Gaurav came to us after working as an engineer for 3 years. He wasn’t committed to a short-term or long-term goal but knew he wanted to switch careers.
Gaurav’s experience is also very helpful in establishing the value of networking. Up till now, I have talked about how networking helped applicants with connecting their short-term goals to the business school they were applying to. In Gaurav’s experience, networking introduced him to a new short-term goal of Product Management.
While many must be familiar with this function, Gaurav wasn’t. on a networking call with a Foster alumnus, Gaurav was exposed to this function and how Foster helped the alumni in reaching his current job. After more research on the same, Gaurav decided product management was his post-MBA short-term goal to be.
Gaurav was giving thoughtful responses to the essay questions, the problem was that they weren’t answers to the question that was asked. His answers were borderline generic and were a little off-topic.
The first Foster essay question asked him what his current handicaps were, and the second asked about the moments that led him to decide he needed an MBA or the AHA moments. Now, these might seem very similar., but they have a world of difference.
Handicaps are the skills or knowledge that you are missing to immediately enter the job function of your choice. Whereas the AHA moments are events that inspired you to do an MBA, or events that made you believe that an MBA could help you overcome your handicaps and enter your preferred job function.
Another issue was that he hadn’t used many anecdotes to substantiate his reasons for an MBA. For example, if he said he liked team leading positions and would perform well as a leader, it was not followed by an incident that could prove the same.
Note this, no matter how many skills you claim to have in your essays, if you don’t have an incident to back that up, the admissions committee probably won’t think twice about it.
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. Gaurav went through the same feeling when Simon waitlisted him and decided to take the GMAT again. He thought an increased score could make a major difference in his admits.
However, before that, he decided to take his last shot at trying to convert the schools that had short-listed him. 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.
Gaurav WAS accepted to Simon and simultaneously received his admit to Foster, both top US business schools.
True power is the power of choice, and Gaurav’s hard work had given him that power.