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Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant.

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Joined: 26 May 2015
Posts: 17

Kudos [?]: 41 [0], given: 1

Schools: Stanford '19 (A)
Re: Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant. [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2017, 01:52
okay wrote:
mahakgarg wrote:
Hi to all MBA aspirants! Since my admission to 2 good B-schools, I have been contacted by a number of people to seek guidance on the procedure and to get some sense of direction to navigate this seemingly never ending journey. I am no “Crack the GMAT/ Ivy League colleges expert”. I was in your position just a few months back. I am simply sharing my experiences to help others take informed decisions and to collate all advice in one place for anyone to refer to. (Pheww, disclaimers are so important nowadays!).

A little bit about my background. Engineer (NSIT, ECE batch of 2014)-> Nomura Indian (Jul 14-Dec15)->Started my own niche, Colence International, within my family business (Jan15-Present). After scoring a 690 in my first attempt, I managed a 730 in second (which by Indian standards in not the most competitive score frankly). Also, this was my first MBA applications attempt. I was unsure how to proceed from here. I learnt that there are consultants who give 30 minutes free counselling and help you answer any MBA specific questions. I scheduled calls with both Indian and International consultants. There was a sharp contrast on the feedback I got from the two set of consultants (Indian vs International). The Indian consultants gave a very negative feedback – “You are not a top 5 B schools candidate according to our experience. Maybe you should apply for masters instead of an MBA. Why don’t you apply next year?” The International consultants were mostly quite positive and encouraged me to apply to absolutely any school that I wish to. Fearing that all the negativity of the Indian consultants will discourage me more than helping me and that the International consultants might not be fully experienced with handling Indian students (plus the baniya in me did not permit me to hire such expensive consultants!), I decided to embark on this journey without a consultant. I seeked the blessings of the Almighty to be my consultant on this journey - Sorry for being a bit dramatic here! Also, I could take this decision because I had a big support from my elder brother who had stayed in the States for 6 years (Engineering and 2-years work ex; not an MBA) and who guided me as and when needed. Below are some general points that I feel are worth mentioning -

1. Does the GMAT score matter? It definitely does. To what extent? No one really knows. To gain an understanding on what GMAT score is good enough for a particular college, look at the average GMAT score of the incoming class of your target colleges. It will give you some sense on colleges’ expectation of the GMAT score. Additionally, it is believed that a higher GMAT score attracts college scholarships. There is a good logic to it – colleges want to retain candidates with high GMAT scores. Why? Because, the average GMAT score of the incoming class is an important indicator used to rank colleges worldwide. And trust me, colleges are extremely cautious about their rankings! Do I have any data to support this? Dude no, you do the research!

2. Apply to the schools that matter the most to you, in Round 1. Simple logic here- all the seats are available and fewer people are able to wind up their essays, recommendation etc till the Round 1 deadlines. That should give you some advantage. Additionally, most colleges have country quotas to maintain diversity. For example, if a substantial number of Indians have been admitted in Round 1, chances of an Indian applicant in Round 2 will most likely be affected. Moreover, Round 2 can be a fall back option to apply to more colleges in case you do not get interview invites to your dream colleges in Round 1.

3. Apply to only those colleges where you’ll absolutely go, if admitted. I find it amusing when people say “I am applying to ABC, but I am sure that I don’t want to go there. I am just keeping this as an option!” Let’s be truthful – each application is a lengthy exhaustive procedure. You might want to focus on quality rather than quantity (I got selected to 2/4 colleges that I applied to). Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations, but at the same time, don’t shy away from aiming high.

4. Attend admissions events organised by colleges that you are keen on attending. These are not only an excellent opportunity to learn more about what matters most to the colleges and about the admissions procedure, but also a way to display your commitment and interest in a college during your interviews. (just like a job interview - the interviewer is always happy to see a candidate who has done sufficient company and industry research)

5. I can’t stress enough on the need for extensive school specific research. Literally dig deep enough to be able to relate to specific courses, professors, clubs etc in a particular college. You absolutely have to convey, via your essays, why XYZ is your dream college and how it will help you achieve your goals. College websites are the best source for any information that you seek. Spend as much time as possible on the websites.

