An Insight into Understanding the Profile of a Typical ISB Candidate

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 🙂

Plan your MBA Admissions Process through GMAT : The step-by-step guide

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!

The Secret Behind the GMAT Score for ISB

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


[tr][th]Year[/th] [th]Average GMAT score[/th][/tr]

[tr][td]2017[/td] [td]707[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2016[/td] [td]704[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2015[/td] [td]700[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2014[/td] [td]711[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2013[/td] [td]711[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2012[/td] [td]710[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2011[/td] [td]712[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2010[/td] [td]709[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2009[/td] [td]716[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2008[/td] [td]714[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2007[/td] [td]707[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2006[/td] [td]706[/td][/tr]


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 not published after 2015.    

Mid 80% Range for Years 2007 to 2016


[tr][th]Year[/th] [th]Average GMAT score[/th][/tr]

[tr][td]2007[/td] [td]660-750[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2008[/td] [td]660-760[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2009[/td] [td]680-760[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2010[/td] [td]670-760[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2011[/td] [td]670-750[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2012[/td] [td]670-750[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2013[/td] [td]680-750[/td][/tr]


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


[tr][th]Year[/th] [th]GMAT Range @ ISB Hyderabad Campus[/th] [th]GMAT Range @ ISB Mohali Campus[/th][/tr]

[tr][td]2007[/td] [td]600-780[/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2008[/td] [td]600-780[/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2009[/td] [td] – [/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2010[/td] [td]600-780[/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2011[/td] [td] – [/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2012[/td] [td] – [/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2013[/td] [td] – [/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2014[/td] [td] – [/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2015[/td] [td] – [/td] [td]NA[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2016[/td] [td]600-760[/td] [td]610-760[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]2017[/td] [td]600-770[/td] [td]590-770[/td][/tr]


– = 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).
[button href=”” style=”emboss” size=”medium” textcolor=”#ffffff”]Get your Profile Evaluated![/button]

A Guide to choosing the right MBA program

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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.

The Secret of Maximizing your Time at MBA Information Sessions

MBA Info 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.
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2. The MBA Tour.
Click on the below link to get more information and register for the event.
[button target=”blank” href=”” style=”emboss” size=”medium” textcolor=”#ffffff”]Register for The Access MBA Tour[/button]
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
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
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
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.
[button target=”blank” href=”” style=”emboss” size=”medium” textcolor=”#ffffff”]Learn how to get into a Top B-School[/button]
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?
[button target=”blank” href=”” style=”emboss” size=”medium” textcolor=”#ffffff”]Learn how to select the right B-School[/button]

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:

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!
(img src:
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.
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If you need any help with your MBA profile
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The MBA Summit – All the MBA Gyaan you need!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The CrackVerbal MBA Summit took place on the 10th of April at the Nahar Heritage Hotel in Bangalore. This much-awaited event kicked off with close to 150 MBA aspirants who came with a lot of questions on their mind.


Every event has a purpose and the MBA Summit had one too- Read on to find out what happened!


Life and Careers after an MBA


The event began with a panel discussion on ‘Life and careers after MBA’. The panel comprised of 4 panelists from diverse industry backgrounds representing the 4 major post- MBA careers: finance, marketing, operations and consulting.


Read on for a few sound-bytes from each of them!


panel 1


Pradyot Anand | Sr. Manager of Business development at Dell | ISB


Pradyot has a total of over 12 years’ professional experience in general management, management consulting and technology functions.


Here’s what Pradyot had to say –
“It’s very important that you explore your own network and that you do not rely solely on the B-school’s placements to do the work for you. Even though I got offers from abroad, I decided to work in India as I was more focused on my short-term goals rather than long-term goals.”


Shrikant Singh| Sr. Category Manager at Amazon | ISB


Shrikant has 7 years of professional experience. He is a Category Manager for Pets Supplies and Grocery at Amazon India.


Here’s what he had to say –
“A lot of us think that because we get into ISB, we’re rockstars. The reality is that once you’re in, you need to focus on surviving and standing out amidst your competition, every single day of the year. And when it comes to taking up a job, don’t look only at the monetary benefits. Even if a job doesn’t pay much but the job role excites you, go for it!”


Sannidhi Jhala | Area Key Accounts Manager at Coca-Cola Beverages | ISB


Sannidhi has 8 years of professional experience in Marketing. She independently handles the key accounts and business expansions for a few regions for Coke India. Sannidhi has a major in Marketing from ISB.


Sannidhi says –
“You can change your career objectives during your MBA- I changed from wanting to do Operations to getting into Marketing. At the end of the day, if you’re able to project your interest clearly in your resume, then you’ve made it. I wanted to clearly project my interest in marketing. I used to participate in competitions and clubs during my MBA to substantiate my interest with my experience.”


Naveen Kaushik Rajan | Investment Associate at Small case | NUS


Naveen has 9 years of professional experience in the Finance domain. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. He has an MBA degree from National University of Singapore.


Here’s what he had to say-
“Understand your expectations well in advance so that your MBA is aligned with your post career goals. Do you look at brand or growth when choosing an MBA program? You may get into a top B-school, but ultimately growth matters. It’s always better to look at the larger picture- where do you want to see yourself 3 years down the line. Choose your program with the career you expect to see yourself in.”


All the panelists agreed that when it comes to your MBA Applications, your story and your pitch matter. And probably the most important thing you need to possess is clarity of thought!


MBA for Technology Professionals


Next on the plate was quite an interesting session. We had Sudhakar Kuckian, Purdue Krannert alumnus and Senior Director at Neo Group, brief us on how an MBA can help technology professionals.


Here is the crux of what Sudhakar had to say –

“If you want to continue as a coder, data analyst and scientist, it is best to do a Master’s Degree. If you want to move to the business side of the picture, MBA helps give a diverse look to your career.
There are a lot of new courses in technology that are coming up as part of MBA programs. B-schools like Harvard, Stern are looking at adding new courses as part of their program.”

Why choose a Global MBA program over Indian MBA?

The next session on the ‘Value of a Global MBA’ was taken by Rakshit Kejriwal, an alumnus of the prestigious Columbia university and co-founder of the start-up DropKaffe.
To quote him, ‘The main reason why people choose a global MBA is because of cultural diversity and global exposure. However, a huge advantage which you will realise better post your MBA is that a global MBA has a strong alumni network. Aim at the Top 20 schools for a global MBA. It’s not just about brand value. If you need a job tomorrow, you will have a strong network to fall back on.”
He also spoke about ‘How to finance your MBA’. “Finance is important but should never be a showstopper. Other than scholarships, some B-schools offer student loans at really low interest rates and repayment only when you start working.”, he said.
Finally, he spoke about the difference between a 1 year and 2 year MBA programme.
“If you’re branching from tech to business or finance to marketing, it’s better you do a 2 year MBA. Companies consider your profile relevant only when you have work experience and 2 year MBA programmes give you a chance to intern after your first year. Don’t look at finishing your MBA quickly- make a prudent choice. If you’re looking at accelerated growth, a 1 year MBA is good enough.”

MBA students of 2017- Journey and Strategies

The second panel discussion with CrackVerbal students Rituparna, Sachin Kumar, Aayam Ankan and Rakshaki was quite informative. Rituparna and Aayam are going to ISB this April, while Sachin and Rakshaki are headed for Terry and IIM-B respectively. Each one had a personal story and experience to share.
Sachin bagged a full scholarship at Terry with a 700 on the GMAT. How? He was the moderator for an online football forum that was very popular on the web. His story and the way he showcased it got him there. Quite interesting! Talking about his GMAT experience, he said “GMAT is a standardized test of readiness for MBA more than intelligence. Don’t rush. Take time and prepare.”
Rituparna stood out on his essays with a profile of a failed venture on a biking adventure.
“You should build your profile gradually. Impressing your Adcom doesn’t mean you join an NGO because you need an interesting story. There must be value attached and some significance to yourself. Whether you have a positive or a failed venture- it should be one that impacts you and has a story to tell”, he said.
Aayam said, “Take more responsibility at work. Approach your manager for different roles and responsibilities. This way you are already proving your skills to the school. It also adds to the leadership and initiator factor.”
Rakshaki added, “It’s always better to get your LOR from your immediate supervisor and advisable to be honest with your supervisor about your MBA, but that differs from person to person. Also, when it comes to financing your MBA, provided you have reasons you can validate, write to B-schools about your need for financial aid.”

MS vs. MBA

As the event drew to a close, the last session was taken by Deepak Mohan and Neeraj who enlightened the crowd with a discussion on ‘Why an MS over MBA?’
Deepak plans to do his MS in IS from Fosters School of Business after getting admits from both Fosters and Carnegie Mellon. He chose an MS IS over an MBA because he felt it was more beneficial in a niche domain like IS.
Neeraj did his MS in Data Analytics from Arizona and completed it in just 9 months. Since he had already done his MBA and was working with IBM, he was more focused on doing his masters in data analytics. He got an L1 visa from IBM to work in US.
The key takeaways from this session were –
• The importance of understanding your expectations and accordingly align your course to your career.
• If you do an MS, you have an OPT period of 1 year, whereas an MBA will grant you less than that. The OPT period gives you enough time to stay in the US and look for a job after your Masters.

Here’s what a few attendees at the event had to say:

“The Summit was a hit and helped me in analyzing various aspects of my career”– Raghunath Reddy
“Thanks for the fantastic session! I must say the entire gamut of MBA Admissions was covered. It’s hard to find such insightful sessions anywhere else.”– Rakshith
“I’m quite impressed by the MBA Summit. It gave me a sense of direction listening to the perspectives of industry experts and admitted students”– John Jose
“The MBA Summit was really useful. Thank you to the entire team at CrackVerbal for making it happen.”– Neelesh Ravi
“The MBA Summit was a success. It was really helpful for beginners like me. Thanks for creating such a nice platform for interaction.”– Archana Gowda
While the event came to a close, a crowd of around 150 satisfied individuals took home real experiences and advice to enrich their MBA journey ahead.
There’s more where all this came from! If an MBA is on your mind, we are here to help.
Click Here for a Free Profile Evaluation to get one step closer to your dream.
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Improving your MBA profile – 40 ways to an awesome MBA application!

Reading Time: 21 minutes

Most MBA grads will tell you that an MBA from a premier B-school can change your career and life in general in a myriad of amazing ways.   Most of them will also tell you that getting into a top B-school requires you to have a stellar B-school profile and a rock-solid application.  


If you have your eyes set on a B-school this year or next year, you probably fit in one of the below categories:  


1. You have great work experience, but are hampered by an average academic record. Or, you are an academic achiever, but you’ve worked at a lack-lustre job for a few years, without much to set you apart.  


2. Your career and academic performance have both been noteworthy, but you are not sure if you have that ‘x’ factor in your profile which can differentiate you amidst a set of similar achievers.


3. You have had a great career, an academic record that you can be justifiably proud of, and a differentiating factor or two- but you are wondering what you can do to improve your chances even further!  


Well, there’s a lot you can do! We have compiled a list of 40 things that can add sheen to your application. Some of these ideas will directly benefit your profile, while some will have an indirect bearing. Even working on a handful of these tips will improve your candidacy and impress the adcom!



1. Learn a new language


 improve MBA profile


With B-schools trying to increase diversity in their classrooms, working knowledge of a foreign language will boost your profile. And did you know that learning new languages helps improve brain function?


It is observed that learning new languages results in improved conversational abilities, better study skills, and heightened concentration- all of which you can channel to help with the GMAT and your interviews. So go ahead, enrol for a language course and impress the adcoms with your knowledge of French, Spanish or what-have-you.   To do next : Check out DuoLingo, a great app for learning a new language! Need more inspiration?Watch this TED talk about how to hack language learning!



 2. Start a Small Business 


    improve MBA profile


Try your hand at a start-up idea. Start small- you could even try a solo venture. You can work independently as a part time photographer, web designer, caterer, or handmade artifacts designer online. Though this is a microcosm of the business universe, you will get exposure to the world of pricing, marketing, and other business functions.


  To do next : The internet is choc-a-block with ideas for entrepreneurship. To start with, you can find some interesting business ideas here. Read this page to understand how you can use Facebook to take your business to your customers.  



 3. Volunteer in your Community


 improve MBA profile


Besides giving you a wider, more humane perspective, the experience of volunteering for your community can improve your ability to take initiative and hone your interpersonal skills. A volunteering stint could also be a great place for you to network.


You could take the initiative to conduct seminars and talks for school kids on awareness about issues like drug abuse, sexual abuse, adolescent health, staying safe online, etc. Imagine the multitude of skills you can learn through such an experience! You will learn how to communicate across age-groups, you will hone your speaking skills, and you will learn valuable facts about these issues that you could dispense to the benefit of everyone around you.


What’s the B-school angle, you ask? This will reflect to the Adcom your commitment to social responsibility, your ability to take initiative, and your organizational and leadership skills.  

To do next : Check out iVolunteer, a social enterprise that has a presence in most major cities in India and that can help you find the right volunteering experience for you.  


4. Pursue your favorite Sport 



If you gave up your involvement in a sports team in school so you could focus on academics, it is now time to pick up where you left off. Playing sports inculcates the ability to work in a team to achieve a common goal. This ability is highly desirable in an MBA candidate.


So gear up, round up your new team, and get going! You may also find this to be a great stress-buster during your MBA admission process.   To do next : If you’re interested and are looking for team-matesor a playing arena, check out Playo, GroundWala or Athletto.  

 5. Learn to play a musical instrument



Almost nobody is immune to the charms of a talented musician. But how will learning a musical instrument help you impress an Adcom, you ask? Well, being able to play a musical instrument will not just add to the versatility of your B-school profile, but will act as an indicator of qualities such as discipline and creativity. You can also show the adcoms that you’re never too old to learn something new!


To do next : Like everything else in life, musical education has gone online too!   Check this link for some of the best resources on learning an instrument online.

  Download E-Book


 6.  Sign up for a MOOC 



Take up an online certification course (or courses) through Coursera, Udacity, or edX. There is a plethora of courses offered online. A course related to the subject you will be studying in your MBA will show the adcoms how serious you are about your goals. You can also do courses on leadership, creative thinking, etc. that will help you develop your skill-set.  


To do next : You can check out some of the best websites that offer online courses here.    



 7. Participate in a new Adventure Sport 



When was the last time you lived life on the edge? There are many benefits to dabbling in adventure sports such as river rafting, rock climbing, or bungee jumping, whether as a newbie or as a hard-core enthusiast. One of them is that it displays to the adcom your willingness to take risks and indulge in the spirit of adventure.   Success, as they say, lies outside your comfort zone- and the adcom is on the lookout for candidates who are willing to step out of their comfort-zone to pursue success.  


To do next : Check out the best adventure sports activities to pursue in India.  



 8. Write a Blog



Whether writing has been an interest of yours or not, you will find that polishing your writing skills will pay off when it comes to MBA admissions.Writing in a blog will give your recruiters credible proof of your flair for communication.   Also, writing a blog will give you visibility and give you a channel to put your perspective out there. To write informed blog posts, you will have to read a lot – this will help you improve your research abilities. For all these reasons and more, a well-maintained blog is definitely a way to up your B-school profile.  


To do next : Read about some great tips to start a successful blog and decide if this is something you would like to pursue.  



 9.  Contribute to your Alma Mater 



When you give back to your alma mater, it shows your commitment to the institution – this will reflect well on you since top B-schools look for candidates who would be part of their strong and committed alumni network.   You can contribute to your alma mater financially, or show support as a guest lecturer or student mentor. The alumni-alma mater relationship is a mutually beneficial one- your contributions will benefit your alma mater by helping it uphold its popularity, and this will in turn contribute towards ensuring that the brand value of your education does not diminish.  


To do next : Start by reading this article on how you can contribute to your college. Go to your college website, check out the alumni page, and take it from there!  



 10. Travel to a new place 



“Nothing opens your mind or your eyes like travel.” Travelling opens you up to new geographies, cultures, and economies. The experiences you gain while travelling will develop your ability to relate to others, to negotiate well, and work with people from different backgrounds. So take some time off work to travel through all the countries you have always wanted to see!   


A more interesting way to do this would be backpacking. Backpacking is a great opportunity to find joy in ambiguity and soak up experiences you never imagined undergoing. Backpacking is now made more exciting by concepts like You will get to be a host to international travellers visiting your locality.   As a host, you may open your home for travellers to stay, or be part of events where you can meet travellers in different cities. Meeting new people and gaining exposure to cultures from all over the world will add a great deal of shine to your MBA profile.  


To do next : Need some inspiration? Start by reading a couple of excellent travel sites here and here! Want to get started? Check out this travel app!  



 11. Learn the basics of Finance 


This is an important one if you do not have a background in management studies. A sound knowledge of the concepts like capital budgeting, capital structure, dividend policies, and risk and return is important to your post MBA job. Show the adcoms that you are dedicated towards your goals!  


To do next : Check out these online resources to learn the basics of finance!    



 12. Continue a long lost Hobby 



Playing the guitar, illustrating, dancing…did you do any of these while in school or college but later lose touch with it because of your busy work life? Now’s the perfect time to take your dancing shoes out of the closet and brush the dust off. You can also become part of meet-up groups to interact with people who share a similar passion. Hobbies give you joy, keep you creative, act as an outlet for stress, help you refocus on work- and look great on your B school resume!  


To do next : Here are some cool hobby clubs you can explore.  



 13. Do your bit for the Environment



Many B-schools prefer candidates who have made a positive impact to the world around them (some schools, such as Said, Oxford, are very particular indeed about this aspect, as evidenced by their essay questions). Join a group or organization that works towards making the world a greener and cleaner place.  


If you commute to work on bicycle instead of a car, you can be part of or start a bicyclers’ club. Or, you could start a club on a local scale to plant trees in your locality. You can help in waste management by doing simple things like advocating waste segregation in households, encouraging the recycling of paper and plastic, etc.   


There are also youth groups in India’s cities that focus their efforts on beautifying their cities- join one of these to feel part of a larger whole and collect material for your application essays!   To do next : Check out organizations that are doing great work in this space an explore if you can be their next volunteer!



 14. Attend conferences related to your field




Attend conferences on topics in the area you want to work in post your MBA. You will find that there are several conferences taking place in the management institutes in your city. These are not just opportunities to gain knowledge and network with professionals, but they give you an enhanced perspective that will definitely show through in your essays and interviews with the Adcom.  


To do next : You can find out here about conferences happening this year, and take part in the ones happening in your city. You can also check the conference pages of various premier B-schools and attend the ones that are open to public (check upcoming ISB conferences here.)  


15. Work for a Startup



If you look back, our parents’ generation experienced career progression in a slow and steady fashion. No matter how sincere and talented they were, it was not easy for them to disrupt this pace and accelerate their learning curve.  


Today, however, we have a profusion of founders and CTOs who are yet to hit their mid-twenties- because it is the age of the startup! How does working for a startup benefit you? Well, it could be a crash-course in leadership, dealing with ambiguity, managing stress, multi-tasking and so many ‘more useful skills!  


If you’ve worked for a startup, especially one that’s on the rise, it tells the Adcom that you had the aptitude to survive in a dynamic workplace and that you had the courage to take the risk of working in an uncertain environment.   To do next : Begin to explore the startup ecosystem and the best startups to work for here and here.  



 16. Become active on Twitter


Having a lot of followers on Twitter extends your influence- you’ll have social authority, and you can spread ideas and influence people. Posting valuable content that is worth retweeting, and commenting on relevant and trending news will increase your presence on the platform and bring you more followers. So, use your Twitter account to show the adcoms how influential and up-to-date you are when it comes to current events and trends.  


To do next : Read this Harvard Business Review article on managing your socia presence. And then, start tweeting! 🙂    



17. Get involved in your Society’s General Body




Become a member of the Resident Welfare Association for your housing society. You can play a role that suits your interests. For example, you can work as secretary and conduct regular meetings to discuss the concerns of individuals, or you can even maintain the organizations’ funds as a treasurer.


You can also organize events in your housing society. Take charge of organizing a festive celebration, a cultural event for kids, a charity drive, or a fund raiser. This experience could have the potential to make for a good story in your essays. This experience will display your ability to take initiative and hone your team-playing skills.  


To do next : Here’s a guide to apartment associations. Start by attending the next association meeting of your society to explore if this activity interests you.  



 18. Pick an ambitious project at work




For a great MBA profile, it is important to have a spike in your career in the last one to two years. So, pick up challenging projects at work that relate at least a little to the career path you aspire to pursue post your MBA. Take up responsibilities that you could use to build a story for your essays.


Most schools ask you to describe an instance where you showed leadership and/or problem solving skills. Start building experiences early on so you can pick the most impressive one of all your stories.

 To do next : Read this and this. Initiate a one-on-one meeting with your manager and tell him/her that you want to take on high-visibility opportunities at work. Also, keep a constant lookout for new opportunities – read all company newsletters, network more within the organization and pay utmost attention during all those long meetings and conferences 🙂  



 19. Volunteer/ Work with Teach for India




Spend some of your free time on weekends volunteering at Teach for India. You can work as an assistant teacher in their classrooms, or in administration. Alternatively, you can apply for the Teach for India fellowship, which makes for a strong entry point to an MBA.


Either way, a stint at Teach for India will definitely add a great deal to your profile.


To do next : Visit the Teach for India website and read about the experiences of TFI Fellows.  



 20. Read a new book every month



Reading keeps your mind stimulated and improves your speaking and writing skills. It will also indirectly help you with writing an impressive application essay, and you will probably never fumble for words in an interview or group discussion. So get a library or kindle membership, as the case may be, and use your time well with the pages of a book.  


To do next : Here is a list of 50 books you need to pick up now, as an MBA aspirant. If you’re interested in finding out what others like you are reading, you can check out this social network for readers.

Download E-Book



 21. Join a Fitness Program




Following a fitness regime will make you energetic and disciplined, which will help you in all aspects of life, including your MBA admission process.


And if you have always been a fitness enthusiast, you can start a fitness club in your community, which will also credit you with leadership skills and the ability to take initiative.  


To do next : Find a fitness program that strikes your fancy- whether it be yoga, dance, zumba or cross-training, and stick to it. If you find yourself wavering, get back on track by reading inspirational material, such as this.


 22. Try your hand at something creative





Having a creative hobby, such as painting, pottery, or illustrating can add a touch of uniqueness to your profile. A creative skill, especially a self-taught one, reflects the fact that you are self-motivated and dedicated. Also, a creative hobby will train your brain to think more creatively even when it comes to work. You can engage your interviewers in an interesting conversation about your hobby that can set you apart from other candidates.


To do next : The sky’s the limit here! Are you wondering where to start? Here are some great hobby ideas.



23. Master your negotiation skills



Negotiation skills are an asset in any career path you choose. But when it comes to MBA admissions, it will help you greatly during your interview. Some positive results of mastering negotiation skills are the ability to communicate better and the ability to persuade.  


You will be able to see the perspectives of all parties involved in a discussion, become better at understanding the nature of a discussion, and talk your way into making your interviewers understand why you are a perfect fit for their school.


To do next : Get started by enrolling for an online course on negotiation.  

 24. Take part in Cross Functional Activities at Work




Cross-functional and cross-organizational events require a specific kind of leadership skill-set. They will require you to plan, coordinate with a team that has no formal structure, and delegate work to people that you may not even know.


A few examples of such activities:- When your team is hiring a new member, try to participate in the hiring process. You can help develop the selection criteria, participate in the interview, and give your inputs while making the final decision. Being a part of this process can reflect positively on your credibility within your organization, and show that you understand what makes for a great employee.


You can take part in the training process for new employees in your team, and conduct sessions in your area of expertise. Or you can act as a mentor to a junior to help him or her with their professional growth. This will further enhance your own skill level and will be a testament of your own professional development.  


To show the adcoms that you take initiative and are a leader, start a club at work. It can be based on an interesting hobby or a skills development club such as Toastmasters. Your unique hobby and the activities you organized for it can make your profile stand out among others.


  To do next : Speak to your HR manager or reporting manager to understand how you can pick projects that cut through teams. If you would like to explore Toastmasters, read this link on how to start a ToastmastersClub.  



25. Junk TOI and start reading “The Economist”




Reading a ‘serious’ newspaper/magazine can do wonders to the way you perceive the world and articulate your ideas. The Economist covers news on international and regional economic trends that will help you understand the workings of the business world.


It carries articles on current events in politics, finance, business, science, and the arts from all regions of the world.   You will not just be updated on news, but will get to read thoughtful analyses of important events. This kind of reading will sharpen your skills to put across well-structured arguments about various topics in your essays and interviews.  


To do next : To start with, check out The Economist, The Atlantic Monthly and Foreign Affairs.  



 26. Write a Personal/ Daily Diary




This may not be something that will have a direct impact on your profile, but the benefits of writing a daily journal will definitely have a positive impact on you. Writing everyday will help you clarify and disentangle your thoughts and emotions, and you will be better at expressing yourself.  


When writing a journal, you do not just write about an incident, but you go into the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’- that is to say, you introspect. Also, putting something down on paper creates a sense of accountability, and therefore you can use your daily diary to document your progress and stay on the straight and narrow path.  


To do next : Did you know that you can now keep a personal, private journal online? Here’s how.  



