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New post 17 Jun 2015, 16:23
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Last edited by sanmeetiit on 07 Oct 2015, 21:10, edited 1 time in total.

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New post 25 Jun 2015, 11:03
sanmeetiit wrote:
Hey all,

After more than 15 months of preparation, planning and learning from my mistakes; I finally have an offer from my dream school. GMATClub forums have been very helpful throughout the application process and I wanted to share my application experience including some dos and don’ts for future aspirants.

I come from an over represented pool of Indian male engineers. Working in ITES (IT Enables Services) for the back office of an investment bank for 5+ years. Want to transition into a full time investment banking associate for an American bank. Any MBA from the top 25 would help me get this job. Choice of school was simple. Higher the rank, better the reputation and easier the job hunting process.

This was my 2nd year of applying to top schools in US and firstly, I will tell you what I did wrong last year. I applied to 7 schools (Wharton, UCLA, Darden, Johnson, McCombs, Jones and UIUC) last year and for most of the essay questions, I wrote honest and direct answers without giving much thought over why each question has been asked and what qualities is the school looking for. To find a fit with the school, I just looked at the school’s website to pick up points for the essays. E.g, if the school has ABC clubs and XYZ research centers, I will join this club and make so and so contribution to research centers etc. This will absolutely never work because that is what 70% of the applicants do. The Admission Committee (AdCom) can easily spot such applications and these are rejected after the first reading by first AdCom member. I even hired an MBA consultant in India who merely added complicated words to my essays without any value addition. Needless to say, I was rejected by all schools without interview (just 1 interview from Jones, unable to convert).

In this year I decided to pick a handful of schools and put my heart and soul into a good application. I choose 3 schools (Ross, Kenan-Flagler and Vanderbilt) and made sure that each application gets satisfactory amount of time and effort. I could have chosen maybe 2 more schools but since my job was in finance, I could not give the necessary time without compromising on my job. I knew about the key elements of an application such as GPA, GMAT, Essays, Resume etc. but I believe the most important aspect that was different this year was the networking that I did with the target schools. While it is important to put time and effort into each application, it is equally important to show the school that you are putting time and effort in learning about their school.

In July/August, I started connecting with my target schools. Being in India, I did not have the luxury to visit schools so I attended information sessions, talked to current students, alumni, AdCom members, professors and, in one case, even connected with dean of MBA. Believe me, if you ask the right questions and leave a positive impression on the AdCom members, they will remember your name while reading the applications. And this virtually guarantees an interview call, if not a final offer. Talking to all these people and asking good questions helped me in all the subjective aspects of my application including essays, resume, extra-curricular, work ex etc. After developing a comfort level, the AdCom members of one of the schools themselves told me how they look at each element of the application. It almost felt like cheating in an exam since I knew the answers that the examiner is looking for. So this time I knew which aspects to highlight in my essays such that AdCom can appreciate my application. Later on I realized that some of the current MBA students mentioned my name to the AdCom as an interested applicant(Bonus!!).

I applied to Kenan-Flagler in the early round, Round 1 in Vanderbilt and Round 2 in Ross. I was also working on ISB application in the background, but I knew that it required much less effort due to a high number of seats available. Got interview call from all of them and also did the optional team exercise with Ross. I chose in person alumni interviews wherever possible because I am more comfortable that way instead of Skype, but that is just my personal preference. Sent a thank you note to interviewer and got reply from all of them, indicating a positive interview.

Finally when the results started coming, I could see the fruits of my hard-work. I got through Vanderbilt, Kenan-Flagler and ISB but got a rejection from Ross. While I was pumped with the offers, I was also curious on why Ross rejected me. This is where my networking proved critical. I called up the AdCom and asked for feedback which was only possible because they knew me for almost 6 months. They told me that it is a subjective process and my case could have easily been a waitlist but was rejected instead to maintain a maximum number of candidates on the waitlist. They also told me that if I update my application and play my cards right, even my rejection can be converted into a final offer. I followed their advice strictly and before the round 3 deadline I got an admission offer. I was super excited to finally get the call. I realize that if I had not been proactive in connecting with the AdCom, my application would have remained rejected. They even told me that my persistence was an appreciated quality for an MBA candidate.

In the end, I would advice future aspirants to start early and use this time efficiently. There is a lot of subjectivity in the application process and that can be effectively used to turn the tables in your favor. You never know which connection can help at which stage in the application process.

I hope you guys find this experience useful. Feel free to PM or email at sanmeet.iit<at>gmail.com if you need assistance on application essays, resume or general networking strategies for your dream schools. I have a couple of month’s time before I leave for Ross in August and can help future applicants in this time.

Cheers!!


Great post Sanmeet-very useful of aspiring candidates. I plan to apply this year and adding you on gmail.

Thank you,
Karthik

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New post 12 Jul 2015, 22:49
Thanks for sharing this with us Sanmeet. It was very useful. I will be applying to Ross this year. I hope it is okay if I connect with you over email. Thanks

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gurav12 wrote:
Thanks for sharing this with us Sanmeet. It was very useful. I will be applying to Ross this year. I hope it is okay if I connect with you over email. Thanks


Sure... feel free to drop a mail on sanmeet.iit@gmail.com

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New post 13 Jul 2015, 02:55
This is one of the few posts where someone climbed the summit and is really trying to help others do the same.Inspiring and hope to be in your shoes sometime soon.Keep up the great work!

Will sure connect with you.

:)

Kudos,if you like my response

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