How Abhi cracked ISB with a low GMAT score?

With 5 years of work experience as an engineer, Abhi decided to get an MBA education. He scored 690 on the GMAT and wanted an admit to one of the most exclusive business schools in India.

This is the story of how Abhi got into India’s top business school, ISB, with a GMAT score of 690.

Abhi’s goals story

According to his goals story, Abhi was an Engineer who was just bored with his line of work. The tone of his narration was not convincing about why he wanted to get an MBA. Your goals story is one of the most important parts of your MBA application, if not the most important part. If this isn’t a strong testimony of your NEED for an MBA, then the admissions committee will move over to an applicant who showcases that need.

His professional accomplishments were actually quite impressive when he verbally informed us if them, but the spark was missing from his goals story. The intensity of his accomplishments was lost on the reader due to a missing background for his challenges.

We advised Abhi to add the challenges he faced which made him come up with innovative solutions. As soon as started explaining his thought process behind each solution, and the reasons why those challenges needed innovative solutions, his story became inspiring and memorable for the reader.

Abhi’s essay analysis

Abhi’s approach to his essays was a bit focused on his quantitative aptitude, and design thinking. However, we needed to get him out of that zone and get more authentic and vulnerable with his expression in his essays.

The school already knew a lot about how he had great analytical skills, thus, our focus was on introducing them to Abhi the ‘person’ through his essays. So rather than focusing on what his greatest accomplishments were, Abhi needed to focus on why they were his greatest accomplishments.

He needed to talk about why was a situation challenging to him and how he overcame that challenge.

Abhi's biggest challenge was to stop being an engineer for his essays. He needed to explain his decisions to laymen and not colleagues who knew all the industry jargon and challenges.

When writing a business school application essay, it is necessary to address the reader as someone who can only understand very simple English, this will help you avoid any words or concepts that are too technical and that might get lost in translation.

He also needed to take responsibility for his failure essay. Not that he was intentionally trying to run away from it. The tone of his essay portrayed him as a victim of the situation, whereas he wasn’t trying to do so. By switching the narration, a little, Abhi was able to state his failure, and lesson much clearly in the next draft.

Long after his interview with ISB, Abhi found out he was waitlisted.

Even after working hard, and writing multiple drafts of the same essays, when an applicant is waitlisted by schools, it becomes hard for them to not feel like their profile is missing something.

We decided to take another shot at trying to convert ISB. We suggested networking more, meeting alumni, and sharing another letter of recommendation. A school that waitlists you are insecure about your future with them. They like you and your profile but something in it is not fitting with their vision. Putting in the extra effort could be just enough to tip the scale of admissions in your favor.

It worked out in his favor, and Abhi ended up with an acceptance letter from ISB!

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