I have been a silent member of GMATclub for the past one year. During this period, I have read several posts of successful GMAT takers and drawn inspiration from the same. Hence, after meeting with successes in securing admits from some top B-schools, I thought that I could give back something to all members of this forum by posting my own real experiences, suggestions and an unbiased perspective on the entire B-school preparation journey. I will keep posting my GMAT study notes, application tips, interview strategies and experiences in the forthcoming days. Kindly PM me if you have any additional queries regarding any aspect of B-school preparationSummary
It was around 2 years ago when I first decided to pursue my MBA dream. Initially, the task seemed herculean. There were so many things to decide – which B-school to target? Which exam to take - CAT or GMAT? Where to go - US or India? Moreover, the fact that I was posted in a remote place in the interiors of West Bengal did not help me either. There was no one I could look forward to for words of advice or encouragement. There were people all around me ridiculing me for even daring to think about IIMs, ISB or any global B-school. With average communication skills and extremely humble financial background, all odds seemed to be stacked against me. Yet I dared to dream - a dream of evolving myself into a world-class professional and proving my abilities to everyone around me. Thankfully, a solid action plan (That I had created for myself for the next 2 years addressing all aspects of a career goal – what to achieve, how to achieve and when to achieve) and some good intuitive decisions paved the way for a successful journey that eventually culminated in admits from 3 business schools, with 100% success rate and hefty scholarships!!GMAT or CAT?
From the very beginning, I had decided that I wouldn’t appear for CAT. The standardized nature of the GMAT exam appealed to me a lot more than that of CAT. Also, I realised that the content of the GMAT exam was more aligned to my academic strengths than that of CAT. Once the exam was finalized, I knew that I had to start my preparation in an effective manner. My posting in a remote place and the lack of awareness about MBA among my colleagues in the workplace meant that I had to rely solely on my own dedication and hard work complemented by the right guidance. I wanted to get a top into a top B-school in my first attempt itself. Hence, ensuring the correct mentor for my GMAT Preparation as well as the admissions process was the core of my entire MBA dream.Preparing for GMAT
I realised that I did not need a commercialized coaching; rather, I needed the help of a ‘Mentor’ who would not only provide me with genuine help in all aspects of preparation but would also understand me as a person, my aspirations, my apprehensions, and my weaknesses thereby providing me with authentic guidance all along. I needed a true mentor who would provide personalized guidance rather than a high-profile commercial consultant for whom student benefit and satisfaction comes next to money. After weeks of frantic internet searches and after talking to many people involved in GMAT coaching, I eventually zeroed in on Experts Global after realising that it was the only institute which seemed to match my criteria exactly. To speak truly, the simplicity and yet, the power-packed content of the website, the feedback from students in the testimonials, and a brief conversation with their founder really bowled me over. It was the most important and intuitive decision that I had taken (considering that I didn’t take the opinion of anyone or didn’t go by any referral) and needless to say, I wouldn’t be in a position of writing this story of mine without Experts Global.
However, soon after I enrolled with Experts, I realised that the guidance provided to me would be useless if I didn’t put in sufficient effort and hard work from my side. This is true not only for Experts but for any consultant that you might end up choosing. In the next 4-5 months, I used to study for at least 2-3 hours daily going through almost all materials provided to me. I also used to visit several forums like Beat the GMAT, Pagalguy, GMAT Club, etc. getting valuable preparation strategies and tips from successful GMAT takers. I also took almost all available practice tests like Manhattan Test Series, Veritas Prep
, GMAT Powerprep, etc. under perfectly timed and simulated conditions. Carrying on the preparation alongside my job was really very tough and it was solely my dedication, hard work and motivation that propelled me forward. Mr Mayank Srivastava, my mentor at Experts was really very helpful and was only a call or e-mail way during the entire stage of GMAT preparation. His prompt help and reply to all my questions, doubts or inhibitions ensured that my morale was high throughout and that I didn’t lose faith in myself. I ended up getting a decent GMAT score of 730. Although the score was a bit low considering the fact that I had reached a score of 760 in one of the practice tests, my mentor at Experts advised me not to re-take the GMAT and instead focus on the applications. This is the most common mistake made my many applicants. They tend to focus so much on the GMAT exam that they end up ignoring or giving less effort in the entire applications process. At the end of the day, one should remember that GMAT score is only one parameter and a final B-school admit is dependent on so many other parameters like undergrad performance, work-experience, extra-curricular activities, social work, leadership potential, communication skills, interview performance and so on. My success in securing admits from all the 3 b-schools that I had applied to with scholarships reinforces this fact.The Application Process
Though I took my GMAT in 2012, I decided to apply for the 2014 intake as I realized the lack of professional affluence in my profile and felt the need for an extra year of work-ex to have elaborate stories to talk about. Hence, I had the luxury of devoting an entire year for the applications!! I started my application process with Experts Global in end of 2012 and, over the next one year, worked sincerely at workplace while managing the applications work alongside. For the applications preparation, I was assigned another mentor Mr Shailesh Otari, who worked with me in brainstorming all minute aspects of my profile which showcased all the parameters that I have mentioned in the previous paragraph. Through the various discussions with my mentor, I realised that I had already achieved so much in life without actually realising it. This is the single most important aspect of the entire applications process. For most B-schools, the applications are so designed that one gets a chance to reflect on their own lives and accomplishments, which we take for granted in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. The mentor made me realise that I was already a winner and the essays simply reflected what I had already achieved but in a much more presentable and precise fashion. To all future aspirants, my advice would be not to take the applications guidance as an essay-editing service but rather as a learning avenue where you get an opportunity for self-introspection.Need for Scholarship
Since, I am from a very humble background, my budget for applying to B-schools was highly constrained. Also, scholarships, placements and ROI were important aspects in deciding which B-schools I needed to apply to. My mentors at Experts understood my requirement and made me apply to ISB, Olin and Tippie. After an effective guidance in the entire applications, I was also provided with thorough preparation for interviews. It was at this stage that I realised that the brainstorming sessions during the applications guidance were extremely helpful in giving convincing answers to every question imaginable during the interviews. The mock-interviews helped me fine-tune my responses and my endless online research work of the three B-schools ensured that I was fully prepared for the interviews.The Results
For someone like me coming from a PSU background, with only average communication skills and experience of only one interview in my lifetime (during campus placements in my college!!), cracking 3 tough interviews in a span of 1 month was really the experience of a lifetime. Moreover, the 100% scholarship from Tippie, $40000 scholarship from Olin and finally the Rs. 5 lakh scholarship from my dream school, ISB was really an icing on the cake.Sincere thanks to my mentors at Experts Global Training Services
A sincere word of thanks to Mayank Sir and Shailesh Sir – You have made my dream come true and I will always remember your support over almost two years. Students will always be in safe hands as long as people like you exist!!My 2 cents of wisdom to all MBA aspirants
Hard work and sincerity are the two aspects that can get you through to any B-school that you aspire to be in. Never stop believing in yourself and learn to go by your instincts. I am sure that in a year or so from now, you will be writing one of these “success-story” posts for the next generation of MBA aspirants!
All the best !!
File comment: This document contains 2 sample essays from the GMAT Official Guide. By following exactly the same template in actual GMAT exam, I got a score of 5.5. Always write against the topic while writing a AWA essay and justify your argument by :-
1) finding a flaw in the premise
2) finding a flaw in the assumption
3) mentioning additional information that will strengthen the argument in question
Always write an essay of 5 paragraphs. The first paragraph should contain the introduction, the above three points should be included separately in 3 middle paragraphs and the last pararaph should be the conclusion. By following exactly the same structure you can nail any AWA essay!!
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