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Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed!

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Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2009, 22:12
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Ok guys, this post is not to scare the hell out of you. Let’s face the truth. I'm also from the same pool and keeping my fingers crossed for my applications.

Anyway, here we go:
1. So you are working in a giant IT company in India? How does that impress the AdCom, who probably have the largest pool of applicants from this section. Some progressed to become manager in just 5yrs....impressive... but how are you bringing the diversity :P

2. You did your engineering from a reputed engineering college? So is everyone else. Where is the diversity?

3. Oh! You also have good communication skills, leadership qualities, analytical skills, blah, blah, blah. Now that is something even non-IT people also have. I think these are basic qualities looked for in an MBA aspirants.

4. You scored 720 in GMAT. wow! But then what AdCom is supposed to do with so many other 750+ scorers. Bad try. And even worst when you know someone, with similar profile, got into top b-school with 680. how? :agrue:

I know, it was the trend few years back, that each and everyone started opting IT as career, irrespective of being from whatever background, be it civil engineer, chemical engineer, science graduate, commerce graduate etc. IT companies were hiring all and giving them training as per the requirement. The end result, anywhere you go in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad, be it a road side tea stall, restaurant, shopping-malls etc, you'll find people talking about java, mainframes, oracle, .net etc. Same is the case with the applications to b-schools.

There is good news as well. All the B-school would like to have few IT Indian males, again for the sake of adding diversity in the class.

So, how to bring diversity?? Had we been from a country like Vatican City, it would have added to diversity, or for that matter, even IT females have a plus point. Yes, being a female itself adds diversity to the class. Oh God!

Probably one can try going deep into what all he has done so far, in both professional life and personal life. Everyone is different from others and so am I. Everyone has his own set of interests, extra-curricular activities, achievements, etc. I think this is what one can bring on the table. You learned Chinese, wow, that adds to diversity. You are a car enthusiast and participated in raid the Himalaya, plus plus to diversity.

But, the biggest problem is I don't even have such big achievements. Here is the bit of try from my side:
  • I have my own set of interests - drawing, playing computer games, long drives, share market. Ok, little sigh of relief for me. Probably a combination of these could make me different.
  • I have worked and studied in many different cities in India, ranging from south to east to north. Oh yes! probably this can add some diversity. But then people have worked in different countries.
  • I have unique approach for work; this is certainly going to add diversity, but very difficult to convince and prove.

Still an open question for me, and probably for many others. Thoughts / comments / suggestions are welcome.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 18 Aug 2009, 23:26
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Forgive me, but I think this whole schpiel of "Indian IT male" is overdone. I am "Indian IT female" if it helps, and diversity (or lack thereof) is the least of my concerns in this process.

That said, if you still feel the need to diffrentiate, I think your approach is off. Stop thinking about it as "what is different about me" and start thinking along the lines of "what is different about my experiences"

Drawing, long drives, share market - these are your hobbies and interests. IMHO it has very little to do with your application unless it is tied to your goals. By calling these out for the sake of diversity all you're doing is calling attention to lack of accomplishment in the same areas. It's like saying "See I'm not the same as everyone else. I AM DIFFERENT. Because I draw and like long drives and the share market and Indian IT males don't have other interests so...."
Anyone can enjoy drawing - what is different about how YOU approached it and what you did with it?
No combination of interests, unless truly extraordinary (think swimming with the sharks) will be enough to get you in.


Of course I am just another applicant so what do I know.
My approach and my advice is to focus on what attributes the schools are looking for - leadership, problem solving, creativity, analytical thinking skills, engagement, etc - and think about how you demonstrated these in your professional and academic experiences.

