How S. Bhatt cracked Canada’s #1 School despite a GMAT 620, and a gap year in Undergrad?

This is a very special story of an Applicant who cracked a top TIER Program(Rank 1 school in Canada- Richard Ivey) with a GMAT 620 and established a new ground for us. You should all know that we also learn from you, and you give us opportunities to break newer and newer barriers. S.Bhatt made the unusual happen for us.

When an Indian Male IT applicant starts thinking about applying to a top school, the level of competition in this saturated applicant pool would suggest they should have a high GMAT score. In fact, we suggest having a GMAT score about 10 or more points higher than your target school’s average GMAT score to truly have a competitive edge in applications.

He wasn’t keen on applying to all top schools, however, the presence of Richard Ivey in his list was quite concerning. He mentioned that with a GMAT of 620, he had a major gap year in undergraduate as well, and that doubled up the concerns for us. What we did not know was that he was a ROCKSTAR, and was keen on doing whatever we would ask him to. YES! He did everything exactly he was asked to and went full throttle in all his exercises.

While we were initially hesitant to apply to the top schools and knew that he will get rejected because of his GMAT Score, and the Undergrad performance, his readiness to slave during the applications convinced us otherwise.

Before anything else, we needed to start the pre-MBA networking process with Him. He was very diligent in his networking strategy. In 2 months, everyone in his target schools knew that he will be applying and what his aspirations were. In his networking strategy, he was consistently attending all the roadshows, completing the "WHY THIS SCHOOL?" assignments with integrity, and building connections that would eventually help him bridge the gap between a GMAT 620 and a Top Tier Global Program.

When an applicant has major red flags in their application, the essays become crucial to the school. through the essay, you can show them exactly how perfect a fit you will be to their MBA program. We needed to change the tone of His essays from a plea of acceptance to an offer of a mutually beneficial partnership.

When an applicant chooses to forgo pre-MBA networking, their research only creates something I call a ‘brochure response’. It is a response which you will be able to find in a school’s brochure if you read it thoroughly. Admissions committees don’t want to hear that.

He reached out to current students and alumni from Richard Ivey, we came up with a plan of attack for his networking sessions. The first step was to watch the Networking Video on Interviewninjas. This is a mandatory step before we start our mock networking exercise so that every applicant has a starting point and isn’t jumping in blindly.

We then curated a list of networking questions along with H. These questions were school-based and would give Him some insider information. A few questions could be:

  1. What are some of the live projects that students had a chance to work on while being at your school? Do the first year and second-year students get a chance to work with companies during their MBA programs on real-time projects in order to expand the network?
  2. How supportive is the Career management center (Check what they call it? Some schools will call it Career Development center, and others will call it Career Services center. It is important to use it the way they do it.)
  3. I was reading about the team and other group-related activities. Can you talk about how is the overall environment at your school? How supportive are the students?

He was pursuing Richard Ivey with all his might. His low GMAT score had made him savage in his networking pursuits. If Richard Ivey was having a meet in his city, He would be there.

To every applicant out there with a low GMAT score, take this page out of S. Bhatt’s book. To compete with applicants who have a score of 740, 120 pointsabovehis score, he never let a networking opportunity go.

He had created such a good rapport with his networks at Richard Ivey that they even looked through and provided effective feedback for his resume. By the end of his networking stretch, He knew exactly why he wanted to go to Richard Ivey and could probably hold an hour-long conversation over it.

We still ended up working on it and refining his answers during his mock interview sessions. By the end, we were confident that his interviews would be a breeze, and they were.

With a significant gap year in his undergrad, a GMAT score of 620 (much lower than Richard Ivey’s average GMAT score of 670), and coming from a saturated applicant pool of Indian Male IT candidates, one would think S. Bhatt had no chance of getting into Richard Ivey. However, his diligence and effort to crack his dream school completely changed the ending of his MBA application story.

Here’s what S. Bhatt had to say:

Having scored a 620 on the GMAT I had lost hope of getting into a top B school. I spoke to at least 3 different admission consultants before narrowing down on Jatin. The 3 reasons for choosing PythaGURUS were:

  1. Though we initially had a list of schools that we had decided to target. Considering my work-ex and academic performance he was open to me applying to schools outside my score range. He strongly emphasized on me knowing my story, being self-aware and knowing how I am unique in what I bring to the table.
  2. Jatin is extremely systematic in the way he works. He would never move to step 2 unless step 1 has been nailed and this is something that has helped me a lot. Knowing what it is that you want to do and why that is what you want to do is something that has to be done by the candidate. But Jatin has the knack of beating it out of you. If you don't sound convincing and know the domain well enough he is not just going to move to helping you with the essays.
  3. Hunting the sharks (Ivey, Georgia Terry, Irvine): - “Networking, Networking, Networking". Take it from me this is not a cliché. Having the score that I had networking was my only opportunity for me to tell the admissions committee who I am beyond a hardcore techie who works at Intel. 250/500 words essays never do complete justice to 7 years of work and 2 academic degrees. Jatin always advises to start your applications early. He helped me understand how I should be presenting myself and what I should be asking on networking calls. I think this was another skill that Jatin has helped me develop and this undoubtedly played a huge role in my admits. For every school that I applied to, I had spoken to at least 2 current students, 1 alum and the admissions director. This, in turn, helped me build "Why I was a perfect fit for the school?" and get really conversational in the interviews.