Cracking a top school for her Second MBA: Kareena’s MBA journey

No applicant is perfect. In fact, every applicant comes with a few roadblocks that make their application difficult to deal with. But the MBA application process is not about judging yourself based on your handicaps. It is to use those handicaps to convince a business school that you need an MBA.

When Kareena came to us, she had around 6 years of work experience in Human Resources, a GMAT score of 700, a PGDM in HR, and a demand of focusing solely on Canadian business schools for her applications.

Even after having significant roadblocks, Kareena converted McGill into an admit, with a $20,000 scholarship.

Her roadblocks:

  1. She had a limited range of schools she could to apply to.

    Other than the fact that many schools would not accept an application reflecting a previous MBA degree, she was also focusing on Canada which did not have a large selection of MBA programs in comparison to the US or the Europe.

    Solution: We suggested Kareena add a couple of good US MBA programs that wouldn’t cost her too much during applications. These were highly ranked schools in the US with low application fees.

  2. She was looking for a second MBA.

    Most business schools do not allow applicants who have a previous MBA degree, to apply. Those who do, need much more convincing for the fact that a second MBA would truly make a change to your career trajectory.

Kareena’s pre-MBA networking experience

We begin applicants on networking as soon as they are done preparing a rough draft of their goals. This gives them enough meat to come up with the relevant questions for their networking exercise and also gives them a good idea about how to approach their essays for each school.

The same happened with Kareena. She reached out to various alumni members and even attended MBA fairs. However, networking is a lengthy background process and you can sometimes get important information much later in the process.

When Kareena attended the MBA fair, she sat for a session with one of the school admissions committee members. This was a member form a school she was keen on applying to. He informed the applicants of one of the essay questions being solely for their experiences outside of a professional capacity.

Kareena had already written that essay and would have even sent it had she not visited the fair as per her networking guide suggested.

Kareena’s essays

Kareena’s essays were changed to accommodate this new information. However, they turned out bland and anyone reading them could see it was a last-minute change.

She had done her best to incorporate the changes in the existing essay but the flow had been broken. Neither Kareena nor we were happy with the way this essay looked. Although the essay consisted of three different incidents, it was important to have the same tone throughout.

After a lot of back and forth, we decided on a final version and went with it.

Selecting recommenders

Kareena’s current immediate supervisor was cold to her requests for a letter of recommendation. He seemed completely uninterested and unfazed by the impact his recommendation would have on Kareena’s applications.

While the schools do ask for a current supervisor’s application, they also allow students to choose a different recommender with a viable cause. We decided to take that option as we knew her supervisor won’t be able to add any value to her application.

We went with another senior from the firm, indirect supervisor, to write an effective LOR for Kareena.

It all really did work out in the end as you know she cracked McGill with a $20,000 scholarship.

Here is Kareena’s journey in her own words.