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Indian Admits -Room : Keep all desi discussions here!

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Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 07:38
Guys,

I have been trying to analyze my dings. Essays and reccomendations are things that will always have room for improvement. But there are other factors that can be quantified and may help indicate what areas people like me should improve upon. So please indicate the three choices that describe you. One each for Educational qualification, GMAt score and work ex.

Thanks for your help and time.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 08:00
After going through the insanity called B-school apps, I think I can say this with great certainty that your work ex and how well you describe yourself/your work/your achievements in the essays and in the rest of the application are the most important parts of the app. And the good news is that most of it is still in your control. Don't worry too much about the undergrad or the GMAT score (unless you are below the average). Just MHO.

ps. Being from IT kinda sucks though :(
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 08:17
Pandey- I completely agree with mneo's assessment. A great example of how important WE and how you bring it out in your essays:

Two other friends and myself applied to the same set of M7 schools. All three of us went to IIT's (three different ones), did our MS here, and worked in the same company/industry and the same GMAT as well. Our gpa's were different and EC's were nothing spectacular. And our goals were all the same (kind of expected given the industry we are in).

In the end, only one guy made it to GSB and the other guy is WL. I got dinged. I truly believe it came down to these two things:

1. Your career progression and how well you could portray it in your essays. You need to have articulated clearly your impact to the company.

2. Your goals have to be really clear-I know it is cliched- but the successful guys goals flowed really well from his current role and he maintained a solid theme of his goals throughout the essays. His essays were not as "polished" but had a lot of passion for his goals. In contrast, my essays were pretty well edited and written but lacked the passion I feel. The guy who was WL had an equally impressive WE (he has made presentations to the CEO of the company, a Fortune 200 one. He has increased revenue of almost a $1BB for this company). But his essays were similar to mine- conservative and lacked that personal and passionate feel. Bottomline- dont try to replicate those essays found in books and let your true self come out.

3. Try to do something extra- submit an extra reco if the school allows. Make that extra trip to the school and try to get as much face time with the adcoms as possible. I think they might not be decisive factors but every little bit might help.


Having said that, for an Indian to get into M7 is a pretty tough task. I know there are a lot of desis in all the top schools but I am talking about pure acceptance rates for us is probably less than 10%. Even on this forum- we had a bunch of impressive desi profiles and I think mneo, ujjib and nupur (I am sure I am missing 1 or 2) are the few who have been admitted to an M7. I am not trying to discourage you at all- just trying to put things in perspective.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 08:29
dosa_don wrote:
His essays were not as "polished" but had a lot of passion for his goals. In contrast, my essays were pretty well edited and written but lacked the passion I feel.


Agree with dosa (Hey we are playing the "agree-agree" game). After my R1 debacle when I got a ding at Wharton and a deferral at Columbia, I was forced to look at my application strategy again. And I found how all my effort had gone into making essays look "polished" and similar in tone to the ideal essays that I had seen. I had done a very poor job of writing about myself and how my goals were logical and achievable. My essays were a bit shameful actually -- trying too hard to impress. Another mistake that I made was that I had spent all my time polishing the essays, and I took 5-10 minutes describing my work in the application form. I just quickly took some info from my resume, took out the technical mumbo-jumbo and pasted it in the form. I wonder how Columbia called me for an interview. I tried to fix those problem in R2.

Coming back to the essays, passion, honesty and flow are much more important in an essay than "polish". I am not saying that you should have grammatical mistakes. But you know that already.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 09:22
I agree with both of you and i plan to ask you guys to look at my essays and critique them. But from the responses so far, here is what is becoming clear, IIT brand name matters unless of course one has a non-technical background. Also, People who did not do undergrad at IIT did either a masters at IIT or an MS. Look at how there is no one with an undergrad at the REC / NIT without a graduate degree. This points to something important. Although adcoms say that you must explain why you need another graduate degree, at least for indian applicants it helps if you have one. It also reinforces the widely held belief that for Indian applicants a sub 700 score is not good enough. Notice that there is equal distribution between 700-750 and 750 -800 range.

My idea for this poll has precisely that. I cannot go back and get a MS or MTech now, nor can i change my work experience. What i can do is make sure my essays are better (Here i am going to need all of your help), in the time that i have i should develop some extra curricular that is worthy of being put in the application. At this point i am debating whether i should take the GMAT again. I have a 730 and i took it only once. I am sure i can prepare better and push it another 30 points (on the actual test i ran out of time on quant and marked the last 5 without even reading the questions). I am debating what all efforts i should invest before i am ready for R1 again.