 27. Learn the basics of Data Sciences




The job of a data analyst is most definitely an exciting one and one of the highest paid jobs. Even if this isn’t your post MBA dream job, a basic knowledge of data sciences will greatly benefit you in the heavily data-driven business world we are forging into.When you are able to manipulate and analyze data, make inferences and predictions, you have an edge when it comes to a job promotion or an MBA admission.  


To do next : Sign up for an online course now to gain data science skills!  



 28. Become a Wikipedia Editor




Anybody can be a Wikipedia editor and work anonymously, but it requires a little effort to become a trusted member of the Wikipedia community. You can create a Wikipedia account and user page to get credit among the community. Creating an account will give you the ability to edit some articles that are locked from anonymous edits.


Also, being a Wikipedian, you will get to be part of meets like Wikimania and Wiknics, where you can socialize with fellow Wikipedians from around the world. How does this benefit you as a B-school aspirant? It adds to your coolness/quirkiness quotient!  


To do next : Read up about how to become a Wikipedia Editor.  



 29. Volunteer Overseas




Take a sabbatical from work and enroll for an overseas volunteer program through organizations such as Global Vision International and Projects Abroad. You can work in a country of your liking in areas like community development or wildlife rescue.  Such a volunteering project is a great way to broaden your mind regarding social and environment issues and to broaden your network. Needless to say, an overseas volunteering stint is not something everybody is into- and hence, it could really help you differentiate yourself at a B-school.  


To do next : To know about some interesting projects abroad, check out this link.  



30. Practice your Oratory Skills




Having awesome public speaking skills is as desirable a quality in an MBA candidate, as it is in life. Make use of every such opportunity you get at work to hone this skill. With good public speaking skills, you can reach out to and influence a larger number of people. The ability to talk well to a large group of people is also a vital step towards becoming a great leader.


If you’re having trouble getting up on that pedestal, you can join a public speaking club and get an oratory make-over!  


To do next : Find out if your organization or neighbourhood has a Toastmasters community you can join!  



 31. Meditate




Practicing mindfulness (through meditation, zentangling or whatever else strikes your fancy) improves both physical and mental health. It is proved to reduce stress and improve working memory and attention span. So, try practicing mindfulness as it would be a great way to clear your mind and prepare for your interviews.  


To do next : Here is a fantastic site on the practice of mindfulness in daily life. You can check out apps like Headspace and Take a Break to help you get started.



 32. Create a YouTube Channel and Post ‘How-To’ Videos




If you have a skill you are proud of,what better than sharing it with the world? You can create an explainer video series for any topic you can imagine! You can be as creative as you want when making your videos, using different techniques like animation, live-action, or anything else you can think of.  

Posting how-to videos and gaining followers on your Youtube channel is not only a platform for you to show off your skills in that particular topic, but is also an opportunity to exhibit your creativity and increase your circle of influence.  


To do next : Learn how to make a great how-to video.  



33. Become a Top Contributor on Quora





You can become one of the ‘most viewed writers’ on Quora by answering queries on topics you are an expert in. Contribute frequently and thoughtfully, with quality answers and solutions. Pick specific topics that are related to your field of study so you can project your academic seriousness to the adcoms.  


To do next : Read up about how to become a top writer here.    



 34. Spruce up your LinkedIn Profile




Make sure to keep your LinkedIn profile updated with your professional experience and skills, recommendations, and resume. Other than this, you can write quality articles on LinkedIn.


Since your connections as well as others can follow your posts, strong content can get you the right attention as you are already addressing the right professional audience on LinkedIn. Write articles that could be featured on LinkedIn Pulse as that will give you visibility amongst millions of users. This can help you gain a large number of followers and opportunities to engage with readers.


  To do next : Read this article for tips on how to create a killer LinkedIn profile.  



 35. Kick an Unhealthy Habit




Losing those extra pounds or getting rid of an addiction is not that easy. It requires patience and a strong will power. So a feat like this shows that you are determined and focused. Not to mention, it would be good fodder for the ‘What are you most proud of’ essay that is common to many B-schools. Also, healthy habits keep you positive, and this will benefit your candidacy.  


To do next : Read this thoughtful article on how to kick a bad habit. Introspect! Look at what changes you’d like to make to your life, if any.    


 36. Contribute to Newspapers and Magazines




Write to newspapers and magazines and get yourself published with a byline. You can write in the form of a letter to the editor, voicing your opinion on a current issue, or you can write an article for a magazine about the latest developments in an area of your interest.   Most online publications have a ‘Write for Us’ section where you can submit your article.


A publication in a renowned newspaper or magazine will show to the Adcom that you are up-to-date on important issues, that you care enough to voice your opinion, and that you are articulate enough to be published!   To do next : Research publications that are aligned to your areas of interest.


Check out the ‘write-for-us‘ or ‘contribute’ section to figure out how you can get your articles published.  



 37. Join a Political Party




Being part of a local political party will get you involved in the grassroots problems of your society. Awareness of governance policies and an in-depth awareness of the problems faced by your community prove your social consciousness. You can diversify yourself as an MBA candidate through your involvement in politics. Also, you can experience leadership in a completely different environment.


To do next : Read up on how to join a political party here.    



 38. Be very active on GMAT/ MBA Forums




Be helpful! Share all that you’ve learned with your peers on GMATClub, BTG and any network you are following. Reciprocity is a powerful human emotion- if you help out fellow aspirants, you are widening the network of people who are at some stage likely to help you in return. Staying active in the B-school aspirant circle will also ensure that you stay updated about all new developments and trends in this space.  


To do next : If you haven’t done so already, create an ID on GMATClub here and BeatTheGmat here.



 39. Consider Part-Time Teaching




A teacher needs excellent interpersonal skills to interact with students and communicate ideas to them. The fact that you have had experience as a teacher would reflect your ability to articulate well and to guide a group of people. You can take up a part-time teaching position, or you can simply take tuition classes at home- both could make your profile look more desirable.  


To do next : To start out on this path, you could upload your profile here.  



 40. Visit the B-School Campus




Visit the school you want to get into through freshman visits or group visits programs. You will have an opportunity to interact with students and the admission committee and also have a guided tour of the campus. This would give you a clearer picture of what the school is looking for in a candidate, and interaction with current students from the program you are applying to is always an added advantage.  


To do next : Check out this article for useful tips on how to conduct your B-school campus visit.



 Now that you know all the things you could do to improve your profile, here are two important points to keep in mind while you polish your B-school profile.  


First, choose activities that would help you break the stereotype people would fit you into if they wanted to. For example, if you are one amongst the over-represented IIM (Indian IT Male) population, joining an NGO might not really distinguish you that much, because a LOT of Indian aspirants tend to have NGO experience on their resumes. Try and pick something unexpected that will stick in the minds of the Adcom.   For example, if you are an accountant and showcase a skill that is not expected of an accountant, such as writing poetry, your profile will be memorable.  


The second crucial point is that you need to understand the art of storytelling. Telling their stories well is not a skill that comes very naturally to most B-school aspirants. However, with a little guidance and practice, you can master the art of presenting your story in such a way as to make it sound unique and unforgettable.   How do you get better at this? There are some great books available on pitching your B-school application well. Besides, you can also reach out to application consultants to help you frame a winning B-school application!  


Click here for a downloadable PDF version of this article   Download E-Book



Profile Evaluation Crackverbal


A Guide to asking the right questions about MBA Admissions at MBA fairs

GMAT MBA fair What to ask Do's and Don'ts
Reading Time: 3 minutes

You have been there – you have done that, but at the end of it all, none of your questions regarding MBA Admissions were answered to your satisfaction!
Is that a thought you relate to?
Well, maybe you were asking the wrong questions, or asking the right questions in the wrong way.

Before I deep-dive into the list, here are 2 generic things that you need to remember when clearing your doubts about MBA Admissions at MBA fairs:

1) Leave questions open-ended

For all questions you can end with “Is there anything else that you think I should know? 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.

2) 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.

Tips MBA GMAT MBA Admissions Fair

Pro Tip: Want to know the different types of people you will meet at an MBA Info-session? Check out this blog on ‘Staying cool at MBA info-sessions’ to get impressions right!


Here’s a list of specific questions about MBA Admissions and how to ask them:

crossWhat not to ask: Extent of scholarship awarded or any such information found on their website.

cool-green-tickWhat to ask: Their thoughts on how typically Indian candidates such as yourself fund their education

crossWhat not to ask: Generic questions such as the placement scene for that year, or questions about salary ranges, or “campus placements”.

cool-green-tickWhat to ask: The kind of companies in your industry and function that they have alums in and if possible any tips on what such companies look for in post-MBA roles.

crossWhat not to ask: % of international students or any such google-able data about the demographics

cool-green-tickWhat to ask: Enquire if there are people with similar backgrounds as yours. If you are really interested (only if you are) should you ask for introductions.

crossWhat not to ask: Whether you will get in

cool-green-tickWhat to ask: What are the typical things that an applicant should keep in mind while applying to that particular school?

crossWhat not to ask: Generic question about groups and activities in the college campuses.

cool-green-tickWhat to ask: Specific groups and activities that might be of interest to a candidate like you.

Now that you are all set to go, get going on that list of questions you want answered at MBA info-sessions.

Did we clear all your doubts? Still got questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Pro Tip: Curious about how to kick off your mission to your dream business school? Download this free e-book – A guide to GMAT to get started.

The CrackVerbal Alumni Meet 2015

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The CrackVerbal Alumni Meet was held on the 28th March ’15 at Hotel Nahar Heritage, Bangalore. There was excitement, fire and thrill that kept all of us waiting for our 12 mighty heroes who came down to address future MBA aspirants.


Our Alumni Group consisted of the following people:

Sreejith (760) – Indian School of Business

Naveen (740)             – Michigan State University

Sumeet (730)             – McGill University

Ajinkya (710)            – Indian School of Business

Swati (700)              – Saïd Business School, Oxford

Vatsal (700)             – Saïd Business School, Oxford

Harsha (750)             – Kenan -Flagler Business School

Paul George (650)     – University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

Shailika (700)           – Indian School of Business

Apoorva (700)           – Indian School of Business

Garv (750)               – Ross School of Business

All of them come from diverse backgrounds with some of them coming from the dreaded Indian IT male background. They told us about how they conquered the GMAT, sold their story to the B-school and finally secured an MBA admit to their dream School.


The session opened with our first panel – Naveen (Michigan State University), Paul (University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign), Garv (Ross School of Business) & Harsha (Kenan -Flagler Business School)


All of them were engineers with an IT background and so the first question that was thrown to them was on how they managed to differentiate their “typical IT profile” to the B-schools. Paul, one of our panelists had a very unique take towards this question. He emphasized that IT is not the culprit that makes it hard to be different but it is the person and his passion that differentiates each and every one. There has to be some clarity of thought towards how a person feels about his MBA – What he wishes to do, what he wants to learn and if the future after his MBA is aligned with his passion.


So it all boils down to knowing what you need to do in life before you do your MBA!


Moving on, the next question that was thrown to the panel was the number of times that they would advise someone to take the GMAT?


As a majority of them had appeared for the GMAT more than once, they responded that the number of attempts on the GMAT doesn’t matter, it is the score and there is no limit on the number of attempts one should take till the target score is achieved. The pressure, the tension and expectations all lead to a very turbulent feeling while taking the GMAT, so take as many mock tests as possible.



One of the questions that was heavily stressed on was, how can one finance his own MBA? According to our panelists, when it came to taking a loan it is very important to consider not only the tuition fees but also the living costs in the city where you would live.


Though it is tough to get a scholarship at a top B-school, somewhere around the top 20, you would be able to leverage a good amount of scholarship by using your score and your profile.


However, Garv had a very different take on this question. He felt that it was important to focus on the GMAT before even beginning the college selection process because schools would only accept scores in their range. Also, research on the average GMAT score required for Indians at your preferred B-school. And, even if you don’t get any scholarship but feel this is your dream school and your ROI would be greater than your investment. You should take the leap of faith!



The second panel had a lot of ISB admits – Sreejith, Shailika, Apoorva, Ajinkya as well some Global MBA admits Sumeet, Swati, Vatsal, . This panel was hosted by an ISB – Alumnus himself, Al Ameen (also a faculty at CrackVerbal.)


The session started off with an ISB vs. Global B-schools battle between our panellists. They emphasized on why ISB was better while the others took the side of Global B-School. Ajinkya who got into one of the top 2 B-Schools (CEIBS and ISB) in Asia had a unique take on this. After doing some research he concluded that CEIBS has really good placement records only for the local Chinese students. On the other hand ISB offered both diversity and placements for their students.

The Global B-School panel emphasized on the fact how the Said School of Business, Oxford would add value to their resume. After connecting with some alumni, they realized that it is not hard to find a job post your MBA either in the UK or India. Vatsal who had already worked in the UK felt that although placements are hard, it all came down to networking with the right people to get the right job.

Sumeet Singh who got an MBA admit from McGill University said that Canada also has budding B-Schools which offer a lot of placements especially for International Business expansion. He mentioned how McGill has programs dedicated to that particular subject.

Al-Ameen trying to portray Arnab Goswami brought the topic of whether it is easier for a Women to get an admit B-Schools. Is it easier for a woman to get an admit? All the male panelists came out in unison saying “Yes” since they prefer a diverse background!

And as the saying goes, “all good things come to an end” and this last view on B-school diversity, marked the end of the CrackVerbal Alumni meet. All in all this event was eye opening for a lot of students. There was emotion, drama and at the end of it all a pinch of fairy dust that invoked tremendous inspiration to all our MBA aspirants who were present in the room.

Read about our next edition of the same event, the MBA Summit, conducted in April 2016!

Are you still wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!

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How to build a perfect application for a Top B-school

Reading Time: 16 minutes

The MBA application process can be quite overwhelming if you’re just starting out! Learn how to plan your  MBA  application journey all the way to your dream B-school!

Application Process Deconstructed

Welcome to Part 2 of the series- Introduction to MBA and GMAT application process. In the first part of the MBA and GMAT application process, we looked at what is it that we can look for while selecting a b-school and what are the questions you need to be asking yourself when you look at an MBA program- why you want to do an MBA.
In Part 2, we will be completing the application part while looking at what does an MBA application process involve and what do b-schools look for.
You have to understand how the process works so this is an overview of how b-schools selecttheir students. B-school select for approximately about 6-8 months. So when does it start?

Pre- Application Process

(start as early as possible –
Steps to follow:
It starts with a pre-application process and that is nothing but the activities that you need to do in order to be ready for the application.
Following are the activities:

1. Take the GMAT

This is as simple as it can get. You have to take the GMAT to apply to most top b-schools. Be sure that you’re ready for the exam. Don’t take the exam 2 weeks before your deadline because let’s say, God forbid, something was to happen and you have to take the test again. It will not give you an opportunity to reschedule the test. Try to take it as early as possible.

2. Identify your recommenders

Apart from GMAT, you have recommendations. This is where you have the college requiring you to write in with the names of 2 people who have worked with you in a professional capacity. So make sure you’re able to get the recommenders in place. Identify, talk to them, tell them that you’re interested in an MBA, try to get a buy-in from them. A lot of times, just before the applications, I’ve seen a lot of applicants running here and there.

3. Get your college transcripts

Transcripts are nothing but mark sheets provided on a single page. You don’t need to worry about it in the end. Just apply for it- a lot of b-schools have an online procedure – you can apply using that.


4. Get an idea of the MBA programs you want to apply to

In the first part, we spoke about how to select the right program and the right b-school for your MBA.

Application Process (August- February)

Steps to follow:

1. Fill in the online application

Go to the college website, create a username and password. Provide all the details they ask you for- education, experience, extracurricular, co-curricular etc. Fill out all those details.

2. Send email link to recommenders

There will be a lead where you’ll have to give the email address of your recommenders, so the earlier days of giving a hardcopy letter are gone. It’s all through email. So the recommenders would have to give their email address and this email id cannot be [email protected] It has to be from the official email id.

3. Write your essays

You have to essentially fill in the essays that you’re writing.

4. Interview with the schools

If you’re selected after the first initial assessment, you might be called for an interview, so you go and take the interview.
Aug- Feb is when the actual deadline starts. The deadline means this is the time before which you need to apply. Usually, there will be 2 deadlines. For example, ISB typically has a deadline somewhere starting Sep end- Mid Nov. US schools have their deadlines in October & January, while some spill into February. Apply well before the deadline. If you already have all the required data with you by July, apply to one school in Oct, one in Nov, one in Dec. Try to spread because this is actually labor intensive work. You have to sit and write all the essays and it takes a lot of time. So, be careful on that part.

Post-Application Process (Admission to joining)

Steps to follow:

1. Figure out where you are going to get your finances from

Financial planning is very important and that’s a separate topic altogether that we would be covering in one of our later sessions.

2. Apply for VISA

In case the MBA is not in India, this is necessary.

3. Try connecting with people who are joining the same batch

A lot of times you’ll be able to get very valuable information from them. These are questions such as “What food items do I need to take? How are you getting your funding? Is there any pre-requisites?”


4. Take any pre-MBA courses as required

A lot of times b-schools may look at your transcripts and say “Hey, you seem to be a smart guy but you want to make sure that you are able to do well when you come over here. Why don’t you take this extra course on accounting or excel?”
Make sure you put a tick on these check boxes. This is essentially how the process works. Now we’ll quickly go through each part.

About Recommendation letters


Detailed and well written recommendations

Don’t bother too much about the title. A lot of people get fixated on the fact that they need to get it from a senior VP or MD of a company. It’s not true. You can get it from a project leader or project manager, but what is more important is that he can write well.

The biggest mistake that people do is they take is from people who are so high up the hierarchy that they really don’t have the time to write or they may not know you as well. So rather than getting a very short piece written by someone higher, I would rather have a pretty elaborate personal recommendation coming from someone who has worked with me professionally. Some people take it from their immediate reporting managers, some may even take it from a client. The cliental recommendation is also considered to be pretty good.

Authenticity is important

I’ve seen a lot of places where candidates have come and say that the recommender doesn’t have time and he wants the student to write something for him. My advice is please don’t do so. Ethics is obviously one part but the other part is also you’re really cheating the process- you’re not being true and if you’re going to get into a b-school without ethics then it’s probably going to have a large bearing on what you’re going to do post that. But also from a perspective that if you’re going to write your essays and if you’re going to write your own recommendations, trust me, anybody can see through. With my experience, I can just look at it and say, “Hey, this guy who wrote the recommendation is the same guy who ended up writing the essays.”

Provide relevant information

Make sure you “prep” them in advance by providing a copy of your CV, your application essays, as well as having a conversation with them around your motivation. Tell them why you’re looking at a particular b-school and what your opinion is. Get them involved in the process and get their buy-in for the whole MBA thing as early as possible.
It may be a good idea to provide the recommender with some inputs on your achievement over the period considered. Go with a sheet of paper with 10 things you did over the last one year so that they don’t have to rack their brains to think of your achievements. So you’re basically helping them.

Ask in advance

More importantly, try giving recommenders ample time. Remember that, you don’t just have to approach them for one school. You might have their recommendation required for multiple schools and also remember that they are not giving recommendations only for you. They might not tell you on your face but the fact is they have multiple people who they’re going to be working with.

About College Transcripts

In the US, the standard GPA is calculated out of 4. However, this is not true for most Indian schools, so make sure that you do not try to convert it to a 4-point GPA. Make sure that you are providing just the numbers that you have with you.
You will be surprised that a lot of these foreign b-schools have heard a lot about the Indian schools. They know how hard it is to get in, what IIT’s are, what NIT’s are, they know how hard it is to pass certain courses. They know the value of the transcripts. So, all of it is something you don’t need to worry about.

Finally, when you’re filling in your application, make sure you have the transcripts in advance. You have the transcripts and you know what needs to be done.

About Essays

Each school requires you to fill in an online form which will contain a lot of detail about who you are- your education, experience etc.
Apart from this, you will also be writing various essays, which will assess your motivation to join a b-school. We will be looking at each specific essays in the slides later on.
Remember that all essays come with a word limit. Some of the schools have even a PowerPoint presentation. In fact, ISB this year is going to come up with a 90-second video. It is sacrosanct that you stick to the word limit. If it says 90 seconds for a video, make sure your video ends in 87 or 88 seconds.
Do not repeat information that is found elsewhere in your application. A lot of people make the mistake of repeating their resume. Think about it as valuable real estate. If you have 700 sq. ft. of land and you’re going to build a house, you’d probably want to optimize each square feet that you have available. The same applies for word limit- make sure you’re able to maximize it.
Be honest. It should come naturally to you but it’s very hard since we tend to google to see what other people have written and in that course, we end up plagiarizing. Write what you really think is what you want to tell. Don’t write what you think the Adcom wants to hear.

About Interviews

Most schools these days prefer an interview before they select you so be prepared for a personal interview.
They’re usually announced within a month of the application deadlines. Check your admissions person to be updated on this.
There are 2 types of interviews-one taken by the admission committee and the other taken by alumni. When you take it with the admissions committee, they know your background. They already have your essays and applications, so they know what needs to be asked – the questions are very overall in that sense. But it could be taken by an alumnus as well. In the case of an alumni interview, it is usually a blind interview. It means that your profile is not known to the person who is interviewing you. He hasn’t gone through your CV or your application, so he’s just going to meet you like a blind date.

A lot of interviews are conducted in person, especially for large schools. For example, if it’s an Indian school, you’d probably go down to Hyderabad for an ISB interview or Chennai for a Great Lakes interviews. But if it is going to be a foreign university, many times if you apply well in advance, the admission committee comes down for a lot of these MBA tours. So during that time, they may end up interviewing you or if nothing else, they may end up having an interview over phone or skype. Skype has come up as a preferred medium of connectivity.
Be prepared to be asked questions outside of your application. A lot of people tend to think of an interview as a quiz program. Like the guy is going to ask you 5 things you’ve written in your application. It’s not! It’s usually a very friendly conversation. You’ll be surprised to know that a lot of times the guy isn’t really checking what you’ve written. That’s where the Indian aspect comes in, where we think they are cross questioning what we want to do. But this person just wants to assess your personality. He wants to know about your communication, whether you’ll be able to gel well with a team, what are your rationale, what you’ve written in your application- is it a true reflection of who you are or did you just go to this MBA Application specialist and get your entire application written.

Overview of MBA Essays

So each school as I said, may require anywhere between 3-5 essays, and these essays are based on a variety of different things and schools have their own rationale. Now, what is it that these schools look for when they put the essays?
I would put it this way. Think of yourself as a person who is applying and you have a goal or reach. An MBA is basically a loop through which you’ll have to pass through. We’re looking at a person who can articulate his goals well. Where do you want to go and where are you now? It’s very important that you know your gifts and gaps and how an MBA will help.
If you’re able to answer these 4 questions, honestly, most MBA essays will be a lot easier.

Why MBA?

In other words, what is your short term and long term goals and explain how an MBA will get you there? So be as specific as possible, especially with your short-term goals. A lot of people tend to write in generics. They say, “I’m in a technical role and I want to get into management.” That is not a good enough answer.
For you to make a transition from technical to management, you can as well take the PMP and become the project manager. MBA is more than that. So you have to be very specific. You have to tell what is the job title, what is the industry, what is your domain, what does a typical day in your life post-MBA look like? You’ve to be very precise when you’re giving the answer.
One great resource that you can use is LinkedIn. So if you’re looking at a b-school, try to see where are the graduates from this b-schools actually headed to, which industry do they go to. If your dream company is Procter & Gamble, the question to ask is “Is P&G actually hiring from these b-schools?” What is the career state of a person 3 years down the line in P&G after he’s graduated from this particular b-school? So these are questions that you need to answer. Alumni can be a great source. So you reach out, you ask them a nice question, they’ll be more than happy to answer that for you.
Don’t upsell or undersell. Don’t say you want to be a CEO 2 years after you graduate. That sounds kind of stupid and don’t say, “I want to become a project manager- that’s my career goal” That also sounds crappy because to become a project manager you don’t have to invest so much of time and money that an MBA requires you to do.
I’ve heard a lot of students say, “I don’t have the faintest clue what I want to do post-MBA. What do I do in that case? “My advice is you still need to know what you want to do- not just for the b-schools, but for yourself. But to justify the investment of time and money and energy that’s going to go into a 2 year MBA program or a one-year MBA program, you need to very clear where it is going to take you. So if you don’t have an idea, no problem. Sit, think and try to figure out answers to this.

Why now?

This is something b-schools ask sometimes in a direct or indirect way. Why is it so important that you have to apply this year or this round? Why can’t you wait till next year? Or why didn’t you apply last year? You’ll have to show that your career is in a point of infection- the trajectory is at that exact precise moment where an MBA is going to catapult you to a far greater distance where if you had taken at a different point in your career, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s very important that you think about this.

Why you?

