Ani came from our favorite oversaturated pool of applicants- the Indian IT Male applicant working in the tech sector. He had 4 years of work experience, the average for most two-year MBA programs, and wanted to shift to a strategy consulting background post-MBA. He hadn’t done something wildly exceptional like winning an Olympic Medal or climbing Mt. Everest.
He was an applicant just like most of you reading this story.
Most B. Tech grads from India have been told over the years that an MBA is THE next career move for them. This means that when applicants like Ani approach business schools and say, ‘Hey you could really help me improve my career trajectory and follow my passion,’ business schools say, ‘Okay, but the other 3,000 Indian applicants from IITs said the same thing. So why should we consider you?’
At this point, most things in your resume aren’t the answer you’re looking for.
What can really help you is the subjective parts of the application like your goals story, letter of recommendation, and your essays?
Ani was lucky and his senior was very insightful and kind in his letter of recommendation. We had given him detailed guidance to choose the right recommender and he had hit the bull's eye with that task.
The problems came when during the goals story and the application essays.
Ani was clear that he wanted to get into strategy consulting post-MBA, which is already a step ahead of many MBA applicants. But that isn’t enough for a business school admissions committee member.
Ani needed to explain the kinds of industries and organizations he wished to be a part of. He needed to details his short-term goals so he could easily identify the various skills he would need to carry his professional obligations and how the school could help him attain those skills.
While Anirudh’s goal’s story portrayed a strong past, it did not do justice to his future. So, we suggested an exercise.
We asked him to consider that he was already employed as a strategy consultant with a top tier consulting firm, without even completing an MBA. Now, imagine what are some of the things that you would not be able to fulfill just because you have not experienced this transformation that an MBA brings.
Do this exercise at home. Write down all the responsibilities of your dream job, that you cannot fulfill right now. This exercise will make you aware of your current handicaps.
Once Ani had his current handicaps, he could easily identify how an MBA or a particular business school would be able to help him overcome them. And now we had an authentic and convincing goals story.
Next came the practical use of the goals story, the MBA application essays. Since we had worked on multiple iterations of the goals story, which is the foundation of the application essays, this part was relatively easier to work on.
But you see, Ani was an elaborate writer. He couldn’t help but give long explanations of every decision he was making and that meant more words and no meat. This is a roadblock that any MBA applicant can come across. They keep trying to justify one choice in an essay, go over the word limit.
This would even result in him not answering the essay question too sometimes. In the ‘Why this school?’ essays, Ani was only able to write a couple of reasons before exceeding the word limit.
He had also spent a long time on networking with current school students and alumni from his dream schools, however, that would not reflect in his essays.
At this point, we suggested he watch the 4-5 hours long video guide series on Interviewninjas. It helped him understand what parts of his reason for choosing each handicap were important enough to mention.
After long feedback sessions and the guide series MARATHON, Ani was able to produce essays that had each and every relevant detail, and a clear answer to the essay question.
You already know the result of this demanding and rigorous MBA application process.
Ani got into two Top US business schools, Tuck and Dartmouth.
His patience, learning curve, and perseverance helped him create this amazing result and we hope this is only the beginning for him.