I am going to need your help in analyzing my applications. If any of you have time and would like to help, PM me with your mail ids and i will email you my application.

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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 09:31
pandeyrav, I will assess my own situation and hopefully that helps you.

I have a 100%(well, almost) batting average at all elite schools and 0 acceptances at UE schools.

Although I could have improved on my essays and interviews, I believe my UE dings were driven by the lack of academic/professional pedigree in my resume. I am a male applicant from the IT industry(eventhough I personally do busines consulting in the areas of sales channel management and compensation, my employer is generally viewed as an IT powerhouse). So, strike 1 - not a significant brand name and coming from a crowded and under-appreciated industry.

Also, my undergrad was not from IIT or other name brand institution like BITS etc. I looked at profiles of alumni from my UG school over the years and found only 3 or 4 people who have done their MBA from UEs. And all of them had an MS from Berkeley, MIT or Stanford. So, probably their grad school brands helped them. Strike 2 - No grad degree and UG from a very competitive school with no brand name in the international MBA circles.

Pedigree loves pedigree. Do not underestimate this. If you dont have pedigree and come from a tough crowded pool, your chances at UE schools is virtually nil. Having a great GMAT(say 780) or an out of the world extra-curricular achievement (olympian, run your own $1 M business etc, have a name-brand award) will help. So assess your profile accordingly.

Finally, dont believe that a great set of essays can get you in. A great set of essays can help you, but cannot help you overcome lack of pedigree or high GMAT. I thought I had a solid set of essays, but was dinged pretty much without second thought at all UEs. Honestly, we cant blame the schools. They will pick who they think are the best candidates. And an IIT grad or McKinsey employee will definitely be attractive to them more tham you or me.

My take is apply to top-elite schools : Ross, Tuck, Haas etc and include 1 or 2 UEs. Have reasonable expectations.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 09:36
Pandey- I know a lot of people here will probably advice against retaking your GMAT with a 700+ - but I did retake it. If you look at the Ross admits this year (just the desi's) all of them have a 760+. In fact, very few of the desis were even invited to an interview with a score lower than 740. So I think GMAT matters to some schools(maybe just outside the M7) more than the others.

I dont think schools actually prefer students with an MS in the US. I think it so happens that the % of applicants with an MS in the US tend to probably be more in non-IT fields (atleast a few I know) and hence are able to differentiate themselves a little. In fact mNeo is from an IIT and I dont think he did an MS here. Also, once you have an MS, there is probably some level field for the schools as they can relate to your competencies. Coming from an unfamiliar college in India might be a disadvantage but with an MS from say a top 10 engineering school in the US will help the adcoms realise your academic capabilities. Obviously you are right in that respect but something to think about is taking an online business related course or two from either UCLA and Berkeley- this will help you show interest in the field.

Actually, at times I feel being from an IIT is a disadvantage. There are so many IITians who apply and as I dont have a great GPA (6.8) and the schools are aware of the grading systems there :)
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 09:39
I have been checking very few threads and I now notice two changes:
Penguin ---> GSB - Congrats mNeo.

Dosa: Have you also secured another admit (whose avatar you havent yet been able to find) and subsequently withdrawn your Ross admit?

Coming back to the topic, I must admit I completely underestimated the difficulty of getting into M7 and overestimated the importance of GMAT (770/q50/v44/5.5). I took my GMAT very late (first week of Jan) and decided to apply for the top schools based on my GMAT score. I had not participated much in these forums until after I finished my R2 applications (for which I had less than one week), so I didnt know that I was part of the most oversubscribed and quite competitive pool.
After reading all the posts in this forum and getting a feel of the level of competency of fellow applicants, I learned to take dings in my stride. Some goals are so worthy that it is glorious even to fail. :-D

Anyway, the question that now stares at me is this: should I wait (a minimum of 2-3 years i guess) to re-apply to the top schools (lower M7's and higher 2nd M7), OR go for 11-20 ranked schools? I guess many in this forum are going through similar dilemma. Would love to know your views.

Anyway, other successful desis, plz continue to share your experiences.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 09:50
Parsi - I took it down after I got my Duke admit as I was not sure. But I am leaning towards Ross for sure.

