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My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD

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My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2010, 11:02
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Hi All,

I have been accepted into a couple of programs for 2010, and I just wanted to share my experiences getting to this point. Specifically, I want to give back to the forums here and address the low GPA issue I had to face personally in my MBA applications. I hope my story can be both helpful and inspirational to everyone here.

It was less than a year ago when I was eagerly researching these forums myself, trying to assess my chances for an MBA. I still vividly remember the euphoria of scoring a 760 on my GMAT, and then falling back down to earth when faced with the reality that I had about a 1.9 GPA, out of a scale of 4. That is about the lowest GPA I’ve ever seen or heard of accepted into any MBA program anywhere, and it certainly was far lower than anything I’ve seen on the forums.

I still remember reading posts on forums by some guys who were worried that they have a below 3 GPA, but there was literally no information anywhere on the web about anyone with a really horrendously low GPA like mine. Now how did I manage to get such a low GPA? Well I was 15 when I was accepted into university on a full scholarship, since I did extremely well in high school. However, I just decided to not do any work at all during university, since I already had a full scholarship and I didn’t feel like I cared enough about school/classes to study. To me, the materials they were teaching weren’t interesting at all, and so during my undergrad years, I just completely ignored the studying and did just enough to pass without going on academic probation. So now, during my applications, while I felt confident in my work experience and GMAT score, I felt my GPA could potentially seal my fate and keep me from getting into the competitive programs.

I’ve been through this whole grad school application thing before. A few years ago, while I was still fresh out of undergrad, I took the LSAT, scored very high on it, and applied for law school. Thankfully, I didn’t get into most programs except some tier 2 & 3 schools that I had no real interest in going. However, this was when I first felt the pain of my low GPA, as I would’ve been a likely candidate for top 10 programs with a higher GPA. Looking back of course, it’s great that I didn’t go to law school, as I am much happier in business.

Yet, given my previous experiences, when it came to MBA apps, I was still pretty skeptical about my GPA issue. I knew that MBA adcoms weighed work experience and GMAT a lot more than undergrad GPA, and while that made my application more competitive, I also knew that this was pretty much my last good chance of getting a graduate degree from a good program (given my career progression so far, I would’ve been happy to just continue with my progress at my current job if I didn’t get into an MBA this year…so this was really pretty much it for me – get into an MBA in 2010 or take a promotion in my current job and stick with my company).

After talking to various admissions consultants, I got mixed reviews. A lot of them said I had no chance at top programs, but some said that my profile was interesting enough that I’d be competitive at the non-H/S/W schools. This was encouraging, so I gave it my shot and applied to a group of top programs, both US and international. I worked very hard on polishing my essays and really dissecting my case to the adcoms to show them that I am now ready for an MBA. I tried hard to prove that my undergrad was not a true reflection of my potential or my aptitude, and that really, I’m capable of much more, as shown in my work progression and test scores.

It definitely helped that I had a solid case other than my GPA. I was promoted at work last year and was a key driver to help turn around the profitability of our business. I was offered another promotion recently, on the condition that I put my MBA plans aside for a couple of yrs, which I turned down. I also have a good GMAT, as well as a reasonable/plausible excuse for a terrible undergraduate GPA (I mean, after all, 15 is YOUNG). I also have a clearly defined career path and career goals, which makes the MBA a necessary step along the way. So in my essays, I tried my best to throw all that info together and sell myself in the best light I could.

In the end, it has worked out really well for me. I now have 2 offers from excellent programs, and while I have been denied at some schools, I’m happy to be in the situation I am in now. When I started my applications, I told myself that 1 acceptance is all I need to change my life and push myself forward. So while I would’ve liked to get into an ultra-elite program such as Wharton, I’m more than happy to have offers from Oxford and INSEAD. Given my international background and my work experience overseas, I really believe these two programs are much better suited for my career than the top US programs (with the exception of Wharton).

