Think hard! Why an MBA now? Career switch or Career development?
Which specialization suits you optimally?
Your short-term and long term goals- A thorough analysis is required.
Ask yourself questions like ‘Would you prefer a desk job or prefer going out in the field?’
Choose something that strikes the perfect match for your personality, interests and aptitude.
It’s good to be confident, but NOT overconfident. Almost every candidate has good credentials. Even if you are one in a million, there are over 7,000 more applicants like you. So, hedge your risks by choosing universities wisely and applying to a mix of ambitious and safe ones.
The GMAT score tells us a lot! Chances of admission to a university should be weighed after adding and subtracting 30 to the average GMAT cut off for its applicants.Example: If xyz University accepts students with an average GMAT score of 650, applicants with a GMAT of 680 will have a very good chance and those with 620 still stand some chances.
International universities do not just consider test scores for admissions. Even if you have a lower test score but prolific job experience, international experience, extra-curricular and community activities, you can still make it to your dream university. So don’t eliminate all risky options in the first go!
Shortlisting all universities in one single favorite location is a NO. This creates problems during the Visa as the officers get suspicious as to why the applicant has applied to just one location.
Application and Documentation
A deadline missed is a chance lost! Keeping track of the deadlines is crucial. Applying early has its own merits; applying within the first two rounds is what we advocate.
Reporting the official GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS score to the universities is a must. This is done through the official website of each official test.
Document requirements vary from university to university.Each and every document in the checklist must be complied with.
For MBA students, some universities may waive off English requirement tests like TOEFL and IELTS. It is a good idea to check with the University to know the options.
Few universities require all international students to get their undergraduate degree evaluated by a NACES approved agency like WES or ECE. A careful check for this requirement is advised. The evaluation can take up to 3 weeks, so time it properly.
It is a great idea to maintain a log of your applications; what is done and what needs to be done.
Essays and More
Personal incidents are NOT a ‘put-off’. Essays speak out your story.Be it a special circumstance or a broken relationship- anything worth sharing is a MUST TELL!
Talking about university specifics such as clubs, student organizations, faculty, projects etc. in the essays make them stronger.
Everyone values assets! The essays must highlight how you intend to contribute to the University; how your life experiences will help make the study experience more interesting for you as well as others.
The essays should highlight your accomplishments. They should not be just listed as done in the resume, but speak about your competence in handling adversities, working in teams, leading by example etc.
Community service engagements must be an integral part of the essays. If no prompt allows you to shine through your community engagements, the additional essay must be used to show your inclination to contribute. Include activities which you can resonate with. For instance, if you hate the smell of animals, but show a weekly commitment at a neighborhood pet care center, trust us, the admission committee will be able to smell the rat some way or other! If you have not undertaken any activity so far, START NOW. You will surely find some way to make contribution which will not only strengthen your application but YOU as a person as well.
Ponder over your life so far and pen down your experiences with different cultures, traditions and people. Your essays should reflect these. International universities bring together people from almost every corner of the world. The more they find you endowed with diversity, the more they would want you to be a part of this dynamic culture.
Never forget to highlight how keen you are to pursue the chosen program.
Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
So you thought if you once shook hands with the CEO of your company you should get a recommendation from him.Please do not commit such a mistake. You are advised to obtain the LORs from someone who has directly supervised you like your manager, and NOT form powerful people. The person should know you at individual level, only then can he recommend you effectively.
Nobody’s perfect isn’t it? Then don’t have a LOR that is filled with flowery words and praises about you. Your recommender is supposed to comment on BOTH your strengths and weaknesses. In fact many universities ask the recommenders specific questions, this is one of them.
Rather than simply using words and adjectives, your recommender needs to provide some incidents that can corroborate those adjectives. For instance, if he says, ‘you are an excellent leader’, then he needs to provide an instance where you exhibited exceptional leadership. The projects or accomplishments you achieved under his supervision need to be the main highlight of the LOR.
Since most LORs today are to be submitted electronically (online) always have your recommender use the official company/university email ID to do so rather than a personal Gmail/hotmail/yahoo email.
So you think you wrote all your personal information and everything you know and you have aced the resume? WRONG. For MBA purposes, your resume needs to be single paged, with no irrelevant information.
Information like your home address, marital status, high school background, languages known and other personal information that is already there in your application form can be skipped.
Mission Statements should be excluded. After all your aim at this point is getting into the MBA program and they know it.
A consistent format should be used.
Bullet points help the admission committee to have a quick read.
For lesser known companies, a brief description of what the company does, is encouraged.
Your accomplishments make you unique.So, include them!
Action words are needed to create the desired impact. Example : Supervised, Lead, Mentored
Most scholarships are granted on the application essays, so they need to be powerful.
Some universities ask for additional essays for scholarship. These must be brainstormed upon very carefully to convey the right message powerfully.
Scholarships are granted on the lines that how much of a contribution can you make to the University, hence the essays should showcase your profile well.
Many universities offer special scholarships like Women’s Leadership Scholarships, so definitely look out for these if you fit the bill!
Just like your essays, don’t hesitate to talk about personal issues in the interview. Broken relationships, life changing experiences or other compelling stories you want the admission committee to know, just share!
The admission committee is there to know more about you, not to judge you for personal choices.
Collect your thoughts on the frequently asked questions before the interview and have some mock sessions.
For international students, the interviews often take place over Skype or in person if the University is visiting your city. If the interview is on Skype, make sure you are in a quiet and comfortable room with no noise. The committee does not want to hear the noises of little children crying in the background.
Before the interview, try and use Skype video chat for a few times if you have not used Skype recently.
Please take your Visa form seriously and make sure all information is accurate. You cannot have the officers think you are trying to misrepresent any information.
When the visa officer asks you why you are going to the University you have got admission in, please don’t say ‘because it’s the best’ unless you are going to MIT or Harvard. Be subtle and say because it suits your credentials the best.
Always be well informed about the facts & figures like the location of your university, tuition fees, modules, course duration etc. as these questions might be asked in the Visa Interview.
Be prepared for questions like ‘Why this university?’ and ‘Why have you chosen this particular course?’
Have a fair idea about the income, savings, turnover and the method of financing your education.