Regarding your question- how much work ex do you have and how old are you? If you are closer to 30, then it is probably prudent to re-apply this year. If you are closer to 1 yr WE, then maybe wait 2-3 yrs.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 09:53
I totally agree about the pedigree thing. My employer is a top 10 software exporter but does not have the brand pull of an IBM or a Google or a Mckenzie. I do however have some great brands for whom i consulted in course of my work (GE - about 3 years and Coca-Cola 2 years). However, I can see how there would be several desi applicants who would have similar or better work experiences.

So my plan is to switch jobs to a better brand - A deloitte or PWC or IBM. The other option is to stick around with my current employer if i am given a chance to work in the new business consulting group they are creating. That way i can demonstrate my contribution in setting something new which might be almost as good a positive as 6 months at a big brand.

I emailed the female student who interviewed me at GSB and although GSB is not offering feedback, she said there was nothing wrong with me so far as my interview was concerned. So at least i know that interview was not a screw up. She also said that my GMAT was good enough and i need not retake it. But i am thinking of retaking the GMAT just to be safe. She was of the view that i am not required to take additional classes / courses unless my GPA was really bad which it is not (I topped my Branch in 6 of 8 semesters and over all). All this brings me back to my essays and my recommendations. I have a suspicion that my recommendations were not all that great and insightful as i they could have been. I think my essays were decent. I could certainly improve there as well.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 11:07
dosa_don wrote:
Parsi - I took it down after I got my Duke admit as I was not sure. But I am leaning towards Ross for sure.

Regarding your question- how much work ex do you have and how old are you? If you are closer to 30, then it is probably prudent to re-apply this year. If you are closer to 1 yr WE, then maybe wait 2-3 yrs.


I got 3 years of work-ex - all IT (in India). Am 27.
I then switched to Medical Technology Research as part of my MS (in USA). I might have done my PhD had I not realized the possibility of being "pigeonholed" in an extremely focused research for the rest of my life. Also, being in a clinical environment, I foresee a good career in Entrepreneurship in Medical Devices, Healthcare management; hence, I have been toying with the idea of MBA.
Any suggestions?
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 11:44
parsifal, pandey, oz, bsd et al, I will be in school if and when you re-apply. But feel free to ping me for any advice, essay reviews etc. Good luck for next year!

P.S : bsd, I still think you will get off the NYU WL. When are you re-taking GMAT?
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 11:55
Thanks nc.

Let me know if you will have time to critique my GSB and Wharton app and what i could have improved.

Any other guys interested in doing this please let me know.

thanks

ncprasad wrote:
parsifal, pandey, oz, bsd et al, I will be in school if and when you re-apply. But feel free to ping me for any advice, essay reviews etc. Good luck for next year!

P.S : bsd, I still think you will get off the NYU WL. When are you re-taking GMAT?
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 12:38
Great thread. I guess when it comes to what works and what doesn't for us Indian applicants, there is not much disagreement :)

nc: I am pasting verbatim from an email I sent earlier today morning to a friend, who is has a Duke admit & was waitlisted at Stern.

For Indian applicants like us, who have been branded with the IT brush, age, GMAT and UG school are probably key factors. I've seen several admits at the Kellogg, Chicago & Wharton - what stands out is the prevalence of IITs, a great score, and then 4-5 years of blue chip work experience. I am sure essays also matter but having the basic prereqs gives them a leg up.

dosa:
an IIT degree could be disadvantage if your UGPA is lower, nevertheless, the brand cachet still gets you some respect compared to any another engg school. I am still not sure how much an MS would help. Most adcoms convey the impression that they don't consider it any differently than a BS in the same discipline.

Personally, I had 3 strikes going against me - non-IIT(NIT), score(730) and finally, my age(31). On the plus side, I work for a top chip company & have had good career progress. My goals relate well to my career. I also believe I did my due diligence in terms of researching fit, relevant courses & clubs and talking to students at every school I applied to. The results: I was dinged at both UEs(Ch/K) and 2 Elites(Tuck/Darden). I have an admit from Cornell (AMBA) and a waitlist from Ross.