Now, I’d like to share my story with everyone else here that might have a slight weakness or short fall in their application, and I’ll say this: don’t give up and don’t sell yourself short. Aim for the stars and give it your best shot, and remember, all you need is 1 acceptance letter to really change your life. I’m pretty sure I have one of the ABSOLUTE WORST GPA’s out of anyone applying to business schools anywhere, but yet, I still made it into some pretty decent programs. You can all do the same, whatever the shortcomings of your profiles might be. Just try to think of it this way, what’s done is done, and can’t be changed, but what you can do is focus on the other aspects of your application and improving yourself, whether it’s work experience, GMAT, interview skills, essay writing, getting a professional designation, or taking a few part time courses to address your GPA. By focusing on things you can control, you’ll give yourself the best possible opportunity to get into a program that’ll be suitable for you, and you’ll be surprised by the results of your efforts.
Here’s to all the future applicants – good luck!

Cheers,

DrS
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My Road to Oxford and INSEAD http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-road-to-oxford-sbs-and-insead-89413.html#p676253

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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2010, 14:20
DrSatisfaction wrote:
Hi All,

I have been accepted into a couple of programs for 2010, and I just wanted to share my experiences getting to this point. Specifically, I want to give back to the forums here and address the low GPA issue I had to face personally in my MBA applications. I hope my story can be both helpful and inspirational to everyone here.

It was less than a year ago when I was eagerly researching these forums myself, trying to assess my chances for an MBA. I still vividly remember the euphoria of scoring a 760 on my GMAT, and then falling back down to earth when faced with the reality that I had about a 1.9 GPA, out of a scale of 4. That is about the lowest GPA I’ve ever seen or heard of accepted into any MBA program anywhere, and it certainly was far lower than anything I’ve seen on the forums.

I still remember reading posts on forums by some guys who were worried that they have a below 3 GPA, but there was literally no information anywhere on the web about anyone with a really horrendously low GPA like mine. Now how did I manage to get such a low GPA? Well I was 15 when I was accepted into university on a full scholarship, since I did extremely well in high school. However, I just decided to not do any work at all during university, since I already had a full scholarship and I didn’t feel like I cared enough about school/classes to study. To me, the materials they were teaching weren’t interesting at all, and so during my undergrad years, I just completely ignored the studying and did just enough to pass without going on academic probation. So now, during my applications, while I felt confident in my work experience and GMAT score, I felt my GPA could potentially seal my fate and keep me from getting into the competitive programs.

I’ve been through this whole grad school application thing before. A few years ago, while I was still fresh out of undergrad, I took the LSAT, scored very high on it, and applied for law school. Thankfully, I didn’t get into most programs except some tier 2 & 3 schools that I had no real interest in going. However, this was when I first felt the pain of my low GPA, as I would’ve been a likely candidate for top 10 programs with a higher GPA. Looking back of course, it’s great that I didn’t go to law school, as I am much happier in business.

Yet, given my previous experiences, when it came to MBA apps, I was still pretty skeptical about my GPA issue. I knew that MBA adcoms weighed work experience and GMAT a lot more than undergrad GPA, and while that made my application more competitive, I also knew that this was pretty much my last good chance of getting a graduate degree from a good program (given my career progression so far, I would’ve been happy to just continue with my progress at my current job if I didn’t get into an MBA this year…so this was really pretty much it for me – get into an MBA in 2010 or take a promotion in my current job and stick with my company).

After talking to various admissions consultants, I got mixed reviews. A lot of them said I had no chance at top programs, but some said that my profile was interesting enough that I’d be competitive at the non-H/S/W schools. This was encouraging, so I gave it my shot and applied to a group of top programs, both US and international. I worked very hard on polishing my essays and really dissecting my case to the adcoms to show them that I am now ready for an MBA. I tried hard to prove that my undergrad was not a true reflection of my potential or my aptitude, and that really, I’m capable of much more, as shown in my work progression and test scores.

It definitely helped that I had a solid case other than my GPA. I was promoted at work last year and was a key driver to help turn around the profitability of our business. I was offered another promotion recently, on the condition that I put my MBA plans aside for a couple of yrs, which I turned down. I also have a good GMAT, as well as a reasonable/plausible excuse for a terrible undergraduate GPA (I mean, after all, 15 is YOUNG). I also have a clearly defined career path and career goals, which makes the MBA a necessary step along the way. So in my essays, I tried my best to throw all that info together and sell myself in the best light I could.

