How Vritti got into INSEAD, Nanyang, HKU & HKUST with little work experience?

This MBA application story is for everyone who is told to not apply to certain schools due to their resume. We see applicants ‘beat the odds’ every year by getting admits to schools that are known to be very particular about some requirements on an applicants’ resume.

Vritti only had around 4 years of work experience and still got into INSEAD which is a top-ranked one-year MBA program with an average work experience of 6 years.

Not just that, she also cracked top business schools like Nanyang, HKUST, and HKU.

Here’s her story:

My MBA Application Journey

When starting to work on my MBA applications, I knew I wanted to work with a counselor/consultant for my essays and specifically one that focuses on MBA since it’s a completely different ballgame compared to undergrad applications. I’d already spoken to a few counselors in Delhi and Mumbai, hesitating to pick one as they came across as pushy salespersons or critical of my profile and telling me to settle for schools a tier lower than the ones I had in mind.

I got Jatin’s reference, not from another student but my Aunt who had met him through work and had spoken to him about PythaGURUS. She said he came across as extremely passionate about helping students and mentioned his personal involvement in each candidate’s application journey. I went through the website, called the office and got a call appointment with Jatin for the next day. A 20-minute call with him and I was convinced of his approach and methodology of working with candidates. His genuine passion to help every candidate is what stood out for me.

Pre-MBA networking

The initial stages of researching the schools and his guidance on networking calls were extremely helpful. I did not see the importance of networking then, but all the alumni conversations were really useful for the essays and interviews. Jatin helped add a structure to these conversations in a way that I knew what I was looking for in each call and did not end up having a long call with no key take away for me.

The application essays

I would also like to highlight Jatin’s involvement in the most important phase i.e. the essays. The process started with me sending him the list of essays with brief notes on what I would cover and emphasize. He helped me brainstorm, think further and focus on the main point I needed to highlight to the admissions committee. The back and forth discussions on each essay added to the final version which of course Jatin shared as per the timelines we had agreed on for each school.

It’s easy to focus on the wrong details in an essay and Jatin prevented me from making this error multiple times. I would genuinely advise candidates to trust his judgment and just follow his notes on your essays to the T.

INSEAD interview experience

While I had planned to apply to 7 schools (5 with Jatin and 2 on my own) I eventually only applied to four - INSEAD, Nanyang, HKU & HKUST. The interview experience with each school was different. INSEAD does an asynchronous online interview when you first submit your application. While it may feel a little awkward at first, you have access to the system for 48 hours after the application deadline and you can practice as many times as you want to get comfortable with the process.

If shortlisted, you are assigned two alumni in your area who you need to set up a meeting with. The entire experience was extremely comfortable, the alumni were very friendly and the meeting went more like a conversation than an interview. You also get the opportunity to ask them any questions and hear about their personal experience at INSEAD.

Getting 4 admits with Scholarships!

HKUST, on the other hand, conducted a Skype interview with an admissions committee member and a professor. They also shared verbatim feedback from the interviewers when they called to share details regarding the admissions offer. Nanyang & HKU visited Mumbai and conducted the interview in person.

I have received admission offers from all four with merit scholarships of up to 20% from two of them. Still waiting to hear back from INSEAD regarding the scholarships but I will be going to INSEAD this fall :)

Warm Regards,

Vritti Chowdhry