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A geometric view to B school admissions

‘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.

Good luck.

The journey to a Business School

A typical B school application process with timelines

B school aspirants ask us all sort of questions from “Do I need a coaching for GMAT” to “Is there a good month to take GMAT” to “Should I devote 15 days, 1 month or more to my essays” and so on.

Most of the applicants don’t even know why they want to do an MBA (apart from the fact that they will get a career jump).

The purpose of this post is not to make that cleared but to give you certain valuable insights tip etc to help you in your journey to a Business school.

GMAT

1) Registering for GMAT: Register for GMAT in atleast 2 months in advance. This will give you time to make a study plan and also allow to get a date and time slot of your choice.

2) Taking the GMAT: Since most of the schools start accepting applications in October time frame, make sure that you are done with your GMAT latest by July end. This will allow you enough time for your applications or enough time to retake the GMAT in case you haven’t performed well in the first attempt.

3) GMAT Preparation & coaching: Most students also ask us whether coaching for GMAT is necessary. GMAT coaching plays an important role in making you familiar with GMAT, getting discipline in your studies and providing you an easy access to some instructor who can solve your queries. If you feel that you have someone who can guide you and you are disciplined enough in your studies then you may actually not require a coaching ( but normally that’s not the case with most of us)

B school research and Applications

Most applicants don’t spend a lot of time in doing proper research on which B schools they should apply to. It a rat race largely. The attitude is “normally people with my kind of score and profile apply to ISB, Harvard and Chicago GSB kind of schools, so let me apply to these”.

In our opinion that’s not the correct approach. Spend time talking to B school alumni, checking out the schools website, attending admission committed road shows, webinars and events to see what the B schools are looking for. At the same time also figure our whether the B school offers what your are looking for. E.g. INSEAD me be a great schools for a consulting career but if you want to start you own venture then it might not be the best choice.

This research will also help you collect ample material for your application essays specially the “Why us’ and ‘Why should we take you’ essays.

Transcripts: While you are researching about the Business schools, make sure that you complete the task of getting transcripts from your undergraduate college. Make sure that you have atleast as many copies of duly attested and signed transcripts as the number of schools you are planning to apply to.

Essays: Again, when you start drafting essays make sure that you don’t just give the B schools the normal stuff. B schools want to know more about you and essays are the medium. Start writing down your strengths, weaknesses, your goals, what makes you different etc. Talk to people and take inputs from them. If you are going for professional Essay services make sure that you choose one with good reviewers and success rate. Give atleast 1 month to essays for one school. Don’t think that essays are a cut paste job and can be done in a matter of a couple of days.

Letters of Recommendations: Decide on who are the people from your professional life who can give you letters of recommendation. Make sure that you select atleast one supervisor (from any of your jobs) as a recommender. If you feel that you can’t tell your boss that you are applying, talk to a team lead kind of person. But we strongly advice NOT to take both recommendations from peers. Also, choose people who have given recommendation to applicants in the past so that they are familiar with the concept.

Start talking to these people well in advance so that they shell out sufficient time to write for you. Don’t just knock their door 2 days before the deadline.

Interviews: If you have written the essays well and have a strong profile, you will start receiving interview calls by late October or early November. If you get calls, prepare well by talking to alumni, getting mock interviews done and going through your essays and application again and again to make sure you know well what you have written in the application.

If you don’t get any calls, do a ding analysis – what was missing in your profile and application. Also, focus on the remaining schools you want to apply to.

This post is written from the experience we have in this domain to get the best results. Thanks for reading… Watch this space for more….


 

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