In the end, it has worked out really well for me. I now have 2 offers from excellent programs, and while I have been denied at some schools, I’m happy to be in the situation I am in now. When I started my applications, I told myself that 1 acceptance is all I need to change my life and push myself forward. So while I would’ve liked to get into an ultra-elite program such as Wharton, I’m more than happy to have offers from Oxford and INSEAD. Given my international background and my work experience overseas, I really believe these two programs are much better suited for my career than the top US programs (with the exception of Wharton).

Now, I’d like to share my story with everyone else here that might have a slight weakness or short fall in their application, and I’ll say this: don’t give up and don’t sell yourself short. Aim for the stars and give it your best shot, and remember, all you need is 1 acceptance letter to really change your life. I’m pretty sure I have one of the ABSOLUTE WORST GPA’s out of anyone applying to business schools anywhere, but yet, I still made it into some pretty decent programs. You can all do the same, whatever the shortcomings of your profiles might be. Just try to think of it this way, what’s done is done, and can’t be changed, but what you can do is focus on the other aspects of your application and improving yourself, whether it’s work experience, GMAT, interview skills, essay writing, getting a professional designation, or taking a few part time courses to address your GPA. By focusing on things you can control, you’ll give yourself the best possible opportunity to get into a program that’ll be suitable for you, and you’ll be surprised by the results of your efforts.
Here’s to all the future applicants – good luck!

Cheers,

DrS


Great Post buddy and all the best for your MBA.

I have a low GMAT but a first class acads and work experience. I applied to SBS OXford R2.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2010, 11:18
DrSatisfaction wrote:
Hi All,

I have been accepted into a couple of programs for 2010, and I just wanted to share my experiences getting to this point. Specifically, I want to give back to the forums here and address the low GPA issue I had to face personally in my MBA applications. I hope my story can be both helpful and inspirational to everyone here.

It was less than a year ago when I was eagerly researching these forums myself, trying to assess my chances for an MBA. I still vividly remember the euphoria of scoring a 760 on my GMAT, and then falling back down to earth when faced with the reality that I had about a 1.9 GPA, out of a scale of 4. That is about the lowest GPA I’ve ever seen or heard of accepted into any MBA program anywhere, and it certainly was far lower than anything I’ve seen on the forums.

I still remember reading posts on forums by some guys who were worried that they have a below 3 GPA, but there was literally no information anywhere on the web about anyone with a really horrendously low GPA like mine. Now how did I manage to get such a low GPA? Well I was 15 when I was accepted into university on a full scholarship, since I did extremely well in high school. However, I just decided to not do any work at all during university, since I already had a full scholarship and I didn’t feel like I cared enough about school/classes to study. To me, the materials they were teaching weren’t interesting at all, and so during my undergrad years, I just completely ignored the studying and did just enough to pass without going on academic probation. So now, during my applications, while I felt confident in my work experience and GMAT score, I felt my GPA could potentially seal my fate and keep me from getting into the competitive programs.

I’ve been through this whole grad school application thing before. A few years ago, while I was still fresh out of undergrad, I took the LSAT, scored very high on it, and applied for law school. Thankfully, I didn’t get into most programs except some tier 2 & 3 schools that I had no real interest in going. However, this was when I first felt the pain of my low GPA, as I would’ve been a likely candidate for top 10 programs with a higher GPA. Looking back of course, it’s great that I didn’t go to law school, as I am much happier in business.

Yet, given my previous experiences, when it came to MBA apps, I was still pretty skeptical about my GPA issue. I knew that MBA adcoms weighed work experience and GMAT a lot more than undergrad GPA, and while that made my application more competitive, I also knew that this was pretty much my last good chance of getting a graduate degree from a good program (given my career progression so far, I would’ve been happy to just continue with my progress at my current job if I didn’t get into an MBA this year…so this was really pretty much it for me – get into an MBA in 2010 or take a promotion in my current job and stick with my company).

After talking to various admissions consultants, I got mixed reviews. A lot of them said I had no chance at top programs, but some said that my profile was interesting enough that I’d be competitive at the non-H/S/W schools. This was encouraging, so I gave it my shot and applied to a group of top programs, both US and international. I worked very hard on polishing my essays and really dissecting my case to the adcoms to show them that I am now ready for an MBA. I tried hard to prove that my undergrad was not a true reflection of my potential or my aptitude, and that really, I’m capable of much more, as shown in my work progression and test scores.

