: the B-school is not going to base your admission on the choice. So it’s not like Tweet is less effort so it’s considered any less than say a video which perhaps takes more effort.
What I would suggest is that look at the kind of person you are. What would best showcase who you are?
For example, if you’re a person who feels that you’ve got the personality, probably put yourself on a video.
If you feel you’re witty or you’re like an ad copywriter who can write this very smart tweet about himself, then you probably want to pick that.
Or if you feel you’re more prosaic in your methods and you think there is a great event that could showcase to the AdCom who you really are, then you probably want to pick the first one.
First try to figure out who you are and then try to pick the medium.
Now very briefly on each one of these.

“Describe a defining moment or event that changed your life.” (300 words)

It has to be a defining moment, but here is the mistake that most people do. They will spend the entire 300 words talking about the defining moment.
Instead talk about the defining moment and also tell why it defined you. Don’t leave it to the reader’s imagination.
It is very important that you actually go ahead and explain the impact of that event on your life and how it’s changed you. How you are now a different person than who you were before the event.

Tweet: “If you had to tweet something to the world for the first time about yourself, what would you tweet?” (140 characters)

If you have to introduce yourself through a tweet, it has to be witty, it has to be remarkable. It’s not a simple sentence. If you’re going to think in terms of a sentence—I’m an engineer who’s worked for four years at so and so company—you’ve lost the plot.
It has to be extremely witty. Be cautious if you’re not a copywriter, if you’re not the kind of person who tweets a lot, this might be a challenge for you.

Video: “Introduce yourself to your classmates in a 90 second video.”

Keep the video simple, for example this one we’re shooting on a camera phone.
You just need to make sure that the lighting is fine, ensure that the voice is clear.
If you want to get in front of the camera, if you want to introduce yourself, what would you say? Again, don’t speak about what is already there on the resume. Say something new, something interesting.
Make those 90 seconds memorable.

Optional Essay


You may use this essay to discuss anything else that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you, or to provide information or clarification on any aspect of your application. (Maximum 750 words)

As always, you have an optional essay. For 750 words, you might be tempted to write a lot more, but here is my advice, don’t write anything that doesn’t make sense because the optional essay is meant for something that is glaring, that they could not figure out from the rest of your essays.
It could be something like a break from work, poor undergrad scores or something that’s really consequential.
Think of it this way: you’ve completed the interview, you’ve left the room. Then suddenly you remember something, you come back to the interview room, you knock the door and you say, “Excuse me, I just wanted to say one thing about myself that will help me understand my candidature”.
Now think about it. Would you come back and say, “Hey, by the way, I also won this competition at work”?
It doesn’t really make sense. It has to be something that’s impactful. Say, “There’s one thing I wanted to let you know, there’s a gap of 6 months in my employment. That is the time I took a sabbatical because I wanted to explore a startup idea”
So that’s all about the essays.
Please go ahead and apply to Jones Graduate School of Business.
If you need any help from CrackVerbal and you feel we can help you craft a winning application, we’ll be more than glad to help.
Get your MBA essays reviewed

  • December, 2nd, 2016
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The Secret of Maximizing your Time at MBA Information Sessions

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Many top MBA schools in the world are coming to India to attract top quality applicants. Though a few host independent info-sessions, most prefer coming as part of MBA conferences.   There are 2 such events coming up.   1. The MBA Tour.   Click on the below link to get more information and register for the event.   Register for The MBA Tour   2. The MBA Tour.   Click on the below link to get more information and register for the event.   Register for The Access MBA Tour   If you are reading this article then you probably have an MBA session coming up.   Are you are just curious.   Or you believe in preparation 🙂   Whatever the case, this article is all that you need to know EXACTLY how to nail the MBA Info sessions. These could be sessions held by individual schools or an MBA event conducted by organizations such as The MBA Tour, Access MBA Tour, or QS MBA Tour.   In this in-depth article, I will show you how exactly:   1. Why you should maximize the time spent on these info sessions (and avoid some costly mistakes).   2. How you can really act as a “cool customer” – and maybe strike up a conversation that leads to a positive first impression.   3. What questions you should be asking them and what you should be wearing – to make the maximum impact. Does this sound like a deal?   Read on!    

