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Can I still get into TOP European/Indian B schools - Please advise.

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Joined: 25 Jul 2012
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Can I still get into TOP European/Indian B schools - Please advise.  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2019, 02:11
Hello Everyone,

My name is Gaurav, I am an Indian and I work in IT industry. I wrote GMAT 6 years back (got 680) and now I am planning to write again. I had multiple personal setback and couldn't even apply to any collages, though I don't have any regret because I was standing with my family. Now I will turn up 35 in coming November and will have a change in my profile. I need to understand, do I still have a chance and if yes then what else should I do to enhance my chances other than scoring a good GMAT score.

Before I would've started my application process, my father got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Fought with him for 3 years but lost him. Fought my divorce in between and then I lost my cousin, who was my very close friend as well, to liver cirrhosis. All this happened and now I want to stop the suffering process and look forward for positiveness around.

I am an engineer with 2.5 CGPA from one of India's top private collage. Last month, I completed 13 years of work experience. I am into mid management role and currently take care of transition of projects from customer to vendor (my current organization) worth millions of dollars. I have been into people management and have experience in customer relations, customer satisfaction, global delivery, vendor management etc... I have worked with people across different continents. For all these 13 years, I have worked in 4 different companies (1 Indian, 1 French and 2 US) in different domains of IT industry and now I have put down my papers because what I am doing currently doesn't excites me at all and that was the primary reason why I wrote GMAT 6 years back, to shift my industry/domain. I did got opportunities to work in different countries, but I couldn't avail those as my family needed me for more important work and therefore I have ZERO year of experience of working in a different country.

I do have lots of extracurricular in collage and continue to follow some of those even till date.

Now, I am serving my notice period, post which I will go back to my native and start my stint with NGOs. I am planning to stick around for 2 years. I had a rough patch in last 6 years. I feel that I will come out of my suffering if I start doing something good for the society and be a part of change in my country. I am just not sure if this will add value or act as a hindrance in my application process. Irrespective, I have made up my mind and looking forward for my NGO stint.

Having given some of the background information, I would need advise on some of the below points:

1. Is it okay to apply in European B schools (IMD, HEC & INSEAD) & Indian B schools (IIM A & IIM C) with 15 years of experience, 13 years in IT industry and 2 years in NGO. I am confident that with all the time to myself, I can prepare well and cross 700 mark, however my aim is nothing less than 750.

2. I will have to speak with the consultants when time comes to understand the best way in which I can justify my shift from IT industry to NGO, however is this shift justifiable and will it be a value add or hindrance in my application process?

3. Any suggestions on what can I do in my next 2 years to solidify my chances in these 5 collages I mentioned above? My plan is to apply from Aug 2021 onward.

Looking forward for some frank opinions, suggestions & feedback. Would be more than happy to answer if anyone has any question.
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Posts: 284
Re: Can I still get into TOP European/Indian B schools - Please advise.  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2019, 18:32
Hi gauraku,

Thank you for your post. I am very sorry to hear about all of the hardships that you experienced in recent years, but I admire your perseverance in getting through them and your desire to focus on positivity and next steps. Here are my responses to your questions:


With respect to your chances at these programs, the biggest baseline obstacle for you is going to be the amount of work experience that you have (and will have at the point of application). At IIMs you'll often find work experience averages of only a few years; at IIM Calcutta, for example, only 1.7% of the class has more than 48 months of work experience. The European programs trend a little older (e.g., average work experience of six years at enrollment), but even there, you already have over 2x the average, and you're going to have even more than that if you apply two years from now. I understand the reasons for your delayed pursuit, and if you really want to try for these programs, then you can do your best to explain the situation and "why now" dynamics. But I do think that it's going to be extremely difficult. At this point in your career, you align a lot better with Executive MBA programs (and possibly some part-time or evening-and-weekend programs, though with those, you should still heavily research age and work experience profiles, as they can vary heavily from school to school).


The IT to NGO shift is certainly justifiable if that's where your heart is. The key will be to articulate the genesis of this passion and interest, how it evolved in recent years, what your super-specific short-, medium-, and long-term goals are, and why exactly you need an MBA (now) in order to achieve those goals. What exactly do you want to do in the NGO space? Where exactly do you hope to work post-MBA? Which organizations, roles, teams, and geographies? What projects do you hope to work on and impact do you hope to have? How does who you are and what you've done to this point -- plus the MBA -- equal, lead to, or enable these goals? What knowledge, skills, and experience do you already have that are relevant? What knowledge, skills, and experience are you missing and therefore need to acquire via an MBA? How exactly will you acquire these things at each program? How will each program enable this transition? And how can you uniquely contribute to each? It is a fairly substantive transition, but if you reveal the authentic interests and passion and purpose behind it -- and articulate all of the above with nuance and specificity -- it can become a strength in your essays and applications. (Likewise, poor articulation of the aforementioned elements could make it a weakness.) You can read more about these dynamics here: ... on-process


Finally, if you really really want to try for full-time programs, then I would encourage you to consider applying sooner rather than later. As mentioned above, you already have over 2x the average work experience as even the "oldest" of the programs you listed, and waiting two more years to apply and three more years to enroll will only make you even more of an outlier. That said, I will note again that I believe that Executive MBAs are better aligned for you at this point in your career. So if you do wish to pursue those, then over the next two years -- and along with really thinking through the goals dynamics above, researching programs very heavily, getting to know them and talking to current students and alumni at those you're interested in -- I would encourage you to consider what else you can be doing inside of work and outside of work that can elevate your leadership and impact and truly make you stand out. Within work, this might mean raising your hand to lead an initiative beyond your core job responsibilities. Outside of work, this might mean devoting yourself to a community-focused passion, which will in turn help build toward and enable your NGO transition. With these things, going super-deep and having real impact in a couple of areas is always better than sporadic involvement in several. Finally, if your scores end up coming in on the fringe for certain programs, or you feel that your pure business foundation is lacking, then you might also consider taking some foundational business courses or a pre-built series such as HBX CORe.

Hope this helps -- I wish you the best of luck!

Kind Regards,
Greg Guglielmo
Founder | Avanti Prep
MBA Admissions Consulting
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Re: Can I still get into TOP European/Indian B schools - Please advise.   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2019, 18:32
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