What is it about you that makes you believe that you are best suited for an MBA? What is your academic potential? They look at your undergraduate school, your GPA, your GMAT. There is very little that you can change over here, apart from your GMAT scores, but the fact is if you’re from IIT Delhi, 9.5 GPA, computer science, obviously it’s going to be a lot better than going to a mid-tier or a lower rank school in India and scoring 40 or 50%.
But GMAT is definitely a great equalizer. One objective measure by which all b-schools know who you are and where you stand. The other thing that b-schools understand is that one or two years that you actually spend in a b-school does not magically transform you into a leader. It’s going to make you understand leadership better. But you have to be a leader within.
Which is why they look at certain traits of leadership potential. So they look at your career progression. If you think about it, career progression is a great way to see if you have the leadership potential because the organisation that you worked with- they are the people that see you day in and day out, knowing whether you are doing well, whether you are lacking in some areas, constantly giving you feedback, seeing if you have improved and if you have, give you greater roles and responsibilities which usually lead to larger titles which in turn leads to promotion.
A promotion will come only when you have a certain amount of leadership to take up the next challenge. The other way in which they see leadership is also extracurriculars. So why is extracurriculars important for leadership? Because a leader is just not a person who is going to be stuck in a 9-5 job, come back home, watch TV and go to bed. A leader is someone who usually has more interests than just work. It could be anything. As long as you’re able to show that you’ve been able to constructively utilize your time. That’s all you need when it comes to extracurriculars.
One misconception that students seem to have is the whole deal about NGO work. The origin of this myth is probably from the US because in the US, culturally it is accepted that you do NGO work. It’s a lot easier to do it in the US. So if you’re going to show how I spent my spare time constructively, a lot of these guys who went to top b-schools showed NGO work. However, in India, it’s okay not to show NGO work.
It’s okay if you’re going to say that on weekends you were working on a start-up idea or you were busy practicing with your band or busy biking across Nandi hills. Whatever your passion is, they just look at some way in which you have constructively channelized your passion. According to them, that is leadership. It is not necessarily working for an NGO.
The third thing they look at is the kind of work that you’ve done – how much of it is cross-cultural, how much of it is cross-functional. So, one misconception that again has come is the fact that if you’re in IT, you are actually disadvantageous. There are more people applying from the IT pool than from probably any other pool, especially in India. However, within the school also, they look at the quality of work that you’ve done. So if you’ve worked in a large company, they want to see if you actually took the initiative and did something which actually cut across.
Were you an individual contributor? Were you a guy who was sitting alone a corner cubicle or were you a person who actually interacted and knew the functions of other departments? Were you a person who groomed this innate managerial leadership quality within yourself? Did you work with people outside India? If you’ve had the opportunity to travel outside India, that is taken as a big positive because they then know that this person has cross-cultural experiences. He knows how Europeans work or how Americans work. So that’s seen as a great plus in today’s global environment.
Finally, a marketing term, which is called unique selling proposition. So all this being equal, what is it that unique quality that you bring to the table? This is where students tend to struggle or they’re not able to articulate their USP. My advice is to go and talk to your friends, talk to people who know you well and ask them, “What is that one adjective which really makes me who I am?” So it could be, for example, Arun the helper- a guy who helps everyone. In which case you need to go back and look at your profile and say, “Can I bring that as a theme? Can I tie that back to why I want to do an MBA?’ Or if someone says- Amit the Analytical guy, the guy who can reduce everything to metrics and numbers.


These are things which you really need to introspect. These are not things which will come to you immediately. So you need to put in a lot of effort, trying to find the answers. But the sooner that you do it, the easier it will be for you. In fact, my suggestion is to ask yourself these questions even before you take the GMAT.

Why us?

Probably this is one question that you wait for after you take the GMAT- why do you want to apply to this particular school? What is your motivation to apply to the school? Again, one mistake that a lot of students do is they write this clichéd statements saying- “You have world-class infrastructure.” Frankly, what does world class infrastructure mean? Do you want to say they have a broadband internet or air conditioned libraries? Mostly all schools these days have these. So you have to be very clear because think about it, what will you say for Stanford that you cannot say for MIT?
Whatever statement you can say for Stanford, I can challenge you that you can probably say that for MIT as well. It’s very hard, but you have to go in-depth, talk to students, try to gauge what is the culture and the unique things that the school has to offer. Try to see if it fits in with your own perspective of what you want out of a b-school. It’s very important that you do the research and very important that you articulate it.
There was a question asked in on the Berkeley essays- What have you done to know more about our school in the past one year? Frankly, if you’re going to be writing this application 3 weeks before the deadline, there’s no way you’re going to escape this question. What would you say? That you watched YouTube videos or that you googled for them? Because it’s asking you what you did in the whole year. So this is a dead-end question. You really cannot fake your way through this question.
Other interesting questions from Stanford GSB included-
What do you value most in life and why?
This is a long-running question since many years and sometimes it can be very hard to answer it.
Kellogg asks- Tell us something about you that would surprise us. The common retort that I have from students is, “I could tell them stuff that could not surprise, but shock them. I want to surprise them and not shock them.” The interesting thing is Kellogg asks you this question after almost 4 or 5 questions when you have exhausted everything you have to say about yourself.
My advice is to think through the b-school application; think through what you have to offer to b-schools. It’s very important that you start this process even before you take the GMAT.
Did that clear all your doubts about the applications process? Leave your comments below!

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.

5 Ways AdComs test your Communication Skills

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“Communication” is a key skill that top hirers look for in applicants nowadays. GMAC recently conducted a survey of nearly 600 employers and they ranked communications skills, on average, twice as important as managerial skills.
Therefore the selection procedure to the top B-schools across the world is designed such that they are able to take-in candidates who are already effective communicators. One more reason this makes sense is because MBA by itself requires effective class participation, adaptability and teamwork.


Source: GMAC (2014) Corporate Recruitment Survey


When a candidate finishes his/her MBA and steps into the real world to seek a job, it is assumed that he/she possesses the entire skills package – core business knowledge as well as strong analytical, quantitative and technical skills. Now imagine a situation where a candidate actually possesses all of these skills and is still not recruited.
One key factor here could be “Lack of Communication Skills”.


What is the point of having all the skills if a person is not able to share those with his/her team-mates or articulate into words whatever he/she wants to say?


So let’s look at 5 ways how prospective students are tested for communication skills by B-schools and what can be done to improve or highlight these skills:


AWA Test Scores

The AWA section on the GMAT matters. Some students take this section way too lightly. Scoring respectably on this section is very important because you don’t want the admission committee to doubt your written communication skills.One good way to improve your score on the AWA essay is to practice writing essays along with full length practice tests.
In fact you can send those essays to us and our team of experts at CrackVerbal will review it for you. Our experts will not only pinpoint your weaknesses but will also provide you with a definite strategy to improve.


In Interviews AdCom sees whether the candidate can express his/her views clearly. Though a lot of basic questions like, “Tell us about yourself…”, “Why MBA…” and “Why now…” sound clichéd, it’s important to prepare well for each one of these e.g. If you are a person who uses lot of fillers while speaking, you could rehearse the answers with a friend.
Sometimes coming up with a short and interesting write-up about yourself can probably do the magic too. Practising in front of mirror can be of great help as you become more aware of your body language and gestures. You will know how to use your hands better to communicate effectively. Make use of the 3C approach and make sure all your Cs are in place to crack it.

Application Essays

Here your written communication skills are on display and the AdCom looks for clarity and consistency. Preparing well thought answers to the questions and doing your homework well helps a lot. The better you do your homework, the better you will be at answering the questions with confidence. This is one place where you can mention all the things you have achieved in the past to highlight what you bring to the table as a student.
But at the same time it is also important to not go overboard. Being realistic is the key. Finally the essays should give the other person a pretty good idea about who you are as a person. CrackVerbal has a team of in house experts from the top b-schools to assist students with their application essays.

Letters of Recommendation

If you are yet to apply to programs and you intend to ask your current supervisor for a recommendation in the next year or so, start thinking about your communication skills and how others perceive those. Because some applications require evaluators to score students among peers in areas such as communication skills.
It’s a good idea to choose your recommenders intelligently -A recommender should preferably be a senior person you know in the organisation with whom you have worked extensively in the past. He/she should know you and your career goals well. Educate your recommenders and when you actually approach your supervisors for recommendation, make sure they understand exactly what skills you would want to be highlighted and what not.

Video Essay/ Group Discussion

These are some creative ways how B-Schools can get a peek within you for a duration of 90 seconds and get a real feel of who you really are. On one hand applicants may find this intimidating but on the other hand, if a clear strategy is planned out to deal through it, you can turn this into a great opportunity by making that FIRST excellent impression. Let’s dig a little deeper into each one of these :

Video Essays: How long are 90 seconds actually? I’d say a one page document with double line spacing. It’s a good idea to be ready with a well-rehearsed script before you start shooting the video. You could call a friend and rehearse on the phone to receive feedback. Use that feedback to improve your script, tone quality, voice modulation etc. and once you have perfected that you could graduate to the video.


Group Discussion: Assuming that you are up to date in your knowledge of current issues and have no problem in putting your points across in an urbane manner, two things that can help during a group discussion are:

Being a good listener
Being a good speaker

You have to do both of these together in some way. You have to juggle between both of these intelligently. Have you ever played that game where two people hold the skipping rope and move it? The other players have to intuitively enter the rope, jump a few times and then exit. This requires some practice.
Start listening actively – this is easier said than done. Most of us listen to reply and not really focus on what the other person is trying to say. Start listening for the sake of listening. And speak only when you feel that you actually have something unique to say that will add value to the discussion.


Did you face any obstacle due to lack of communication skills during your MBA selection process? We’d like to hear your story. Leave your comments in the comment section below!

Want to know more about Application processes for B-School Admissions? Check out for our E-Book library!
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3 Factors that GMAT accepting B-schools Want to See in your Profile!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Top B-schools that admit through the GMAT decided that to see potential and future leadership, they could look at 3 broad things:



Academic Potential:

1. What are your GMAT Scores – including your split in Quant & Verbal?
2. What is the reputation of your Undergrad school & the course that you took? (They have a pretty good idea of the Indian educational system so don’t worry!)
3. What was your GPA over the entire course? (including any upticks such as – moving from a lower GPA in the 1st year to a higher GPA by the last year)
4. Did you take any MOOCs? Did you write any other professional exams? Do you have any certifications?

Leadership & Diversity:

1. At work have you done anything inspirational?
2. Outside work have you been involved in anything? It could be anything – ranging from volunteer work at NGOs to your own startup ideas.
3. Do you come from a disadvantaged background? Do you have any interesting experiences? Have you travelled? Do you know how to mix cocktails? In short – anything that makes you interesting?>
(Helpful Hint: Check out our comprehensive article about how to improve your MBA profile and impress the AdCom!)


Clarity of thought & Personality:

1. What are your short term goals?
2. Why should we select you?
3. Why do you want to do an MBA to reach there?

4. Why did you pick our institute to do an MBA?


If you have a good answer to the above questions then you have made it to Harvard  –  WhartonStanford – you name it.


The good news is that some of the Indian schools such as the rong>ISB have been started after the same model. So once you take the GMAT you realize that it is ONE among the several inputs they take to make an overall assessment of your candidature.

Want to get a detailed information about B-Schools all over the world? Check out our B-School info page
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MBA 2015 Round 2 Deadlines – Your last chance

Reading Time: 1 minute

Here are the list of schools you can still apply too !! Prepare for your GMAT with our CrackVerbal Fastrack Program and meet your deadlines !

Give it your best shot and make it to a Business School this year !

1,NUS,Oct 1st – Jan 31st 2015,Feb 1st – march 31st 2015

2,IMD,Feb 1st 2015,April 1st 2015

3,IE BSchool,Rolling Admission

4,IESE Spain,Jan 13th 2015

5,IMD,Feb 1st 2015,April 1st 2015

6,York-Schulich,Jan 7th 2015,April 30th 2015

7,Queens Canada,March 14th 2015,June 13th 2015

8,Harvard Business School,Jan 5th 2015

9,Wharton,Jan 5th 2015

10,Ross,jan 5th 2015

11,Tepper(CMU),Jan 4th 2015

12,Duke(Fuqua),Jan 5th 2015

13,Kelley(indiana),Jan 5th 2015

14,Georgetown (McDonough),Jan. 5 2015

15,Dartmouth (Tuck),Jan 6 2015 (January Round)

16,Texas-Austin (McCombs),Jan. 6 2015

17,Chicago (Booth),Jan. 6 2015

18,Stanford Graduate School of Business,Jan. 7 2015

19,Northwestern (Kellogg),Jan. 7 2015

20,Cornell (Johnson),Jan. 7 2015

21,UC-Berkeley (Haas),Jan. 7 2015

22,Virginia (Darden),Jan. 7 2015

23,UCLA (Anderson),Jan. 7 2015

24,Yale School of Management,Jan. 8 2015

25,MIT (Sloan),Jan. 8 2015 (Second & Final Round)

26,Vanderbilt University (Owen),Jan. 13 2015

27,INSEAD,Jan. 14 2015 (September 2015 Intake)

28,New York (Stern),Jan. 15 2015

29,North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler),Jan. 16 2015

30,University of Washington (Foster),Jan. 20 2015

31,Columbia,April 15 2015 (Final Regular Deadline)
You can go through this blog for more information on Meeting Round 2 Deadlines

4 Things You MUST know about Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“What is an MBA loar?” a student asked me last week.
“Loar?” I was flabbergasted. “I have no clue!”
“Everybody seems to be talking about MBA essays and loars!”
“Loar?” I wracked my brains. Then realization dawned. “Oh! You mean LORs?”
LOR is the acronym of Letter of Recommendation, an essential component of your MBA or Master’s application. In this blog, we’ll talk about 4 things you need to know about letters of recommendation for B-school applications.

Despite what the name suggests, it is often NOT a “letter” of recommendation

Many Master’s or PhD programs will ask you for 2-3 actual letters of recommendation – starting with To Whomsoever It May Concern… However, the requirement for B-schools is slightly different.
For MBA applications, 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.

Your recommenders need to have an official email ID

The recommenders you choose must have an official email ID as this serves as a verification of their identity. For e.g. [email protected]. 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!
So if your recommender is a freelancer or retired or works for a small business that does not have its own domain, then you may have a problem. One solution that schools suggest is to submit a hard copy of your recommendations, sealed and signed by the recommender. To avoid delays in mailing such a hard copy, make sure you plan for these well in advance.

Recommendations from family members & professors is a strict No-No

Schools discourage recommendations from family members for obvious reasons – they may give a biased view of you. So if you work for a family business or have co-founded a company with a family member, you cannot use him/her as your recommender. 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 for whom 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.

It is a BAD idea to write your own recommendations

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I am still surprised by the number of students who tell me 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 also engage external agencies to do a 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 an admit. So, DO NOT write your own recommendations. Instead, make your recommenders’ lives simpler by sharing relevant information such as your profile highlights and your essays with them well in advance.
Still Wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
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“The Competitive Edge: What an MBA means for the Indian market”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Highlights of the Access MBA Panel Discussion on “The Competitive Edge: What an MBA means for the Indian market”


CrackVerbal had participated in the Access MBA Tour on 29th Oct, 2014 at the Taj Gateway in Banglore. The Admissions team at Crackverbal, participated in the panel discussion on “Competitive Edge: What an MBA means for the Indian market” along with Namita Thitta, part of the India admissions team of IE Business School.


Here are the highlights of the discussion:


What role do rankings and accreditation play in school selection?


Accreditation’s and Rankings are two sides of the same coin. While accreditation add to the credibility of the school’s brand, rankings help to promote it.


However, you should not go just by rankings while short-listing schools. Use them in two ways:


To learn about school names you have not heard of previously. For instance, ESADE Spain or Emory Goizueta are great schools, but which are not familiar names.


To understand roughly which schools fall in the top, mid and lower tiers. The specific rank or position does not matter as much.


Is entrepreneurship or being part of a family business considered as work experience?


Of course yes! Even a failed entrepreneurial venture is seen positively by B-schools. They value your learning and experiences during make you an asset for their MBA program. The only challenge that you may face here would be while choosing recommenders. B-schools require recommenders to have an official email ID and many family businesses may not have that. Also, most B-schools do not accept recommendations from friends or family. So you may have to think creatively when it comes to selecting the right recommenders.


What determines the kind of scholarship you get?


The GMAT score plays a key role in merit-based scholarships. As long as your GMAT score is much higher than the average at your target school and you have applied early in the admission cycle, you can expect a good scholarship. Niladri Chakraborty, a student of CrackVerbal with 750 on the GMAT and some excellent career milestones won a USD 90,000 scholarship to UNC Kenan-Flagler last year


Other determining factors include your career progress, awards and recognition, and demonstrated leadership instances. Read this blog to know how Adcom members look at your profile.


Many schools offer specific scholarships for Asians, women, and those from developing countries etc. Before applying, make sure you thoroughly research all the scholarships and financial aids that B-schools offer and identify which ones you have the best shot at.


Which is better, a one year program or a two year program?


There is really no one right answer! It depends on what your individual requirements and constraints are. If you have less work experience or are planning to make a career switch, a 2-year MBA is a better fit as it gives you an internship opportunity to get some experience in the new domain.


If your work experience is on the higher side, you have a family, or are looking for career progressions without being away from the industry too long, a 1-year MBA is probably a better fit.


It’s no surprise that European MBA programs (mostly 1 year) have a higher average work experience/age than US MBA programs (mostly 2 years). Read this blog on one year versus two year programs to know your best MBA fit.


How important are test elements like the GMAT in the selection process?

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3 things you MUST know about GMAT scores for Top business schools

must know things about gmat score
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“What is a good GMAT score?”


The person who asked this question was someone who had recently given up hopes of belling the CAT and had just started exploring the GMAT. He had little idea how complicated this question is to answer 🙂


Until a few years ago, everyone wanted to somehow just cross 700 because this was considered a great GMAT score. But now, the average GMAT score itself at many top business schools is 700+! So does that mean you need a higher score? If so, how much do you need? 720? 750?


Here are 3 things you MUST know about GMAT scores for Top business schools:


1. The higher your GMAT score is, the better your chances:


I can almost see you rolling your eyes and saying “Duh-uh!” But hold on – let me put things in perspective! The higher your GMAT score is than the average score at your target school, the better your chances are.
This means that if you are aiming for a top business school with an average GMAT score of 690, say Said Oxford or Texas McCombs, then 720 is a great score. But if you are aiming for business school with an average of 732 GMAT score (Yes, Stanford!) then 720 is not going to be a major advantage.


2. The GMAT score is a key factor that decides the amount of scholarship you get

The higher your GMAT score, the better your chances of getting a large scholarship because business schools want students with big numbers on their profile, who will drive up their average GMAT score (which in turn will impact the schools’ reputation and ranking)

3. The GMAT score may play an important role during your post-MBA job search

When you look for post-MBA roles, you may find that some recruiters will be interested in knowing your GMAT score. Take, for instance, consulting companies. These prefer candidates with high GMAT scores. So if your post-MBA goal is management consulting, then you must aim for a 720+ GMAT score.

However, the GMAT score is NOT the only thing that matters in admission decisions.

Top business schools look for multiple parameters while evaluating applicants: academic potential is just one part. The other significant areas are:
1.Quality of work experience – your performance, career progress, employer, nature of work etc.
2. Leadership – initiatives and experience at and outside of work
3. Goal clarity – how clear are you about where you want your career to go?
4. Diversity – what uniqueness do you bring to the classroom? Personal experiences interests, activities, perspectives and viewpoints… and so on.
Thus, by highlighting how well you are doing on these other parameters, you maybe able to offset an average GMAT score and convince a school to interview you. And that is another chance you get to convince your dream school to take you!
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you pick the right schools/programs, your GMAT score need not be a handicap at all.
For instance, applying to a mix of Ambitious, Reach and Safe schools. Take a step back and evaluate your career goals. And then ask yourself, do I need to go to a Top 10 B-school to achieve these goals? For instance, if your goal is to become a Business Analyst at Deloitte (or a similar company), then you don’t need to go to Wharton to achieve it.
It’s good to be ambitious and apply to top programs – but if it is important that you join an MBA program next year, then increase your chances by applying to some Reach and Safe schools also.
The second question to ask yourself is Do I even need an MBA degree? For instance, if you are keen on a career as an equity researcher, a Master’s in financial engineering or quantitative mathematics may be a better idea than an MBA. You could even consider applying to a specialized program such as the Kellogg MMM or the Krannert STEM MBA.
Are you still wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
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Sub-700 GMAT Score – What are your chances at ISB?

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“Do I need a 700 GMAT score for ISB?”

This is a question we are asked almost on a weekly basis. And if the person asking the question has an average Indian IT Male profile, our answer has so far been a regretful ‘Yes’.

For the class of 2015 at ISB, GMAT score is 711 on average and the mid-80% of the ISB class had scores ranging from 680 to 750. So it stands to reason that someone with a very average profile must aim to beat this average GMAT score for ISB.

Though ISB has been saying for years that diversity is a key factor in their admission decision, some CrackVerbal students with very good profiles but a less-than 700 GMAT score have been dinged in previous years without even an interview call. Some of them had strong international experience, stellar work experience at a startup, and so on.

Though dinged at ISB, they did manage to get admits to other internationally ranked schools (INSEAD, Rotman etc. among them.) So, despite the rare exception, the 35+ students we’ve sent to ISB in the last two years mostly have 700+ GMAT scores.

However, this year, we are observing a welcome trend shift at ISB.

Of the many students we helped with their ISB applications in Round 1, quite a few with strong essays but a less-than-average GMAT score for ISB (<700) have received interview calls.


Some such profiles include:

Female, Civil engineer, 5 years experience, GMAT 640

Male, Media sales professional, 10+ years experience, GMAT 650

Male, Research analyst, 4 years experience, GMAT 660

Male, Software engineer, 7 years experience, GMAT 680

Male, Software engineer, 5 years experience, GMAT 690, Re-applicant

Having worked closely with these students to craft their application essays, we know for a fact that despite their non-unique profiles and average GMAT score for ISB, they had really strong, interesting stories to tell. And that really seems to be the clincher for the interview invite.

A webinar conducted by ISB on September 30th interestingly featured an alumnus from the class of 2014 who got into ISB despite a 610 on the GMAT. And if you look closely at what ISB’s admission emails and updates this year say, there is a distinct emphasis on “application essays” and “profile” and not so much on the GMAT score.

Based on these trends and a few conversations with admission team members, we suspect a radical shift in the ISB admission committee’s focus this year while short-listing candidates for interview – those with strong stories but an average GMAT score (between 600 and 700) are being seriously considered for admission. So the average GMAT score for ISB this year may be less than you think!

So, those of you planning to apply to ISB in Round 2, don’t let your sub-700 GMAT score stop you – go ahead and apply! Just make sure that your essays are able to convince the ISB admissions committee that you are someone interesting and full of potential. You have strong chances of being interviewed at ISB.

Our analysis of this year’s ISB essays along with tips & advice is HERE – check it out for an additional advantage.

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Interview with IIM Lucknow IPMX Prof. Anita Goyal

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In a conversation with IIM Lucknow IPMX professor Dr. Anita Goyal about the admissions process, Noida campus, placements and more.


1. What makes the IIM Lucknow IPMX different from other Indian 1 year MBAs? What are the unique aspects/ highlights of the program?

We are the only IIM with an exclusive campus for our executive program. The IIM Lucknow IPMX is the flagship program of our Noida Campus. We started this in 2005 with the goal of bringing Executive Education to the NCR region. The NCR location helps in better industry interface due to proximity of potential recruiters.
Industry leaders are often invited on campus for interactive talks or workshops with students. Adjunct faculty specialized in different areas is available, if required. As the campus is near a commercial hub, student life is benefited in multiple ways. Executive students’ families find Noida very suitable as schools for kids, markets and offices of spouses are nearby.
The IIM Lucknow IPMX is a 4 term program instead of 6 terms in a year. Hence students get adequate time to learn the concepts in class. We have a strong international immersion module with our partner schools, which gives students a chance to learn of global management practices and appreciate the cultural diversities in managing business.

2. What are the key parameters on which the IIM Lucknow IPMX admissions committee evaluates applicants? What is the weightage given to each of these?

Past work experience, GMAT score, Statement of Purpose (SOP), two recommendation letters, written ability and personal interview. Weightage criteria may change year on year. All components are important.

3. What is a “competitive” GMAT score to gain admission to IIML IPMX?

The IIM Lucknow IPMX admission committee looks at the overall profile of the applicants. The GMAT score is not the only criterion. An average GMAT score with some great work in the past is definitely a strong application and vice versa is also true. Based on past data, a GMAT score of 600+ with strong work experience should make your application competitive.

4. Could you give us some stats related to the current placements for the IPMX? A few top recruiters and hot sectors for jobs?

At IIM Lucknow, we don’t disclose our placement statistics. We have always stressed on our knowledge development. Though we can assure you that our placements are at par with any leading institute in the country.
We maintain strong relationship with the corporate world. Our students have been placed in sectors like manufacturing, IT, consulting, banking, medical, media etc. in the past. Major roles offered are like product manager, program manager, VP, center head, Sr Consultant etc. In executive education each student is unique. Everyone has their own background, hence it’s near impossible to generalize the placement trends for an executive management program.
IPMX recruiters include: Accenture, Amazon, Dabur, Deloitte Consulting, Deutsche Bank, Edelweiss, Fidelity, GE, Goldman Sachs, Google, KPMG, Microsoft, Mindtree, NIIT, Oracle, PwC

5. Any tips or advice you would like to share with aspirants?

Stellar work experience could make up for a below-average GMAT score – so take a chance and apply! There is no application fee except for your effort!
Inspired by Anitha’s story? Want to know if you can get into IIM Lucknow too? Let us help you!
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CrackVerbal Alumni Meet 2014 – A Snapshot

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We had organized a CrackVerbal Alumni session on 23rd March where we invited some of our star alumni to interact with present students and others in a panel discussion format. Their profiles varied from game designer to doctor.


