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How an engineer made it to Duke despite a low GPA?

One of the most difficult roadblocks in an applicant’s profile is a low GPA. It is something not many schools are kind about, and an applicant can’t do too much to go back and change that low grade.

Ankur was facing the same issues when he came to us for guidance during his MBA application journey.

Together, we were able to create an amazing result for Ankur and he cracked one the world’s best MBA programs, Duke!

We are stoked to be sharing his success story with you today.

Ankur’s goals story

An applicant doesn’t need to convince anyone of his/her post-MBA goals, except the admissions committee. Ankur had this problem. His current post-MBA goals weren’t strong convincing enough. At this point, an applicant has only two options either switch their post-MBA goals into something they will be able to sell easily or dig in and do the research to pull out reasons are undeniable.

Ankur was told to use his networking contacts to figure out what reasons would help to show the admissions committee that his chosen post-MBA functions is not only a viable but also admirable. These applicants weren’t just alumni and students of current schools but also professionals that had a career trajectory similar to the one Ankur wanted to have post-MBA.

He needed to detail the skills he wished to gain or hone during an MBA program, which will contribute towards his short-term goals.

After understanding his feedback and working on his goals story a few times, Ankur finally had a comprehensive set of reasons for doing an MBA, including his handicaps and AHA moments.

The current handicaps are the gaps or the absence of the skills required for the applicant to function smoothly in their short-term or long-term goals. A good goals story would have the applicant detail how an MBA would help them overcome their current handicaps and acquire the said skills.

The AHA moments are moments from the past year or two that have made the applicant identify the need to do an MBA. These are moments that have motivated the applicant to work towards their short-term and long-term goals.

Waitlisted to Duke

After the application process and the interviews were almost done, we received a piece of disappointing news. Ankur had been waitlisted by Duke. We knew at this point that we were not ready to let this one slip from our hands and started working on a post shortlisting strategy.

Our aim was to show the school that we valued them since they hadn’t dinged us for the same reason. We decided to meet Duke alumni in India, send the school another recommendation letter, and be even more aggressive with our networking strategy.

We even came up with around 2 strategies as there was no sure shot way of knowing if the waitlist strategy would make a difference for Duke. However, Duke came through and were convinced of Ankur’s motivations to join their school due to the waitlist strategy.

The result was as clear as day, Ankur started his MBA program as soon as the intake season ended!

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