How to Ensure Admission in a Top MBA Institute

Sep 23, 2013 | Posted by admin in Student's Speak   No Comments »

Look beyond MBA entrance exams, for there are various others factors that determine whether you will get admission in a top B-School or not. Find out what they are!

Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an interdisciplinary programme that leads to an expertise required in today’s extremely volatile business environment. However, the BIG question is how to choose the right programme and get admitted to the school that will fulfil one’s career dreams and aspirations. Or how to make sure that the B-School that you aspire for chooses you?

Pointers to ensure that you get admission in a top MBA institute:

Search for the right programme: MBA aspirants need to find the differences in the MBA programmes so that they can determine which programmes are best suited for them by browsing schools websites/ blogs/message boards, communicating with current students and alumni, attending MBA fairs and visiting the campus to speak to faculty. A wide range of MBA programmes are available ; from the general MBA to programmes with a specialist domain such as Marketing, Finance, Technology, Leadership, Entrepreneurship etc. Focus and clarity on personal and professional goals is the key in searching for the right programme.

School rankings should be looked at but is not always the best or only way to evaluate a school. Ranking is an indication of quality of education offered by a school, but it is not necessarily about the suitability of the programme and how it contributes to fulfilling one’s aspirations.

Make a list and weigh the chances of getting admission: A list of B-Schools offering these programmes can be made by taking into account several factors: credibility, location, brand identity, placement record and specializations on offer. Look out for a unique pedagogy, updated curriculum, code of conduct, faculty, national/international collaborations, infrastructure, alumni and placements. The quality of the programme and its suitability to one’s goals and aspirations should be at the core of all this groundwork.

Connect: B-Schools regularly hold events/seminars either in the campuses or at different locations. Attend them to connect with in-house counsellors, expert faculty, current students and alumni of the B-School to find out more.

Apply early: It will express one’s avid interest in the B-School, highlight strong planning skills and help tackle problems that may arise during the application process. It’s always better to have some time in hand than get stressed out later and miss the deadline.

Make your application stand out:

  • Fill the entire application. Contact the admissions office in case of a doubt.
  • Application should looks neat and professional. Double-check the enclosures and submit them appropriately.
  • Highlight one’s most impressive achievements and state one’s goals as they relate to the chosen programme’s strengths, limitations, content, and culture.
  • Clearly state in essays and interviews the reason/s for choosing a particular programme, spelling your expectations and how it will be useful in achieving career goals.
  • Highlight extracurricular and community service activities that show multitasking capabilities, balance, team spirit and leadership. A candidate with a reasonable academic performance but who accomplished a lot outside of class may be viewed favourably by the B Schools as they are getting increasingly interested in one’s personal contribution to an individual or society. And community work is a great asset in case there is no work experience.

Understand that this goes beyond CAT/CMAT/XAT/ATMA scores: Leading B-Schools look for students from different backgrounds and focus on academic potential, personal and leadership qualities, creative and innovative mindset and work experience, if any. So while the admission process may start with the CAT/CMAT scores, there is no ‘cut off point’ for admissions in their flagship courses.

Showcase positive qualities: Essays, interviews, follow-up correspondence, and any other contact with a school are spaces for creating a positive impression. Use every such opportunity to explain how one’s experience and background will contribute to the programme and peers, and spell out what one intends to gain from them. Demonstrate leadership experiences that could come from internships, volunteering and other activities, not just from the work done in office or while managing a family enterprise.

Acknowledge shortcomings: If there are any inconsistencies or problem areas in the academic or professional background, be open and forthright about them. Explain the situation, the learning from it, and how it will be used to improve things in future – schools will appreciate it. Business schools don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be honest.

Highlight uniqueness: B-Schools look for students with diverse backgrounds – geographic, ethnic, cultural – and varied work and life experiences as it enriches and enhances the learning experience. So highlight individuality and how it can contribute to the school’s diversity.

Make a good impression: One will meet with a wide variety of people: counsellors, admissions staff, students, professors, and alumni during the admissions so put your best foot forward. A personal interview is aimed at knowing a candidate more intimately – assessing the clarity of thinking, future goals and the ‘fit’ with the B-school. It is a window for the admission committee to evaluate your interpersonal and soft skills. The focus of interview can shift from specific questions about career to broad discussions. Enjoy the interview; don’t look at it as an uphill task. It may get focussed on one’s hobbies –adventure –sports. Interviewers closely examine all the facets of an individual not only as an MBA student but also as a future professional, a fellow colleague and they want to find out as to how one handles oneself under pressure.

Planning for funds: Apart from the tuition fee, consider the cost of living, books, laptop, other expenses (commuting, social life, communication and emergencies). While some B-Schools offer need-based scholarships for economically weak students others may have Family Income Linked Tuition Fee Waiver Scheme, industry/corporate/government scholarships or topper discounts. All said and done Indian MBA aspirants desirous of studying here or abroad largely depend on educational loans offered by banks and private institutions. It is important to understand that the terms, conditions, and rates will vary from loan to loan. If one has to struggle for funds, it’s better to work for a few years, get some disposable income before investing in an MBA.

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