First Attempt: Yes
Can you introduce about yourself?
Hi, I’m Sankalp. I gave my GMAT in September 2016 and I scored 730, post which I applied to a few business schools – the top tier business schools. I have got an admit in Michigan Ross.
Can you tell us about your work profile?
I graduated from IIT Bombay in 2013 and started my career in consulting with EY, post which I moved to Boston Consulting Group (BCG). I worked there for a year, took a break and worked with a FinTech startup based in Bangalore over a year and moved back to BCG. So, I have a cumulative experience of five years and will be joining Michigan Ross this year.
What advice would you offer to aspirants planning for MBA?
GMAT was not in my plan initially. I thought of doing MBA very late. That’s probably one advice I would like to give MBA aspirants: plan your career in advance. Plan for your MBA and start working towards it right when you are in college. I planned to do MBA only a couple of years ago when I was with a startup. There were things I did to make my profile more attractive – I wanted to pursue consulting at a better firm, I did some social work on the side, I’d written the GMAT once before, so I rewrote the GMAT to get a better score. So there were a few twists that I had to sort out for my MBA profile. From an MBA standpoint, you should be doing this well in advance so that you’re doing these things for a consistent amount of time so that when you show your story to an MBA board, you can say that you are passionate about something and you have been doing it for a long time.
What do you think the B-schools will be expecting from a candidate?
From a talent standpoint, I think it was very difficult to understand what these business schools want. You want to tailor your profile to suit their requirements, but there’s only so much you can do. Eventually, you have to present what you want to do in life and do the best in whatever you are doing because if you try and tailor your profile towards every business school, you are not going to end up doing something you like.
The biggest challenge I faced was not being able to understand what the business schools wanted. Only when I started researching about them and talking to people did I understand the level of preparation that is required, which I realized that I hadn’t done beforehand, so I started working towards it in a short period of time. Another challenge I faced is that it is a long and tedious process – preparing for GMAT, thinking about the essay story that works best for you, and bringing all your personal and professional elements in order for that particular story. Bringing everything in one tune is a challenging aspect, but if you have your story in place in advance, you can weave your career to fit the story.
Tell us about your overall Application experience.
Last year, I only applied to the business schools like Wharton, Kellogg and MIT Sloan, keeping rankings in mind. I did not make it to these schools, primarily for two reasons – I hadn’t done much research about these schools and my story was not coherent. So, in the next year, I applied to another set of top-tier schools. I realized as long as I can get to my intended goals, these schools of my choice were great, and my story became much more understandable. My initial storyline was centered around entrepreneurship, which is very difficult to do in the US – but I hadn’t given that a lot of thought. So the second time around, I looked at the logical storyline that I can come up with and I built my story around that. My story was around coming back to consulting, and more B-Schools have 30-40% placements in that so I guess it has rung well with them.
What prompted you to come to CrackVerbal?
When I started planning to do MBA and essays that were required, I was completely blank. I did not know what to write, no matter how much I discussed it with my friends. That is when I thought of taking help from a consultancy. I spoke to a lot of consultancies from India and the US. I consciously chose an Indian consultant as they can deal with you much better than international consultants. Since I was in Bangalore and CrackVerbal was also in Bangalore, I approached them. They sounded good and had a good history of placing students in top-tier business schools. So, CrackVerbal was a natural choice for me. I also took help from my friends outside of CrackVerbal. CrackVerval helped me come up with a sensible storyline.
What did you like about the team at CrackVerbal?
Arun Jagannathan is very comfortable and easy to deal with. He understands your context really well and understands what you want. He helps to bring out your best and does not try and change your story and bring out something that is not natural. That’s something I liked about him and working with him.
How are you planning to manage your finances?
There are multiple options, but the most common practice is to take a loan from Prodigy finance.
What is your suggestion to MBA aspirants regarding interviews?
My suggestion is, plan your profile well ahead of your application. Your application may be a one-year process, but preparing for your application is a 4-5 year process. Start preparing it in advance, building your profile, bringing out the leadership aspect in you. Do not hesitate to take help because an MBA is a big investment in terms of money as well as time. Build your profile in such a way that you can go to any school of your choice. If you do not end up there you could also look at other schools in the top 50.
Sankalp has also been featured on Poetsandquants Class of 2020 at Michigan Ross