4 Reasons why attending an MBA info sessions might be a good thing for you

  Why would I need to attend an MBA info session? Why can’t I just read them up on the website / look up on social media.   Especially since MBA events held in cities such as Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad involve a lot of travel (considering many such events are held in 5-star hotels in the central business district during workday evenings).   However, such info sessions can provide you with valuable information that you cannot otherwise get from the website.   Here are 4 reasons to attend an MBA admissions event:  

1. Compare various MBA programs on offer and choose one that’s right for you.

  Have you decided if you want to pursue a full-time MBA or a part-time MBA or an Executive MBA or a Global MBA or even an online MBA?   Also a lot of times while talking to a school rep or an alum – you get a “feel” for the school. The culture exudes in the way the people talk about their MBA experience – make sure you clued in on that.   I have had many students tell me that MBA information sessions are sometimes like a blind date.   There will be ones that you will hate, and ones that you will fall in love almost instantly!    

2. Explore Networking opportunities

  An MBA fair is a brilliant opportunity to network with admission officers and MBA alumni. While admission officers can provide direct assistance with your applications, ex-students will be able to provide you with an overview of campus life.   Remember to ask for the college representative’s contact details, so that you can contact them at a later date to stay informed of other info sessions/open houses and visit the campus if you get a chance. It is also recommended that you talk to the alumni present at the event. This will give you a fair idea of their experiences with the school, the support they’ve received and the exposure they’ve got.    

3. Learning how to finance your MBA

  An MBA info session can be a great place to learn about different financing options.   This is a great opportunity to know how other students who have been admitted in the past have dealt with financing. In most cases – this might have been through loans, so you can dig a deeper into that.   You can also get information about the various scholarships offered by the school. If there are none – you get to know that too.   Apart from the colleges, you can also connect with financing companies such as Credila and Prodigy Finance to learn more about their loan offerings.   It is good to do your homework so you know what you are getting into.    

4. Learn more about student visas

  An MBA admissions fair is the perfect place to find out more about global B-Schools, their admission requirements and the course fee.   You can also learn about the student visa rules and regulations for different countries and accordingly make an informed decision.   Make sure you are asking specific questions about both ease of getting a student visa as well as the opportunity to convert it to a work visa post the program.   You can get to know about the placement of the batch that graduated the same year (or the previous year). How hard or easy is it for students to get the work visa.    

Pro Tip: Many times the reps might end up giving you information that is “off records”. That is, stuff they cannot put on the website or on official mails but stuff they share in a casual conversation.

    Now let us look at some simple tips to make the most out of an info session.  

How to look superior to others in the MBA Information Sessions?

  CrackVerbal has been associated with various MBA fairs and info sessions since 2010 and has seen very closely the kind of interactions that happen in such meets.  

Here are the top 3 kinds of people who attend such seminars/info sessions:

  1) Curious Cat   curious-cat   He has come over with little clue about what he wants from the session.   He has definitely not taken the GMAT nor is he aware of B-school admissions processes.   As the name suggests, he is just curious to understand how this whole thing works.   He can be spotted by the way he goes from one stall to another collecting brochures but not really engaging in a conversation with any admissions representative.   2) Anxious Anna   anxious-anna-1   This one has perhaps taken the GMAT and has some idea about MBA applications.   However, our friend is also trying desperately to find answers to questions such as “Will I get admission to your school?” or “What scholarships will you offer me?”   However, she is busy hopping from one booth to another desperately trying to find someone who will answer in the affirmative.   But as the questions are way too subjective, she will never get an answer!   3) Cool Customer   cool-customer   This one is really assured and is typically seen only at a few select B-school booths.   The person has already researched on the school and therefore has very specific queries that pique the interest of the MBA representatives.   He/she knows what to look for and is seen engaging in a meaningful conversation with the MBA admissions person Typically the person is seen having a dossier in hand – with important stuff such as a 1-page business resume, and a list of specific questions for the B-School rep.   So who do you want to be? Don’t bother answering – it was more of a rhetorical question 🙂   Remember that the AdCom members are keeping their eyes open for people who are smart, articulate and can make for a good fit for the program.   There have been instances when they have started a conversation at an MBA info-session and have ended with an offer once the candidate applied.     If you really want to see yourself in the 3rd category, here is a checklist of 4 things that you can do to look “cool” in the eyes of the admissions committee.  