6. DON’T refer to an admitted students’ essay before writing at least 8-10 drafts of your own essay. This is essential because once you read an admitted students’ essay, you frame an image of an ideal essay and invariably get influenced by the same. This jeopardises your originality. Moreover, several times, the essay might not even be the reason for a student’s admission to a particular college. The colleges look at the application in a holistic manner – they will not accept or reject a student only on the basis of his/her essay.

7. Write, rewrite your essays several times. Spend a lot of time introspecting and discovering YOUR unique story. Who is the real you? Try to answer questions such as “Why an MBA”, “Why an MBA at this stage of career”, “Post MBA goals”, “How will an MBA bring you closer to your long-term goals”, “How have you been working towards your long-term goals”. Always convey the true YOU. Copying someone, aping someone will be of little to no help.

8. Get your essays reviewed by multiple people (especially those who have themselves cracked the college you are most interested in). Again, follow your instincts and accept only the feedback that truly convinces you. There is never a right or wrong. Different people perceive the same data differently. Hence, have the courage to trust your judgement.

9. Spend a substantial amount of time cleaning up your resume. It’s that single page that speaks on your behalf to the admissions team. I will share the links in the comments as I am not allowed to share URLs until I have 5 posts.

Lastly, through this article, I am not trying to discourage you from hiring a consultant. NO. Consultants have helped thousands of students achieve their MBA dreams. They can be of good help to someone who has no fall back option and needs an experienced set of eyes to review his/her essays. I am simply cautioning you to not listen to everything they say. Additionally, I am cautioning you from charlatans who exploit naïve individuals and charge hefty fees despite 0 knowledge. If you hire a consultant, don’t forget to ask the below essential questions to check the credibility of the consultant –
1. Does the consultant hold an MBA degree? If yes, from which college?
2. Does the team have any person who previously served on admissions board of a reputed college?
3. What is the mode of communication with the assigned consultant? Is he available on call/ skype/email etc? Is he available on weekdays/ weekends?
4. How many students are typically assigned to a consultant?
5. Are the employees of a particular consultancy full time employees or part time employees? You don’t want a part-time employee to disappear in the middle of your application.
6. How many people will typically work with you on your application?

I hope this helps some MBA applicants in their journey. I will soon try to pen down my interview experience. Feel free to ask any follow up questions. I will try to answer as many as I can. All the best. Believe in your ability to achieve! Once you reach your destination, it's worth all the time and effort.


Well done on the admissions and thank you for the advice!



Thank you for your kind wishes mate!

Kudos [?]: 41 [0], given: 1

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 26 May 2015
Posts: 17

Kudos [?]: 41 [0], given: 1

Schools: Stanford '19 (A)
Re: Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant. [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 21 Feb 2017, 02:01
1
This post was
BOOKMARKED
stonecold wrote:
mahakgarg wrote:
Sharing the link for resume guidelines: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/alumni/career-resources/job-search/resumes-cover-letters

HBR - How to write a resume that stands out

(The Club is still preventing me from adding URLs)



Outstanding Post.
Simple and Precise.


I have a question for you -> Coming from a family background/own startup how did you choose your recommenders?

Looking forward to your Interview Debrief for both schools.
Have fun at GSB/CBS (off course you would choose GSB :) )


P.S-> I have added the link in your above comment.


Regards
Stone Cold



Dear Stone Cold,

First of all my humble apologies for the extreme delay in my response. Thank you very much for adding the link! Had been struggling with that. Also, thank you for your wishes. I am indeed choosing GSB :-D I have written a guest post on MBA Crystal Ball for school research for now (should be live soon) and will be sharing an interview debrief early next month!

As for my recommenders, one from my ex-manager at Nomura and the other one from the founder of an NGO - Responsenet Development Service - where I have been volunteering since long.

