Mission MBA: Preparing for admission to a top ranking B-school
As more and more professionals are opting for an MBA course for a fast track career growth, change in industry and arm themselves with the tools to rise to the top positions speed, choosing a business school becomes critical. An MBA from a prestigious business school opens up doors to exciting opportunities in the industry of your choice across the world, but getting admission into them isn’t that simple. We take a look at a few of the important components which play a crucial role in selection or rejection in the school of your choice.
Want to get admission in ISB, IIMs, Wharton, Harvard, IE, HEC, NUS or other leading business schools? There are a few factors which are critical in the admissions process to most leading business schools. The reference schools here are all schools (nationally and internationally) which accept the GMAT score as one of the criteria and also have an application process in place.
Education & Knowledge
Academics are one of the most important keys factors for judging your business school eligibility. Aptitude for rigorous studies is generally well reflected in your previous examinations’ performance. It is one of the first things that the admission committee will look at. Ideally, you should at least have above average scores in all courses and examinations undertaken.
Background: The person reviewing your application will give it a set time to make a decision on your candidature. Somehow, in that time, you have to convince the person that you fit the bill. Whether it is through your work experience, extracurricular activities, community service or conspicuous background or a combination of these factors, you have to highlight the potency of your profile.
Any good business school worth their salt is looking for candidates with potential; this is not to say that if you have had a very normal and routine upbringing, you do not stand a chance. But yes, you do need that extra zing to add to your application to stand out from the crowd. A few ways to find out what aspects of your life you want to highlight, you may use the techniques of free writing and mapping your life. You unreservedly write down your most memorable experiences at home, in school, college and at work. You will be surprised at how much fodder you collect this way. When you think too hard, you stunt your subconscious mind. And your subconscious mind is one of the most powerful triggering forces. You can also talk to superiors, peers and ask them about what they think are your strengths and how they think you have showcased your potential for management or leadership?
Extracurricular: It is very important to have taken part in extracurricular activities. Whether at school, university or at work, you should be able to draw upon your rich experiences and what you have learnt from them. You should be able to communicate their value in your life and how these activities have helped you become more balanced as an individual. They can be very varied and really depend upon personal aptitude and interest. However, what interests the reviewer is how you can contribute to your fellow students’ learning with your distinct talents and background. Remember, that participation in activities also bring out and hone qualities like organizing, managing, team spirit, and leadership-all important elements of an MBA.
Community Work: It cannot be emphasized enough, how important community work is. If there is one strong element that can make an otherwise average application appealing, it is this priceless experience. Business schools are looking to create ethical leaders- aware of their responsibilities towards their society. Organizations are now working for many Corporate Social Causes and they prefer to recruit people whose values resonate with their own. If you have not collected some community experience already, please start immediately.
Work Experience: Professional experience is a vital component of your application. So, be sure to gather some varied and rich experiences. It is also fruitful to take initiatives which will provide you with learning experiences or growth, if not in terms of promotion but at least in terms of leadership and team building activities. With the help of a specialized educational consultant, you can build a strong application. This helps because you can brainstorm with an expert who knowledge about what admissions committees are really looking for. The result of such sessions is that you can find out exactly what anecdotes to use to enhance your candidature to the fullest.
GMAT Score: Most colleges have a reference range of the average GMAT score which is acceptable. It is best to achieve a result very close to the average. Some colleges have a minimum cut off score. A lot of candidates with varied backgrounds and experiences apply and is difficult to predict your chances solely based on the score. A higher GMAT does maximize your chances but your individual profile has an equal role to play. DIVERSITY is the key word here. There are plenty of GMAT preparation institutes offering classroom coaching, online preparation and self study materials. Do your research carefully and feel free to ask about the specific help you will get for whatever package you choose. Some things to consider are:
• The past record of the institute in helping candidates score well
• Academic credentials and experience of the teaching faculty
• The preparation time for each course
• The institute’s individual study plan should be different for each applicant based on his or her
A brief guide to MBA Admissions Calendar
Admissions criteria for Indian Business Schools are very varied solely because of the huge number of colleges and the kind of test scores they accept. Some schools have more than one intake so one needs to first identify their target colleges and then plan for the process accordingly.
As for international business schools, there are typically 3-4 admissions rounds or cycles. Again depending on country and college, one needs to duly research on the timelines and apply accordingly. Many European colleges like HEC, IE and ESADE have rolling admissions which means they review applications as and when they receive them throughout the year and give out results within 4-6 weeks. Some like INSEAD have 2 intakes. International MBA aspirants need to apply in the first round preferably and no later than the second round to maximize their chances of acceptance. For schools with rolling deadlines, the earlier applied, the better.
Here is a brief breakdown of application deadlines cycles for schools, region wise.
Oct- Jan (with many schools having rolling deadlines and accepting applications before and after these months)
Indian School of Business and other Asian schools: