‘What will get me into my B school of choice?’ is as profound a question in B school admission circles as ‘What is the meaning of life?’ outside of it. While the latter would require reams of paper and me to be an incarnation of the Buddha, the former is a little less intimidating.
The four quadrant approach to explain admission into a business school is something that I particularly have a fancy for. If Michael Porter takes a fancy for geometric shapes to explain strategy, should we be far behind?
The bottom line is: most institutes are in search for smart individuals who would fit into the fabric of the institute. And a manifestation of that search is the four quadrants of the graphic below.
The first quadrant is the application profile quadrant. The academic pedigree of the student, the work experience, the extra curricular activities and the diversity that he/she will bring into the classroom are intrinsic to this quadrant. For an applicant, this is the ‘facts and figures of my life’ quadrant.
The second quadrant is the GMAT quadrant. Despite not being an adamant believer of the doctrine that life is a number line, it is a fact of the living world that numbers like GMAT scores do matter. The score serves as a benchmark for institutes to evaluate the analytical and verbal abilities of the applicant. Whether this is justified or not is for a debate for other times.
The third quadrant is the application essays quadrant. Thankfully, the essay as against popular belief is not a check of your creative abilities. If it were, only Lord Byron and Shakespeare would have made it to the Ivy League. Perhaps posthumously. The aim of the essays is to discover the personality that is the applicant. They are very often instruments that the applicant should make use of to warrant a personal meeting.
The fourth and the final quadrant is the Interview quadrant. It is a privileged quadrant; one that is opened up to those who have made the cut in the other three. Institutes take interviews seriously because they fully well know that the ones they are talking to are the ones who will carry the name of the institute in the outside world tomorrow.