The Panel Consisted of:

Niladri Chakraborty (GMAT: 750, UNC Admit)

Saurabh Gupta (GMAT: 750, ISB Admit)

Bhupati Reddy (GMAT: 680, XLRI GMP Admit)

Abhinav Singh (GMAT: 680, XLRI GMP Admit)

Jayashree Bhat (GMAT: 710, ISB Admit)

Dr. Bhargava Swamy (GMAT: 710, ISB Admit)

Moderator: Arun Jagannathan, Founder – CrackVerbal


We Covered 4 Main Focus Areas:

GMAT Preparation

School Selection

MBA Applications

Choosing Recommenders

Here are Some of the Salient Inputs from the Panel:


GMAT Preparation

Bhargava: Most of what determines your score on test day happens in the weeks and months of prep before the test

Saurabh & Niladri: 3-4 months is an ideal preparation time frame for most high scorers

Bhupathi: However, if you have specific weakness areas, you must take the time to work on them and fix those gaps

Jayashree: just because you think one area is your forte – be it Quant or Verbal – don’t take your performance for granted. Focus on both sections.

Niladri: You don’t need to refer to any material apart from the Official Guide, the CV Guide and the CV Advanced Documents. Together, these contain ~2000 questions – that is more than enough practice.

B-school Research

Niladri: go to the websites of your target schools and download the Career Statistics for the past few years. Don’t go by school ranking; see whether the school can help you achieve your goals.

Saurabh: Use LinkedIn to look at the profiles of the graduates and students of your target MBA programs; this will give you a good idea of the opportunities the school can give its students.

Arun: Check out the Poets and Quants website – it has a plethora of information about different business schools and programs, and will aid your research.

Jayashree: While a 2-year MBA is generally preferred for a career switch, it is upto the candidate to convince the recruiter of his/her ability to transition to a new and different career after a 1 or 2 year program. The duration by itself doesn’t guarantee anything.

All panelists: Indian applicants with a typical engineering/ or technology background need to work harder to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

MBA Applications

All panelists – Taking the help of expert admission consultants makes a real difference to the essays and interview performance.

Bhargava – the initial brainstorming with CrackVerbal helped clear his thought process and helped me realize what AdComs look for, and how much I needed to think.

Niladri – the brainstorming sessions with CrackVerbal laid the right foundation for the applications. Arun kept probing me to think of how every story would differentiate me from the crowd, and how it was unique to me. While writing the essays, I would call the team for help many times every day.

Saurabh – The difference between my very first draft of essays for the evry first school, and my last set of essays, is drastic, and I should thank CrackVerbal for that. I got a lot of useful inputs and they went out of their way to help me fine tune my stories and make them better.

Abhinav – try to build a story in your application; each of the essays must be an essential component of that overall story you are trying to convey to the reader. And with CrackVerbal’s help, I was able to build that.


Choosing Recommenders

Saurabh – choose your recommenders carefully and prep them well with a copy of your essays and a list of your achievements. Maybe get them a gift for their trouble!

Bhargava – I let my recommender write on his own; when I read it, I was surprised at how many insights he had about my profile. There were things I hadn’t known about myself. So sometimes it is also a good diea not to “lead” the recommender if he/she knows you well enough and can write effectively.

Arun – NEVER use personal IDs for recommendations. “[email protected]’ isnt acceptable! Make sure your recommenders have official IDs. In fact, many schools do not accept personal IDs for recommendations.

Want more detailed insights about all the B-Schools in the world? Check out our B-School info page!

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Do entrepreneurs need an MBA?

MBA Entrepreneurship
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Arun Jagannathan, the Founder & CEO of CrackVerbal has devised a simple test to assess your need for an MBA if you are an entrepreneur by nature. Take the test now and tell us your scores! 🙂

Entrepreneurship – A Rising Trend

In almost every MBA batch of any reputed B-School, one can find a certain cluster of students who have joined the program with the clear goal of starting their own venture instead of following the secure route of high-paying jobs. Though some people may feel that such a move is unnecessarily risky, these folks are not to be blamed, because the spirit of entrepreneurship runs in their veins!
Most entrepreneurs have some unique traits that set them apart from others – perseverance, an appetite for risk, leadership qualities, the ability to innovate and the foresightedness to grab opportunities at the right time and place.
So if some people are simply made to venture into entrepreneurship, the question begs to be asked – do they really need an MBA or is it just a passing fad? Is it really worth spending so much money on an MBA program, when you already know that you will be investing substantially in your business idea too?
Conversely, what is driving more and more entrepreneurs to get formal education and training in business management? What value addition will an MBA program provide? In our search for answers to this question, we, at CrackVerbal, surveyed some young entrepreneurs to understand their views on the subject.

Straight from the horse’s mouth!


Abhinav Jain – Founder, Alitum Solutions

The dynamic Abhinav Jain is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore. For the past 1.5 years, he has been fully engaged in his start-up Alitum Solutions, a firm that helps companies grow, by setting up business performance systems that aid de-centralization of management, inter-departmental collaboration etc. Abhinav feels that his MBA program helped him immensely to acquire practical & diversified business knowledge and develop key contacts that might come in handy in future.
The course also enhanced his self-confidence and prepared him to deal with different types of people and situations. Though he confesses that the MBA degree was accompanied by societal pressure to take up a regular job, it also worked in his favor. Abhinav has the confidence that owing to his IIM B degree, he can get back to a corporate job any time and this gives him reassurance. He believes that the educational loan he has incurred is like any other debt that accompanies entrepreneurship. So he was already mentally prepared for it.
His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Be true to yourselves and be convinced just why you want to do an MBA!

Amit Sharma – CEO, Go Untucked

Self-motivated Amit Sharma is the founder of Go Untucked, an online apparel shopping website that prides itself on trendy designs at reasonable prices. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and has been working full-time with his startup for 2 years. He asserts that the MBA program has provided him with a general management perspective and helped him to ‘THINK BIG’.
His stint there also helped him to create a strong network of contacts, which he feels, is crucial to develop and expand his business. Amit doesn’t think that societal pressure is too much at this stage as he has learnt to take independent decisions with full faith in himself. What he feels is the hardest part of this journey is the debt that comes along with the MBA program and the entrepreneurship.
Amit’s take on the relevance of an MBA? A formal degree is not necessarily required to start your own business or even in the early stages of growth, but to scale up and raise funds in the long-run, such a program will definitely be of great use!

Nitin Pulyani – Founder, a socially adaptive learning platform

ISB alumnus Nitin Pulyani, a true IT-aficionado, established a socially adaptive learning platform for competitive tests. Nitin rationalizes the need for an MBA program for entrepreneurs by stating that a well-knit MBA program helps to augment networking and build up a strong business perspective.
For him, it was a smooth transition from corporate life to business as he knew exactly what he wanted and just needed self-motivation to turn his dreams into reality. The flip side, Nitin feels, is that it is quite hard to manage an educational loan as well as investment involved in his venture. However he feels lucky as his spouse is also earning.
His message to budding entrepreneurs? An MBA degree is certainly not mandatory –go for it only when you are clear what you want from it and how it will help grow your business!

Sameer Kamat – Founder, MBA Crystal Ball

Sameer Kamat a Cambridge University MBA, is the founder of the 1.5 years old MBA admission consulting firm, MBA Crystal Ball. He strongly feels that the knowledge, education and everything else in the MBA program was fantastic but most importantly the brand value of his alma mater worked for him! As his current venture involves helping other MBA aspirants to get into the top international schools, the Cambridge tag enhances his credibility.
After completing his MBA, Sameer moved into mergers & acquisitions, a highly sought-after field. So the general expectation from him (mostly implicit, though a few well-wishers were vocal about it) was to stick around and make lots of money. His transition from a high-paying job to a start-up did not happen with a bang -it was gradual. Only when he was convinced that the new venture had serious potential, did he transition out completely.
Sameer attended a 1-year MBA program and was lucky to have got a couple of scholarships as well. So, though the loan was a concern in the initial years, he was able to quickly pay it off and save a little as well, for a rainy day. That made his jump into entrepreneurship easier!
The words of wisdom from Sameer? Stop assuming that an MBA will convert you into successful entrepreneurs overnight! Entrepreneurship is more about having the right attitude, passion & skills and less about having a fancy degree. Start early and take small (calculated) risks. Have a ‘Plan B’ in case things don’t work out. And most importantly –keep faith and don’t let small failures stop you from trying!

The Bottom Line

Thus, while their inherent qualities fuel the spirit of an entrepreneur, the right MBA program can provide you with:

Business acumen and perspective


Credibility with your business associates


A network of contacts and like-minded professionals

Inspired by all the Entrepreneur’s story? Want to know any related informationabout MBA? Let us help you!
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TOEFL Vs IELTS Which Does One Pick?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you are planning an MS abroad, an additional requirement apart from the GRE will be an English Language Test. The most popular ones are the IELTS and TOEFL.
Understand that both TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and the IELTS (International English Language Testing Services) are intended for students planning to do their higher education at a foreign country.
Typically, a student whose first language isn’t English will be required to take one of these English Language Tests. Both these tests evaluate students on four functional areas: Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking. How they do this though, varies.

Which of these tests do you write?

Short answer: Find out which test the universities you’ve shortlisted accept. Write that test!

But of late, universities have begun accepting either of the test scores. In this case making a decision on which to write can be difficult.
To make a decision let’s figure out how these tests are different.
The obvious difference is that IELTS is a paper based test, TOEFL is a iBT, which expands to internet Based Test. The TOEFL is taken on a computer. Beyond this let’s take a closer look at the tests section wise.


While writing is done on-screen on TOEFL, responses are to be handwritten on the IELTS.
This could be a factor for those who have either very slow typing speeds or those who have an aversion to writing on paper!


IELTS conducts its speaking module separate from the other sections. It is either done right after the written test is completed or perhaps a day or two after. One is required to speak to an examiner, luckily the kind of questions that the examiner can ask is highly structured.
TOEFL on the other hand requires you to speak into a microphone (that is recorded on the computer). Your responses will be recorded and there will be a stipulated amount of time for preparing and speaking (not unlike IELTS). For example you will be given a 15 second window to prepare a response and a period of 30 seconds to speak during. There will be an onscreen timer that tells you the time you have remaining.
Of course this will be a concern only if either speaking face-to-face with an examiner seems extremely daunting or you are completely incapable of speaking to a computer as a timer ticks away!


Listening on the IELTS is straightforward,you’ll have to listen to the respective tracks, you’ll have some questions on your test sheet which you will have to answer! How it gets tricky is that you’ll be required to make sense of pictographic data and relate it to what you are listening to.
Students find one thing about the IELTS very frustrating: the recordings of people speaking with accents that could range across the whole of Europe. This is a big problem with a lot of people who have difficulty perceiving foreign accents!
TOEFL on the other hand integrates listening with reading and you will have to respond either by writing a response or speaking out your response (this links back to Speaking and Writing)
Listening should be a point of concern to make a decision on if foreign accents baffle you – god forbid you are played a lecture given by a Scottish man!


Reading on the TOEFL will have a very similar look and feel as does the GRE reading. It will obviously not be as mind wrenching though. Reading on both and TOELF and IELTS are more or less comparable except for the fact that one is done on a computer and the other on paper.
There are many other pivotal differences between the IELTS and the TOEFL could help you make a decision between the two. The best way to figure this out is by taking an official mock test of each of these tests and getting a feel of the test first hand.
Do you have any questions about these two tests? Leave your comments below and our GRE experts will respond!

B-school Selection – The first step

Harward University
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The obvious first step is to look at your experience, GPA, GMAT and misc factors to understand what is a
(a) stretch school – dream school but chances are low
(b) reach school – chances are high but not in top 10/20
(c) safe school – it is the school where you will get a sure shot admit but is not high on the rankings etc (I am against this concept personally as I feel you rather not do an MBA than do it at a place you will never be proud of).
Over and above these “hygiene” factors you should consider the following 4:

1. Geography:

Some areas are better than other PURELY based on personal preference. India (obviously), Australia, Singapore, UK and US are the top 5 destinations. Then you have Countries in continental Europe, Philippines (Manila) also can be considered. Various factors here – post-MBA job prospects, ability to get VISA, English-speaking etc etc

2. 1 year v/s 2 years:

Various factors (a) current experience (b) social responsibilities (read marital status/kids) (c) post-MBA career options are the top 3 to make/break the decision.

3. Specialization:

Though I have said this before let me reiterate that Brand Name >> Specialization. So you will have more Management Consultants coming out of Harvard than say Darden. Or more finance guys from Wharton than say Stern. Or more entrepreneurs from Stanford than from Thunderbird. Thats’ the way it works. However if you are looking at marketing then you have Kellogs, for finance there is Colombia etc. So keep this in mind (what the school “’specializes” in) before going ahead.

4. Minor points:

Case-study might be more appealing to some, background of students admitted and their career progression as shown by say linkedin, a friend who is an alum might influence your decision, location – small city v/s big city, size – small class size and close-knit v/s large (Harvard has 800+) etc. can be reasons.
Hungry for more tips on B-school selection? Download our free e-book on How to Select a B-school now!

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Someone asked me to write my thoughts on this profoundly philosophical question. It is so complicated that people fail to find answers even *after* an MBA. Heck, it makes the Kennedy assassination look like an open and shut case 🙂
Firstly, look at what an MBA help 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. Let me clarify by giving an example.
Let us presume that you get to be a CEO, CIO, CFO, CTO ……. in short any CXO, it equips you with general tools and tricks of the trade for you to do your job effectively. Think about it, you will have a dozen CAs working for you, so it is pointless to know the nitty-gritty of Mercantile law.
You just need to be able to pick up a balance sheet or a P&L statement and make sense. Rather go a step beyond what is the obvious and figure out the subtle implications. You are not expected to even understand each account the marketing team is handling. But you are expected to look at a sales graph and understand what is going right, and more importantly, what is going wrong.
You should be able to look at a sales report and figure out what is working and what is not. When the HR teams gives you the attrition rate, you ought to be able to make sense out of it and figure if its okay or not. If not, you should be able to figure out how to plug the leak.
Secondly, if it is a top school it gives you credentials and opportunity to build a network. Someone from IIM-A need not “prove” himself as hard as someone from say Mahaveer Jain Institute of Management Studies. What would otherwise take possibly weeks or even months of hard work from the latter is immediately granted to the former purely on basis of the pedigree of the institute.
In a country like India, which is so hung up on academic credentials, it makes a huge impact in opening doors, in giving opportunities, in shortlisting resumes, in impressing interviewers. All the more if it is used along with solid networking. If you have thousands of your breed out there chauvinistic enough to hire you any day, you already start with a heads up the day you get the admit.

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But having said all this, if there is a reason to do an MBA for me it would be more because an MBA affords you an opportunity to take out two years of your life away from the remote corner of your isolated cubicle tucked away on B-wing at the 7th floor of one of the many buildings your company owns, away from the skulduggery of having to deal with socially challenged project managers who thinks working 14 hours a day including weekends is what the company pays you for, and more importantly – away from the realization that the rest of your life things are going to be pretty much the same. If you ever felt about doing a Rang de Basanti with your career, MBA seems to have a simple and seductive formula to effect the change.

Let me quote something that I had written someplace earlier. There are 2 extremes in the work arena. On the left side you have the most productive people (who actually do the work). For eg. a junior programmer spends every second that he is working producing actual code. On the far side you have the non-producers i.e. people who produce nothing tangible. At the end of the day they don’t grow food, they don’t help sick people, they don’t write code etc.
These are CEOs, lawyers, management partners, program managers etc. But the kick is – the left side gets paid the least and the right side gets paid the most so if you plot $ on the y axis its a 45 degree line. Almost everyone spends their time trying to traverse that line so the further to the right side you begin the sooner you get where you want to go. MBA helps us traverse that line faster. It gives you an opportunity to land that dream job with an ace company with a crackjack role.
With an ordinary BE + couple of years Software experience there is no way you are going to get to be an Investment Banker on Wall Street. Or a top notch consultant with McKinsey or BCG. I am not saying its impossible but the pigeonhole is simply too deep. An MBA I feel is one of the few reliable routes to a career change.
But at the end of it no amount of opportunity can really be of any use unless you have the ability to utilize it. Leadership is not about making decisions, it is about making sense. It is an ability to thrive in chaotic circumstances, to cut through the ambiguity and show a path when none seem to exist.
Leadership is about being passionate in whatever you do, in infusing a sense of ownership, commitment, pride and loyalty in not just yourself but everyone around you. Leadership is something no MBA – be it Harvard, Wharton or Stanford- can teach you.
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6 reasons why you should pursue an MBA by CrackVerbal

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Achieving the MBA Dream Without the CAT

Plan A Plan B
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hello and welcome to this session of Wednesday Wisdom. Since the CAT results are out, a lot of students have come and asked me, “I didn’t do as well on CAT, is there anything else that I can do?”.


One thing that I advise to students and that I would be advising to you is – you really have to think about what you want to do apart from CAT? For the last 3 – 4 months, you’re studying for CAT, but really, is CAT you objective in life? CAT is not the objective right? Your objective  in life at a larger level is to do something productive, do something meaningful, do something with your talent and potential.


In order to maximise the talent and potential, you have chosen to do an MBA. From step 2, you boil down to step 1 and then in order to do an MBA, step zero was the CAT. Assume, CAT is not there, try to think of another way to get to step 1.


One advice that I have for everyone is please, do look at GMAT. One thing that people don’t realize is GMAT is used for Indian B-schools. For example T.A. Pai Manipal is accepting people through GMAT. We have great one year programs such as Great Lakes, we have programs such as ISB – ISB is in fact open to freshers, they have something known as the Early Entry Option, where freshers can apply and get an admit. We also have the great global schools.


And another myth is, “We need 4-5 years of experience.” – not true. Most of these schools are more than happy to take people with even 2 to 3 years of experience as long as there is something that they have to offer to the incoming class.


This is where I really want you to think. Don’t worry about CAT, focus on step 1 which is really to get a great MBA and for that I would request that you consider taking the GMAT.

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MBA Application Strategies for Round 1, Round 2 & Round 3 Deadlines

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This week’s edition of Wednesday Wisdoms talks about application strategies for the Round1, Round 2 & Round 3 MBA application deadlines.



So one question that we keep getting asked is whether the 1st round, the 2nd round and the 3rd round of the applications – do they really matter?


First let me give you an idea of how these rounds work – when you apply to a b-school, typically, there are 3 rounds in which you can apply. You can either apply in round 1 which is in October, Round 2 which is in January or Round 3 which could be as late as March.


Now all things being equal, it is better to apply to the best schools that you want to, in the 1st round. Which means if you have a choice between say Haas Berkeley, which is your number 1 school and Krannert Purdue as your number 2 school, it is better to apply to Haas in October because you will typically get to know the decision and you would need to make a payment by say end December.
So you would apply to Krannert Purdue, depending on whether you get an admit from Haas. So all things being equal, try to apply to Round 1 as opposed to Round 2.


Having said that, one common myth that people have is that if I do not apply in Round 1, my chances are going to be slashed by 50% – not true. My advice is to apply to the school with your best possible application. Which means if you apply with a 650 GMAT score in Round 1 and a 720 GMAT in Round 2, you will definitely have a better chance in getting through that school with the Round 2 720 GMAT. So put in your best application.
Having said that, the schools that you want to most get into, try to use that in Round 1 and the second preference schools in Round 2. So that way you get to know the decisions.


Now coming to Round 3 which is going to be in March – the only problem for international applicants in applying in the last round is that by the time the decisions come, you need to take care of your I20 which is essentially required for your Visa, you need to take care of your finances, you need to take care of your tickets.
There are a lot of things that you need to do and sometimes 3 months that you get from the time the decision is made till the point you’re going to join the college could be a little too short for your comfort.

So net-net – Round 1, Round2 & Round 3, probably that’s how I would stack in order of preference. Thank you.


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3 Mistakes ISB Applicants Make: Tips From ISB Alumnus & Admissions Panelist Pradyot Anand

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to ISB (and more generally MBA) admissions, getting an interview short-list is only the first step. While there is no guaranteed formula to convert an interview call into an admit, there are a few things that are guaranteed to not get you the admit.
In this post, I want to elaborate on 3 common mistakes I’ve observed aspirants make during the interview.


1. Under Preparation:


Take it for granted that the interview panel has already read your application pack and is therefore interested to know more about you. So even if the question is the same as what is asked in the essays, be prepared to go in-depth in terms of the hows and the whys. Don’t merely repeat your essay. Given the word limits, it is hard to get into any depth in the written essay and the interview is a medium to get into the nitty gritty.
For example, if you have written that you want to get into consulting, be prepared with an understanding of the consulting industry, major companies and the kind of work they do, where in the hierarchy do you see yourself immediately and 3-5 years post MBA, what skills are needed to get into consulting, and how will you utilize the one year at ISB to gain those skills.


2. Unrealistic Goals:


Most B-schools like go-getters and those with a can-do attitude. However, there is a difference between setting aspirational, yet realistic, goals and lofty goals that will remain out of reach. Be it in terms of 3-5-10 year post-MBA career goals or what you will do while at the school, ensure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) and tie-in with your strengths and past experience / credentials.
If you have never been in the top 10% of your class and have a GMAT score of 660, it is unlikely (although not impossible) that you will be in the top 10 at ISB and be the most sought after student by companies. Similarly, if you say you want to change the world and make a big social impact in 3 years post-MBA, what are the chances of that happening given that you will have to service student loans immediately after MBA?


3. Lack of Demonstrated Interest in the School:

At the end of the interview, most panels will give you the opportunity to ask questions. Do not say “I have none”. Ask genuine questions that demonstrate interest in the school, and tie-in with what you bring to the table and what you expect from the school. The difference between a good question and a bad / poor one is that a good question is reasonably specific and personalized such that the answer helps you evaluate whether the school fits you (the overall admissions process will decide whether you fit the school).
For example, asking how someone with your kind of a career background made an industry shift (if that’s what you are interested in doing) using the resources at the school would be a good question. Poor questions are extremely general and serve no purpose. Examples include asking the interview panel for their experience while at the school or information already available through the website and / or roadshows.
In my experience, even candidates who are good (and whose profiles are extremely interesting going by their applications) tend to sometimes make these mistakes. These mistakes are secular in the sense that I’ve seen them committed by aspirants from various backgrounds, both genders, and at various stages of their career. The fact that you have been shortlisted for an interview means that the school is serious in considering your application for admission. Do make use of that opportunity and avoid these mistakes that have cost many an aspirant.
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TOEFL Preparation – The Ten Commandments!

Reading Time: 5 minutes


This is the month of the year when most of you are thinking, “I have taken the GRE and I have another ten days for the TOEFL. Is it really enough?”

You are also asking, “I have prepared for the GRE. Will that help for the TOEFL?”


The TOEFL is an acronym for Test Of English as a Foreign Language and is usually a requirement for many universities abroad as an indicator of your ability to communicate in English. This includes reading, writing, speaking and understanding English. Here are Ten Commandments you must follow during your TOEFL preparation:


Commandment: 01 – Thou shalt know the structure of the TOEFL.

The TOEFL comprises four sections – Reading, writing, listening and speaking:

Reading: 3 passages / Approximately 39 questions / 60 minutes or 5 passages/ Approximately 65 questions / 100 minutes.

Writing: Independent task that asks you to write an essay in about 250 words in 30 minutes / Integrated task that asks you to Read, Listen, Comprehend the information in both and write an essay in about 150 words in 20 minutes.

Listening: Academic Lectures and Campus Conversations have to be listened to and questions need to be answered.

Speaking: There are 6 questions in speaking; 2 of which require only speaking, 2 of which require to Read, Listen, Comprehend and speak and 2 of which require you to listen and speak.

Unless you know what is expected of you in each section, you will not be able to perform well in it. For example, in Integrated Writing,you must know that your essay comprises points from Reading and Listening. If you don’t know this, you might not take down relevant information from the passage and the track. The purpose of having Independent and Integrated writing is just to ensure that your comprehension of English is tested in situations as close to real life as possible.

Commandment: 02 – Thou need not read the Reading passage while doing the Reading section.


The questions in the reading section are in the order of the passage. This means that you don’t have to really read the passage in detail or make maps unlike in Reading Comprehension on the GRE.So just go ahead with the questions and start working with them. Also there are two facts that you can use to your advantage:


(1) You can move back and forth between questions in the same passage

(2) The subject of the question is highlighted in the passage.

(3) The questions are sequenced such that you can easily guess the location of the answer. That is, if the answer for the first question is in Line 3 and the answer for the third question is in Line 7 then the answer for the second question is definitely between Line 3 and 7.


Commandment: 03 – Thou shalt remember that the last question in the Reading passage is based on the whole passage.


The last question in Reading is usually a summary or a sort question. And this depends on the entire passage. Since you would have already read the whole passage in parts for the other questions, you should ideally not have a problem answering this question. Also remember that this last question usually carries more than one point on the test.


Commandment: 04 – Thou shalt take copious notes on the Listening section.


The key to doing well in the Listening section is to take copious notes. This also applies more to the Academic Lectures as they are long and heavy to comprehend. However the god-send here is that these lectures usually talk about a process or a description of something, thereby making it very easy to take notes.


You could draw or use whatever signs/symbols/shorthand you like to capture the highlights. A caveat here is to not start writing down everything verbatim as this is unnecessary and will just tire you out.


Commandment: 05 – Thou shalt stick to a 4 paragraph structure while writing.