While K/Chi were definitely a reach, I feel that in previous years I would've had a decent shot at Cornell, Darden and Ross. As Dosa said, almost all interviews from Ross went out to 750+ scores. At Cornell, my age was a factor in being offered AMBA instead of the 2-year. Darden, I have no friggin' clue what I did (or didn't) to deserve a ding.

I would've loved to attend any of the schools I applied to, now I have to decide whether I want to pursue a 1-year program or take my chance at Ross. Reapplying at 32 will be a big X-factor even at age friendly schools like Ross or Tuck so this makes my decision tougher.

p.s. I am considering retaking the GMAT to improve my score. I'll start a thread on the GMAT Experience board, it would be great to hear from the stalwarts here!
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 12:42
dosa, on the contrary, in your case I am pretty sure the IIT brand helped you. A 6.8 GPA from another school could have well resulted in a ding. There is a possibility that the punch of an IIT brand helped you.

If I had a 6.8 CGPA, i probably would be re-applying now.

dosa_don wrote:
Actually, at times I feel being from an IIT is a disadvantage. There are so many IITians who apply and as I dont have a great GPA (6.8) and the schools are aware of the grading systems there :)
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 12:46
Plus his track record at his MS would have covered any doubts that a low UG score may create. Adcoms can certainly relate better to a score from US universities. What would be interesting is to see if any desi applicant who did not have a great GPA in both undergrad and MS got through any of the top 10.

ncprasad wrote:
dosa, on the contrary, in your case I am pretty sure the IIT brand helped you. A 6.8 GPA from another school could have well resulted in a ding. There is a possibility that the punch of an IIT brand helped you.

If I had a 6.8 CGPA, i probably would be re-applying now.

dosa_don wrote:
Actually, at times I feel being from an IIT is a disadvantage. There are so many IITians who apply and as I dont have a great GPA (6.8) and the schools are aware of the grading systems there :)
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 12:58
Folks, I am going to merge this with the Indian Admits:Room thread. FYI.
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 13:07
Pandey- I am pretty sure my MS GPA was not that great- it was a 3.33 but in a very quantitative and theoretical field (Operations Research) from Penn state (A decent school). I think in MS, getting a 3.8+ is very common, so my MS GPA was pretty low as well.


Ncp- I completely agree with the fact that the IIT brand helps overall and definitely did at Ross but I was referring specifically to some of the UE's which probably attract a lot more IIT applicants.

pandeyrav wrote:
Plus his track record at his MS would have covered any doubts that a low UG score may create. Adcoms can certainly relate better to a score from US universities. What would be interesting is to see if any desi applicant who did not have a great GPA in both undergrad and MS got through any of the top 10.

ncprasad wrote:
dosa, on the contrary, in your case I am pretty sure the IIT brand helped you. A 6.8 GPA from another school could have well resulted in a ding. There is a possibility that the punch of an IIT brand helped you.

If I had a 6.8 CGPA, i probably would be re-applying now.

dosa_don wrote:
Actually, at times I feel being from an IIT is a disadvantage. There are so many IITians who apply and as I dont have a great GPA (6.8) and the schools are aware of the grading systems there :)
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Re: Indian Admits. Help needed for reapp. [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 13:36
dosa_don wrote:
Pandey- I am pretty sure my MS GPA was not that great- it was a 3.33 but in a very quantitative and theoretical field (Operations Research) from Penn state (A decent school). I think in MS, getting a 3.8+ is very common, so my MS GPA was pretty low as well.


So given the fact that schools love the IIT brand and chances of someone without that brand getting into a top 7 are slim, what should people like me do ? Should the dream be given up ? or should the truth be accepted and people like me should target top 15 instead ? Is there anything that can be done that would help someone who does not have the IIT brand ?
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Re: Indian Admits -Room : Keep all desi discussions here! [#permalink] New post 27 Mar 2008, 13:41
I believe that the UG GPA carries much more weight than Grad GPA. And unfortunately, most of the Indian Univs go by the percentage system. A first class (60%) in many Univs is considered good in India. It is, however, an E grade in many US Univs. Of course, the B-school do factor this in (I hope);
The main issue is that among the non-IITs, the grading differs significantly. Eg: Our university topper had 71%, whereas that of some Univ in South had 88%. I guess B-schools may not consider this and give a clear disadvantage to some univs.

Does GMAT help in this case?
Re: Indian Admits -Room : Keep all desi discussions here!   [#permalink] 27 Mar 2008, 13:41
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