What goes into making an IVY League Application?
Short term and Long Term goals: This candidate will have a great UNDERSTANDING OF THE SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM GOALS . He will have a detailed understanding of the industry and functions he will be a part of post MBA. The research will be so comprehensive that he will even know the positions that his target recruiters hired for.
Expressing “Why this program?”: This candidate will have very strong reasons for joining that particular MBA program. He will have conducted a great amount of research by talking to the existing students, and the alumni body. Simply researching on the website will not allow you to tell them “Why you want to join Tuck School of Business or Columbia Business School ?” He will have created a list of questions that he plans to ask the alumni body. It is not about conducting personal interviews. It is about knowing how that school will help you in your future.
MAKE A CLASS VISIT: I will also encourage you to make a class visit. Go to the websites of your target schools and identify the class visit schedules. Research on these schools, and ask effective questions. Interview should not be the first time they should see you. Meet them way ahead of the cycle. Ask smart questions and take good notes. When you are building the “Why this school?” essay, reflect on the experiences you had.
GMAT Score: This candidate will have a GMAT Score between 720 and 770. With a 720, an IVY League School admit is not impossible but gets really tough. While GMAT score is only one of the factors that they take into consideration, you still have to satiate the DEMOGRAPHIC needs of the school. i.e. If you are an INDIAN IT Male applicant, you need to give them something more than the peer group. If you are an applicant from a social services background, and aspire to do something in the same area, they might consider you with a low GMAT Score as well. You need to be aware of the sensitivities of the school when it comes to picking up the right demographic mix.
Extracurricular Activities and the context: This candidate will have great stories in his/her extra-curricular activities. It is not about stating facts. They are more interested in learning “Why you performed those activities and what you learnt out of those? This candidate will have led many social/cultural activities, and will showcase a pattern that will add value to the school’s alumni body in the future as well.
Nature of the organization: This candidate will have also worked with one of the feeder companies. There are many companies that are on the top of the recruiting charts. While you do not have to necessarily belong to these companies, it still helps if you have worked in companies such as Google, Microsoft, McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, KKR, PWC, Facebook (and many more). Having been nurtured in the leadership of these companies, you become a good target for the top schools. If you look up the hiring patterns at the Ivy League schools, you will notice that many candidates come from these selected companies.
Expression on the essays: This candidate will have a very candid expression on the essays. Remember: They are not driven by heavy-weight vocabulary on your essays. It is more about storytelling and expressing your life. It is more about “Why did you do whatever you did?”. It is about “What matters most to you?”. You will also have very effective letter of recommendation. PLEASE DO NOT WRITE YOUR LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION Have your bosses write those for you. Take this SERIOUSLY.
I know that it is not easy to qualify all the parameters described above. However, I wanted to be unrestrained in my expression as you have many months to work in this direction.