It definitely helped that I had a solid case other than my GPA. I was promoted at work last year and was a key driver to help turn around the profitability of our business. I was offered another promotion recently, on the condition that I put my MBA plans aside for a couple of yrs, which I turned down. I also have a good GMAT, as well as a reasonable/plausible excuse for a terrible undergraduate GPA (I mean, after all, 15 is YOUNG). I also have a clearly defined career path and career goals, which makes the MBA a necessary step along the way. So in my essays, I tried my best to throw all that info together and sell myself in the best light I could.

In the end, it has worked out really well for me. I now have 2 offers from excellent programs, and while I have been denied at some schools, I’m happy to be in the situation I am in now. When I started my applications, I told myself that 1 acceptance is all I need to change my life and push myself forward. So while I would’ve liked to get into an ultra-elite program such as Wharton, I’m more than happy to have offers from Oxford and INSEAD. Given my international background and my work experience overseas, I really believe these two programs are much better suited for my career than the top US programs (with the exception of Wharton).

Now, I’d like to share my story with everyone else here that might have a slight weakness or short fall in their application, and I’ll say this: don’t give up and don’t sell yourself short. Aim for the stars and give it your best shot, and remember, all you need is 1 acceptance letter to really change your life. I’m pretty sure I have one of the ABSOLUTE WORST GPA’s out of anyone applying to business schools anywhere, but yet, I still made it into some pretty decent programs. You can all do the same, whatever the shortcomings of your profiles might be. Just try to think of it this way, what’s done is done, and can’t be changed, but what you can do is focus on the other aspects of your application and improving yourself, whether it’s work experience, GMAT, interview skills, essay writing, getting a professional designation, or taking a few part time courses to address your GPA. By focusing on things you can control, you’ll give yourself the best possible opportunity to get into a program that’ll be suitable for you, and you’ll be surprised by the results of your efforts.
Here’s to all the future applicants – good luck!

Cheers,

DrS


Great post , but one question , can you share with us why u decided to go for SAID instead of INSEAD.

Interesting decision though just as your background 8-)
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2010, 14:29
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2010, 19:32
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thisiszico2006 wrote:
Great post , but one question , can you share with us why u decided to go for SAID instead of INSEAD.

Interesting decision though just as your background 8-)


I did write about this in some length in another post somewhere (check my posts if you're interested, but i'm not exactly sure which thread it was under). Anyways, the whole thing really came down to what I wanted to do with an MBA and how it applied to my career. I felt like, while for 95+% of the population, INSEAD should be an easy no brainer, Oxford was more suitable for my personal goals. I really hope to have my own business in investment or fund management in Asia at some point in the future. From my personal experiences working with Asian clients, I am pretty sure they are drawn to the Oxford name, while very few outside of the business world have even heard of INSEAD. Once I've identified my goals, it became a simple decision - go to the oldest and most famous educational institution in the Western world or an MBA program with 6 random letters thrown together (slight exaggeration, but you get the drift...especially from my potential future investors' perspective).

That aside, I have also visited both schools, and I personally felt more of a connection to Oxford. The whole atmosphere was just great, and while the general caliber of students in the MBA class might not be as elite as the INSEAD group, the collegiate experience more than makes up for it. Instead of restricting myself to other MBA students with similar interests, I get to meet a much more diverse (and extremely talented) group of students across various disciplines. This just appealed to my intellectual palate a whole lot more than being in the strict business environment offered by INSEAD.

Overall, I thought that Oxford gave me a very limited downside compared to INSEAD. Worst comes worst, I'll be applying to associate positions in banking from a slightly less targeted school. Yet, if I can meet the right people, I might be able to really jump start my career and the upside is almost unlimited. At INSEAD, I felt my upside was limited in the sense that it'll be kinda hard for me to do something truly original, and I'd be stuck in this clearly defined career track in either banking or consulting. A lot of people would love to have this stability and assurance that they are going to be sitting there with multiple 6 figure salary offers upon graduation. I guess I just wanted to have a chance to do something more.

