Thousands of students apply to various business schools around the world without really introspecting and assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Without proper clarity, the applicants try to gamble their way up and many times, the odds are not in their favour. In this light, if you are a B-school aspirant, it is important to assess your candidature carefully. This is because business schools take a look at various aspects while considering your candidature.
If you are considering the MBA programme at the Ivy League universities in the US, you will be considered a strong candidate if you have a GMAT score higher than 750, have worked with one of the target group of companies that recruit from the university for four to five years and you have an undergraduate degree from one of the top colleges in the country with a GPA higher than 3.6.
Additionally, the universities look at extracurricular activities like being a part of a sports team or any charity work you may have done. However, if you have everything from the list above, but still could not go to a top tier university or college, you need not lose heart as you can still work on your profile to maximise
your chances of getting into a good B-school.
For a strong profile
Here are some ways that you can follow to ensure that the university understands your profile:
Short-term and long-term aspirations: You have to project a great understanding of your short-term and long-term goals. Additionally, highlight what industry you would be getting into after completing the degree and the position you intend to work as (for example, a hedge fund manager). The research will need to be very comprehensive and you should even know the positions that the target recruiters hire for.
Expressing 'Why this programme?': You will have very strong reasons for joining that particular programme. Get to know more about the programme by talking to the students and the alumni. This will help you know how that school will help you in your future.
Make a class visit: It is ideal to make a class visit. Go to the websites of your target schools and identify the class visit schedules. Interview should not be the first time they should see you. Meet them way ahead of the cycle. Ask smart questions and take good notes. When you are building the 'Why this school?' essay, reflect on the experiences you had.
GMAT score: You need to have a GMAT score between 720 and 770. With a score of 720, an Ivy League admit is not impossible but gets really tough. While GMAT is only one of the factors that they take into consideration, you still have to satiate the demographic needs of the university.
If you are an applicant from a social services background and aspire to do something in the same area, they might consider you with a low GMAT score as well. You will also need to be aware of
the school's selection process when it comes to picking up the right demographic mix.
Extracurricular activities: Don't just state what extra-curricular activities you have participated in. The universities are more interested in the story behind your participation. They want to know why you participated in those activities and what you learnt from them.
Past experience matters: To make your application stronger, you should have also worked with one of the companies that hire from your target university. There are many companies that are on the top of recruiting charts. If you have been trained at one of the top companies, you have a better chance of getting into top schools.
Essays: Have a very candid expression while you write the essays. Remember that your essays should not be driven by complex vocabulary. It is more about telling a story of your life. It is more about why did you do what you did and what matters to you the most.
Along with these, you also need to have strong letters of recommendation. While it may not be easy to qualify for all of these parameters at one go, it is important to work towards it steadily.
(The author is founder, PythaGURUS Education, Gurugram)