1. Assess your goals and needs

  Before you attend an MBA fair, ask yourself the following questions:   What are your short-term and long-term goals?   Why an MBA? How will an MBA help you achieve your academic and professional goals?   What are you looking for in the ‘perfect’ business school?   How will you contribute to the school, as a student?     Here’s how you can present your profile to the Admissions Committee.   Learn how to get into a Top B-School   Once you have your answers to these questions, it becomes easier to assess the resources you have in hand, your academic and professional eligibility, your budget and then decide on the kind of schools you’d like to pursue.    

2. Make a list of schools that you will be visiting

  Have a good idea of the schools that are going to be visiting in the seminar/fair, so do the background research by Googling everything you can.   What is the ranking of the school in a particular geography (you may want to check out Bloomberg, or US News)   Look at the geographic location – does it have any locational advantage?   What are the various specializations offered – are these in my areas of interest?   What is the program cost and does it fit in my budget?   Learn how to select the right B-School    

3. Decide on the criteria for choosing a B-School

  Once you’ve done some basic research, fix certain criteria to further shortlist colleges of your choice.   Ask a few detailed questions such as:   What is the student profile like?   Do you know anyone from that school on Linkedin so you can connect with?   What are the companies that recruit from these colleges?   Which industries do the students bag the most jobs in?   What social activities do the colleges focus on?   What is the approach to learning?   Once you have a comprehensive checklist of criteria and schools, it will become easier for you to visit different booths and strike up an appropriate conversation on the day of the fair.    

4. Prepare to sell yourself

  Carry a 1-page business resume.   If not above, just carry a sheet that gives a high-level summary of your profile such as GMAT, Education & Experience, along with major extra-curricular activities.   While you hand over a copy to the representatives, you can start your 60-second elevator pitch (link). This makes the conversation crisp.   Ensure you get their business card so you can write to them later.   Thank them for their time, and always put in a word of praise (based on what you have read up) as it is courteous to do so.    

5. Post-Event contact

  Once the MBA fair is over, you need to make it a point to follow up with all the school representatives you’ve spoken to.   Write an email with a short “thank you” and summary of the conversation   Stay in touch by adding them on LinkedIn or following them on twitter   Visit further open house/info session that is conducted by the school   See if you get an opportunity to interview with them face to face   Request them to connect you to alumni   If possible pay a visit to their campus    

2 Factors that influence your image in the Info session: What you ask and what you wear?


1. What to ask the MBA representatives at the event?

  Ask questions, lots of them!   Don’t think too much about approaching a school’s admission officer. They have come all the way to answer your queries.   As mentioned earlier, ask them questions that are relevant, well-researched and insightful.   Not just to impress them but also because these questions can help you choose a school that’s aligned with your requirements.  

Another tip is:   For all questions you can end with “Is there anything else that you think I should know?” or “Is there anything else that you think is important for this”?   Make sure the Admissions Member is able to provide you pointers that you may have NOT anticipated.

  Also, remember: Don’t ask for data – ask for opinion   The value should be given to the person’s perspective and not to something google-able. So try to pick their brains by asking things specific to your case.   Here is a table that can help you:   mba-infosessions-table-final-1    

2. What attire to wear during such MBA events?

  You don’t want to be wearing full formals and end up feeling odd in the crowd.   You don’t want to wear your pair of khakhi shorts and sandals either.   You want to wear something that is in middle: makes you look professional yet not over-dressed.   Step in Business Casuals!   mba-clothes (img src: http://www.businessinsider.in/Heres-What-Business-Casual-Really-Means/articleshow/40420369.cms)   Here are a few “thumb rules” that will help you decide:   Would you wear this for an interview?   Can you go to a fine dining restaurant after the event?   Is this something you typically wear to meet clients at work?   If you answer these questions honestly, you will get the answer.   Bottom line: be comfortable whatever you are wearing!     Now that you are all set to go, get going on that list of questions you want answered at an Admissions event.   Register for The MBA Tour   Register for The Access MBA Tour   If you need any help with your MBA profile   Get your Profile Evaluated!

