Thursday, July 12, 2007


Getting started: International MBA

With Admission rounds starting for next fall, it is important we understand few things before we decide to apply. First, there is huge difference between Indian MBA application and Foreign MBA application. Indian MBA application process is very objective with less emphasis on essays and statement of purpose, while foreign MBA focuses more on essays and your career goals.

Let’s go thru essential elements of any foreign B-school application package:

1. GMAT – A must for foreign B-schools. Some Indian colleges also take GMAT as a part of admission criteria viz. ISB, IIMA PGPX, IIMC exec MBA etc.
It is one of the most important parts of your application as it indicates your analytical ability and your strength to handle rigorous MBA curriculum.
However, unlike CAT, there is no cut off score for any college in world.
Still you can take average and median GMAT as an indication of a desired GMAT score by individual college.
There are thousands of books available for GMAT, to name few –
a. Official Guide – must read (called Bible for GMAT)
b. Kaplan
c. Princeton
d. Kaplan 800 – very tough
e. Manhattan SC guide

Practice tests:
a. GMATPrep – download for free from
b. Kaplan – low scorer
c. Princeton
d. Manhattan
e. Other thousands of tests - just google J

Above material can be used in decreasing order of priority, keeping in mind time available.

2. Academics – Certainly important, but importance varies.
If you have 10 years of work-ex, your work-ex gets preference.
If you have less experience, academics matter.
But this is area; you can not go in past and change. So don’t bother about it.
A good GMAT surely compensates for this as academics also indicate your ability to handle academic curriculum.

3. Work experience – Certainly matters.
But it is not counted in years only, quality of work ex matters a lot.
How did you make progress in career? What you have contributed in organization? What are your initiatives? What difference you have brought into organization?
Essays and Recommendation letters reflect your work experience.

4. Essays – Most important and fun part of application.
Best way to answer essays is to answer these questions to your-self –
a. Why do you want to do MBA?
b. What do you want to do in short term and in long term?
c. Why this particular college?
d. Why should college take you?

Let me tell you if you can answer above 4 questions, you are 80% done with essays part.
Thumb rule – Be yourself. Essays are the only part where you can sell yourself.

5. Recommendation letters – Important
From whom should I get reco letters?
- C-level (CEO, CFO etc.) – NO, Do these people know you so as to recommend you? Adcom wants reco from people who know you very well.
- Best person is your immediate supervisor.

Can I write my own reco?
- Avoid; Adcom can figure it out easily.

Thumb rule – Plan well to sell yourself.

6. Extra curricular activities and community work – This does help; but not in a big way.
In nutshell, a GMAT of 600 and HUGE extra currics wont help; but a GMAT of 750 and less extra currics may get you in.
But a complete lack of it may give you reject.

7. International experience – Matters certainly

8. Other intangibles – How you present yourself? Any spelling mistakes in essays? Your research on college and course; way you carry yourself in interview.

ALL above things contribute to ONE application package. A sincere application with clarity of goals should give you an interview call, even with low GMAT.

I will discuss interview and next steps in next article. Till then, Happy Apping. :-)


Anonymous said...

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