I think the best way to explain my thought is like I told my friend: I think I will be able to meet "dreamers" at Oxford, both in and out of the MBA program, whereas at INSEAD, I feel like I'll mostly meet "do-ers" and "planners". I'm a dreamer myself, and I have made it this far being who I am, and I just don't feel like conforming and becoming something I'm not by forcing myself into a more highly ranked program that might not be as suitable. I sort of knew this in the back of my mind the whole time. I visited Oxford after visiting INSEAD, and right away I felt differently about the school and I just felt more at home at Oxford. Gotta go with your gut instinct at the end of the day. :)
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My Road to Oxford and INSEAD http://gmatclub.com/forum/my-road-to-oxford-sbs-and-insead-89413.html#p676253

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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 26 Jan 2010, 22:59
DrSatisfaction wrote:
thisiszico2006 wrote:
Gotta go with your gut instinct at the end of the day. :)


Thanks , that was a great lesson for all of us :oops:
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 05 Feb 2010, 09:31
wow! amazing, I was just waiting for a post like this to boost me for pursuing one of the top MBA programs. And, I am in same situation like u were before getting accepted. Thaks for sharing your experience.
CGPA=2.14, male, asian and just a son of a farmer.
I did engineering from a top engineering institute in my country & I was the youngest of all in my class ( 16 & turning to 17 at that time). Before undergrad I had been a good student always above 70% or 80% but just ruined it all during my undergrad. I had some financial problem, which was one of the major factors I couldn't do well. But now I am working for a multinational company and I've been really good at work ( telecom sector ), and I've been a fast learner always ahead of my fellow colleagues adopting new stuff. My boss calls me Cheetah ( being an agile & fast at work ) as I always have been really fast at troubleshooting and solving the problems in difficult times. I was also good at extra-curricular activities and doing some community social activities. Now what I need is High Gmat score and some really appealing Application essays. Ican't change my past but what I can change is my present & future, which I surely. I believe in the saying "Where there's a will, there's a way". Let's see what happens here :). I surely will need your help for some guidance, and I hope to get some help from you.

Once again happy to read your story!
Good luck for future ahead.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 09 Feb 2010, 20:01
DrS, great post and insightful!

I had one question - did you opt for a telephonic/in person interview with Oxford? I have an invite and I will probably take a telephonic interview. Do you reckon it affects chances either ways? I read a couple of other forums and couldn't see any particular trend. There were ppl who took a telephonic interview and got an admit and likewise ppl who took a ftf and yet were dinged.

What are your thoughts? Especially since Oxford has a very structured and short (30 mins) interview? The interview time is too short to really permit a good interaction which a ftf discussion might otherwise allow...

Also, could you share your interview experience?
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2010, 14:00
rishiphadke wrote:
DrS, great post and insightful!

I had one question - did you opt for a telephonic/in person interview with Oxford? I have an invite and I will probably take a telephonic interview. Do you reckon it affects chances either ways? I read a couple of other forums and couldn't see any particular trend. There were ppl who took a telephonic interview and got an admit and likewise ppl who took a ftf and yet were dinged.

What are your thoughts? Especially since Oxford has a very structured and short (30 mins) interview? The interview time is too short to really permit a good interaction which a ftf discussion might otherwise allow...

Also, could you share your interview experience?


i did the in person interview. i've always thought interviews are my strength, so i wanted to maximize all my edge by doing the face to face. i don't believe there's a clear trend either way though, just a matter of your personal strengths and how well you respond to interviews.

i had a great interview where i really felt like i answered the tough questions really well. they hammered me a bit on my resume/work experience, and the fact that i've been a career switcher (4 jobs in 6 yrs in 2 different industries). i gave them a pretty good answer though. best tip i can give is to not get flustered and just be calm and logical with your answers.

good luck on the interview!
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 11 Feb 2010, 17:17
Great post! I should do admissions consulting for us low gpaers...dont charge me though :)
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2010, 06:36
hi,

what u said was really inspiring.. Congratulations and all the best for ur MBA..
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 21 Feb 2010, 00:04
I really liked your post, maybe I´ll try to get something better than a tier 3... :)
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 09:24
Hi,

Your story is very impressive. I do have a question for you. On your essasys, how did you talk about your lack of motivation to study in undergrad which led to low GPA?I am in a similiar boat. I have low undergrad GPA (a little bit higher than yours), and I have a valuable work experience. During undergrad years, I also lacked motivation because I really didn't enjoy what I studied. Although I have great extracurricular activities. I don't want to look in the past become negative on my essays.