Why is Donald Trump Great News for the Indian Student

Donald Trump for Indian students
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Okay let us face it – you were not expecting him! You were also expecting to take the GMAT or the GRE for a Masters program abroad.
Here is the news that might surprise you – Trump might be better for you than Obama who actually imposed more regulations such as jacking up the H-1B fees.
Here are 3 reasons why Trump getting elected might actually be good if you are planning to study in the US soon for your MS or MBA.

1) The US Dollar Rates might tank

If you see historically, the dollar rates have been on the rise since the last 10 years. It means what would have cost 40 lakhs about 10 years ago is now going to cost about 65 lakhs.
dollar rates over 10 years
But with Trump getting elected, the dollar rates might just go down. What this means for you is that your tuition rates might go down by 10-20%. So maybe 2017 is the best time for you to apply to a grad school.
Why would the dollar rates tank? That is simply because the markets (and the world in general) don’t know what to expect. It is one of those black swan events that hits you on a warm Wednesday afternoon.

2) He is not really against Indian Students

If you notice most of his election campaign rhetoric was against illegal immigrants. Building a wall was against Mexico and imposing trade restrictions was against China – nothing to do with India. The smart, educated (and benign) Indian students who go there, need not worry.
Here are a few comments he made to the Fox network:
“Whether we like that or not, they pay, et cetera, et cetera but we educate a lot of people, very smart people. We need those people in the country…….Many people want to stay in this country and then want to do that. I think somebody that goes through years of college in this country we shouldn’t kick them out the day they graduate, which we do,”
Read more about Trump’s comment:
So clamping down on those exploiting the H-1B visa, such as the IT companies in India, may actually help students who have put in their money and careers at stake to get a US education. To be honest, any change in the system is welcome because the current one is flawed.
Just read how students from top MBA programs have issues with the current quota system:
Here is how fast it takes for the H-1B visa ceiling to be hit!
H1 B Visa Ceiling

3) Trump has been elected as the President – not a Dictator

Though Trump as the US Presidents does have certain powers vested in him through the post, he is certainly not a monarch.
Remember that the US system of government – divided among three branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial – is intended as a structural system of checks-and-balances. Though Trump’s presidential power will be vastly strengthened because his fellow Republicans retained control of the two houses of the US Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate – he just cannot pass one crazy law.
The US government works a lot through Congressmen who lobby for certain bills to be passed. Do you think the companies such as Amazon are going to let him pass any legislation that restricts their growth potential? No way!

Closing thoughts:

US is still the land of opportunities. Heck, if California were a country then it would have the 6th largest GDP in the world – ahead of France, India, Italy and Brazil.
Read more about America’s growing economy.
Plus it has an awesome University system – you don’t have many countries that can boast of a Harvard and an MIT in the same town – or a Silicon Valley with a Stanford and a Berkeley. This alone puts US as a go-to destination if you are looking at studying abroad.
Yes, H-1B visa issues will be contentious but Trump or no Trump can’t take away the opportunity to experience the education and culture that only the US of A can promise.
Planning for an MBA in US this year?
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Scheller College of Business, Georgia Tech-Essay Analysis 2016-17

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In this video, we’re going to be reviewing the essays for Georgia Tech Scheller. First up, about this B-School, I think Georgia Tech is a great place for operations and technology. It’s in Atlanta, which is a great hub, one of the southern states.
So I think, all in all, great school if you’re in operations and technology. In fact, the school makes no bones about the fact that, “don’t come here if you’re a closet investment banker or if you have one of those other goals. But for these career paths, it’s a great school to be.
There are two required essays, one optional essay. The tricky part here is, they say there’s a 4000 character limit. So when you look at 4000 characters, it is roughly around 700 odd words. So 700 words is enough for you to write a proper, well-structured essay. There’s a lot of space over there.
So let’s take the first one.

1. Respond to one of the topics below (Required):
A) Describe a risk that you have taken and discuss its impact on your life.
B) If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?