And yes. It IS a fallacy that Indian IT professionals don't possess these skills!
Remember that time at work when someone said something couldn't be done and you did it? That is determination and hard work.
Remember that time when two co workers kept arguing and you helped them reconcile by figuring out that they had different priorities? That is teamwork and leadership.
So instead of spending your limited essay real estate on minor interests like drawing and long drives, you would be better off including stories that really showcase your history and YOU.
If you don't have any, then yeah I guess you're SOL :)

I'm not saying that every Indian IT professional can get into a top school. But this whole focus on diffrentiate yourself probably dooms more applications per year than it helps.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 03:19
gmatbschool wrote:
Forgive me, but I think this whole schpiel of "Indian IT male" is overdone. I am "Indian IT female" if it helps, and diversity (or lack thereof) is the least of my concerns in this process.

That said, if you still feel the need to diffrentiate, I think your approach is off. Stop thinking about it as "what is different about me" and start thinking along the lines of "what is different about my experiences"

Drawing, long drives, share market - these are your hobbies and interests. IMHO it has very little to do with your application unless it is tied to your goals. By calling these out for the sake of diversity all you're doing is calling attention to lack of accomplishment in the same areas. It's like saying "See I'm not the same as everyone else. I AM DIFFERENT. Because I draw and like long drives and the share market and Indian IT males don't have other interests so...."
Anyone can enjoy drawing - what is different about how YOU approached it and what you did with it?
No combination of interests, unless truly extraordinary (think swimming with the sharks) will be enough to get you in.


Of course I am just another applicant so what do I know.
My approach and my advice is to focus on what attributes the schools are looking for - leadership, problem solving, creativity, analytical thinking skills, engagement, etc - and think about how you demonstrated these in your professional and academic experiences.

And yes. It IS a fallacy that Indian IT professionals don't possess these skills!
Remember that time at work when someone said something couldn't be done and you did it? That is determination and hard work.
Remember that time when two co workers kept arguing and you helped them reconcile by figuring out that they had different priorities? That is teamwork and leadership.
So instead of spending your limited essay real estate on minor interests like drawing and long drives, you would be better off including stories that really showcase your history and YOU.
If you don't have any, then yeah I guess you're SOL :)

I'm not saying that every Indian IT professional can get into a top school. But this whole focus on diffrentiate yourself probably dooms more applications per year than it helps.


great! thats really inspiring. I think I do have such incidents in which I displayed my teamwork and leadership qualities. I'll surely be mentioning those in one of the essays. I agree that drawing, driving, computer games etc probably won't do much for me unless I have achieved something serious out of it.

But the problem is that I can't leave the diversity stuff. The 1st essay topic of ISB itself is evident of the fact how much they are concerned of "diversity":
Essay 1: Give 3 reasons as to why you should be selected to the class of 2011. These reasons should ideally differentiate you from the applicant pool and should be backed with some data. (300 words max)

Yeah, certainly there would be many many instances when I have worked differently from others. I have been trying to list down all those. AdCom is asking 3 reasons... probably I can give 5 (or may be more after few days), but how does that differentiate me from other applicant pool. :peek
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 04:21
Every top school receives applications from many more qualified applicants than they can possibly admit in a year, so that's why they focus so much on differentiation. When adcoms ask about differentiation or how you are different from other applicants, what the adcom wants to know is what makes you unique as an individual. If your entire description of who you are is defined by what you do at work, you're not going to seem like the dynamic, interesting student that the adcom will want to admit. My advice is to look beyond what you've done at work and talk more about what makes you you.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 08:31
Jerz wrote:
Every top school receives applications from many more qualified applicants than they can possibly admit in a year, so that's why they focus so much on differentiation. When adcoms ask about differentiation or how you are different from other applicants, what the adcom wants to know is what makes you unique as an individual. If your entire description of who you are is defined by what you do at work, you're not going to seem like the dynamic, interesting student that the adcom will want to admit. My advice is to look beyond what you've done at work and talk more about what makes you you.


yes and that is where things like academic background, ECs, awards, faster than average career velocity, etc come in.
You're not unique because you like drawing. The next guy could like reading and the one after could like watching movies. How do these interests make you unique?