Thanks!
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 25 Feb 2010, 10:17
nshah12 wrote:
Hi,

Your story is very impressive. I do have a question for you. On your essasys, how did you talk about your lack of motivation to study in undergrad which led to low GPA?I am in a similiar boat. I have low undergrad GPA (a little bit higher than yours), and I have a valuable work experience. During undergrad years, I also lacked motivation because I really didn't enjoy what I studied. Although I have great extracurricular activities. I don't want to look in the past become negative on my essays.

Thanks!


i basically told them the truth about undergrad. i wasn't into what i studied. i was sorta misguided to study neuroscience first and pressured to be in a pre-medicine career by my family. i also wasn't engaged in my undergrad, where i had several lectures with over 1000 students. i was also severely depressed at certain points due to other factors in my personal life. matter of fact i either skipped or didn't study for most of my final exams in my 3rd yr...that got me a handful of F's.

but i mostly focused on the things i've done since then. it's been a very tough road up, given i had to start at the bottom of the ladder when i graduated. i was pretty unemployable given my gpa, and i have nothing else to show/prove what i felt like i was capable of. so to be in the position i am now and to have the management responsibilities i have now in such a short time after graduation is fairly impressive, and i think the 1 yr programs take a fairly favorable view towards that. plus i did well enough on the gmat to put to rest their doubts about my aptitude.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 17 Mar 2010, 20:40
Dr. Satisfaction,

I'm also choosing Oxford over INSEAD for the same reasons you shared. Really look forward to meeting you in October.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 20 Mar 2010, 23:15
You mentioned professional designations. I am assuming you received a professional designation. How crucial do you think your designations were in getting into the mba program

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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 23 Mar 2010, 01:13
Any thread about Oxford SBS?
@DrSatisfaction, I believe it would be nice start a thread as an ambassador to SBS.
We want to know more about SBS and what people there have to say about the school.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2010, 10:51
d4maple wrote:
Dr. Satisfaction,

I'm also choosing Oxford over INSEAD for the same reasons you shared. Really look forward to meeting you in October.


hope to meet you in October as well. feel free to pm me before hand if you want to chat.

gcp52 wrote:
You mentioned professional designations. I am assuming you received a professional designation. How crucial do you think your designations were in getting into the mba program

Thanks


i actually just mentioned that as an example of something maybe people want to do. i personally do not have any designations myself. however, i do think if you had relevant designations to whatever career you wanted to do, then it should give your profile a boost to show the adcom exactly what steps you've taken to get closer to your goals.

AtifS wrote:
Any thread about Oxford SBS?
@DrSatisfaction, I believe it would be nice start a thread as an ambassador to SBS.
We want to know more about SBS and what people there have to say about the school.


there's the Oxbridge thread in the International MBA's forum. however, i'm not sure how to go about becoming an ambassador to SBS...would definitely be something i'm interested in if someone can point me in the right direction.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2010, 10:07
DrSatisfaction wrote:
Hi All,

I have been accepted into a couple of programs for 2010, and I just wanted to share my experiences getting to this point. Specifically, I want to give back to the forums here and address the low GPA issue I had to face personally in my MBA applications. I hope my story can be both helpful and inspirational to everyone here.

It was less than a year ago when I was eagerly researching these forums myself, trying to assess my chances for an MBA. I still vividly remember the euphoria of scoring a 760 on my GMAT, and then falling back down to earth when faced with the reality that I had about a 1.9 GPA, out of a scale of 4. That is about the lowest GPA I’ve ever seen or heard of accepted into any MBA program anywhere, and it certainly was far lower than anything I’ve seen on the forums.

I still remember reading posts on forums by some guys who were worried that they have a below 3 GPA, but there was literally no information anywhere on the web about anyone with a really horrendously low GPA like mine. Now how did I manage to get such a low GPA? Well I was 15 when I was accepted into university on a full scholarship, since I did extremely well in high school. However, I just decided to not do any work at all during university, since I already had a full scholarship and I didn’t feel like I cared enough about school/classes to study. To me, the materials they were teaching weren’t interesting at all, and so during my undergrad years, I just completely ignored the studying and did just enough to pass without going on academic probation. So now, during my applications, while I felt confident in my work experience and GMAT score, I felt my GPA could potentially seal my fate and keep me from getting into the competitive programs.

