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Got Dinged! Need help to keep head above the water.

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Joined: 30 Dec 2016
Posts: 230
GMAT 1: 650 Q42 V37
GPA: 4
WE: Business Development (Other)
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Got Dinged! Need help to keep head above the water.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Feb 2019, 03:50
Hi Experts,

So after applying to 5 Canadian universities with a not so bad 650 in gmat, 2 years of entrepreneur experience and eventually getting dinged, I am here again asking for help. The only university I am awaiting a response from is University of Alberta in which my application status is still under review from past 1 month.

My profile
Indian, 26 years old
Commerce background.
1st division in class 12th, 1st division in graduation.
I have worked 2 years at The Royal Bank of Scotland and I have my own start up now in education industry.

I applied to McGill, Sauders, Schulich, Mcmaster, and Alberta. Got interview invites from Mcmaster and Schulich and got rejected after interviews. The only feedback I got is this year was highly competitive. So if one were to ask me what I have learnt from my experience, I would not have much to tell.
I have improved my gmat score from an initial score of 230. So, i am willing to rise from the ashes again.

But before I move forward I am in need of your expert advise. I am not able to figure out things:-

1. What can I improve in my profile before I apply again for next year intake? The only thing I have in control is my gmat score, but my gmat was above the average for some university such as Mcmaster so im not sure whether a better gmat score would make any difference?
2. Should I apply to same universities again?
3. How will I be able to write my essays differently, given my reason and motivation for doing MBA are pretty much still the same?

I will be thankful if you could help me figure out this jigsaw somewhat. Looking forward to hear from you.

Also, if anyone has experienced the same situation in the past, please connect with me.

Thanks and Regards
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Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 6545
Location: Chicago, IL
Schools: Brown University, Harvard Business School
Re: Got Dinged! Need help to keep head above the water.  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2019, 20:47
Sorry to hear about the dings! It's hard to say with certainty what went wrong without seeing your actually applications (more about that below) but there is definitely a LOT more in your control than just the GMAT so rest assured that it is possible to submit a much stronger app next year. We see this all the time with clients who come to us wondering what went wrong when they tried applying the first time around on their own & seeking our help with their second attempt. Like I said, it's hard to say for sure which factors resulted in the dings in your case, but there are definitely some common areas where we see applicants fall down, which I've outlined below.

In terms of the GMAT, you want to hit and ideally exceed a school's average score. It sounds like in your case you did that (although if there were cases where you below the average for some of your schools that could be one factor that raised concerns). That said, the GMAT is just one small piece of the overall puzzle. When you hit or exceed a school's average (likewise in terms of undergrad GPA) you've "checked the box", but it's definitely not a guarantee of admission. What's really critical when it comes to b-school applications is telling a story that's going to make you stand out. That unique value proposition is based on a number of factors, including: 1) your work experience - not only what type of work you've done but what meaningful contributions you've made. In other words, did you drive signifiant gains in revenue? Do work that resulted in significant cost reduction, etc. What leadership skills were you able to demonstrate? Why did you make the career choices that you have & how does that impact your post-MBA goals. Speaking of which...2) A second critical factor in conveying a unique value proposition (and making a strong why MBA argument) is your post-MBA goals. The adcom wants to see EXACTLY what you hope to do in the short-term and long-term. Many people get dinged because their goals were just too vague. You want to name the specific title you want in the ST & LT, your target firms (and why), and, most importantly, WHY those are your goals and what exactly you hope to accomplish. What unsolved problems do you intend to tackle? What untapped opportunities do you plan to take advantage of? What difference will you make in your target industry? And like I said, WHY are these your goals and your passion? Part of why your goals are so critical are because they set you up to make a strong... 3) "Why MBA" argument, which is another critical factor in making sure you have a strong, differentiated application. The adcom wants to know exactly which skill gaps you need to fill via the MBA & they want to see a strong argument for why THEIR school is the best fit for you. That means naming unique classes/professors/clubs/conferences etc you'll be able to take advantage of at that school (that you couldn't find anywhere else) to fill those skill gaps.

In terms of whether to apply to the same universities again, there's no right or wrong answer. If you do apply again you need to be able to show what's changed since you last applied. (and you can count on them looking at this last year's application again as well). That might mean a new accomplishment at work, tweaks to your career goals, additional ways you've connected with the school so you can learn more about it & strengthen your why MBA argument in your essays. It can be a bit tougher as a reapplicant because oftentimes not much has really changed in the past year when it comes to work. But if you realize that your goals or why MBA argument were weak the first time around then you'll definitley have some good material to weave into a new application.

If you want some more specific direction on what might have gone wrong, feel free to reach out to us & we can set you up with one of our MBA consultants for a ding analysis. We'll provide specific thoughts on where we think the weaknesses were & what to do differently next time. Just reach out to Claudia at and she can get you set up!

Either way best of luck to you with this year's applications! You've still got time to turn things around for next year!
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Got Dinged! Need help to keep head above the water.

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