Before Raggy cracked a TOP 10 US Program with significant scholarships, a lot of events transpired, and I want to project them here for you so that you do not get disappointed by rejections. Applicants do not like bad news in their mailboxes. When you speak with us for the first time, a lot of you sound scared even at the thought of getting rejected, and you think a Top 10 US Program will always be a cakewalk. I have worked with a lot of first-time applicants/reapplicants since 2008, and my life gives me immense opportunities to create very significant scholarships for the MBA applicant community. However, even behind the best of the stories, there are moments when applicants experience rejections before cracking the final one. The strongest suggestion that I have for you today is:
You will have your “favorite” school interview on Thursday, and another top school will reject you a day before that. Can you afford to feel dejected? For how long? Nope! Get up and move on! The interviewer next day does not care about the rejections you had before meeting him.
Coming back to Raggy
Key highlights of the story
Finally joined University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business with 40% Scholarship
Raggy used to attend the MAD(MBA Admissions Seminars) Series sessions at PythaGURUS and had interacted with me on several occasions about his aspirations to join a Top 10 US Program. We were 1 month away from the round 2 deadlines when Raggy decided to not apply in the same year, and start with us in March of next year for the round 1 deadlines starting in August/September.
Just before starting with us, he said, “Jatin, you are the only MBA Consultant who thinks I can make it to a Top 10 US Program”
Knowing that everyone else thinks he will not crack a Top 10 US Program made me relook into the entire profile again, but I did not find a major pain area.
I became a little cynical regarding his goals and the overall story. He had an engineering background(NON- IIT) background but did not have any client-facing experiences, or outstanding extra-curricular.
Hardworking and down to earth, Raggy made it very easy for me to offer objective feedback. I normally give very straight feedback and do not know how to sugarcoat, and I have experienced that some applicants do not like that. Word of advice- if you are coming to me, you are coming to seek value from my experiences, and are not coming for appreciation or acknowledgment only.
With a Non-IIT, NON-Bain, BCG, McKinsey background, I knew that we had limitations, but I also knew that a very strong sense of employability and a great understanding of what we want from the business schools will help us make up for the missing areas.
After 5 submissions, we received interview invites from Kellogg, Tuck, Ross, and Kenan Flagler.
The first three were my Plan A and Kenan Flagler was my plan B.
A lot of things go wrong in interviews, and you should always prepare for these contingencies
Here is what happened with Kellogg:
Interviewer Gave us an option of either morning or evening schedule at Café Coffee Day in NOIDA. Raggy, being an early bird, picked morning. Yaayyy!
The interview was scheduled to be from 9:30 to 10:00(As per the email sent by the alumnus). The interviewer reached 9:45 and got up at 9:55 suggesting he had a work emergency and had to be in the office by 10:30. He also suggested that morning interviews did not work for him given the nature of his business. Even before the result, I knew that we will not get Kellogg. And knowing Raggy’s preparation, I know that there is no way this applicant would have sounded scripted/rehearsed, and there is no way any interviewer can choose to cancel the interview because of the quality of the initial delivery.
Tuck Interview experience:
The moment Raggy received a Tuck interview invite, he panicked a little as he knew the interviewer from one of the Tuck events he had attended, and did not connect very well with the interviewer at all. While Raggy was a mellowed MBA applicant, the interviewer sounded like Kevin O Leary from the Shark Tank. The interviewer was a Managing partner in one of the Large Private equity firms, and an ex-investment banker.
Just as Raggy had anticipated, the interview did not go well. Even though it went for an hour, the interviewer kept harping on why did Raggy choose Management consulting goals. In the words of the interviewer:
“Management consultants really do not do anything. The real game is in finance where one gets to at least give real results. Why did you not pick Finance goals?”
He did quote some of his McKinsey, Bain, BCG friends as well to support his hypothesis. He kept harping on this point for 20 minutes, and the interview turned more into a DEFENSE strategy rather than a conversation. 20 minutes later, the poor applicant gave in and agreed with the interviewer(You should never do that).
LESSON: STICK TO YOUR FUTURE! STICK TO YOUR STORY! IF YOU GIVE IN, THEY WON’T TAKE YOU.
After these experiences, we understood that Kellogg and Tuck aren’t going to come back with good news. However, we had two more interviews lined up with Ross, and Kenan Flagler. While Kenan Flagler was not the top choice for someone interviewing with Kellogg, Ross was very important.
Knowing that Raggy was well trained in handling diverse interviews, and understanding that he had had tough luck with two of the best schools, I was concerned that he might collapse if Kellogg and/or Tuck rejected him a couple of days before his last two interviews.
This is my suggestion to all the applicants- Do not let rejections from one school impact the other results. Treat every school as the most important school on your list.
3 weeks later, we had Ross 40% Scholarship and Kenan Flagler 100% Scholarship.
Update: This applicant now works with McKinsey, and is living the Dream he saw while writing his goals essays.
In the end, everything worked, and life moved on- Lived Happily ever after.