Unique by definition means apart from the rest of the herd. You can stand apart by doing the same thing differently (extraordinarily well) or doing different things. IMO the OP is going to focus on doing the same thing the same way which doesn't make him different and only hurts his application.


DISCLAIMER: I am only talking about US schools. I have not looked at the ISB application and don't know the essay questions or their requirements.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 09:13
gmatbschool wrote:
Jerz wrote:
Every top school receives applications from many more qualified applicants than they can possibly admit in a year, so that's why they focus so much on differentiation. When adcoms ask about differentiation or how you are different from other applicants, what the adcom wants to know is what makes you unique as an individual. If your entire description of who you are is defined by what you do at work, you're not going to seem like the dynamic, interesting student that the adcom will want to admit. My advice is to look beyond what you've done at work and talk more about what makes you you.


yes and that is where things like academic background, ECs, awards, faster than average career velocity, etc come in.
You're not unique because you like drawing. The next guy could like reading and the one after could like watching movies. How do these interests make you unique?

Unique by definition means apart from the rest of the herd. You can stand apart by doing the same thing differently (extraordinarily well) or doing different things. IMO the OP is going to focus on doing the same thing the same way which doesn't make him different and only hurts his application.


DISCLAIMER: I am only talking about US schools. I have not looked at the ISB application and don't know the essay questions or their requirements.


Though I have used drawing as just an example, but I strongly believe if someone had done something significant in the field of fine arts, he should mention the same in his application. By significant, I mean participation in some exhibitions, competitions etc of some fame, may be state level or national level.

Even, I believe US schools would also be stressing on diversity stuff. May be its not there as one of the essay topics, thats another thing. Check out this link of Harvard:
http://www.hbs.edu/mba/profiles/classprofile.html
The first line starts with "A truly diverse student body....blah blah blah". :)
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 09:37
A truly diverse student body — in background, nationality, interests and ambitions —

background: IT
nationality: Indian
interests: Cricket, Bollywood
ambitions: Next Dhirubhai or Narayan Murthy

Not sure how adcom deals with these stats :)
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 10:45
My point is that diversity isn't just about your interests (cricket and bollywood).
It is FIRST AND FOREMOST your experiences and your approach to problems.

Think of it this way - most b-school applicants are finance and consulting folks. They have a very corporate, straightforward and analytical approach to problems. Do you have a track record of proposing and implementing crazy solutions? or maybe rallying people together to work together? Or challenging authority/underlying assumptions.

Diversity goes beyond nationality and what movies you like to watch. Don't box yourself into the the cookie cutter definitions of "diverse".
By making statements like (say) "I am different from other Indian IT males because I don't like cricket", you're condoning the stereotype and screwing yourself.

And by the way, if YOU can't come up with good reasons why you're a better fit for this school than the next "Indian IT male" then don't expect the adcom to brainstorm on yourself.


Just my $0.02. I'm done now :)
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 10:56
gmatbschool wrote:
By making statements like (say) "I am different from other Indian IT males because I don't like cricket"


btw, I really liked this statement. I'm sure there would be hardly 1-2% Indian males NOT liking cricket. This would certainly be a unique quality of an Indian IT male. I wish adcom understand this.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 12:37
bigoyal wrote:
gmatbschool wrote:
By making statements like (say) "I am different from other Indian IT males because I don't like cricket"


btw, I really liked this statement. I'm sure there would be hardly 1-2% Indian males NOT liking cricket. This would certainly be a unique quality of an Indian IT male. I wish adcom understand this.


you totally missed my point but oh well... :)
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 13:31
Some interesting posts in here .... generally I would say dont worry about what you cant control. Thus, you cant change the fact that you are Indian, Male and have worked in IT.

What you can control is how you present your story to the AdCom. Well rounded essays demonstrating varied interests will be what separates the wheat from the chaff.

