Rejected by ISB? Arjun’s story of getting into ISB after being dinged

Arjun was an applicant with a rich background in product management. He wished to get an MBA to eventually join his family business. However, he couldn’t convince ISB of his motivations for pursuing an MBA.

This is where we came in. He reached out to us and asked if he could talk to a couple of our previous students just to be even more sure of his decision about seeking our help.

A few months later Arjun got into his dream school ISB, which had rejected him once before.

Arjun had a low GMAT score of 680. What was more worrisome was his incredibly low IR score of 1/8. That was a major red flag that any school would have noticed right away. Thus, the first suggestion he received from us was to re-appear for his GMAT if possible.

He did so but scored the same composite score of 680. However, in this attempt, Arjun was able to drastically improve his IR score form 1/8 to a solid 7/8.

Once his GMATscore was somewhat sorted out, we ran into a problem that needed to be addressed right away.

Something about the way Arjun was approaching applications made us a little skeptical about his intention to do an MBA. An MBA is a huge investment and many times Indian applicants are pushed into it due to various reasons. Such applicants end up regretting their choice in the end. We never want any of our applicants to face this issue.

Thus, we reached out to him and revealed our doubts. Once we were sure that Arjun was sure of an MBA and applying ISB, we began with the application process as the deadline for the school was fast approaching.

Arjun’s goals story

We asked Arjun to start with the goals story as it is one of the most crucial parts of an MBA application.

After a few days, a few very important days since we had little to no time, Arjun had still not provided the first draft of his goals story. At this point,we had to specifically as Arjun not to be too much of a perfectionist and submit a rough version of his goals.

A quick tip: The initial drafts of your Goals or your essay framework will never be perfect. These are just stepping stones to understand your perspective and building the final answers to the essays and the goals story. So, finish them up as soon as possible to make more time for rectification.

Arjun’s goals were very generic in the beginning. I know I have said this about a lot of applicants but Arjun truly took the cake when it came to generic goals. This is what makes his progress even more impressive.

After adhering to the feedback, going through the various resources that were provided to him (like Interviewninjas and the Management Consultancy guide), and some obligatory soul searching, Arjun provided us with a second draft for his goals story.

This second draft was at least 100 times better than his first draft. He was able to communicate what were the exact skills that he needed in his short-term goal of running his family’s business that only an MBA could provide him with.

He had now mentioned his current handicaps, the skills an MBA would provide and his short-term and long-term goals very distinctively.

Arjun’s ISB essays

Since Arjun had been briefed and provided with the resources during his goals stage, the stories he was choosing for his essays were satisfactory.

While his stories were fine, his storytelling wasn’t. he was giving very bland accounts of the whole event from a third person’s perspective. His essays did not highlight his thought process. Thus, we asked him to take another stab at the essays by first highlighting when and how he noticed a problem in his workplace or personal life. Then he was required to explain how he came up with a solution, i.e. his complete thought process.

For example, if you decided to add brown sugar to your tea instead of white, you need to start by mentioning what made you change your mind. Did you have a health issue? Or did you read an online article about the health risks of white sugar? Then you would have to tell the reader why did you “chose” brown sugar.

Arjun took our feedback like a champ and was able to produce essays that both him and we were proud of.

ISB, which rejected Arjun in a previous application attempt, had finally offered him an admit.

We are so proud of the growth we saw Arjun make throughout the application process through various assignments and networking and are sure that he will be a rocking MBA student and one day a Rocking industry leader.