Kudos [?]: 41 [0], given: 1

Expert Post
Stratus Admissions Consultant
User avatar
G
Joined: 31 May 2016
Posts: 1127

Kudos [?]: 91 [0], given: 40

Location: United States
Concentration: Marketing, Organizational Behavior
Schools: Kellogg
GPA: 3.67
Reviews Badge
Re: Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant. [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2017, 06:42
mahakgarg wrote:
stonecold wrote:
mahakgarg wrote:
Sharing the link for resume guidelines: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/alumni/career-resources/job-search/resumes-cover-letters
First of all I want to congratulate you! While I am a consultant, I think it is important to realize that even with a consultant- it is should be the client that is doing the heavy lifting and that it is also a preference perspective. Some people prefer and have the resources to engage with someone to walk the journey with them- which at times is to reassure, encourage, listen, try to connect the dots, be a sounding board. At least to me that is what the best consultants do. Anyone applying to a top MBA program should have the integrity and also the material in their own story to be worth admission if they get in. No one else can really tell your story like you can. However, a consultant, if you get a good one- and if you want it, can sometimes challenge you about why you are telling this story and not that story or how you can tell it in the most compelling way. One thing I just saw from this resume post about Stanford- which is really interesting- is just that this is what they are telling their grads and that for many MBA programs admissions standards- the one page resume is still preferred. Probably for the simple reason it is just easier to keep up with- I have been on the adcom side and can say that when you have 8 people you are interviewing in a day- and each has a 3 page resume... it gets to be a lot to keep track of! It is simpler on the logistics side and also a person should be able to show the ability to edit down to the most relevant for the MBA admissions application- so take the 2 page resume suggestion here with a grain of salt- at least for many programs as most prefer the one page resume! Wishing you all the best in your GSB experience! I truly hope it is the transformational experience you are seeking and I encourage you to enjoy it to the fullest!
HBR - How to write a resume that stands out

(The Club is still preventing me from adding URLs)



Outstanding Post.
Simple and Precise.


I have a question for you -> Coming from a family background/own startup how did you choose your recommenders?

Looking forward to your Interview Debrief for both schools.
Have fun at GSB/CBS (off course you would choose GSB :) )


P.S-> I have added the link in your above comment.


Regards
Stone Cold



Dear Stone Cold,

First of all my humble apologies for the extreme delay in my response. Thank you very much for adding the link! Had been struggling with that. Also, thank you for your wishes. I am indeed choosing GSB :-D I have written a guest post on MBA Crystal Ball for school research for now (should be live soon) and will be sharing an interview debrief early next month!

As for my recommenders, one from my ex-manager at Nomura and the other one from the founder of an NGO - Responsenet Development Service - where I have been volunteering since long.

_________________

Donna | StratusMBACounselor | Stratus Admissions Counseling

Image

Kudos [?]: 91 [0], given: 40

Intern
Intern
avatar
B
Joined: 26 May 2015
Posts: 17

Kudos [?]: 41 [0], given: 1

Schools: Stanford '19 (A)
Re: Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant. [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 06 Mar 2017, 04:42
[quote="StratusMBACounselor"][quote="mahakgarg"][quote="stonecold"][quote="mahakgarg"]Sharing the link for resume guidelines: https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/alumni/career-resources/job-search/resumes-cover-letters
First of all I want to congratulate you! While I am a consultant, I think it is important to realize that even with a consultant- it is should be the client that is doing the heavy lifting and that it is also a preference perspective. Some people prefer and have the resources to engage with someone to walk the journey with them- which at times is to reassure, encourage, listen, try to connect the dots, be a sounding board. At least to me that is what the best consultants do. Anyone applying to a top MBA program should have the integrity and also the material in their own story to be worth admission if they get in. No one else can really tell your story like you can. However, a consultant, if you get a good one- and if you want it, can sometimes challenge you about why you are telling this story and not that story or how you can tell it in the most compelling way. One thing I just saw from this resume post about Stanford- which is really interesting- is just that this is what they are telling their grads and that for many MBA programs admissions standards- the one page resume is still preferred. Probably for the simple reason it is just easier to keep up with- I have been on the adcom side and can say that when you have 8 people you are interviewing in a day- and each has a 3 page resume... it gets to be a lot to keep track of! It is simpler on the logistics side and also a person should be able to show the ability to edit down to the most relevant for the MBA admissions application- so take the 2 page resume suggestion here with a grain of salt- at least for many programs as most prefer the one page resume! Wishing you all the best in your GSB experience! I truly hope it is the transformational experience you are seeking and I encourage you to enjoy it to the fullest!
HBR - How to write a resume that stands out