So focus on writing ... control what you can. Dont sweat the rest.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Aug 2009, 21:23
gmatbschool wrote:
bigoyal wrote:
gmatbschool wrote:
By making statements like (say) "I am different from other Indian IT males because I don't like cricket"


btw, I really liked this statement. I'm sure there would be hardly 1-2% Indian males NOT liking cricket. This would certainly be a unique quality of an Indian IT male. I wish adcom understand this.


you totally missed my point but oh well... :)


I was just kidding. Believe me, I haven't missed any of your points. I agree that I cannot distinguish myself from others by saying I don't love cricket, or by saying I love drawing or reading etc. I agree on lot of things you are saying.

But I think you are stressing more on professional attributes, achievements and leadership skills. Whereas I believe that personal attributes are equally important. A cricket team captain (maybe just in your city club) is also a leadership quality. One may not be different from others in his/her office, but might have done lot of different things outside the office.

In my case, the negative point is that I haven't taken any of my hobbies to great extents. So I agree that it may not be of help in my case. But when writing about personal attributes like communication skills, learning power, smartness etc I feel this is a basic quality that probably AdCom would be looking for, be the candidate from IT or non-IT background.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 10:17
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sm332 wrote:
Some interesting posts in here .... generally I would say dont worry about what you cant control. Thus, you cant change the fact that you are Indian, Male and have worked in IT.

What you can control is how you present your story to the AdCom. Well rounded essays demonstrating varied interests will be what separates the wheat from the chaff.

So focus on writing ... control what you can. Dont sweat the rest.


In my opinion, diversity is about your personality, this is mostly on who are you rather than what you did

IT Indian males mostly have good stuff to hightlight

1) you might have worked in say 3 countries ( europe, north america and may be middle east or africa or mexico), you can pretty much project your global mindset, cultural sesitivity and a great exposure
2) You might have worked in a team comprising 3 vendors ( and your so called IT giant may be one of them), you can show case your result oriented mindset ( as per my experiences whenever there are more vendors in a single project, most of them focus on winning the competetor rather working for the client objective) , people/relationship management etc
3) You might have wrote business proposals or participated in presales , these experiences will help you demonstrate your superior thought process ( writing a apt winning solution would definetely be impossible without an excellent thought process) , excellent negotiation skills etc

the lists goes on.....................

apart from this, as per my understanding from many IT males in top schools is that adcoms already know IT Males/Females would have good analytical skills , team work and superior dedication/commitment towards work. So although we all fall in the ocean of IT male applicant, its all in the essays chosing the right examples to exhibit your skills. I think ultimately applicants from any backgroud would project analytical skills, leadership, interpersonal skills and strong ambition to achieve even though the groud they proved their skills is different. So my opinion is to make an essay interesting, supply what the school needs from an applicant and never ever show that you have even a slightest feeling of being at the disadvantage end because of your IT background
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2009, 23:03
I really liked the idea mentioned in 3rd point. It would certainly be a positive point, provided one has indulged in those activities.

Mentioning point 1 and 2 would be a added advantage, but I think these would be true for almost all IT techies. But still one can make the difference by the way he/she portrays this in the essays, may be by mentioning the points on the learnings or challenges he/she faced with different vendors.

Recently I had a talk with ISB alumni. I was trying to understand if I highlight my experience, which is from 2 giant companies. The answer was that almost all the applicants try to highlight this point :P yak
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 18 Sep 2009, 14:14
bigoyal wrote:
I really liked the idea mentioned in 3rd point. It would certainly be a positive point, provided one has indulged in those activities.

Mentioning point 1 and 2 would be a added advantage, but I think these would be true for almost all IT techies. But still one can make the difference by the way he/she portrays this in the essays, may be by mentioning the points on the learnings or challenges he/she faced with different vendors.

Recently I had a talk with ISB alumni. I was trying to understand if I highlight my experience, which is from 2 giant companies. The answer was that almost all the applicants try to highlight this point :P yak


Hi Bigoyal,

Can you be specific on what not to mention about our experience in IT giants. This would help us pick the right examples either for achievement or personality traits.....
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 19 Sep 2009, 00:10
ISBtarget wrote:
bigoyal wrote:
I really liked the idea mentioned in 3rd point. It would certainly be a positive point, provided one has indulged in those activities.