It’s best to stick to a 4 paragraph structure while writing essays on the TOEFL.


Paragraph 1:  Introduction, which should contain the direct answer to the question being asked.

Paragraphs 2 & 3:  Contain the body of your essay.

Paragraph 4:  Conclusion, which summarizes the takeaways from your essay


Commandment: 06 – Thou shalt give personal examples on TOEFL writing.


While popular examples are recommended in your GRE AWA essays, remember that the task on the TOEFL tests personal preference and hence it is apt to give at least one personal example.For instance, consider a question that says, “Given an hour extra a day, what would you prefer to do; 1. Go for a long walk listening to your favourite songs 2. Snuggle with your pillows and take a much-needed power nap.”

Saying “The famous environmentalist XYZ prefers going on a long walk when given some extra time as he feels that it gives him more time to enjoy nature.” in response to this question does not make sense. You must simply talk about your personal choices.


Commandment: 07 – Thou shalt use the Note taking “T” while taking notes on Integrated Writing or Integrated Speaking.


While doing Integrated Writing or Integrated Speaking which involves reading a passage, listening to a track based on the passage and then writing or speaking based on what was discussed, remembering points might be very difficult as there is a just too much information.


So, even though the points in listening may not be in the same order as they were in reading, you can match them up while taking notes, or later, while brainstorming before you write.


Commandment: 08 – Thou shalt not stammer or use too many fillers while you speak


Your actual Speaking time on the TOEFL will be very less – around 30 to 60 seconds. But the pressure is what makes it challenging. As a result, you may end up stammering or saying “Er… ummm…” etc. when you fumble for words or points. Practise extensively beforehand to avoid such situations as using fillers will eat up the time available for you to speak and reduce your speaking score.


Commandment: 09 – Thou shalt be very clear and organised while giving answers in the speaking section.


Remember to use the time given for prepping very effectively. Always make use of one standard template for your answers.

Your direct answer to the question / The main point of the answer.
Reason – 1 / Point – 1
Reason – 2 / Point – 2
Reason – 3 / Point – 3
Summary line


Commandment: 10 – Thou shalt keep calm and tackle the TOEFL 🙂


All this information may seem a little overwhelming at this point of time. But a bit of prepping and a lot of confidence will ensure that you handle the TOEFL well.

Use the TOEFL ETS Guide and mock tests – they are as close as possible to what you will encounter on the actual test.

Worry not, thou shalt sail through the TOEFL – All the Best!

What are your problem areas on the TOEFL? Leave a comment and our experts will guide you!

All right, so you know how to tackle the TOEFL! What next? Read our quick 15-minute guide on all aspects of the GRE!

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5 Things You Should (& Should Not) Ask the Admissions Team at MBA fairs

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Before I deep-dive into the list, here are 2 generic things that you need to remember:


1) Leave questions open-ended


For all questions you can end with “Is there anything else that you think I should know? 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.


2) 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.


crossWhat not to ask: Extent of scholarship awarded or any such information found on their website.


cool-green-tickWhat to ask: Their thoughts on how typically Indian candidates such as yourself fund their education


crossWhat not to ask: Generic questions such as the placement scene for that year, or questions about salary ranges, or “campus placements”.


cool-green-tickWhat to ask: The kind of companies in your industry and function that they have alums in and if possible any tips on what such companies look for in post-MBA roles.


crossWhat not to ask: % of international students or any such google-able data about the demographics


cool-green-tickWhat to ask: Enquire if there are people with similar backgrounds as yours. If you are really interested (only if you are) should you ask for introductions.


crossWhat not to ask: Whether you will get in


cool-green-tickWhat to ask: What are the typical things that an applicant should keep in mind while applying to that particular school?


crossWhat not to ask: Generic question about groups and activities in the college campuses.


cool-green-tickWhat to ask: Specific groups and activities that might be of interest to a candidate like you.


Now that you are all set to go, get going on that list of questions you want answered at MBA info-sessions.


Also check out our blog on being a cool customer at MBA info-sessions!

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3 Critical Rules to be a “Cool Customer” at ‘MBA info sessions’!

Reading Time: 3 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.


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


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


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?” Answers to both of which she will never get as they are way too subjective. However, she is hopping from one booth to another desperately trying to find someone who will answer in the affirmative.


3) Cool Customer


This one is really assured and is typically seen only at a few select B-school booths. He/she knows what to look for and is seen engaging in a meaningful conversation with the Admission Committee (AdCom). 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 AdCom.


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 things that you can do to make you look “cool” in the eyes of the admissions committee.


Rule #1: Have a good idea of the schools that are going to be visiting the seminar/fair. It is important that you do the background research by Googling everything you can.


Rule #2: Ensure you have a list of 2-3 must-talk-to schools. It is easy to go from one booth to another without a clear objective. Before you end the day, you are left with a pile of brochures and no clear idea of the next-steps. It always helps to have a clear idea before getting into it.


Rule #3: Carry a 1-page business resume. Still better if you can just carry a sheet which gives a high-level summary of your profile such as Name, GMAT, Education (with %age), Experience – clearly noting position and company, and major extra-curricular activities. It always helps to hand over a copy to the representatives before you start your conversation. Almost like handing over a business card.

Keeping these three rules in mind will ensure you get the maximum value from attending such MBA info-sessions. Be a cool customer and get set towards your MBA!
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In Conversation with Karan Gupta, MD ( India and South Asia), IE Business School

Reading Time: 4 minutes

IE Business School has been at the forefront of management education. Ranked 3rd on the Business Week listings, it is the place to be for Entrepreneurship, General Management, Leadership, Corporate Social Responsibility and International Business. We got in touch with Karan Gupta, the Managing Director for India and South Asia, IE Business School, to answer some of the pressing questions that IE Business School aspirants have. Here are the highlights of the interview:

1. How is your MBA program unique or different from others, in terms of the school’s focus, curriculum, pedagogy etc.?

Our programs have many unique factors including the following:
The diversity of the class is one of the highest among all business schools worldwide, not only in terms of nationality but also in terms of backgrounds – this enriches our class discussions and projects.
We have top notch students combined with top notch faculty from all over the world. Many of our faculty members are practitioners so they share their experience in the corporate world with the students.
Our practical approach is based on the case method where students are constantly wearing the consultant shoes and giving solutions to real life cases.

2. What are the most important parameters considered by the Admissions team to evaluate applicant profiles?

We value diversity and want candidates with different profiles. We tend to prefer candidates who have demonstrated leadership in everything that they do. We want candidates who are motivated, focused and ready to work in teams.
The most important characteristic for us is the fit! We need someone that can fit with the IE culture – Motivated, with an international mindset, and with an excellent profile academically and professionally. As well we want to see how this MBA fits in your future career plans.
We have a holistic approach which means that we look at everything from undergraduate grades, to the GMAT scores, to the professional experience, social work, interview and so on. At IE, your test scores are as important as your personality and attitude, that´s why all of our students are interviewed before getting their final admission.

3. What are the typical mistakes you see applicants – especially Indian applicants – making?

The candidates should really know where they want to be after they finish their program. In addition, they should know why they wish to be part of IE Business School. Candidates should have done their homework on IE Business School and should apply early.
We don´t like clichés. We read so many applications, so to remember you, you have to be special and be yourself. We don´t want people telling us what they think we want to hear.
Don´t let anyone write your essays, we can guess when someone helped!

4. How does a student who belongs to an over-represented demographic profile fit in?

As previously mentioned, IE is very diverse in terms of backgrounds, so in a typical class we would of course have people with a business background. However, at the same time we would have engineers, lawyers, biologists and event artists. So all profiles are welcomed and we believe that every person can have a special contribution to the class.
To improve their candidacy, IT applicants should show professional growth and improvement. Therefore, their career advancement is very important.

5. Do you consider the ability of the candidate to adapt to a new country and culture as factor in judging the application?

We value students who are culturally sensitive and are open to learning more about cultural differences. We don’t expect our students to know Spanish but at the same time, if a student does learn Spanish, it will make his or her experience in Spain more memorable.



6. How do students typically fund their studies at your program? What are the deciding factors for a student to win a scholarship?

We have several scholarships that students can apply for. We also have co-signor free loans that are offered to international students. The maximum scholarship that a student can get at IE is 50% of the tuition fees. More information on loans and funding is available here.
While determining financial aid awards, we take into account a candidate’s academic and professional achievements as well as the financial need.

7. What career services does the school offer to help students obtain internships and jobs? How has the hiring scenario been for Indian students, given the visa regulations and the economic climate?

Unfortunately nowadays it is a bit difficult to get a job in Europe or Spain due to a tough and long visa process. However, it is not impossible. Many of our students end up in top jobs in Europe or Spain. My advice is to learn about the visa processes as soon as you land in Madrid, and start networking with top companies from day 1 of the program.
Our latest career report is available here. 
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Tips to Tackle ISB’s Application Essays for 2013-14

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This is the analysis of ISB’s 2013 Essays. For an in-depth analysis of ISB’s 2014 Essays, please go to this link: ISB Essay Analysis


ISB has come out with their application essays for 2013 and there are a few changes from last year. The video essay has been dropped and an ‘additional information’ essay that was compulsory last year has now been made optional.


But ISB applicants should be happier with the new essay questions as these are more specific and state the expectations of the Admission Committee more clearly.


Essay 1: Attitude, skills and knowledge differentiate people. Elaborate with two examples on how you would differentiate yourself. (300 words max)




This is a variant of last year’s essay and indicates that ISB’s focus is still on understanding what makes a candidate stand apart from others.


cool-green-tickReflect on what defines you and sets you apart. Your attitude could be defined by a personal quality, a belief or a life philosophy.  Knowledge and skills could be an outcome of the perspective or experience you have gained.  If you hit a roadblock here, you can talk to people who know you well in different spheres of life, to identify what makes you different. For instance:

I come from a family of self-made businessmen, none of whom have studied beyond the 10th grade. As the first engineer in such a family, I have 2 unique qualities – the risk appetite and drive of an entrepreneur, and the discipline and focus that comes with higher education.

Having worked in operations, delivery and sales roles in 2 different industries (aviation and manufacturing) over the past 4 years, I bring extensive domain knowledge and cross-functional perspective to the table.

The second, and perhaps trickier, part is citing 2 examples to substantiate your answer. A good way to tackle this is to straddle the past and the future. You can cite a previous situation in which you effectively demonstrated the attitude/skills/knowledge you’re talking about, and also explain how you’re going to do this in future – at ISB.


What NOT to do:


crossDo not focus ONLY on your achievements in this essay – there is another question that asks you to do this. This question requires you to talk about the qualities/traits that you bring to the table.


crossDo not write what you think the AdCom wants to hear, unless this is what truly differentiates you.  Often, candidates tend to talk about the same old traits as everyone else. For instance, ‘analytical skills’ or ‘teamwork’. Instead, try to say something different and memorable about yourself.

Essay 2: How does the ISB PGP tie-in with your career goals? (300 words max)



Now this is a standard ‘hygiene’ B-school application essay if ever there was one! Instead of asking you to describe your career goals according to a timeline (3 years, 5 years etc), the AdCom wants to know the more important aspect – how do you think the ISB PGP will help you achieve your career goals?

cool-green-tickBegin by stating your career goals, both immediately after graduating from ISB, and 5 years from then.

cool-green-tickTalk about what you need to achieve these goals – what is the competency gap you are facing currently?

cool-green-tickSpecify how ISB’s PGP can help you. Mention courses, programs and clubs at ISB that you want to be part of. What else can ISB give you – career services? Strong alumni network? Brand name?

What NOT to do:

crossDo not give a generic answer like this: “With its eminent faculty, global reputation and world-class infrastructure, ISB is the best choice for me” Remember, the question is about the ISB PGP.

crossDo not be vague about your goals. For instance,  I am looking at a career in general management.

crossAvoid goals on either end of the spectrum: either ridiculously unachievable or painfully low-hanging! For instance,  ‘CEO of Apple in 5 years’ to ‘Project Manager in an IT company’ 🙂

Essay 3: Pick the most significant achievement (professional or personal) you have had and elaborate on the key learning you took away from it. (300 words max)



Read this question carefully once again – it is NOT asking you to SIMPLY DESCRIBE your biggest achievement.

cool-green-tickUse the Situation-Action-Result (SAR) framework: Begin by describing the problem/challenge itself, then talk about what action you took and finally, close with what the outcome was. In the last section, your focus should be on your learning/takeaway from the incident. How did your perspective change? Did you realize something new? How did you change after the event?

What NOT to do:

crossDo not merely list the rewards and accolades you won for whatever steps you took – that is not the focus of this essay. This can be mentioned elsewhere in the application.

crossDo not shy away from citing a personal achievement: Unfortunately, many Indians tend to favor professional achievements over personal ones. Do remember that your objective is to craft an application that creates an impact on the AdCom and makes them want to meet you and learn more about you. Often, personal stories can be more inspiring and remarkable than professional ones – a colleague or a person in a similar company may have a similar professional achievement, but nobody else can share your personal success story! 🙂

Essay 4 (Optional): Please provide additional information, if any that will significantly affect the consideration of your application to the ISB. (300 words max)



This was a compulsory essay until last year, but has now become optional.

cool-green-tickUse this essay to explain any part of your profile that you think may raise questions. For example, a gap in your studies or work experience, poor academics etc.

My resume shows a gap of 1 year between my graduation and my first job. I graduated in June 2008, right during the global financial crisis. Most companies had put a freeze on hiring, and despite being academically proficient, I was unable to find a job. But I did not want to waste this time and enrolled in an Oracle certification course at NIIT. By the time I joined Wipro in July 2009, I had completed this, as well as a beginner’s course in conversational French.

What NOT to do:

crossDo not repeat information you have already mentioned elsewhere in your application – in your resume, essays etc. This is not only boring, but also tiresome for the reader. 🙂

Apart from these, ISB has 2 separate essays for re-applicants and scholarship aspirants. As you may have realized by now, the first step in crafting your essays is always thinking and reflecting. And contrary to what many candidates think, preparing for the GMAT and planning their MBA application are not necessarily sequential events. So go ahead, take an occasional break from your GMAT prep and put on your thinking cap! 🙂

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Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business: Interview with Regional Director (India)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Duke University’s MBA program at the Fuqua School of Business is consistently ranked among the best in the world, recently coming in the 6th position in Business Week Rankings. Boasting of famous alumni including Apple CEO Tim Cook, it is a fiercely competitive school with average GMAT scores touching 700. We got in touch with Fuqua’s India Director, Mr.Dan McCleary to answer some pertinent questions for aspirants to Duke. Here are the key takeaways from our interaction:




How is your MBA program unique or different from others, in terms of the school’s focus, curriculum, pedagogy etc.?


Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is a pioneer in global education, designing and running the world’s first truly global executive MBA program. We bring that global perspective and experience to everything we do, and it has had the effect of attracting globally-minded students.


What are the most important parameters considered by the Admissions team to evaluate applicant profiles?


As with all top schools, we expect strong academics, good scores, and valuable work experience. One of the most important factors is the story our applicants tell: who they are, what they have done, and what they hope to accomplish at Fuqua, in their work, and in their life. Nothing is more powerful or memorable than a good true story.


What are the typical mistakes you see applicants – especially Indian applicants – making?


Many applicants have not done the work to determine which schools are the best fit for them. You can get a great education at many schools, and many of the features of business schools (team-based culture, student clubs, and international opportunities) are similar. We recognize that visiting target schools is not always an option, but phone and Skype extend the opportunity for prospective students to learn from current students or alumni about multiple schools. duke-quote1


How does a student who belongs to an over-represented demographic profile fit in? For instance, an Indian male applicant from the IT sector.


As India’s own economy has grown and diversified, Fuqua has seen a widening spectrum of backgrounds of MBA applicants. Along with the United States and China, India remains one of the top three sources of MBA applications (and MBA students) for most US business schools. We certainly have Indian males from the IT sector applying to Fuqua. A typical successful applicant is the one who convinces us that he  or she possesses the transferable skills and business knowledge that will be valuable to employers in the next stage of his career.


How do students typically fund their studies at your program? What are the deciding factors for a student to win a scholarship?

Fuqua has been very fortunate to have a loan program available to non-US citizens without a US co-signer that will cover the majority of tuition. Many students take advantage of this loan to help pay for the program. Merit scholarships, ranging from partial to full, are also available. As with admissions decisions, Fuqua looks at each candidate holistically to determine merit scholarship awards.

What career services does the school offer to help students obtain internships and jobs? How has the hiring scenario been for Indian students, given the visa regulations and the economic climate?

Fuqua’s Career Management Center starts working with incoming students even before academic classes begin. Among the services are career consulting and advising, resume and interview preparation, recruiting and hosting companies on campus, organizing “Week in Cities” trips, and much more. Last year, 82% of international students without permanent US work authorization received offers by 15 May, and 89% by 15 August. In the United States talented Indian students with top-tier MBAs remain in high demand.

If you have any other questions about MBA applications in general or Duke in particular, do comment below or simply drop a mail to [email protected].

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6 Factors To Look For While Selecting A Business School – #6 Overall Research

B School Research
Reading Time: 5 minutes

We hope this series has helped you realize that the answer to an ‘ideal’ B-school is quite subjective.
Thus, methodical research on B-schools is crucial to make this process more objective than vague!
In fact, no school is good or bad by itself. It is your aspirations and requirements that make it suitable for you. Always remember that the definition of ‘Quality’ is not being ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, it is actually, ‘Conformation to requirements’. Thus, if an average B-school fulfills your requirements, it is the best B-school in the world for you; otherwise even a Chicago Booth would be a bad choice!

Let’s quickly glance through some other significant factors that usually get ignored during B-school selection:


1. The faculty


Whichever school you pick, if the faculty do not inspire you or add value to your aspirations, no MBA program can help you out. So, do a meticulous research on the faculty profile, their areas of expertise and testimonials from past or present students to get a fair idea of the quality and credentials of the faculty.




 2. Infrastructure


What is the first thing that attracts you towards international B-schools? You may not realize this, but the infrastructure and ambience of B-schools greatly influence your subconscious choice. Great resources, a world-class campus and the latest research facilities, offer a conducive environment for study and also make your learning experience enjoyable and worthwhile.


3. Teaching Methodology

Method of teaching also makes a great difference to your learning experience. Do you want a case study-based program, simulations, team projects, role-plays, simulations or research, or any other specific method of study? Each B-school has a distinct preference for some of these pedagogical approaches – make sure you do your research on which of these your dream schools practice.

4. Class size


Did you always wish for a small group of peers where you will get personal attention or are you the one who wants to be a part of a big classroom with rich discussions and a larger alumni network? Be very clear what you want with regard to class size.





5. Career Statistics


This is probably a no-brainer, and is possibly the first thing that most applicants look for. Yet, we will reiterate: career statistics are also an important factor to consider while selecting schools. The number and kind of companies that approach your B-school for placements, the number of students placed each year, what career services are offered, what are the starting salaries etc. are some of the questions you need to find answers to. Off-campus recruitment should also not be ignored in this process.

6. Return On Investment


An ideal MBA aspirant will not look for a low cost or ‘less expensive’ MBA but an MBA program which will provide him/her with maximum returns. It is not the program costs that matters so much as the pay-scale that he/she will be earning after graduation. Thus, the debate on 1 year vs. 2 year programs is a valid one! ROI gives you a long-sighted view of managing your finances than a short-run expense or benefit.
It is highly likely that there will be no single B-school that will fit all your requirements – it is here that you will need to prioritize what is important to you!
We will conclude this series with this thought – just like on the GMAT, the process of elimination will help you spot the right B-school! 🙂

After discussing so many factors involved in choosing the right B-school for you, let’s see how you can make the research process easier and more fruitful.


1. Read the official websites a couple of times

The first and the most convenient way of researching for B-schools is the official website of the B-schools. Even before you google to find extra information, first read through the official website of the B-schools thoroughly! This will answer most of your questions! Don’t miss the FAQs section of these B-schools.
Instead of relying on any other internet source, the official website will give you very authentic and up-to-date information. Once through with this, even the B-school ranking websites are a great reservoir of latest facts and figures pertaining to the B-schools world over (as we covered this in our ‘rankings’ blog)!

2. Forums

Forums provide a friendly platform where you can interact not only with experts but also people sailing in the same boat as yours. You can get some really valuable information shared by others with respect to MBA, B-schools, MBA admissions, the deadlines, important announcements and so on…The thread that runs through many people makes the discussions very rich and productive.

Some of the best MBA forums include:

3. Attend Info Sessions


Once you get a fair idea of the B-schools you have shortlisted through the internet research, the next step is to attend info sessions. Info sessions are nothing but B-school authorities and alumni coming together and addressing the key features of their school with MBA aspirants. As most of us cannot visit campuses of B-schools in U.S. or U.K., such info-sessions form a bridge between the B-schools and the MBA aspirants.
Info sessions are great avenues to learn more about the B-schools, their latest happenings, career placement opportunities, MBA specializations, etc. You expand your networking by personally meeting the authorities, alumni and other MBA aspirants. This helps you to craft your essays precisely, follow the MBA application process in the right direction and choose the right B-school program for you! Rendezvous with representatives from the B-schools makes a lot of difference in influencing your B-school selection.
I believe the 5 factors that we already discussed in previous blogs, plus an overall research will be sufficient for you to create a list of 3-4 B-schools you are targeting at. A methodological approach will definitely help you to make a pragmatic selection!
Don’t miss our post on B-school selection based on MBA specialization!
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6 Factors To Look For While Selecting A Business School – #5 Specializations

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whip out your B-school checklist and take another look!

Your profile fits seamlessly with others in your targeted B-school
The location is exactly what you always wished for
A crisp 1 year program suiting your needs
And amazingly your B-school also ranks high
But wait a minute… what is your post-MBA goal? Do you want to get into Marketing? Or Consulting? Or Supply Chain Management? Whatever your area of interest is, does the B-school you have shortlisted cater to this? Does it have specific electives, industry immersion programs or active clubs dedicated to your area of specialization? What about career options in this area?
It is very important that you are clear about your post-MBA career goals and make sure that the MBA program you have selected is the best-suited for this.

These are some of the common specializations you could opt for:

Supply Chain/Operations Management
International Management
Information Management
IT Consulting
Strategy consulting
A typical B-school curriculum consists of core courses which are compulsory for you to understand the fundamentals of business and management. It is usually in the last terms or the second year (depending on the duration of your program) that you have the option to select electives such as E-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Financial Analysis, Behavioral Economics and Decision Making, Brand Management, Global Strategy and Management, International Finance etc., which finally decide the exact terrain you wish to build your career in. So, you need to take a careful look into the electives offered by different B-schools before you make your final decision.
If you are asked to name a talented Indian cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar will probably be the first name on your lips. Similarly, for almost any specialization, Harvard, Stanford, Booth and Wharton are going to be on top.

Let’s look at some schools beyond the Big 4!

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Tuck School of Business, Michael G. Foster School of Business, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, George Washington School of Business
Said Oxford, MIT Sloan, Babson College, IE business school, Haas School of Business, London Business School
NYU Stern School of Business, Columbia Business School, INSEAD, IE Business School, Tepper
Information Management
MIT Sloan, London Business School, Haas School of Business, Kellogg School of Management, IE Business School
MIT Sloan, Stanford Business School, Kellogg School of Management, NYU Stern School of Business, INSEAD, Judge School of Business
International Management
INSEAD, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Marshall School of Business, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Fox School of Business
IMD, Chicago Booth, Kellogg School of Management, IE Business, INSEAD
Operations Management
Tepper School of Business, MIT Sloan, Krannert School of Management Cranfield School of Management
Tuck School of Business, MIT Sloan, IE business Marketing
Kellogg School of Management, Judge Business School, Fuqua School of Business, SDA Bocconi School of Management, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Emory

The exciting Dual programs!!!

Ever heard of McCombs’s MBA/Master of Arts in Asian Studies or Stanford’s MS Environment & Resources/MBA or Fuqua’s JD/MBA program?
We are actually referring to the Dual programs offered by some of the top B-schools. What are dual programs all about? Are they worth undertaking? What are their pros and cons?
Dual programs involve the study of two different university degrees simultaneously. The two degrees could be in the same or in two different subjects. Some of the fields in which students can opt for dual programs are Public Health, Architecture, Bio Sciences, Journalism, Law, Architecture, etc.


1. Offer lucrative career opportunities
2. Specialization in two fields, so greater scope
3. Greater leadership opportunities
4. A rewarding pay scale


1. Not as popular as MBA programs
2. A huge investment of time, effort and money
3. Return On Investment is still uncertain
4. Fewer students, so fewer opportunities for networking
How important are the Rankings while selecting a B-school?
Is there something else that you need to know before you finalize your target B-schools?
Check out the next blog in the series…

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How To Select The Right B-school Based on MBA Ranking

MBA college based on Ranking
Reading Time: 3 minutes

B-school rankings are more than just an annual ritual undertaken by various media groups. If taken with a pinch of salt, B-school rankings can help MBA aspirants, companies and others to assess the reputation and credentials of a B-school in comparison to others.

But rankings should not be considered as the sole criteria to judge the standing of a Business school.

For instance, if you glance through any of the B-school rankings such as those of U.S. News, Business Week or Forbes, 3 schools that are ranked on top are Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. If Financial Times ranks Stanford first and Harvard second, does it mean that Stanford is better than Harvard? Or that you will have better career prospects at Stanford? No, not at all!