Thank you very much for your kind wishes and for taking out the time to share your views. Can't agree more with you. You are absolutely right. Students should be able to set right expectations about the consultants. Consultants can only guide you and train you but can't do the writing for you (Unfortunately that is what many students expect). I had a bad experience with the Indian consultants because they were very discouraging; probably because sooo many students apply from India that the consultants feel one needs to be an exceptional overachiever to make it to Ivy leagues etc (which ain't false, but there is no set definition of success). What I didn't like is the stereotyping. More people of one type are getting selected to top B - Schools simply because only they are made to feel that they stand a chance.

Fair point! With 8 profiles to view per day, a 2-3 page resume will only drain the admission team's energy. You won't believe, but I get 3 page resumes for sales job at my firm www.colence.com from freshers frequently. Not only does that annoy me, it makes me question the jobseeker's judgement. A well written one page resume is enough to portray your achievements well.

Thanks again for your lovely wishes. I look forward to the experience myself!

Kudos [?]: 41 [0], given: 1

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Joined: 19 Dec 2016
Posts: 46

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 7

Location: Malaysia
GMAT 1: 630 Q49 V27
GMAT 2: 750 Q50 V41
GPA: 3.54
Re: Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant. [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2017, 00:55
mahakgarg wrote:
Hi to all MBA aspirants! Since my admission to 2 good B-schools, I have been contacted by a number of people to seek guidance on the procedure and to get some sense of direction to navigate this seemingly never ending journey. I am no “Crack the GMAT/ Ivy League colleges expert”. I was in your position just a few months back. I am simply sharing my experiences to help others take informed decisions and to collate all advice in one place for anyone to refer to. (Pheww, disclaimers are so important nowadays!).

A little bit about my background. Engineer (NSIT, ECE batch of 2014)-> Nomura Indian (Jul 14-Dec15)->Started my own niche, Colence International, within my family business (Jan15-Present). After scoring a 690 in my first attempt, I managed a 730 in second (which by Indian standards in not the most competitive score frankly). Also, this was my first MBA applications attempt. I was unsure how to proceed from here. I learnt that there are consultants who give 30 minutes free counselling and help you answer any MBA specific questions. I scheduled calls with both Indian and International consultants. There was a sharp contrast on the feedback I got from the two set of consultants (Indian vs International). The Indian consultants gave a very negative feedback – “You are not a top 5 B schools candidate according to our experience. Maybe you should apply for masters instead of an MBA. Why don’t you apply next year?” The International consultants were mostly quite positive and encouraged me to apply to absolutely any school that I wish to. Fearing that all the negativity of the Indian consultants will discourage me more than helping me and that the International consultants might not be fully experienced with handling Indian students (plus the baniya in me did not permit me to hire such expensive consultants!), I decided to embark on this journey without a consultant. I seeked the blessings of the Almighty to be my consultant on this journey - Sorry for being a bit dramatic here! Also, I could take this decision because I had a big support from my elder brother who had stayed in the States for 6 years (Engineering and 2-years work ex; not an MBA) and who guided me as and when needed. Below are some general points that I feel are worth mentioning -

1. Does the GMAT score matter? It definitely does. To what extent? No one really knows. To gain an understanding on what GMAT score is good enough for a particular college, look at the average GMAT score of the incoming class of your target colleges. It will give you some sense on colleges’ expectation of the GMAT score. Additionally, it is believed that a higher GMAT score attracts college scholarships. There is a good logic to it – colleges want to retain candidates with high GMAT scores. Why? Because, the average GMAT score of the incoming class is an important indicator used to rank colleges worldwide. And trust me, colleges are extremely cautious about their rankings! Do I have any data to support this? Dude no, you do the research!

2. Apply to the schools that matter the most to you, in Round 1. Simple logic here- all the seats are available and fewer people are able to wind up their essays, recommendation etc till the Round 1 deadlines. That should give you some advantage. Additionally, most colleges have country quotas to maintain diversity. For example, if a substantial number of Indians have been admitted in Round 1, chances of an Indian applicant in Round 2 will most likely be affected. Moreover, Round 2 can be a fall back option to apply to more colleges in case you do not get interview invites to your dream colleges in Round 1.

