4-year pursuit of an MBA | 8 admits | More than 15 rejects | Finally joining ISB

This piece is to share the the things I have learned during the roller-coaster ride i.e, the b-school admission process. Sincerely hope this will help others obviate the obstacles I have encountered…About me : My name is Saicharantej, a typic…

This piece is to share the the things I have learned during the roller-coaster ride i.e, the b-school admission process. Sincerely hope this will help others obviate the obstacles I have encountered..

About me : My name is Saicharantej, a typical IIM (Indian IT Male). Work Experience - 5.5 years in a top MNC. Would be commencing my MBA at ISB this April.

2010 - Realized GMAT is not everything

After seeing the score of 750 flash across the screen, I said to myself - "I have arrived bigtime on the MBA scene". This GMAT score made me believe that I just need to formally apply to the top b-schools and I will be offered admission. With this mindset, I applied to the top b-school in the country, Indian School of Business. Got an interview call with just 2.2 years of experience. I went in to the interview room with bundles of optimism. Within 15 minutes, all the hopes evaporated. I gave a shocking interview and it ended abruptly within 15 minutes. The rejection made me realize that GMAT is just a piece of the bigger picture.

2011 - Went all guns blazing and applied to 10 b-schools

I was determined to set things straight. I decided to apply for ISB again, this time with a stronger application. As a backup plan, I also decided to apply for top b-schools outside India. But there were just so many good schools out there and I was lost for choice as to which school fits my post-mba goals. In order to navigate the tedious process of b-school admission, I reached out to the b-school admission consultancy "ExpertsGlobal". I took constant feedback from them on the various facets of the admission process (essays, choice of recommendors, mock interviews etc) and short-listed a list of 10 schools. My interactions with them also completely changed my perspective about the world of MBA. Got admits with full tuition-waiver and scholarship to Smeal, Boston University and also got admitted to IESE, HKU,SP Jain Global MBA, Tepper. But my primary choice ISB did not turn out as expected - I was rejected again after another shocking interview. After considering all the options, I deferred my Tepper offer,let go off all the other offers and decided to give one more shot at ISB the following year.

2012 - Made a mistake

I became a bit over-confident owing to the admits I got the previous year and so went ahead with applying to b-schools without taking feedback from anyone. Applied to a myriad of other b-schools but was rejected by all of them.I just waited for the application round and applied to ISB as a second-time reapplicant. But this time, I did not even get an interview call - which was a shocker to say the least. Then I realized that I put in too much effort towards interview preparation and grew complacent over my essays. I did not even ask anyone for a second-opinion on my essays. I realized that I made a big mistake. Torn between joining Tepper and waiting for one more year, I decided to give one more shot at ISB as it has always been my school of choice.

2013 - Finally, the coveted call arrived

I decided not to repeat the mistake I've done previous year and reached out to ExpertsGlobal again. Worked with them for two months to gain constant feedback over close to 20 versions of my essays. Also reached out to various alums to get different perspectives on my post-mba goals and profile. Rather than waiting to get into Consulting after doing an MBA, I worked as a freelance consultant for various start-ups and NGOs. I also changed my perspective towards my work at my work-place and proactively took on various challenging projects.These experiences brought more clarity to my post-MBA plans and also helped streamline my essays. All these efforts paid off and I got the interview call from ISB during my 4th time of applying. Took close to 15 mock-interviews with my mentors at ExpertsGlobal over three weeks, fine-tuned my responses and got rid of the interview mental blockade. On the D-day, was able to give my best interview in the past four years and finally got accepted by ISB.

All through this journey, the biggest take-away for me is the feedback and support I received from various quarters - my mentors at ExpertsGlobal, the alums, my colleagues. As I came to learn, having someone guiding you during the admission process, is a huge shot in the arm.

If anyone have any queries regarding the admission process pertaining to the schools mentioned above, do feel free to reach out to me.