Rankings merely tell you whether a particular B-school you are applying to falls in the  Top 5, Top 10 or Top 20, based on which you can make a wise selection. As we have discussed previously, there are other criteria (geography, post-MBA goals, duration etc.) that determine which B-school would be best for your requirement. So, just because Chicago Booth is consistently ranked in the Top 5 doesn’t mean that it is also the most appropriate program for you!


What are these rankings actually based on?

1. Average post-MBA starting salary and bonus
2. Return on investment/Value-for-money education
3. Full-time graduates employed at graduation
4. Credentials of faculty
5. Programs offered
6. Quality of Networking
7. Kind of industries and recruiters approaching


Here is a glimpse of some of the B-school rankings!


U.S. News Rankings:


US NEWS B-school ranking

Source: US News 2016 Rankings


Business Week Rankings:


BLOOMBERG B-School Ranking

Source: Business Week 2016 Rankings


Financial Times Rankings:


Financial Times MBA Rankings

Source: Financial Times 2017 Rankings


Forbes rankings:


forbes MBA Ranking

Source: Forbes 2016 Rankings


The Economist Rankings:


The economist MBA ranking 2017

Source: The Economist 2016 Rankings


At the end of the day, B-schools do try to achieve higher rankings every year or at least maintain their position because rankings directly impact their marketability. The bottom-line is: do not be guided solely by the rank of the school – do your research; secondly, make sure you understand the ranking parameters and methodology before you accept the final numbers.

Are you confused between 1 year and 2 year MBA program? Read to know the pros and cons of each of these…

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How To Choose Between a 1 year vs. 2 year MBA Program

1 year vs 2 year MBA programs
Reading Time: 6 minutes

There has always been a debate on whether a 1-year is better than a 2-year MBA program. In this blog we have touched upon the advantages and disadvantages of both!


There is a wrong perception that 1-year programs are less valuable than 2-year ones. You may be surprised to learn that both of these will earn you a full-fledged MBA degree with equal job opportunities and a competitive pay-scale in the market.


So what really are the differences?

A typical 2-year MBA is a 18-24 months program , and is very popular in the U.S. Whereas, a 1-year MBA extends to about 10-12 months and most of the U.K. B-schools offer this. Here is a sneak peek into some of the advantages and disadvantage of 2-year program which actually become disadvantages and advantages for 1-year program respectively.


2-year MBA program: 


Advantages of 2-year program:

1. One of the main reasons why many people aspire for an MBA degree is to change career paths. After working in Technology for a few years, you may realize that your calling is in Management Consulting and not just coding. For these people, a 2-year program will prove very beneficial.

2.  In a typical  2-year program, the first year will be dedicated to fundamental business courses such as marketing, organizational behavior, economics, accounting and so on; specialization through the choice of electives happens in the second year. So, you will get ample time to make mistakes, learn new things and finally make up your mind about your area of specialization (on which the choice of electives depends). Essentially, you can learn at your own pace.

3. You will have ample opportunities to mingle and network with your peers in a 2 year MBA program, as this gives you more time to join student bodies and participate in extra-curricular activities and group projects.

4. A 2-year MBA program provides you with a summer internship which is very helpful to land a lucrative job afterwards. An internship gives you a hands-on experience in your field of interest. In fact, most employers look to summer-interns for recruitment, especially in the fields of consulting and investment banking.

5.  An MBA is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people; It is not just a professional journey, but often also a personal one of self-growth! And a 2 year MBA program gives you the complete student experience, simply because your experience is longer and well-paced.


Disadvantages of 2-year program:

1.If you are very sure about your post-MBA goals, a 2-year program is of lesser significance to you as it will be less rigorous and less focused as compared to a 1-year program. People who look at the MBA as a tool for career growth, a 2–year program may not be particularly more advantageous.

2. 2-year programs are very costly as compared to 1-year programs. In fact, a 1-year program from a reputed B-school provides you equal brand equity at a lesser cost!

3.  Joining a 2-year program means that you will be out of work for 2 years; this means that the opportunity cost will be very high as compared to a 1-year program.

4.  For older applicants – specifically, those with familial responsibilities, children or other dependents – a 2-year program may not be very feasible.


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Some of the top B-schools in U.S. offering 1-year MBA program


1 year US MBA programs


1. Kellogg School of Management (USA):

One of the first one year MBA programs in the US. The one year program is your fastest path to get a Kellogg MBA.

The course is designed to build upon your business fundamentals, develop new skills and knowledge to propel your career forward. The course starts in the month of June every year.

Location: Illinois
Tution Fee: $91,700
Average Salary: $163,000 (post 3 years of graduation)


2. Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business

This course is ideal for Professionals with significant work experience who wish to acquire new business Skills & management knowledge.

The Course starts in the month of May every year.

Location: New York.
Tuition Fee: $90,000.
Average Salary: $142,700 (post 3 years of graduation)


3. Emory University’s Goizueta School

With more than 30 years, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School is one of the top One-Year MBA Programs in the US.

Emory’s One-Year MBA offers three semesters of rigorous learning to prepare you for career success. The course begins in the month of May every year,.

Location: Atlanta.
Tuition Fee: $ 89,500
Average Salary: $ 134,370 (post 3 years of graduation)


4. USC (Marshall)

The course is designed for mid career professionals training for global leadership positions. The average age of students is 35.

The 12-month program at USC’s Campus starts in the month of July.

Location: Los Angeles
Tuition Fee: $104,068
Average Salary: $135,200 (post 3 years of graduation)


5. Notre dame (Mendoza)

Notre Dame’s One-Year MBA provides a powerful strategic business education and makes you part of one of the world’s most loyal and active alumni networks.

The program begins in May and students graduate the following May.

Location: Indiana
Tuition Fee: $73,063.
Average Salary: $127,995 (post 3 years of graduation)


6. Boston university Babson (Olin)

The Babson One-Year MBA program is designed to allow students to leverage their existing academic foundation​ to complete their MBA in an accelerated format.

The program begins in the month of May every year.

Location: Massachusetts.
Tuition Fee: $80,167
Average Salary: $ 121,312 (post 3 years of graduation)


Other colleges include Thunderbird Florida (Hough) & Pittsburgh (Katz)  



Some of the top B-schools in Europe and U.K. offering 1-year MBA program




One of the most sort after one-year MBA programme with campuses in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. INSEAD has a multicultural and diverse community at INSEAD with 90 percent of its faculty and students being international.

Location: France, Singapore & Abu Dhabi
Tuition Fee: $81,000
Average Salary: $167,000 (post 3 years of graduation)


2. IMD

The IMD MBA program supports and accelerates leadership development beyond the campus by developing technical competence, self-awareness, and moral judgment.

The course starts in January.

Location: Switzerland
Tuition Fee: $87,000
Average Salary: $157,000 (post 3 years of graduation)


3. IE Business School

The one-year MBA from IE School of Business provides students with an opportunity to interact with future business leaders from around the world.

Intakes in the month of September & January

Location: Spain
Tuition Fee: $72,440
Average Salary: $159,000 (post 3 years of graduation)


4. University of Oxford – Saïd Business School

The one-year MBA from SAID aims to develop your ability to think logically, laterally and independently that will take you anywhere in the world.

The course begins in the month of September every year.

Location: Oxford
Tuition Fee: $ 68,160
Average Salary: $139,235 (post 3 years of graduation)


5. University of Cambridge – Judge Business School

The course allows students to opt for sector-based topics that can improve their expertise in their chosen fields. It also runs a personalized career development program.

The course has single intake each year which starts in September.

Location: England
Tuition Fee: $67,000
Average Salary: $156,300 (post 3 years of graduation)


6. London Business School

The course is rated as one of the most flexible MBA program with flexible exit points to complete the course in a span of 15, 18 or 21 months and provides an unparalleled opportunity to build your global network.

The course has an intake in August.

Location: England
Tuition Fee: $92,600
Average Salary: $154,150 (post 3 years of graduation)


7. HEC Paris

The Course is Custom designed for managers between the ages of 25 to 35 with previous work experience averaging 6 years. With a 92 percent international student body, studying at HEC Paris allows you to develop a truly multicultural approach to strategy and problem-solving.

Intakes in the month of September & January

Location: France
Tuition Fee: $77,500
Average Salary: $132,073 (post 3 years of graduation)


Other notable B-schools conducting one-year MBA programs in Europe include Copenhagen Business School, SDA Bocconi, IESE Business School -Madrid, Cass Business School, City University London, ESADE Barcelona & Birmingham Business School


Did you read our previous post on how important is the location while selecting a Business School?

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How To Select A Business School Based On Geography

Reading Time: 7 minutes


Each one of us will definitely find someone in our neighborhood or among our relatives boasting of their daughter or son getting into an MBA program from say, Boston or Melbourne. But the location of your choice of B-school is not simply a matter of prestige. It is not something that you can select based on a game of ‘Inky Pinky…’.

Unfortunately, everyday, we encounter students who have no idea why they want to do their MBA in a particular country/continent.

The location of your B-school – from continent and country, right down to the city – is extremely important, and plays an important part in your MBA experience as well as your post-MBA opportunities.

Here’s why:

If you are planning to work in a particular country after your MBA, say France, an MBA from HEC Paris will be a better option than an MBA from Harvard or Darden. Similarly, if you have decided to continue living in India, then your best bet is ISB (which, by the way, is not the best option if you want to be placed outside India!)

Visa regulations and work permits in the country of your choice are also important criteria to consider. For instance, it is easier to obtain work permits in Canada and Australia than in Europe. Location is a strong factor in determining the kind of internships available to you.

If you are planning for an internship in venture capital or technology, then Haas and Stanford could be great options because of their proximity to Silicon Valley. Similarly, Stern at New York would be a great option for someone who wants a financial career.

If you already have relatives/friends staying in a particular country, you may want to look at schools in that region as this may impact your cost of living.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of B-schools in various countries:


1. US Business Schools:



Advantages of US B-Schools are:

Undoubtedly, the U.S. is a land of opportunities, with the best of infrastructure and great research opportunities, where you can safely invest your future.

You will find the Headquarters of most of the top companies in the world situated in the U.S. So, the number of top management roles in the U.S. surpasses that in any other country in the world.

The U.S. is home to some of the greatest B-schools in the world. Schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, etc permanently feature in Best B-schools lists. In fact, the oldest Graduate School of Business in the world is Tuck School of Business situated in Hanover, New Hampshire!


Disadvantages of US B-Schools are:

Visa regulations are quite stringent in the U.S. and becoming more so in recent times. To work in the U.S. after graduation, students need an H1-B visa sponsored by employers and there are only a limited number of visas that are issued every year.

The global economic situation and high-end job market are not in a great state at present, including in the U.S. So, post-MBA career options may not be as robust as expected.

U.S. MBA programs are some of the most expensive programs in the world. Many may not be able to afford these, especially in the absence of scholarships.



Some of the well-known US B-Schools are:

M-7:Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Sloan, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg  (Dream B-schools)

Top: Haas, Darden, Fuqua, Ross, Tuck, Duke, etc  (Very reputed schools)

Mid: Marshall, Kelly, Krannert  (Reputed schools)

Canada: Richard Ivy, Schulich, Rotman  (Usually less considered but having some great MBA programs)



In fact, the Canadian economy is closely related to the U.S. economy. After graduating from Canada it is easier to work in U.S. and vice versa.


2. European Business Schools:


Advantages of European B-Schools are:

There are quite a few impressive B-schools spread over different parts of Europe. With good infrastructure, an international curriculum and diverse classrooms, they account for splendid programs for MBA aspirants.

Many  European schools have dedicated 1 year programs in contrast to U.S. schools which a typically offer 2 year programs. So, if you are in your 30s with a good number of years of work experience and want an MBA degree to enhance your career, European schools may be your best option.

This choice will be accompanied by all the advantages of a 1 year program such as lesser cost, getting back to the market faster and a more focused & rigorous course.

Europe is blessed with a great culture, quality of life and picturesque locales such as England, France, Switzerland, etc. So your experience is bound to be awesome!


Disadvantages of European B-Schools are:

Poor economic climate in Europe: this may not be the best time to join a European school, especially if you wish to work their post your degree.

European visa regulations have been tightened. You will need to find a job while you are still on a student visa. Ironically, you may be denied a work visa because you don’t have a job – and you may end up caught in this vicious cycle!

European culture is not as relaxed as American culture. You will need to learn at least one of the European languages such as Spanish, French or German to cope in a European B-school.


Some of the well-known European Business Schools are:


Top: IMD (Switzerland), INSEAD (France), LBS (London)

Mid: SAID (Oxford), Judge (Cambridge), HEC (Paris)

Others: SDA Bocconi (Italy), Rotterdam (Netherlands), IESE (Spain), ESADE (Spain)






3. APAC Business Schools (Asia Pacific Business Schools):


Asia Pacific B-SCHOOLS


Advantages of Asia Pacific Business Schools are:

South-Asian B-schools are closer to home, so you will have an “at home” feeling. It is easier to gel with your peers of similar ethnic backgrounds and culture.

Also, it is easier to come back to India on vacations in terms of time and cost. South Asia is a growing economy with some very promising B-schools and great MBA programs.

Countries like China, Singapore and Korea are giving U.S. and U.K. economies a run for their money. If you are looking for a decent MBA program at a very reasonable cost, you can look at South-Asian programs which are relatively cheaper than American or European programs.


Disadvantages of Asia Pacific Business Schools are:

It’s true that the economies of South Asian countries are developing at an accelerating rate, but they are still far behind their Western counterparts.  For instance, despite its well-developed infrastructure, the Australian economy is still very much agrarian in nature. So, you have to carefully consider what kind of jobs you could find there after an MBA.

B-schools in South Asia are not as international in their approach as compared to those in the U.S. or U.K. You will not find many Americans or Europeans opting for South Asian MBA programs. So, the classrooms tend to be less diverse in nature.

An MBA program from the U.S. will be helpful even if you want to work in a South Asian country, but the opposite is not necessarily true. If your ultimate goal is to work in London or New York, an APAC MBA program may not be a great idea.


Some of the well-known Asian Pacific Business Schools are:


Australia: Melbourne Business School, AGSM Sydney

Singapore: INSEAD, NUS, NTU, SMU

Others: HKUST-Hongkong, AIM-Manila, CEIBES- China




4. Indian Business Schools:


Indian GMAT Mba programs


Advantages of Indian B-Schools are:

The biggest advantage is that there are no visa regulations in your own country!

Half of the hassles with regard to foreign MBA programs involve obtaining visa permit to study and work abroad. You will essentially be in familiar territory – in your own comfort zone – and have opportunities to network with people of a similar cultural and ethnic background.

Reputed Indian B-schools such as ISB will familiarize you with case studies specific to the Indian market, making you fit to work and excel in India. Today, many Indian B-schools are accepting GMAT as an admission criterion.



Disadvantages of Indian B-Schools are:

Doing your MBA in India will not help you to get out of your comfort zone and explore newer opportunities in life. You will remain in your cocoon!

Indian MBA programs do not offer many international job opportunities. So if your goal is to work abroad, an Indian MBA may not be the best way forward!

Indian B-schools still attract a very small percentage of international students as compared to U.S. and U.K., and have large classrooms. This means less diversity and lesser classroom interaction.


Some of the well-known Indian B-Schools are:








Great Lakes Institute of Management


Top MBA Colleges accepting GMAT

Do you know how important Profile Fitment is, in selecting an MBA program?

Read our blog on Profile Fitment! Next in our series: 1 year vs. 2 year MBA programs! Are you wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year?

Let us help you!


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How To Select The Right B-school Based on Your Profile

How to Select a B-school Based on Profile
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Profile fitment simply means whether your profile is apt for the B-school(s) you are applying to. 


For instance, say you are a 32 year old MBA aspirant with 9+ years of banking experience.


Given your age and work experience,  what would be a good MBA program  for you? The one-year IIMA-PGPX program, where the average age of students is 34 years, will be a great fit! But what if you are just 25 years old with 3 years of IT work experience? Your profile will not fit this PGPX program. In fact, you may not even be eligible to apply as this program requires a minimum of 5 years of work experience! Similarly, a typical two year MBA program at Darden is also not what you should look forward to, where you will be surrounded by much younger and less experienced peers!

Age and work experience are not the only criteria that determine profile fitment. You should also look at your background. For instance, if you are essentially looking for a diverse classroom, applying to a school where most of the students are from an IT background will not be fruitful to you, irrespective of the ranking or reputation of that B-school.

Why do you need to look into MBA class profile or business school profile? And why is profile fitment so important?

 Once you join a B-school, for the next 1 or 2 years (depending upon the duration of your program), you will be spending most of your time with your peers rather than with the faculty. Thus, your peers will influence not just your learning but also your experiences and perspective. If you are not able to strike a chord with your peers right from the beginning, or if you feel that you have very little to learn from your batchmates, you will definitely not be able to benefit from your MBA program fully! The fact that networking is one of the primary reasons why MBA aspirants select a particular B-school makes profile fitment all the more important.

The entire idea behind profile fitment is that you should fit in with the average class profile of the B-school(s) you wish to apply to!

You can easily find the class profiles of previous batches on the official websites of most top B-schools.

Profile Fitment Parameters that you need to consider:

Age (mean, median)

Number of  years of work experience

Educational background

Pre-MBA industry

Class composition


Wondering which top B-School you can get into? Let us help you!
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Here is a snapshot of an MBA Class Profile!

Harvard Business School: MBA Class of 2019 Profile



So go ahead – before you invest money and efforts applying to a B-school, spend some time researching whether you are the right fit for the school!
Do you know  how to select a business school? Read this write-up to know more…
Also check out our second blog to this series on  “Why the location of a Business school is important!”


An ideal shortlist will have a mix of Dream, Stretch and Reach schools, with some applications for Round 1 and some for Round 2.

Profile Evaluation Crackverbal



How To Select A Business School That Is Right For You

How to Select a B-school MBA
Reading Time: 7 minutes


After all the self-introspection you did to find answers to the most important career-related question in your life ‘Why MBA?’ you must have discovered a new person in yourself!

Now that you are equipped with the checklist – of what B-schools are looking for in their promising applicants, it’s time to think the other way round and select a business school that is right for you! 

As we always emphasize, an MBA is a huge investment of your time, effort and money; you can’t afford to pick up just any B-school that grants you an admit. A wrong decision will adversely affect you for life.


So, how to go about the B-school research?

Once again, you need to review your priorities. Think about this!


Do you want a 1-year or a 2-year program?

What is your dream destination – USA? Canada? Europe? Or Asia?

Do the program and living costs fall within your budget?

How much financial assistance will you need and how much are you likely to get from the Business school you’ve shortlisted?

Should you go for a large and diverse classroom program or one with a small class size where you may get personalized attention?

What is your dream career – investment banking? Consulting?

Does you dream company recruit from the B-school you have shortlisted?

How strong and impactful is the alumni network at this school?

How useful are their career and mentoring services?


How choose a B-School


So, how to select a Business School?

Here are the 6 factors that you need to look for when you select a Business school:


1. B-school Profile Fitment

This is one of the most important factors while selecting a Business school.

If you are going to spend the next 1-2 years of your life, then you better select a Business school that fits your profile and choose a community you’d like to be associated with for the rest of your life.

Some of the factors that contribute to B-school profile fitment include age, work experience & batch diversity.

To maximize your B-school experience, make sure you talk to people from that school – faculty, students & alumni – and get a sense of the B-school culture.


Profile fitment simply means whether your profile is apt for the B-school(s) you are applying to.


Don’t forget the journey matters as much as the destination and making sure your profile is a correct fit for the program is a significant factor for beginning your MBA journey.

To know about choosing a B-school fit for your profile to read our detailed blog on  Profile Fitment


2.  B-school Location

Factors like post MBA job prospects, cost of living, language barriers & post study visa policies make geography a critical parameter while selecting a B-school.

In 2016, Canada, Singapore, US, Australia & Europe were rated as the most sort after MBA destinations for Indian students.

Canada and Australia were given higher preference by students who were looking to get post MBA work permits while the US was chosen by students looking for better infrastructure & seeking to get into technology companies like Google, Amazon & Facebook. The U.S. is home to some of the greatest B-schools in the world.


The location of your B-school – from continent and country, right down to the city – is extremely important, and plays an important part in your MBA experience as well as your post-MBA opportunities.


Here are 3 points that will help you make a better choice:

1. Identify the countries and cities, where you wish to work and settle after your MBA.

2. Get in touch with Students & Alums of the particular B-school to find out which companies hire MBA grads, career opportunities available to MBA grads and post-MBA experience.

3. If you have relatives/friends staying in a particular country, you may want to look at schools in that region as this may impact your cost of living.

To know more you can take a look at our detailed blog on  Selecting a B-school based on Geography


3. 1-year vs 2-year MBA Program

A 2 year MBA is ideal for candidates looking to change career paths or are unsure about what specialization to take up. A two year MBA gives you ample time to make mistakes, learn new things and finally make up your mind about your area of specialization

While a one year program is more suited for people who are sure about their post-MBA goals and is ideal for people with more than six years of work experience as it would reduce their opportunity cost.

Here are some of the factors that you need to consider before choosing between a one year and a two year MBA:

1. Current experience
2. Social responsibilities (read marital status/kids) 
3. Post-MBA career options

Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both the programs in our detailed blog on  How To choose Between a 1 year and 2 year MBA program


4. B-School International Ranking

Don’t be guided solely by the international ranking of the school – do your research; secondly, make sure you understand the ranking parameters and methodology before you select  a Business school. 


Rankings merely tell you whether a particular B-school you are applying to falls in the  Top 5, Top 10 or Top 20, based on which you can make a wise selection.


Before you select a Business school make sure you go through our detailed blog on  How to choose the Right B-school Based on rankings. 


5. Specialization Offered

Specialization is one of the most overlooked factors in the process of B-school selection.

It is essential that you are clear about your post-MBA career goals and make sure that the MBA program you have selected is the best-suited for this.

Here is the list of the most popular MBA specializations in no particular order:

    • Finance
      A specialization in Finance involves the efficient and effective management of money (funds) in such a manner as to accomplish the objectives of the organization.


    • Marketing
      The marketing department plays a crucial role in any organization as they are responsible for bringing in new businesses, generating leads, creating brand awareness and increasing the company’s revenue.


    • Human Resources
      HR is a management function that deals with possibly the most valuable resource of an organization which is the human resource. A specialization in HR helps you understand how to hire, manage and retain workforce within an organization in an organized manner.


    • Supply Chain/Operations Management
      Supply Chain/operation is a process by which a company converts raw materials, labor, and capital into a final product or service. The supply chain and operations management will teach you how to manage the flow of resources between the point of origin and the point of consumption to meet requirements of customers or corporations.


    • International Management
      A specialization in International Management will help you hone the skills needed to meet the challenges of doing business internationally and to formulate effective management strategies in today’s globally competitive environment.


    • Consulting
      A specialization in consulting enables you with the expertise needed to provide solutions to specific problems or challenges faced by the organization or take charge of projects that may be beyond the capacity of the internal staff.


For more information on MBA specializations, read our blog on How to choose the right MBA college based on specialization

 6. B-school specific information

Now that you have shortlisted a few B-schools based on Geography, profile fitment, course duration, and specialization. It’s time to get into specific information regarding each B-school. 

To further narrow down on your final B-school selection take a look at  Specific B-school Insights for top Colleges across the Globe.


All these are very subjective decisions that you need to make on your own. And these can be made effectively only if you have done sincere and thorough research on the schools as well as your own goals. 


Are you wondering which top B-school you can get into? Let us help you!
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All good international MBA programs are unique in one or the other way. Unlike Indian schools, international B-schools give a lot of importance to candidate-school fit. The right fitment is a win-win for both – you and the B-school. So, you need to fish into the huge pool of business schools out there to hook the best possible option for you!


There are basically three categories of B-schools:

1. Dream school
2. Stretch school
3. Reach school

Let’s say you have 680 on the GMAT, 3.2 GPA and 4 years of work experience in IT.


Select a Business School


A Dream school  is one which is highly ranked and very reputed world over. It could be a school such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton or London Business School. The brand equity of these schools itself is so prestigious, that getting into it is like a life time achievement! But if you have a 680 on the GMAT with a 3.2 GPA and above average work experience, these schools will most probably be out of reach for you. Yes, nothing is impossible, but given the level of the competition, it will be extremely hard for you to gain an admit into such a school.


A Stretch school  is one that you could get into if you put in the right efforts. It may not be an Ivy League school, but still a very reputed one with lots of credentials. Considering the above example, schools like Kenan-Flagler, Tepper, Emory are among the stretch schools.


A Reach school  is one that is within your reach with your current profile. Other things being equal, considering the above example, Krannert, Kelley, Cox, Rotman, Manchester, and University of Cape Town GSB are some of the reach schools.


An ideal shortlist will have a mix of Dream, Stretch and Reach schools, with some applications for Round 1 and some for Round 2.



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Top 5 myths about ISB application busted!

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Over the last decade of its existence, ISB has evolved into a brand in itself – a sense of honor, prestige and accomplishment for everyone who has graduated from the Indian School of Business!   Constantly ranked as one of the top B-schools in India and also as 20th in the Global Top MBA Rankings 2012, Financial times, London. ISB has a lot to offer to future leaders in terms of research based innovative curriculum, international outreach, global best practices and insight into emerging markets for career growth. So if you are an aspirant trying to put your best foot forward in your ISB application, this blog will give you a headstart. 


