Have you ever wondered if you have it in you to get a management degree from an Ivy League college? If yes, read on to find out how you can realise your dream.
1 Look inward: The best way to begin your journey to an Ivy League MBA is to ask yourself why you want to do an MBA. Unless you are convinced that you need to do an MBA, it is very unlikely that you will be able to convince the B-school admissions committee.
2 Examine your profile: Find out what in your background you can showcase to your advantage. Accomplishments at work and elsewhere – hobbies that you are serious about, contributions to the society – that will add value to your application. Next, find out what is missing. For instance, you may be putting in too many hours at work, leaving no time for other activities. This might help if you are a scientist but it’s not a desirable trait in an MBA candidate.
3 Be uniquely ‘you’: The best way to build your profile is to play to your strengths. Your mission is to build a compelling personal brand and not a generic ‘ideal B-school candidate’ that you think the school is looking for: a special mention here, about ‘NGO experience’, which many Indian applicants think is all-important. Granted, community contribution looks great, however, there are many ways to contribute.
4 Gun for a great GMAT score: GMAT scores range from 200 to 800, with a median of 500. However, most Ivy League schools expect a score of over 700. Do not exhaust all your energy in aiming for a super-human score. A reasonably competitive score, with a compelling application, can help you get to your dream school.
5 Plan the essay-writing process: To capture your life experiences, learning and aspirations in a few hundred words is not easy. However, get started on it as soon as the application season is under way. Read analyses of the essay on websites. Almost all B-schools look for certain common traits such as leadership potential, communication skills and initiative. Once you have written your essays, get them reviewed by a couple of trusted advisors.
6 Choose your recommenders wisely: A good B-school recommendation has to be realistic and contain specific detail about your strengths and weaknesses. Reach out to your current or former supervisors.
7 Interact with the B-school: During the application process, reach out to the school. You can attend webinars and info-sessions and even mail the admissions committee with your queries. These gestures fetch you brownie points.
8 Accept your flaws: B-schools appreciate a candidate who can talk about his/her weak areas with grace. If you have an obvious weakness in your application, such as a gap year, or poor academic scores, bring it up.
9 Maximise your chances: If you’ve been waitlisted, follow instructions. Some schools don’t ask for any additional material in support of your candidature. If so, abstain from mailing them. Some schools do not discourage this. Hence, you can update them with professional developments, improved GMAT scores etc.
(The author is CEO , CrackVerbal )