Mentioning point 1 and 2 would be a added advantage, but I think these would be true for almost all IT techies. But still one can make the difference by the way he/she portrays this in the essays, may be by mentioning the points on the learnings or challenges he/she faced with different vendors.

Recently I had a talk with ISB alumni. I was trying to understand if I highlight my experience, which is from 2 giant companies. The answer was that almost all the applicants try to highlight this point :P yak


Hi Bigoyal,

Can you be specific on what not to mention about our experience in IT giants. This would help us pick the right examples either for achievement or personality traits.....


My apologies, if that sound confusing. In my essays I was trying to highlight the name of the IT giants for which I worked. You know I thought that would impress adcom.

But what I came to know that lot of applicants come from companies like IBM, Oracle, TCS, Infosys, etc etc. So if someone says that he/she is from Infosys, I doubt that would impress adcoms. But surely, one can impress adcoms by saying what he/she has learnt from that experience and what he/she can add to the class from that experience (e.g. participation in case-studies, research work or programs etc in the campus).

Anyway, thats my personal opinion.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 24 Sep 2009, 21:45
well i have read the previous posts and have seen that ppl are quite worried abt being Indian IT. Surely, this comes under an over representative group bt i would like to highlight that in almost all the companies in india the same type of work is done.

I am working in Nokia Siemens Networks as a Solution Expert in a Presales dept., bt believe me we r also doing the copy paste work only. Though we do get to have customer interaction bt still the overall work is nt gr8 that could set apart me frm another IT candidate.
So i dont think that being an IT male is to one's disadvantage. What matters is the quality of work one has done and obviously how u project it. They need ppl with clear goals.

so you cant change what had happened bt u can surely project things to ur advantage.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2009, 03:44
paruloberai wrote:
well i have read the previous posts and have seen that ppl are quite worried abt being Indian IT. Surely, this comes under an over representative group bt i would like to highlight that in almost all the companies in india the same type of work is done.

I am working in Nokia Siemens Networks as a Solution Expert in a Presales dept., bt believe me we r also doing the copy paste work only. Though we do get to have customer interaction bt still the overall work is nt gr8 that could set apart me frm another IT candidate.
So i dont think that being an IT male is to one's disadvantage. What matters is the quality of work one has done and obviously how u project it. They need ppl with clear goals.

so you cant change what had happened bt u can surely project things to ur advantage.


I agree. In my case, I had a chance to work very close with customer for around last 2 yrs. I have tried to highlight my achievements while working with clients in my essays. Lets hope for the best :)

Working in Presales dept - that surely a big big plus point for you. You need to add some spice to your success stories and don't tell the copy-paste stuff ;) . This kindda work - e.g. involvement in project management, pre-sales, etc - are really cherished by adcom. I think adcom doesn't want to hear how a hard-core Java programmer created 1 million line code; rather they want to hear big stories of wooing customers, leadership skills etc and how the whole project was successful due to you.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2009, 00:32
hey, i am Indian IT male. just graduated with a distinction...working in an investment bank as a trainee-executive....is tht diverse enough??....planning to apply for fall 2012.
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed! [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2009, 01:52
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hey, i am Indian IT male. just graduated with a distinction...working in an investment bank as a trainee-executive....is tht diverse enough??....planning to apply for fall 2012.


Hi rahuljaiswal, thats great to hear that you have started planning for MBA with so much time in hand. Though I'm also one of the candidates like you, probably I would be at a better position to answer your question next yr (if everything goes well according to plan) ;)

Anyway I'll try to give my comments. Could you please elaborate on your role, I mean is it in IT department or are you working as an investment banker ?
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Re: Oh IT/Indian/Male! you are doomed!   [#permalink] 28 Sep 2009, 01:52
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