You know that you want to get an MBA from India, and you have your eyes set on ISB. I mean, after all, it is one of India’s best B-schools.
But if you are like me, you have seen the average GMAT scores at ISB before setting your mind to this. And maybe you are not entirely sure if scoring above 700 is going to be possible with the little time that you have ahead. Or, you have already taken the GMAT and your scores are now set in stone, and they are below 700.
In any case, you’ve come to the right place.
Because in this article, I am going to give you an overall picture of why GMAT matters but also why it doesn’t matter entirely.
In this article, you will learn:
- Why Does ISB Care About Your GMAT Scores?
- Is Your GMAT Score the Only Important Factor for ISB?
- How Can You Improve Your Chances with a Sub-700 GMAT Score?
I know you want to be quick about this; so let’s get started!
1. Why Does ISB Care About Your GMAT Scores?
You are probably with me when you think, “What?! Scores don’t tell you much about anyone. It’s the 21st century. We all know this by now.”
While I know and believe this, I also know that GMAT is probably one important way for the B-school to get a better sense of you.
I say this because the GMAT is not your average exam. It’s not about learning “by heart” or “rote-learning”!
Hear me out:
In many ways, the GMAT is an assessment of your ability to handle complex problems under highly stressful conditions.
What I mean is that the B-school uses your GMAT score to understand how well you handle curveballs that are thrown at you: immense pressure, quick decision making, logical thinking, amazing time management, etc. Especially because you’ll need the exact skill set to finish your 11 month MBA program at ISB.
ISB’s PGP is an intense program. No doubt about this. You have to do a bunch of stuff in a short period of time and some more additional stuff like networking, organizing, attending events, partying… Stress to the extreme degree. “Work hard, party harder” is the norm!
Your GMAT score will tell them at ISB that you have what it takes to be a next level ‘multi-tasker’ and a ‘multi-thinker’ (if you know what I mean!)
So, a high GMAT score tells ISB that you have what it takes to be a corporate ninja.
Let me also reveal another secret:
ISB wants high GMAT scores because it needs a high GMAT average for itself.
Think about it!
If they have a good average, their MBA Ranking goes up. It is good for their brand value. They can pat themselves on their back and say, “Look! We have GMAT high scorers coming to ISB.”
Now that we know why they want to see good GMAT scores, let me tell you how GMAT fits into the whole portfolio.
2. Is Your GMAT Score the Only Important Thing for ISB?
I think by now, you have a good idea about where this is going.
A good GMAT score is a brownie point for your application, but it’s not the only thing that matters.
ISB AdCom will look at your application portfolio to see what other aspects stand out. These are some of the obvious questions they will ask:
What is your academic background?
What level of industry experience did you come away with?
Is your cultural background or existing skillset unique?
Now, you will have to take it upon yourself to showcase your profile in the best way possible. Expecting them to make inferences, connect the dots, etc. is not how you should go about it.
The best way to understand whether your profile has factors that ISB will find unique is to look through the detailed Class Profile. It will immediately tell you where your profile matches the typical ones that ISB accepts and where it is different.
I’m sure you know what a ‘Sales Pitch’ is. And this is probably the best way to understand my point.
Highlight your uniqueness, your unconventional perspectives, your expertise, your achievements in such a way that the AdCom will clearly think, “Oh, this candidate must have taken the GMAT on a bad day; everything else is outstanding.”
Because ultimately, they are also looking to see how well you will fit in with the crowd while standing out. You know how a classroom is, right? A lot of learning happens through discussions, debates, case studies, etc. If everyone in the class has the same opinions and thought processes, then there won’t be any great takeaways.
Of course, the fact that there’s no such thing as an ISB GMAT cut-off is enough to prove that there’s more to it than your GMAT score. I know that with the Indian education system everything is about “cut-offs,” but lucky for us, this is not how things work at ISB, or any other good B-school for that matter.
Here is another fact that should motivate you: ISB accepts students with a wide range of GMAT scores; the range of score in the Class of 2020 is from 600 to 770.
How do we know this? We looked at their class profile for 2020. 😛
Some sub-700 scorers’ profiles have traits proving that they are worthy of being in the class, in spite of their low scores.
Why don’t you give our article on 6 traits B-Schools look for in applicants a read to get an idea of how to pitch yourself to a B-school like ISB?
3. How Can You Improve Your Chances with a Sub-700 GMAT Score?
Suppose you’re looking for a life partner and you’ve got two non-negotiable checkboxes you want them to tick:
- S/he should be tall.
- S/he should have a stable and good job.
Now, say you find someone who is 5’2 and has a great job. So you can tick one of the two boxes. You come to know that there is a promotion soon.
But the first box (height requirement) is not fulfilled. You don’t expect a lot, but a 5’8 would have been awesome.
Now reverse this scenario:
Suppose you meet someone who’s 5’10. Go ahead and tick that first checkbox! Unfortunately, this person is between jobs. There is a chance of a better job.
So, there is hope. There is a chance that this person will fulfil both the requirements.
If you have to pick between just these two, which one would you choose?
Definitely the one who can make up for the missing criterion! Smart decision!!
That’s exactly how it works with your MBA application to ISB.
The school has a set of requirements that it expects you to meet. However, if you don’t meet one of the requirements, it is not necessarily a deal-breaker. You can make up for it by doing other things within the same bracket.
Your GMAT score falls under the umbrella of academics. So, if you have a low GMAT score, make up for it by completing some specialized courses and certifications. You should mention and highlight everything that could show a high academic aptitude—like any research papers you’ve published, or if you own any patents, etc. Basically, things that will boost your academic category of the portfolio!
These additional academic papers will show that you can handle the course load and pressure.
As long as you can show that you’re strong on the academic front, an admission with a sub-700 GMAT score for ISB isn’t too unrealistic
Now, this is an important ‘however’—if you tried the GMAT way a couple of times and luck hasn’t favored you yet, you can go the GRE way. There’s a chance that you’ll do better on the GRE than on the GMAT. Read our article on GMAT vs. GRE to help you figure this out.
I hope you’re convinced that GMAT is not the only thing that matters for an admit to ISB. I have also told you how to amp up your portfolio if your GMAT is below 700.
What do you think?
Do you have insights that you would like to share with me on this topic? Go ahead and let us know in the comments below!
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