ISB has been constantly ranked as one of the top B-schools in India and also as 20th in the Global Top MBA Rankings 2012, Financial times, London.


ISB has constantly maintained these esteemed rankings for five years consecutively. To add more feathers to its cap, ISB has also been revered with South-Asia’s first AACSB accredited school! Undoubtedly, MBA aspirants are not leaving any stone unturned to add ‘ISB’ into their CVs.   However, in this helter-skelter, several myths have cropped up over the last few years. Most of these grapevines are related to the ISB application process. We are looking at the top 5 myths!  



Myth 1: You are bound to get rejected with a sub-700 score!

ISB Application


GMAT is important. Very important! This is because to select among thousands of applicants, this concrete 3 digit number is of great help to B-schools world over. GMAT provides a good indication of a student’s logical application in a business context that will make him an effective future leader.   But do not forget that GMAT is just a part of the selection process and not the selection process itself.


Any reputed B-School, including ISB looks for a complete package to fit in their MBA program and not just one aspect in isolation.   There is a reason why an ISB application with a lower GMAT score are accepted. Else they could have just put up on the website “Applicants with only a GMAT score higher than 700 need apply”. According to the official ISB statistics around 25% of the entering class had a sub-700 score. Infact over the last few years we have had several of our own students get through with a sub-700 score getting!  


According to the official ISB statistics around 25% of the entering class had a sub-700 score.


This myth is perhaps propagated by those who got rejected because the other factors such as weak essays, poor interview are intangibles that no one wants to admit. I have not heard an applicant say “I got dinged because my post-MBA goals were perhaps a bit fuzzy”. While GMAT gives a more solid reason – “I got dinged because I had a 690” makes the excuse a bit more palatable.   Read on for a detailed Analysis on the ideal GMAT score range for ISB.    



Myth 2: You shouldn’t apply with more than 10 years of work-experience!

ISB Application


 Till date, ISB has created over 4000 global leaders who are spread over 25 countries! Though the average experience in the class is still a “young” with 3-6 years experience being the median on the curve, more and more mid-career professionals are seeking an ISB PGP to catapult their careers to the next level.  


ISB PGP admissions committee understands the unique background such senior people bring in, and works hard with the industry to ensure that they are rewarded with a position that is commensurate with their talents and experience. While the usual career progression is into a managerial position (“LEAD”), the students with more than 8-10 years of experience are provided with opportunities to interview for senior management roles such as Country Head (“LEAP”).  


Students with more than 8-10 years of experience are provided with opportunities to interview for senior management roles such as Country Head.


However, a caveat over here is that ISB (or any Bschool in the world) cannot guarantee placements. This is a known fact that there are fewer positions at such a level and that an MBA is not a “placement agency”. It is important that applicants with rich experience bring with them their own network, as well as understanding of their domain. ISB placement committee can ensure that the required groundwork is done to help facilitate the process.  



Myth 3: The details in the ISB application form are not that important!

ISB Application


 The online ISB application form that contains details regarding the applicant’s profile such as educational details, work-experience details, essays, video, and recommendations. Along with this there are also some details, which many applicants consider “minor”, such as extra-curricular, awards, languages known etc.   However the admissions committee gets to review a file which contains these very details before it even gets to see your essays. Thus, these details on the ISB application form become the initial point of contact between you and ISB.


First impression may not be the last one, but first impression does take you to the next level, that is the interview!   Thus, every aspirant should ensure that he/she reserves enough time to fill out all the details in the ISB application form completely so that it comes across convincing, interesting and unique.


The admissions committee gets to review a file which contains these very details before it even gets to see your essays.


It is very easy to create a login to see what are the details required. Do not leave out filling the form to the last date of the ISB application, when you will be hurried and might end up making mistakes.    



Myth 4: Showing NGO/not-for-profit work is a must on your ISB application!

ISB Application


 ISB is in search for people who bring varied perspective into the classroom discussions. That is why you will come across many interesting yet so-called “unconventional” profiles at ISB of people who have been involved in the society around us through various NGOs.   However, it is a myth that ISB wants everyone who applies to have contributed to a social cause.


Though, it is true that such an association does impact your ISB application in a positive way, it should only be added if the applicant has genuinely done so. Association with an NGO just for the sake of embellishing your ISB application will actually reduce your chances of an admission!


Association with an NGO just for the sake of embellishing your ISB application will actually reduce your chances of an admission!


Integrity is a quality that is highly regarded in B-schools these days. Culturally Indians tend to use their times constructively in many other different ways – not just in social causes. So, candidates should look at creative ways of revealing their managerial or leadership qualities such as playing a sport, or being a part of rock-band!  



Myth 5: The essays are the crucial aspects, the interviews can be handled!

ISB Application


 Applicants place a lot of emphasis on the ISB application essays – a correct thing to do because it is through essays that B-Schools will actually get to know about who you are as a person, and what you bring to the table.   However, it is also equally important that you focus on the interview process, through which the admissions committee tries to see if the person behind the essays is interesting in real-life.


Those 20-40 minutes are crucial because it is an opportunity for you to bring out real-life examples to convey your strengths and managerial traits.   There is more to you than an application form and the ISB interview panel wants to see that. Don’t deny them the opportunity by trying to play safe and telling them what you think they want to hear. Or still worse talking something tangential to what you have mentioned in your ISB application essays.  


The panel wants to know you better, and the only person who can help them is you.


Here is what we suggest to applicants facing an MBA interview – treat it like a conversation, not a quiz. The panel wants to know you better, and the only person who can help them is you. Just ensure you are able to articulate the main questions well – why you want to do an MBA, why specifically ISB, why is now the right time in your career, and why should they select you. The rest of the questions should be about what *you* have done in *your* life – something you should definitely not worry about!  


I hope this article was useful in busting a few myths about the ISB apllication process for you. Did you believe in any of them before you started reading? Is there any other myth you would like us to answer? Do let us know.  


For those planning to apply to ISB this year , please write to [email protected] or call us @ 9008177800.


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Step by step guide to stage-2 of the ISB-YLP

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are you among the elite few undergraduates who have managed to impress the admissions council of the Indian School of Business, more commonly referred to as the ISB?
Congratulations on clearing the first barrier! If you have managed to make the admissions team to sit up and take notice of your profile- a 90 second video and an essay- just imagine the impression you can create with phase-2 of the selection process!
Do I hear some groans? We, at CrackVerbal, believe in making life easier for applicants and so, here is a quick list of all the things you should be doing to gear up for ISB YLP stage-2!
First up, you’ll need to know WHAT EXACTLY level-2 of the ISB YLP selection process entails! We have compiled a possible list of questions that might be playing on an applicant’s mind.

Q: I have been shortlisted for the Stage-2 of the selection process by ISB for the YLP program. So, what happens next?

A: Congratulations once again, on being shortlisted. What lies ahead of you is another frontier to conquer. The official website states that for stage-2, an applicant needs to submit
GMAT score
Three essays
Two evaluations.

Q: You mean I have to take the GMAT? What is the GMAT?

A: Yes, you do. And you have to take it fast- the deadline for submitting your application for stage-2 is August 7th 2012. This means you need to act fast and book an appointment to take the GMAT asap!

Q: I have to “book” an appointment to take the exam? How do I do this?

A: Don’t you worry, for any queries that you might have regarding booking a date to take the GMAT, read our article which contains a step by step guide to book an appointment for the GMAT. Click here.

Q: Ok, so I can book the appointment now, but, the GMAT is another exam right? What is the GMAT all about?

A: Yes, it is yet another exam. However, it is unlikely that the GMAT is like any other exam you might have had the opportunity to take before! First of all, download our free e-book here! To know about the details of the exam, click here.

Q: So now I know all about the exams, but, preparing for such an exam is a different ball game altogether, right? Phew, I am just exhausted thinking about it!

A: Don’t be! Again, we have it simplified for you. Preparing for the GMAT is certainly a different ball game, but, we at CrackVerbal have a few time-tested tricks up our sleeve! To know more about the preparation strategy that we recommend for the GMAT, click here.

Q: Alright, so what about material? Where do I go and what do I buy?

A: WAIT! Before you resort to buying (or downloading, as the case may be J ), do take a minute to read what the experts say on the best books for the GMAT!

Q: I guess I got many doubts regarding the GMAT clarified, but, what about evaluations? Whom do I get them from?

A: The admissions committee themselves have said the following, regarding evaluations
Two evaluations from faculty or people who know about your achievements”

Q: I still have one problem- ESSAYS! I would love to get some feedback on the essays I have written! Do you have any suggestions on that front?

A: Of course, we do! Check out our blog on a detailed Essay Analysis of the ISB YLP essay prompts.
Want to know more about ISB? Click here to know more!
Wondering if you can make it to the ISB? Let us help you!
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How to Select the right B-school for You

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Are you in a similar situation?

Step 1: Aced the GMAT Status (Done)

Step 2: Apply to B-school (Which one?)

Read on to find out how to shortlist your b-school

What are your chances of getting through to a particular school?

self-assessmentThe GMAT does not leave you in a state of limbo or suspense. As soon as you finish the test, you know what is your score and using that you can make a realistic assessment of where you stand a chance of getting through.

If your score is 700+, you can take a punt at applying through all the b-schools that you have ever dreamed about. As the score decreases, you have to start strategizing. No-one will prevent you from applying to Harvard Business School with a GMAT score of 500, but all you will be doing is donating $250 to Harvard Business School.

Rate yourself:

stregthDon’t fall into the Indian examination trap that a good score will guarantee you a seat in the high table of a b-school. All the top b-schools look for cornucopia of talent in a potential student of their school. Uni-dimensional candidates will NOT be preferred.

So if you are a Male, Engineer, Indian IT employee working in the same domain for 4 years, even an 800 score might not get you into Harvard or Wharton. Meanwhile an arts graduate, entrepreneur, social activist and a basketball champion might get into a top b-school with a 650 in GMAT. So, know your strengths and weaknesses!

Geographic location:

MBA abroadWhere you want to study plays a major role in you deciding which b-school you want to go to. You want to visit the United States, experience the culture and lifestyle and you have your Maternal Uncle who will provide you with food and shelter, you can choose a b-school there. If you want to experience the peace and serenity of Europe, look up some schools in the continent.

And finally, you hate getting jet-lagged and want to eat Indian food and live in an Indian surrounding, Singapore is the place for you. And you want to stay back in your motherland, ISB Hyderabad and Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai are always there.

Of course, admits in some b-schools have to be accepted without any geographical constraints. The names you very well know :-)


moneyIt is a given that a good b-school comes at its price. So you are looking at huge capital expenditure for your MBA. However there are some good schools, which are relatively cheaper. (Look for the How to fund your MBA article to get a lowdown on the costs).

Similarly, also look for cities which have a low cost of living which will help you substantially save up on your living expenditure. Case in point is INSEAD France vs INSEAD Singapore. Although the program fees for both campuses are the same, the living expenditure in Singapore is half of that of France which results in substantial savings.

Duration of the program:

1 yr 2 yrEssentially this boils down to how much time are you willing to take off from your career for an MBA. Generally MBA programs are of two types,

1. One Year MBA
2. Two year MBA

Most of the reputed full-time courses in the USA are of two year duration. Their European counterparts are however, of one-year duration. Remember this, if you want to change your career after your MBA, look for a two year program as they offer you better opportunities to do the same.

One year MBA programs are tailored more toward professionals who actually help you move up the ladder in your own organization. So you might come as a senior developer and then rejoin as a Delivery Manager.

Want to know more about the B-Schools? Check out our B-School info page.

Wondering which Top B-School you can get into? Let us help you!

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List of Indian B-Schools accepting GMAT Scores

Indian Flag
Reading Time: 25 minutes

There are more than 100 institutes in India that accept GMAT scores for their business programs. This article provides valuable information about these institutes. For each program offered by these institutes, you will find details about the location, duration, cost, courses, well-known alumni, and the pay you can expect after you graduate.


Note: Pay packages indicated are per annum




Andhra Pradesh

1. Gitam School of International Business (GSIB) – Vishakapatnam


1. Indian Institute of Management – Raipur

New Delhi

1. Faculty of Management Studies – New Delhi
2. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade – New Delhi
3. Indian School of Business & Finance – New Delhi
4. Apeejay School of Management – New Delhi
5. Delhi School of Business – New Delhi


1. Goa Institute of Management


1. Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad


1. Indian Institute of Management – Rohtak


1. XLRI – Xavier School of Management – Jamshedpur
2. Indian Institute of Management – Ranchi


1. Indian Institute of Management, (IIM-B) – Bengaluru
2. T. A. Pai Management Institute – Manipal
3. MYRA School of Business – Mysore
4. Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies – Harihar
5. Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli – Tiruchirappalli


1. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade – Kolkata
2. International Management Institute (IMI) – Kolkata
3. Indian Institute of Management, (IIM-C) – Kolkata

Madhya Pradesh

1. Indian Institute of Management, (IIM-I) Indore – Indore


1. S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research – Mumbai
2. School of Management, NMIMS – Mumbai
3. Institute of Management Technology – Nagpur
4. K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research – Mumbai
5. National Institute of Securities Markets – Mumbai
6. FLAME University – The Pioneers of Liberal Education in India – Pune
7. SDM Institute for Management Development – Pune


1. Indian Institute of Management, (IIM – Shillong) – Shillong


1. Xavier Institute of Management – Bhubaneshwar
2. Asian School of Business Management (ASBM) – Bhubaneshwar
3. School of Management (IMI) – Bhubaneshwar


1. Indian Business School – Mohali


1. Birla Institute of Technology and Science – Rajasthan
2. Indian Institute of Management Udaipur – Udaipur

Tamil Nadu

1. Great Lakes Institute of Management – Chennai
2. VIT Business School – Vellore
3. Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras (DoMS) – Chennai
4. School of Management – SRM University – Chennai


1. Indian School of Business – Hyderabad
2. Institute of Management Technology – Hyderabad

Uttar Pradesh

1. Indian Institute of Management, (IIM-L) Lucknow – Lucknow
2. Institute of Management Technology – Ghaziabad
3. Shiv Nadar University – School of Management and Entrepreneurship – Greater Noida


1. ISB, Hyderabad and Mohali


Name of the college – Indian Business School


Average GMAT

  • Hyderabad: 705

  • Mohali: 708


Average work experience – 4 years


Tuition fees – INR 25,00,000


Location – Hyderabad and Mohali


Courses Offered

  • PGPM

  • Management Development Programmes

  • Custom Designed Programmes


  • YLP-Young Leaders Programme



  • Entrepreneurship

  • Finance

  • Information and Technology Management

  • Operations Management

  • Marketing

  • Strategy and Leadership


The Industry specializations offered are

  • Healthcare

  • Manufacturing

  • Public Policy

  • Infrastructure



Neeraj Arora (Vice President at WhatsApp), Ajith Andare (COO, Viacom), Nalin Jain (CEO, GE Rail), Sameer Khetarpal (SLT, Amazon), Sriram Venkataraman (CFO, Flipkart)


Average pay package – INR 20,90,211



2. S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai


Name of the college – S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research


Average GMAT – 650 for Indian applicants and 600 for international students.


Average Work experience – 5 years



  • PGDM – INR 15,50,000

  • PGPM – INR 13,50,000

  • PGCIM – INR 5,20,000


Location – Mumbai


Courses Offered

  • PGDM

  • PGPM




  • Rajesh Jejurikar, President and Chief Executive – Farm Equipment & Two Wheelers, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd

  • Madan Padaki, Co-founder and Director of Sylvant Advisors

  • Sunil Lulla, Chairman and MD of Grey Group, India

  • Girish Wagh, Sr. Vice President & Head Project Planning and Program Management of Tata Motors

  • Shiju Radhakrishnan, Founder and CEO of

  • Pradeep Kar, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Microlan


Average pay package – INR 19,30,000



3. IIM, Ahmedabad


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad


Average GMAT – 700


Average Work experience – 5 years


Tuition – INR 24,50,000


Location – Ahmedabad


Courses Offered

  • PGPX-Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives


  • Ajay Singh Banga – President and Chief Executive Officer, MasterCard
  • M. S. Banga – senior partner, Clayton Dubilier & Rice
  • Sarthak Behuria – former Chairman of Indian Oil Corporation; former Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Petroleum
  • Sanjeev Bikhchandani – founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Infoedge and
  • Piyush Gupta – Chief Executive Officer, DBS Bank
  • Madan Mohanka – Founder & Chairman, Tega Industries Ltd
  • Kiran Karnik – former President of NASSCOM; current Chairman of the National Committee on Telecom & Broadband at the Confederation of Indian Industry
  • Mahendra Mehta – CEO, Vedanta Resources plc.
  • Shikha Sharma – Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Axis Bank
  • Suresh Vaswani – President, Dell Services
  • Ashok Vemuri – CEO of Conduent
  • Rajesh Gopinathan ‘- CEO and MD, Tata Consultancy Services
  • Nelabhotla Venkateswarlu, former CEO of Emami House
  • Ajay Srinivasan – Chief Executive-Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group

Average pay package – INR 22,14,000


4. School of Management, NMIMS, Mumbai


Name of the college – School of Management, NMIMS


Average GMAT – 600


Average Work experience – 2 years



  • MBA – INR 17,50,000
  • MBA Pharma – INR 10,50,000
  • MBA HR – INR 17,50,000
  • MBA Family Business – INR 18,00,000
  • Executive MBA – INR 5,00,000
  • PGDM Bangalore/ Hyderabad/ Navi Mumbai/ Indore – INR 14,50,000

Location – Mumbai


Courses Offered

  • MBA
  • MBA Pharma
  • MBA HR
  • MBA Family Business
  • Executive MBA
  • PGDM Bangalore/ Hyderabad/ Navi Mumbai/ Indore


  • Avani Davda – ex-CEO, Tata Starbucks India
  • Harish Iyer – LGBT activist
  • Kiran Janjani – actor
  • Aruna Jayanthi – CEO, CapGemini India
  • Rakesh Khanna – CEO and President, Syntel
  • Deena Mehta – MD and CEO, Asit C. Mehta Investment Interrmediates Ltd.
  • Nitin Rakesh – CEO and Director, Mphasis
  • Kunal Shah – Co-founder, FreeCharge
  • Gautam Shiknis – founder and MD, Palador Pictures
  • Chandni Jafri – CEO – Mumbai Angels

Average Package – INR 17,58,000



5. IIM, Bangalore


Name of the collegeIndian Institute of Management, (IIM-B) Bangalore


Average GMAT – 700


Average Work experience – 5 years



  • PGP – INR 18,50,000 (Indian Candidate)

  • PGPPM –INR 11,60,000

  • PGPEM – INR 14,50,000 (To be paid in eight installments)


Location – Bangalore


Courses Offered

  • PGP





  • Damodar Mall (PGP 1986), CEO, Reliance Retail.

  • Deepak Ohri, CEO, Lebua Hotels & Resorts.

  • Malavika Harita (PGP 1982), CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Focus.

  • Sameer Suneja (PGP 1994), Global CEO, Perfetti Van Melle.

  • Shashi Sinha (PGP 1981), CEO, IPG India.


Average Package – INR 21,42,000



6. Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai


Name of the college – Great Lakes Institute of Management


Average GMAT650


Average Work experienceFresher, or a maximum of 24 months of work experience


Tuition – INR 1,55,8000 (For Indian Students)


Location – Chennai


Courses Offered

  • PGPM

  • PGDM


Alumni – 


Average PackageINR 12,33,000



7. IIM, Calcutta


Name of the collegeIndian Institute of Management, (IIM-C) Calcutta


Average GMAT – 718


Average Work experience – 5 years



  • PGPEX – INR 22,00,000

  • PGPEX-VLM – INR 11,25,000


Location – Kolkata


Courses Offered

  • PGP






  • Ajit Balakrishnan, founder and Chief Executive Officer of; Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIM Calcutta

  • Vikrant Bhargava, co-founder and Group Marketing Director, PartyGaming

  • Ashish Chauhan, Managing Director and CEO, Bombay Stock Exchange

  • Pranay Chulet, co-founder and CEO of Quikr

  • Sunil Duggal, Chief Executive Officer of Dabur

  • Krishnan Ganesh, serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of TutorVista

  • Meena Ganesh, entrepreneur

  • Sabyasachi Hajara, Chairman and Managing Director, Shipping Corporation of India

  • Shantanu Khosla, MD of Procter & Gamble India

  • Anand Kripalu, Managing Director and CEO United Spirits Limited

  • M. R. Madhavan, President and co-founder of PRS Legislative Research

  • Deepak Mohoni, stock market analyst, coined the term Sensex

  • P M Murty, former MD and CEO of Asian Paints


Average Package – INR 20,00,000



8. XLRI, Jamshedpur


Name of the college – XLRI – Xavier School of Management


Average GMAT – 660


Average Work experience – 5 years



  • PGDM (BM) INR 20,00,000

  • PGDM (HRM) INR 20,00,000

  • PGDM (GM) INR 18,50,000

  • EXE-FPM INR 8,50,000


Location – Jamshedpur


Courses Offered

  • PGDM (BM)

  • PGDM (GM)

  • PGDM (BM) part-time (JSR)

  • PGDM (Global BM)



  • Muthuraman, Vice-Chairman, Tata Steel Ltd.

  • Krishnakumar Natarajan, CEO of MindTree

  • Leena Nair, Global Senior Vice-President (Leadership & Organisation Development),Unilever plc

  • Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser plc[27]

  • Vineet Nayar, Vice-Chairman & Joint managing director, HCL Technologies Ltd.

  • Naveen Jain, Founder of inome, and Moon Express

  • Arun Maira, Former partner at Boston Consulting Group

  • K. Pandiarajan, Co-Founder Ma Foi Management Consultants, MLA Virdhunagar, Tamil Nadu


Average Package – INR 19,21,000



9. IIM, Lucknow


Name of the college –  Indian Institute of Management, (IIM-L) Lucknow


Average GMAT – 700


Average Work experience – 6 years


Tuition – INR 16,00,000


Post Graduate Programme in Management [PGPM] – INR 14,16,000

Post Graduate Programme in Agri-Business Management [PGP-ABM] – INR 14,16,000

Post Graduate Programme in Securities Markets [PGPSM] – INR 14,16,000

Working Managers Programme [WMP] – INR 12,65,000


Location – Lucknow


Courses Offered


Post Graduate Programme in Management [PGPM]

Post Graduate Programme in Agri-Business Management [PGP-ABM]

Post Graduate Programme in Securities Markets [PGPSM]

Working Managers Programme [WMP] – INR 12,65,000

International Programme in Management for Executives [IPMX]

Fellow Programme in Management [FPM]




  • Gaurav Sabnis (Class of 2004)- Famous Indian blogger (see The Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) advertising controversy

  • Rahul Singh (Class of 1995) – Director, India Asia-Pacific Equity Research, Citigroup

  • Sanjeev Agrawal, CEO, Homeshop18 , ex CEO Pantaloons

  • Rakesh Jha, Deputy CFO, ICICI Bank, India

  • Shekhar Deshpande, Global Planning Director, J Walter Thompson, London Kameswara Rao, Partner & Leader, Power Sector practice, PwC India

  • Sabaleel Nandy – Strategy Head, Tata Chemicals

  • Nitin Seth (Class of 1996) – Managing Director & Country Head-India, Fidelity International

  • Amitabh Thakur (Famous RTI activist and IPS)

  • Shanmughan Manjunath

  • Gaurav Agarwal – 2013 Civil Services topper who is now an IAS officer.

  • Prabh Simran Singh – Head Google Consumer Industry and Economic Times hottest 40 under 40

  • Bhuwan Gaurav – Another Economic Times 40 under 40 and former Head of Tanishq Industries and now CEO at 7Cs Group

  • Ajit Thakur – CEO of Eros International’s motion pictures production and Former Head of Life OK and Channel V

  • KV Pratap – Chief Economic Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office

  • Kamal Gianchandani – Director, Emerging Markets, Credit Derivatives, Citigroup, HK

  • Baburaj Pillai – Managing Director, Arohi Asset Management, Singapore

  • Rakesh Kapoor- Managing Director , Pacific Brand

  • Shashank Sinha – President, Sara Lee, Singapore & Malaysia

  • Amit Banati – President, Cadbury, Asia Pacific

  • Shailesh Jejurikar – Vice president-home care North America , P&G

  • Dhimant Shah – Director, Emerging Markets Credit Derivates, Citigroup, HK

  • Vandita Pant – Global Head of Group Capital Planning, Group Treasury, Royal Bank of Scotland, London

  • Lakshminarayana K R – Chief Strategy Officer, Wipro

  • Rajeev Sabharwal – Executive Director, ICICI

  • Tarun Tripathi (Class of 2002) – Head, Marketing and External communication, Yash Raj Films

  • Neeraj Gambhir (Class of 1995) – Managing Director & Head of Structured Finance and High Grade Credit – India, Nomura Fixed Income Securities Private Limited

  • Anjali Mullatti (Class of 1993) – Co-Founder, CEO & M.D., Finitiatives Learning India Pvt. Ltd.; Trustee, The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust

  • Vipul Sant (Class of 1989) – Director, License Compliance, Microsoft India

  • Prabhat Awasthi (Class of 1994) – Head, Equities & Research, Lehman Brothers

  • Jatin Suryawanshi (Class of 1994)- Head, US Algorithmic Trading, UBS Investment Bank, New York


Average Package The median salary for the 2015-17 batch was INR 18,45,000. Source:- MHRD, National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)


10. IMT, Ghaziabad, Hyderabad, Nagpur & Dubai


Name of the college – Institute of Management Technology


Average GMAT – 690


Average Work experience –  3 years


Tuition – INR 15,00,000




  • Ghaziabad

  • Hyderabad

  • Nagpur

  • Dubai


Courses Offered


  • Ghaziabad

  • Two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management

      • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – PGDM-FT (In 2nd yr one can choose among Marketing, Finance, HR, Solutions and Consulting, Strategic Management and Analytics)

      • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Finance

      • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Marketing

      • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Dual Country Program (DCP)- Student spend first year on Dubai Campus and second year at Ghaziabad.

      • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Executive

      • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – Part-Time

  • Two-year full-time MBA programme

  • Doctoral programme (PhD) in Management

  • Management Development Programme for Executives

      • General Management Programme for Executives (GMPE)

  • Hyderabad


PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management)

2-year full-time residential program is offered to students in:

• PGDM (Core)

• PGDM (Finance)

• PGDM (Marketing)


Executive PGDM The Executive PGDM is a 15-month weekend program designed for professionals with minimum three years of work experience. The program admits students with diverse background of academic, culture and business.


Fellowship Program in Management (FPM)


The Fellow Program in Management (FPM) at IMT Hyderabad culminates in the original research presented in a candidate’s doctoral thesis and conferment of the FPM.



  • Two-year Post Graduate Diploma in Management

  • Management Development Program (MDP)



  • Sachin Pilot, former Minister of State in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs

  • Nimmagadda Prasad, chairman, MAA TV; vice chairman & founder, Matrix Laboratories

  • Prasoon Joshi, eminent advertising personality and regional creative director, APAC, McCann Erickson

  • Pranava Prakash, Noted Sociopop Artist

  • Mini Mathur, Indian Host/Actress/Model

  • Rajeev Karwal, Founder Milagrow

  • Prachi Tehlan, Actor/former National sportswoman


Average Package – INR 11,00,000



11. IIM, Indore


Name of the college –  Indian Institute of Management, (IIM-I) Indore


Average GMAT – 690


Average Work experience – 5 years



  • Indian Nationals: INR 18,00,000

  • Foreign Nationals: US $45,000


Location – Indore


Courses Offered

  • EPGP




Average Package INR 16,23,000



12. IIM, Kozhikode


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management  Kozhikode


Average GMAT – 650


Average Work experience – 5 years




PGP – INR 8,75,000


Location – Kozhikode


Courses Offered       

  • Post Graduate Programme in Management

  • Fellow Programme in Management

  • Executive Post Graduate Programme



Manjunath Talwar – Founder & CEO at Hiree. Kashyap Chanchani – Managing Partner at The RainMaker Group.


Average Package – INR 17,15,000



13. FMS, Delhi


Name of the college – Faculty of Management Studies


Average GMATFMS accepts GMAT only from foreign nationals; such candidates must have a minimum score of 650


Average Work experience – 2-3 years



  • MBA –  INR 10,480 per annum

  • MBA Executive –  INR 50,000 per annum


Location – Delhi


Courses Offered

  • MBA

  • MBA Executive

  • MBA Executive Health Care Administration



  • Anupama Verma – Model, actress, and television personality from Lucknow. She was a contestant on Bigg Boss 1 in 2006.

  • Harit Nagpal- MD & CEO, Tata Sky Ltd

  • Ira Singhal – Indian Civil Services Examination Topper 2014 (conducted by UPSC)

  • Nishikant Dubey – Nishikant Dubey is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha of India. He represents the Godda constituency of Jharkhand, is a member of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). He was also member of 15th Lok Sabha of India.

  • Raghav Bahl- Founding/Controlling Shareholder & Managing Director, Network 18

  • Sandip Das- Managing Director, Reliance Jio Infocomm

  • Sat Parashar – Head of the Banking Center at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance, Director at the Indian Institutes of Management, and was also the director of the Indian Institute of Management Indore, India from 2004 to 2008.


Average Package INR 20,60,000



14. TAPMI, Manipal


Name of the college – T. A. Pai Management Institute


Average GMAT – 650


Average Work experience – 3 years



  • PGDM  – INR 14,00,00

  • PGDM – HEALTHCARE – INR 9,50,000

  • PGDM – BKFS – INR 15,00,000


LocationManipal, Karnataka


Courses Offered

  • PGDM





  • D N Prasad –  Director for Google People Services (GPS)

  • Rajeev Jain – Chief Executive Officer of Bajaj Finance Limited

  • Gurudas Pai – Director- Debt Capital Markets at The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

  • Amit Chugh – EO of Cosmos Ignite Innovations

  • Simeran Bhasin – Sales Executive with Manipal Group of Hotels

  • Mr. Sharad Agarwal – Head of Lamborghini India


Average Package – INR 10,06,000



15. Dept. of Management, BITS Pilani, Rajasthan


Name of the college – Birla Institute of Technology and Science


Average GMATThere is no cutoff score. Selection is based on the candidate’s profile. CAT and GMAT are considered


Average Work experience – 2 years


TuitionINR 6,56,000


Location – Rajasthan


Courses Offered


  • MBA Consultancy Management

  • MBA Manufacturing Management

  • MBA Quality Management

  • MBA Finance



  • Sanjay Mehrotra, founder of SanDisk Products and Services

  • Phanindra Sama, founder of

  • Dr. B. Sandhya, IPS, Additional Director General of Kerala Police

  • Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 2009 – 2014

  • Gulu L. Mirchandani, founder of Onida Electronics


Average Package – INR 8,50,000



16. XIM, Bhubaneswar


Name of the college – Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar


Average GMAT – 550


Average Work experience – 3 years



  • MBA BM – INR 15,40,000

  • MBA HRM – INR 15,40,000

  • MBA RM – INR 11,00,000

  • MBA SM – INR 11,00,000

  • EXECUTIVE MBA – INR 15,40,000

  • PhD (sponsored) – INR 6,00,000


Location – Bhubaneswar


Courses Offered

  • MBA in Business Management (MBA-BM)

  • MBA in Human Resource Management (MBA-HRM)

  • MBA in Rural Management (MBA-RM)

  • MBA in Sustainability Management (MBA-SM)

  • MBA in Global Management Leadership (MBA Global)

  • Executive Programme in Business Management

  • Executive Programme in Rural Management

  • Doctoral Programme PhD



  • Joseph Hadrian Bosco (Class of 1996), Senior Vice President, ICICI Securities Ltd

  • Mohammed A.Alam(Class of 1996), Head of Product Management, National Commercial Bank,Jeddah,Saudi Arabia

  • Mitul Rustagi (Class of 1996), Executive Director Business Development & Strategy, Johnson Controls Inc

  • Pinaki Banerjee (Class of 1995), Country Manager – South Asia, Pilkington Glasses-UK

  • Pinaki Rath (Class of 1991), MD, GoldMatrix Resources, Singapore

  • Pinaki Mishra (Class of 1991), Partner, Ernst & Young, India

  • Prateek Agrawal (Class of 1994), Head – Equities, Bharti AXA Investment Managers

  • Ravikumar Sangaselli (Class of 1997), AVP, Infosys Technologies Ltd

  • Rajendra Kumar Mishra (Class of 1991), Founder & CEO, Indea Capital, Singapore

  • Sidharth Rath (Class of 1992), Senior Vice President – Capital Market, UTI bank


Average Package – INR 13,18,000



17. IIFT, Delhi & Kolkata


Name of the collegeIndian Institute of Foreign Trade


Average GMAT – GMAT only for Foreign Students. Indian students are required to write the IIFT exam.


Average Work experience – 3 years



MBA IB – INR 15,20,000

Executive Courses – INR 3,50,000

Certificate Course – INR 75,000

  • PGP – Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Capital And Financial Market – INR 3,60,000

  • PGD – Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Marketing –   INR 3,60,000

  • PGD – Executive Post Graduate Diploma in International Business – INR 3,60,000

  • MBA International Business – INR 14,50,000

  • MBA Part time – INR 8,00,000



  • Delhi

  • Kolkata


Courses Offered

  • PGP – Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Capital And Financial Market

  • PGD – Executive Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Marketing

  • PGD – Executive Post Graduate Diploma in International Business

  • MBA International Business

  • MBA Part-time



  • S.K. Roongta, former chairman of Steel Authority of India ltd.

  • Rashesh Shah, founder of Edelweiss Capital


Average Package – INR 18,41,000



18. Goa Institute of Management, Goa


Name of the college – Goa Institute of Management


Average GMAT –


Average Work experience – 2 years



PGDM – INR 15,21,700

PGDM HealthCare Management – INR 8,19,000


Location – Goa


Courses Offered

  • PGDM

  • PGDM HealthCare Management

  • PGDM Big Data Analytics



  • Ketan Hajarnavis (Batch 1997-99) Director – India Business , Executive Consultant & Client Partner at ThoughtWorks

  • Sachin Kapoor (Batch 2001-03) , Leader of Vendor Strategy and Operations at Google

  • Samarjeet Singh (Batch 1995-97) Director-Founder Iksula

  • Balendu Shrivastava (Batch 1998-2000) Head of Measurement at Facebook, India

  • Benzi Alex Mathew (Batch 1999-2001) Client Relationship Director at ZS Associates


Average PackageINR 8,50,000



19. K.J.Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai


Name of the college – K. J. Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research


Average GMAT – GMAT score is applicable to only those applicants who fill the form under NRIs / Foreign Nationals and PIOs


Average Work experienceInformation not available


Tuition – INR 11,99,000


Location – Mumbai


Courses Offered

  • Executive – PGPM

  • Master in Management Studies [MMS] (Finance)

  • Master in Management Studies [MMS] (Human Resource)

  • Master in Management Studies [MMS] (Operations)

  • Master in Management Studies [MMS] (Marketing)



  • Piyush Jha, Novelist, Film Director

  • Lata Pillai, Director, Deutsche Bank

  • Shyam Motwani, Executive VP & Business Head, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

  • Prakash Nair, Advertising Senior VP, Ogilvy & Mather

  • Llyod Mathais, CMO, Hewlett Packard India

  • Anuj Bhargava, CEO, AB Associates

  • Sheetal Daftary, Director, KPMG

  • Somanathan Ranganathan, Chief Operating Officer – South East Asia, Starcom Mediavest Group

  • Srinivasan Krishnamachary, Executive Director, JP Morgan


Average Package:  INR 9,40,000



20. School of Management and Entrepreneurship – Shiv Nadar, Mumbai University, Greater Noida


Name of the college – Shiv Nadar University – School of Management and Entrepreneurship


Average GMAT – Not specified.


Average Work experience – 2 years



Master of Business Administration – INR 12,09,000


Location – Greater Noida


Courses Offered

Master of Business Administration


Alumni –


Average Package – INR 6,00,000 to INR 8,00,000



21. MICA, Ahmedabad


Name of the collegeMudra Institute of Communications

Average GMAT – There is no cut-off. Can also use CAT scores.

Average Work experience – 2 years


Tuition – PGDM-C is INR 14,50,000


Location – Ahmedabad


Courses Offered

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Communications (PGDM-C)

  • Fellow Program in Management-Communications (FPM-C)

  • Crafting Creative Communications (CCC)



  • Manmeet Vohra who heads Marketing for Starbucks India.

  • Charu Harish, who heads Planning for APAC Region for the Grey Group.

  • Rajat Tuli, the founder of Buy funny & unique gifts from India’s coolest company – Happily Unmarried

  • Kunal Jeswani, CEO of Ogilvy India.

  • Saurabh Verma, CEO of Leo Burnett India

  • Arpita Sangha, Global Marketing Head, HP

  • Sandeep Arora, Global Head, Research & Analytics Solutions at Datamatics Global Services


Average Package – INR 11,30,000



22. IMI Kolkata


Name of the college International Management Institute (IMI) Kolkata


Average GMAT – 650


Average Work experience – 2 years


Tuition – INR 11,50,118


Location – Kolkata


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

  • Fellow Programme in Management (FPM)


Alumni – Information is not available


Average Package INR 8,50,000



23. VIT Business School, Vellore


Name of the college – VIT Business School


Average GMAT – GMAT accepted. No specific cut-offs.


Average Work experienceSome executive work experience will be preferred





Location – Vellore


Courses Offered




  • Puru Govind(COO Retail, SAP)

  • Mr. B. Chittibabu (Chairman & Managing Director, BBIPL Infrastructure (India) Pvt Ltd)


Average PackageINR 4,50,000



24. Birla Institute of Management Technology, Noida


Name of the college Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH)


Average GMAT – Valid GMAT score. No cut-offs specified


Average Work experience – Two years



  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) – INR 11,00,000

  • PGDM (International Business – INR 11,00,000

  • PGDM (Insurance Business Management) – INR 8,50,000

  • PGDM (Retail Management) – INR 8,50,000


Location – Greater Noida


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

  • PGDM (International Business)

  • PGDM (Insurance Business Management)

  • PGDM (Retail Management)


Alumni – Not Found.


Average Package INR 7,35,000


25. IIT-DMS, Madras


Name of the college – Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras (DoMS)


Average GMAT – GMAT only for foreign students. CAT for Indian candidates.


Average Work experience – 2 years


Tuition – INR 1,89,000 per annum


Location – Chennai


Courses Offered

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) at IIT Madras is a two-year, full-time management programme

  • Post Graduate Programme for Executives for Visionary Leadership in Manufacturing (PGPEX-VLM)

  • PhD programme in management



  • T. K. Alex – Director at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, 2008–2012

  • Hemendra Aran – CEO and founder, Aranca]

  • Krishna Bharat – Creator of Google News; Principal Scientist, Google

  • Bhaskar Bhat – Managing Director, Titan Co. Ltd.

  • Jayas Damodaran – CEO, Boston Technology Corporation

  • Average Package – Information is not available



26. ISBF, Delhi


Name of the college – Indian School of Business & Finance


Average GMAT – 500+ (Optional)


Average Work experience – Optional



  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management – INR 5,13,229

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Economics – INR 4,80,000

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Finance – INR 4,80,000


Location – New Delhi


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Economics

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Finance



  • Nikhil Vijay Galapure – Market Research Analyst at TCS

  • Preynasha Sahni – Compensation Analyst at  UBS Investment Bank


Average Package – INR 5,00,000


27. IIM, Ranchi


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management


Average GMAT – 600


Average Work experience – 5 years


Tuition – INR 12,50,000


Location – Ranchi


Courses Offered

  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) Programme

  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management

  • Post-Graduate Programme in Management for Executives

  • Fellow Programme in Management (FPM)  


Alumni –


Average Package – INR 14,80,000



28. School of Management – SRM University, Chennai


Name of the college – School of Management – SRM University


Average GMAT – Marks – 500/800


Average Work experience – Not mentioned


Tuition – INR 5,00,000


Location – Chennai


Courses Offered

  • Master of Business Administration – MBA

  • Master of Business Administration – MBA – Banking and Financial Services

  • Integrated MBA (5 years)



  • Abhay Jodhpurkar – singer

  • Neeraj Madhav – actor

  • Niveda Thomas – actor

  • Murali Vijay – cricketer


Average Package – INR 6,00,000



29. IIM, Rohtak


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management Rohtak


Average GMAT – good GMAT/ CAT score will help in getting the candidature shortlisted quickly


Average Work experience – 3 years


Tuition – INR 11,75,000

  • Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) : 5,25,000 yearly

  • Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGPM) : 6,10,000 yearly

  • Executive Training (MDP): Sponsored programmes also known as Open programmes

  • Fellow Programme in Management (FPM) : Scholarship based programme thus tuition fee is waived off


Location – Rohtak


Courses Offered  

  • Post Graduate Programme (PGP)

  • Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP)

  • Fellow Programme in Management (FPM)

  • Management Development Programme (MDP)

  • Faculty Development Programme (FDP)



  • Simmi  (Deputy Manager at Tata Teleservices Ltd)

  • Stuti Kohli (Assistant Manager- Corporate Strategy at Spicejet

  • Joshika Dikshit (Consultant – Wipro Ltd


Average PackageINR 12,30,000


30. National Institute of Securities Markets, Mumbai


Name of the college – National Institute of Securities Markets


Average GMAT – 45O +


Average Work experienceSix months and above in any intermediary approved by SEBI/RBI/IRDA will be given credit, as per weights mentioned in the PGPSM admission brochure.


Tuition – INR 3,30,000


Location – Mumbai


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Securities Markets) (PGDM(SM))

  • Post Graduate Programme in Securities Markets (PGPSM)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Quantitative Finance (PGDQF)

  • Certificate in Securities Law (CSL)

  • Certificate in Treasury Management (CTM)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Engineering and Risk Management (PGDFERM)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Data Science (PGDDS)




Average Package – INR 5,50,000



31. IIM, Shillong


Name of the collegeIndian Institute of Management, (IIM – Shillong)


Average GMAT – CAT (percentile of the test taken in either of the years 2014 or 2015) and/GMAT® (scores for the past three years). Appropriate relaxations may be granted for candidates with strong managerial/supervisory role experience.  


Average Work experience – 5 years


Tuition – For Indian Nationals: INR 13,00,000


Location – Shillong


Courses Offered

  • PGPM

  • PGPEx

  • FPM




Average Package – INR 14,80,000



32. FLAME, Pune


Name of the college – FLAME University – The Pioneers of Liberal Education in India


Average GMAT – There is no minimum score


Average Work experience – 5 years


TuitionINR 11,30,000


Location – Pune


Courses Offered

  • MBA

  • MBA (Communication Management)




Average PackageINR 5,30,000


33. IIM, Tiruchirappalli


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli


Average GMAT – 600


Average Work experience – 3 years


Tuition – INR 12,00,000


Location – Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu


Courses Offered

  • PGPM two-year full-time Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM)

  • FPM Four-year full time residential doctoral programme Fellow Programme in Management

  • PGPBM two year Postgraduate Programme in Business Management (PGPBM)




Average Package – INR 13,01,000



34. Mysore Royal Academy, MYRA School of Business, Mysore


Name of the college – MYRA School of Business


Average GMAT – No specific cut-offs


Average Work experience – 5 years



Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDM) – INR 10,00,000


Location – Mysore


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDM)

  • Post Graduate Program for executives (PGPX)

  • Global MBA


Alumni –


Average Package – INR 8,00,000



35. IIM, Udaipur


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management Udaipur


Average GMAT – 620


Average Work experience – 4 years


Tuition – The course fee for PGP and PGPX is around INR 11,35,000 and INR 6,50,000 (excluding taxes) respectively.


Location – Udaipur


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Programme (PGP)

  • Fellow Programme in Management (FPM)

  • Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives PGPX)

  • Management Development Programme for Women Entrepreneurs (MDPWE)


Alumni –


Average Package – INR 12,00,000


36. Kirloskar Institute of Advanced Management Studies


Name of the college Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies


Average GMAT –


Average Work experience –


Tuition – Information not available


Location Harihar, Karnataka


Courses Offered –



  • Dipak Jain, Vice President Corporate Banking, The Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, Class of 2004-06

  • N Srilakshmi, Insurance Department, Meraas Holding LLC, Dubai, Class of 2004-06

  • Sandeep Tarayil, Consultant – Financial Crime & Compliance, Actimize Inc., Georgia, USA, Class of 2006-08

  • Susmita Mishra, Human Resource Business Partner, Sandvik Coromant India & South East Asia., Class of 2006-08

  • Priyanka Eluri, Head Outsourcing, MTR Foods Pvt Ltd, Class of 2008-10

  • Jitender Singh, Project Manager, Decathlon Sports India, Class of 2000-2002

  • Basharat Abbas, Founder and CEO, Enthusionz Services Pvt. Ltd.,Class of 2009-11

  • Sudeshna Srivastava, Senior Manager, HR, Genpact India, Class of 2001-03


Average Package – Information not available



37. IIM, Raipur


Name of the college – Indian Institute of Management Raipur


Average GMATDomestic Candidates (in India) – CAT , International Candidate (outside India) – GMAT


Average Work experience – 3 years



  • PGP – INR 10,26,000

  • PGPWE – INR 6,43,000

  • EFPM – INR 5,53,000

Location – Raipur


Courses Offered

  • Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)

  • Fellow Programme in Management (FPM)

  • Post Graduate Programme in Management for Working Executive (PGPWE)

  • Executive Fellow Program in Management (EFPM)


Alumni – Information not available

Average Package – INR 12,51,000


38. GITAM School of International Business, Visakhapatnam


Name of the collegeGitam School of International Business (GSIB)


Average GMAT – GMAT for MBA. 500 – 800.


Average Work experience – Not mentioned.



  • MBA – International Business – INR 7,50,000

  • MBA (Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management) – INR 7,50,000

  • MBA (International Banking and Finance) – INR 7,50,000


Location – Visakhapatnam


Courses Offered

  • MBA – International Business

  • MBA (Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management)

  • MBA (International Banking and Finance)



  • Mr. Anand Kumar Raju Vegesna

  • Director Resource Management & Talent Development, Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, Frankfurt Germany

  • Mr. Sarath Chandra

  • (MBA -2001) – Senior Category Manager, Microsoft, New Delhi

  • Mr. Sapthagiri Chapalapalli

  • (BBM -1995), Director- Central Europe,Tata Consultancy Services, Frankfurt Germany

  • Mr. Venugopal Palteru (MBA – 1998) National Sales Manager – North Africa, GSK Consumer Health Care Ltd Cairo, Egypt


Average Package – INR 5,00,000


  • Asia Graduate School of Business, Hyderabad

  • Amrita School of Business, Amrita ViswaVidyapeetham, Amritapuri

  • BIMS, Bangalore

  • IISWBM, Kolkata

  • IILM Graduate School of Management, Greater Noida

  • ITM, Mumbai

  • Siva Sivani Institute of Management, Hyderabad

  • Jindal Global Business School, O.P Jindal University, Sonipat

  • NIIT, Neemrana (ICICI Business Leadership Program)


39. Apeejay School of Management, New Delhi


Name of the college – Apeejay School of Management


Average GMAT – 500 Marks


Average Work experience – Not mentioned.



  • PGDM (Full Time)

  • PGDM (Full Time) in International Business (IB)


Location – New Delhi


Courses Offered

  • PGDM


Alumni – No


Average Package – INR 3,70,000


  • Acharya School of Management, Bangalore

  • School of Telecom Management, Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune

  • AIMS School of Business, Bangalore Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad

  • SOIL, Gurgaon

  • Aegis School of Business and Telecommunication, Navi Mumbai

  • Prin. L.N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai

  • Amity Institute of Telecom Technology and Management, New Delhi

  • Apex Institute of Management, Pune

  • TERI School of advanced Sciences, TERI University, Delhi, Pune



40. Asian School of Business Management (ASBM), Bhubaneswar


Name of the collegeAsian School of Business Management (ASBM)


Average GMAT – Exams accepted are CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT, GMAT.  No specific cut-offs for GMAT.


Average Work experience – Not mentioned.



  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) – INR 5,96,600


Location – Bhubaneswar


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)

  • Alumni – Not found.


Average Package  INR 3,50,000


  • Bangalore, Mumbai & Guwahati

  • B I I M, Bangalore

  • College of Commerce, Shivaji University, Pune

  • Centre for Management, Mumbai

  • International School of Management Excellence, Bangalore


41. School of Management, International Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar


Name of the College – School of Management (IMI)


Average GMAT – GMAT accepted. 600 and above.


Average Work experience – Not mentioned.






Location – Bhubaneswar


Courses Offered








  • Aastha Bansal – Associate Research Manager – IMRB INTERNATIONAL

  • Jubin Joseph – Business Consultant – CAPGEMINI INDIA


Average PackageINR 7,50,000

  • IBA, Bangalore

  • Seshadripuram Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore

  • Lotus Business School, Pune

  • College of Commerce and Management, Pune

  • Faculty of Management, Mody Institute of Technology and Science, Jamnagar

  • School of Management, Udaipur

  • Spicer Memorial College, Secundrabad

  • National Management School, Chennai

  • National Schools of Business and Management Private Limited, Chennai

  • Praxis Business School, Kolkata

  • Pune Institute of Business Management, Pune

  • Vanguard Business School, Bangalore

  • Sadhana Centre for Management & Leadership Development, Pune


42. Delhi School of Business, Delhi


Name of the college – Delhi School of Business


Average GMAT – GMAT accepted. No specific average. CAT, MAT, XAT, CMAT are also accepted.


Average Work experience – Not mentioned.



  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) – INR 8,00,000


Location – Delhi


Courses Offered

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)


Alumni – No found.


Average Package INR 5,50,000


43. SDM Institute for Management Development, Mysore


Name of the college – SDM Institute for Management Development


Average GMAT – GMAT accepted. No specific average.


Average Work experience – Not mentioned.



  • Two-Year Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM – Full-Time Residential) – INR 10,07,000

  • PGDM + PGCPM – INR 3,00,000


Location – Pune


Courses Offered

  • Two-Year Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM – Full-Time Residential)

  • PGDM + PGCPM ((MAT/CAT/XAT/ATMA/any other state level test.) to be eligible)


Alumni – No found.


Average PackageINR 6,50,000

We hope you found the information useful. We’re sure that you can make a well-informed decision, and apply to the appropriate institutes and programs.