I’ve been through this whole grad school application thing before. A few years ago, while I was still fresh out of undergrad, I took the LSAT, scored very high on it, and applied for law school. Thankfully, I didn’t get into most programs except some tier 2 & 3 schools that I had no real interest in going. However, this was when I first felt the pain of my low GPA, as I would’ve been a likely candidate for top 10 programs with a higher GPA. Looking back of course, it’s great that I didn’t go to law school, as I am much happier in business.

Yet, given my previous experiences, when it came to MBA apps, I was still pretty skeptical about my GPA issue. I knew that MBA adcoms weighed work experience and GMAT a lot more than undergrad GPA, and while that made my application more competitive, I also knew that this was pretty much my last good chance of getting a graduate degree from a good program (given my career progression so far, I would’ve been happy to just continue with my progress at my current job if I didn’t get into an MBA this year…so this was really pretty much it for me – get into an MBA in 2010 or take a promotion in my current job and stick with my company).

After talking to various admissions consultants, I got mixed reviews. A lot of them said I had no chance at top programs, but some said that my profile was interesting enough that I’d be competitive at the non-H/S/W schools. This was encouraging, so I gave it my shot and applied to a group of top programs, both US and international. I worked very hard on polishing my essays and really dissecting my case to the adcoms to show them that I am now ready for an MBA. I tried hard to prove that my undergrad was not a true reflection of my potential or my aptitude, and that really, I’m capable of much more, as shown in my work progression and test scores.

It definitely helped that I had a solid case other than my GPA. I was promoted at work last year and was a key driver to help turn around the profitability of our business. I was offered another promotion recently, on the condition that I put my MBA plans aside for a couple of yrs, which I turned down. I also have a good GMAT, as well as a reasonable/plausible excuse for a terrible undergraduate GPA (I mean, after all, 15 is YOUNG). I also have a clearly defined career path and career goals, which makes the MBA a necessary step along the way. So in my essays, I tried my best to throw all that info together and sell myself in the best light I could.

In the end, it has worked out really well for me. I now have 2 offers from excellent programs, and while I have been denied at some schools, I’m happy to be in the situation I am in now. When I started my applications, I told myself that 1 acceptance is all I need to change my life and push myself forward. So while I would’ve liked to get into an ultra-elite program such as Wharton, I’m more than happy to have offers from Oxford and INSEAD. Given my international background and my work experience overseas, I really believe these two programs are much better suited for my career than the top US programs (with the exception of Wharton).

Now, I’d like to share my story with everyone else here that might have a slight weakness or short fall in their application, and I’ll say this: don’t give up and don’t sell yourself short. Aim for the stars and give it your best shot, and remember, all you need is 1 acceptance letter to really change your life. I’m pretty sure I have one of the ABSOLUTE WORST GPA’s out of anyone applying to business schools anywhere, but yet, I still made it into some pretty decent programs. You can all do the same, whatever the shortcomings of your profiles might be. Just try to think of it this way, what’s done is done, and can’t be changed, but what you can do is focus on the other aspects of your application and improving yourself, whether it’s work experience, GMAT, interview skills, essay writing, getting a professional designation, or taking a few part time courses to address your GPA. By focusing on things you can control, you’ll give yourself the best possible opportunity to get into a program that’ll be suitable for you, and you’ll be surprised by the results of your efforts.
Here’s to all the future applicants – good luck!

Cheers,

DrS


Classic! You have summed up my thoughts and frustration about my avg acads and avg gmat. I am applying to Oxford R3. Hope to make it to Oxford and meet you on campus.
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2010, 23:15
Hi All. I have been accepted at SBS and am awaiting my result at Insead. ( completed inetrviews). I know Oxford has great brand value outside the industry and Insead is Ultra elite within teh circles of business. But what about the actual teaching. I am looking forward learning about business. I had visited an Insead open day as well as a business forum organised by Oxford in Delhi. Maybe I am comparing apples with oranges, but I strongly felt that the ease Insead seems to exhibit in undertsanding of business somewhere did not compare with Oxford's.
Does any one have any thoughts?
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Re: My Road to Oxford SBS and INSEAD   [#permalink] 01 Apr 2010, 23:15
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