3. Apply to only those colleges where you’ll absolutely go, if admitted. I find it amusing when people say “I am applying to ABC, but I am sure that I don’t want to go there. I am just keeping this as an option!” Let’s be truthful – each application is a lengthy exhaustive procedure. You might want to focus on quality rather than quantity (I got selected to 2/4 colleges that I applied to). Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations, but at the same time, don’t shy away from aiming high.

4. Attend admissions events organised by colleges that you are keen on attending. These are not only an excellent opportunity to learn more about what matters most to the colleges and about the admissions procedure, but also a way to display your commitment and interest in a college during your interviews. (just like a job interview - the interviewer is always happy to see a candidate who has done sufficient company and industry research)

5. I can’t stress enough on the need for extensive school specific research. Literally dig deep enough to be able to relate to specific courses, professors, clubs etc in a particular college. You absolutely have to convey, via your essays, why XYZ is your dream college and how it will help you achieve your goals. College websites are the best source for any information that you seek. Spend as much time as possible on the websites.

6. DON’T refer to an admitted students’ essay before writing at least 8-10 drafts of your own essay. This is essential because once you read an admitted students’ essay, you frame an image of an ideal essay and invariably get influenced by the same. This jeopardises your originality. Moreover, several times, the essay might not even be the reason for a student’s admission to a particular college. The colleges look at the application in a holistic manner – they will not accept or reject a student only on the basis of his/her essay.

7. Write, rewrite your essays several times. Spend a lot of time introspecting and discovering YOUR unique story. Who is the real you? Try to answer questions such as “Why an MBA”, “Why an MBA at this stage of career”, “Post MBA goals”, “How will an MBA bring you closer to your long-term goals”, “How have you been working towards your long-term goals”. Always convey the true YOU. Copying someone, aping someone will be of little to no help.

8. Get your essays reviewed by multiple people (especially those who have themselves cracked the college you are most interested in). Again, follow your instincts and accept only the feedback that truly convinces you. There is never a right or wrong. Different people perceive the same data differently. Hence, have the courage to trust your judgement.

9. Spend a substantial amount of time cleaning up your resume. It’s that single page that speaks on your behalf to the admissions team. I will share the links in the comments as I am not allowed to share URLs until I have 5 posts.

Lastly, through this article, I am not trying to discourage you from hiring a consultant. NO. Consultants have helped thousands of students achieve their MBA dreams. They can be of good help to someone who has no fall back option and needs an experienced set of eyes to review his/her essays. I am simply cautioning you to not listen to everything they say. Additionally, I am cautioning you from charlatans who exploit naïve individuals and charge hefty fees despite 0 knowledge. If you hire a consultant, don’t forget to ask the below essential questions to check the credibility of the consultant –
1. Does the consultant hold an MBA degree? If yes, from which college?
2. Does the team have any person who previously served on admissions board of a reputed college?
3. What is the mode of communication with the assigned consultant? Is he available on call/ skype/email etc? Is he available on weekdays/ weekends?
4. How many students are typically assigned to a consultant?
5. Are the employees of a particular consultancy full time employees or part time employees? You don’t want a part-time employee to disappear in the middle of your application.
6. How many people will typically work with you on your application?

I hope this helps some MBA applicants in their journey. I will soon try to pen down my interview experience. Feel free to ask any follow up questions. I will try to answer as many as I can. All the best. Believe in your ability to achieve! Once you reach your destination, it's worth all the time and effort.


Adding the link to another article that I wrote recently http://www.mbacrystalball.com/blog/2017 ... ent-979271


Hi Mahak,
Congrats on the big victory :). Your story is truly inspirational. Though you have already advised to be yourself while writing the Essay, I just feel blank when I try to think why I want to pursue a career in Business. If you don't mind can you help to provide the direction in which I should think or introspect in order to arrive at this answer ?

Kudos [?]: 4 [0], given: 7

Re: Admitted to Stanford GSB and CBS. With 730. Without a consultant.   [#permalink] 25 Jul 2017, 00:55

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