First Attempt: Yes
What was your profile like before you considered an MBA?
I did my undergrad in VIT, Vellore. I was recruited off campus as a business technology analyst at Deloitte. We are into technology consulting. I then moved to Deloitte digital.
When did you start thinking about an MBA?
One day, in 2013 I spent some time thinking about my future and I realised I wanted to do something more interesting and challenging rather than just technology. Thats when I felt an MBA would help.
Did you think of the CAT as well, because most people first think of that. What made you think of the GMAT?
I think the main thing I wanted from an MBA was the global exposure. The Indian MBAs are very competitive but I feel it’s not as great for global exposure.
I also felt I could relate to an MBA abroad because of the study methods in terms of the case studies and so on.
How did you go about preparing for the GMAT?
I used a lot of the resources available online and on the forums and I would also be a part of group discussions. I had a lot of friends who studied at CrackVerbal so I would study with them as well. For me group studies work, but each person has their own way of studying. I also took the MBA.com free tests which helped me assess my performance. I got a 730 on the GMAT and I took it on July 2nd, 2013.
A lot of people who take the GMAT also take the CAT. They think that their CAT preparation will get you a good score on the GMAT. But the GMAT is very different from the CAT so the approach matters if you need a good score.
I think for self-study you need to be strong theoretically and know how to approach a particular section of the test for which you need to probably refer to study material. Practice is the key to tide over the GMAT challenges.
When did you begin on your application process?
To be honest I was lost, I wasn’t sure when I had to figure out the various nitty gritties. The Essay Writing workshop at CrackVerbal really put things in perspective and gave me a framework to work with, it gave me a lot of direction. Before that I had no direction and no idea where to begin.
How did you choose which schools to apply to?
I looked at all the rankings and then seeked out profiles on Linkedin about the school. They are very forthcoming with their responses so this gave me a good first hand account of what the school offers.
I even spoke to them about their interviews and how they went about it and applied that to my interviews. For instance I got into CUHK and the students had told me that they appreciate honesty so I thought out my answers from that perspective. I know this is probably not the best way to tackle an interview but it’s good to be able to understand what kind of person the interviewer will be and frame your answers accordingly.
I also feel the school websites are useful to an extent but the blogs are very insightful. Like for UNC, Tepper & Duke, their blogs were very good. Most of the blogs are not easily accessible so you’ll have to dig a little deeper.
How many schools did you apply to?
I applied to at least 10 which were spread across different locations. There was CUHK, IE and many others in the US.
I converted 5 schools – Tepper, McCombs, Georgetown, UNC Kenan Flagler and IE Business School. I’ve decided to go with Kenan-Flagler as I have also been offered the Forte Fellowship.
What advice would you give to people getting ready to write their essays?
The challenge I faced was that I couldn’t recycle my essays for each school since they all have different questions.
I also struggled with figuring out my short-term and long-term goals because I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted. Even now my peers are already applying to the prerequisite courses because they already know what they want. So it’s important to figure it out what you want especially since an MBA gives you so many options so it can get confusing.
I tried retrofitting my essays but that didn’t work because the tone and the spirit of the essays don’t come out. This is where getting my essays reviewed by the CV team again helped – they acted as a sounding board for my ideas.
How were your interviews?
Kenan Flagler was my first interview, the panelist made me feel really comfortable and I never felt the stress of an interview. He was about 60 years old and was an entrepreneur before he joined the school. It was very easy.
At Tepper you get to choose your interviewer, I chose a lady because she seemed sweet and friendly! The interview was very similar to that with Kenan Flagler, it was very relaxed.
CUHK I got interviewed by two people, I was questioned simultaneously. This was very tricky and it was conversational. It didn’t feel like an interview at all. It was more like a chat and I wasn’t asked any questions I had not anticipated.
IE’s was an alumnus interview. It was a also a very typical interview.
How did you prep your recommenders?
I told my recommenders what I would like to highlight. I made them read my essays and get some feedback too. I think they mostly had no experience in writing recommendations so I needed to help them understand that better.
I had 5 people I had in mind for the recommendations were mostly managers because I was applying to so many schools and didn’t want to depend on the same 2 or 3 people.
Any advice for aspirants?
I think you should get yourself a consultant because it’s only there that you get a good understanding of what the panel requires of you. I think it’s because I worked with CrackVerbal I managed to convert my applications.