There is no right answer. We want you to be yourself, creative, and thoughtful in your response.
Do not overthink which of the two essays is going to be better. Or that Scheller has this ulterior motive to see which essay you’re going to pick. Trust me, people are going to join the batch, half of them are going to pick one essay, the other half would have picked the other essay.
So rather than focusing on that, focus on yourself.
1. A) Describe a risk that you have taken and discuss its impact on your life.
Have you taken a risk? If you haven’t taken a risk, the first essay is pretty much useless. So what is that risk? A lot of times people make this mistake of not really describing the risk. They describe the situation and they assume that reader would know the risk involved.
So first you have to talk about the risk itself, the decision that you made, what was the risk, what were the pros, what were the cons? In most situations, you’ll have something that would have worked but the lack of time, lack of information, lack of some other resources made you make that decision without knowing what would come.
It also tells me something about you. It gives me your profile as a risk taker.
What kind of risk taker are you?
Did you quit your job to start your own company? What was going on in your mind?
I want to know more about that. I don’t want to know the risk itself. It is important that you mention it, but give me an insight into who you are.
Why did you take that risk? Now talk about the impact of that action. Maybe it was positive, maybe it had some negative tones, maybe there were certain things that did not go as per your plan.
Are you regretful?
Do you have this tinge of bitterness as to why you did that?
If so, don’t mention it. But let them know a little more about the aftermath of that decision. Where are you today, because of that decision? 700 words are enough for you to write a great story. Very important that you craft it well. And as I said, just make sure you pick these points.
1. B) If you could trade places with someone for one day, who would it be and why?
Now again, though it might sound like a flight of fantasy that you say, “oh I want to trade my place with say, Modi, and I want to be the prime minister of the country”, remember this is not a school essay. It’s a B-school essay.
A business school wants to know your thinking. They want to know more about who you are. So don’t make it into a flight of fantasy where you say “I wish I were superman” or “I wish I were a movie actor”. They are really looking at what your passions are, what it is that you really want.
If I could give an example, I could say I would like to be Salman khan, not Salman khan the movie actor, but Salman Khan from Khan Academy, because I really admire what he does, I really admire the way in which he is able to influence education, the way in which he has been able to figure it out and he was able to introduce all these video courses.
Now that could be my personal inspiration. But, here’s the deal: it also tells something about me. As an educator, as a mentor, as a coach, it’s aligned to what I want to do. But if I were to say I want to be Salman khan, act in movies, it doesn’t make sense. So that’s where you have to be very clear.
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Next one: very standard, post-mba goal essay.

2. Why an MBA and why Georgia Tech? (Required)
Describe how your experiences, both professional and personal, have led you to the decision to pursue an MBA at Georgia Tech. Discuss your short- and long-term career goals and how Georgia Tech is best suited to help you achieve your goals.

Here is what I would suggest as structure—create three parts.
The first is, talk about your background. Talk about what you have done. Talk about your career progression. Don’t make it a repeat of your resume. It has to be something that says, “look, very quickly, let me summarize, this is how my career trajectory has been. Now that I’m at this point, what is it that I want to do.
That is your second paragraph. What is it that I want to do? Be very specific, talk about the industry, talk about the function, talk about the kind of companies that you’d like to work for and tell me what are the things that you need to do well in that role.
In the third paragraph, talk about very specifically, why Georgia Tech, why Scheller.
It has to be very specific. You cannot put platitudes like statements such as, “Georgia Tech is a great school.” They already know that. You don’t need to tell them that.
Why is it such a great school for you?
So again you have to go back and fit in what you’ve written in the second paragraph.
As I said, 700 words are enough for you to write a nice career essay. One more thing here is, that it talks about your long-term career goals. Yes, short term is important, but also give a sense of where you want to go.
So long term should not be 50 years but it could be maybe 5-10 years down the line. Just give them an idea of what direction you’re going in. for example, you could say entrepreneurship or social entrepreneurship. That should be enough.
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The third essay is an optional essay
Optional Essay:

The Admissions Committee believes that the required essays address issues that help us learn about you and understand your candidacy f