An MBA requires significant planning and effort. Each business school hasa distinct ethos with different application requirements and deadlines. The competition for admissions to leading, global MBA programs is i ntense. It is particularly difficult for international MBA applicants, whose educational and cultural frame of reference is so different to the institutions they apply to.
Our consultants will work with you every step of the way to offer customized inputs on your MBA applications, helping you gain a better understanding of what the process entails, culture of different business schools and what they look for in a candidate and programs charecteristics. Every applicant has a story to tell and we help you dig deep to draw out those stories that will become the foundation of your application.
Getting to Know You
We start by understanding your professional and personal experiences to help you develop your story, target schools and articulate your goals.
We help you develop a strong business school specific resume that highlights your educational and professional achievements, and leadership qualities.
MBA School/Program Selection
We leverage our professional affiliations and network to help you identify MBA programs where the curriculum and culture are aligned with your goals and qualifications.
We advise you on choice of recommenders and provide guidelines to help recommenders write impactful letters.
The essay is a distinguishing factor of your application. We will work with you from the initial brainstorming and drafting stages to the final presentation of the different essays required by each program. We help you translate your experiences into impactful messages that truly reflect your strengths.
Applicants often underestimate the interview, a crucial step in the admissions decision. After your application is submitted, we will walk you through the interview formats of different MBA programs.
Final Program Selection & Waitlist Strategy
Whether you are confused about which school to attend or how to approach an MBA waitlist, we will guide you through your next steps.
We help applicants understand whether an MBA is appropriate for their career path. After reviewing your background, we help you develop a personalised action plan in preparation for applying to business schools. This includes a comprehensive MBA pre-application preparation booklet.
We will walk you through the interview formats of different MBA programs, and conduct school-specific video-recorded mock interviews. Our interview specialist will provide detailed review and written feedback on key areas for improvement.
If you have been waitlisted or rejected by an MBA program, our consultants will conduct a comprehensive review of your previous application materials, and highlight factors that need to be addressed to strengthen your candidacy in the future.
Comprehensive review of applications materials for a single MBA program prior to submission. Our reviewers provide extensive feedback on various components of the application such as resume, application form and essays.
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MBA APPLICANT STORIES
MBA applicants talk about their background, offer insights about the
admissions/interview process and experiences at business school.
From Hamlet to Harvard: How I leveraged my interest in drama on my business journey
Growing up, I was a risk taker in a family of worriers. I learned early that I had to push my parents to allow me to try new things, from playing a new sport to auditioning for a kid’s television show, and so I did, working hard to maintain a schoolwork-extracurricular activity balance. Despite the common attitude in India that things outside of the boundaries of academics are distractions, I was confident that pursuing my passions would benefit me, and they have, both as a person and as a professional.
My interest in performing on stage has helped me build the collaborative skills and communication abilities that have guided my career. In college, theater helped me find my community and led me towards student government, where my ability to wear many hats and balance responsibilities allowed me to shine as I organized performance events and led teams of other students. As a consultant with a global firm, my theatrical abilities helped me better read and appreciate context, understand and communicate with diverse stakeholders and slip into a new situation seamlessly. As a result, I could effectively deliver on projects while maintaining employee satisfaction and respecting each company’s culture. Moving into venture capital, my strategic skills, coupled with my hands-own approach, motivated me to use unconventional approaches to investment research, which have paid off for our firm.
When I was interested in pursuing a business school education, I applied on my own the first time, but was unsuccesful. I decided to continue working and prepare for the next round of applications the following year, but this time with some help. Working with The Red Pen, I was able to re-frame my narrative to really reflect the combination of skills and passions I bring to the table, while staying true to my personality, in and out of work. Moreover, the process taught me the concept of fit and I was able to reflect on the qualities I already had in spades, like the ability to work with teams, and communicate in effective yet empathetic ways, and the ones I want to cultivate, like leadership.
Joining the Harvard Business School Class of 2019, I’m excited to have found the right place for me, where I can cultivate new skills and continue preexisting ones in a new place. As I learned early, when it comes to new experiences, the rewards outweigh the risks.
A singular focus and taking calculated risks results in acceptances at Kellogg and Booth
Growing up in an extended Indian family, my life became a series of negotiations and arguments. While I value our closeness, my inclination to chose my own path has created friction time and again, and these conflicts have taught me the importance of standing my ground and approaching goals systematically. When I realized I wanted to go to college and study engineering, my family, most of whom had only finished high school and still ran a successful family business, couldn’t understand my need for higher education and worked to discourage it. In a society that values stability and communal expectation over individual need, I am an anomaly, someone who has worked in a variety of companies in a few short years, all in service of my ultimate goal of working in private equity.
I started my career as a software associate for a global investment bank in their Delhi office. After a few months, I knew I wanted to be on the deal side but that wasn’t a path available to me. So, I left Delhi, moved to a smaller city and joined a startup investment bank. While this shift to the far murkier world of a start-up looked like a big risk from the outside, I knew that I would thrive in a challenging environment, and that picking up the intricacies of investment banking would lead to greater growth. After a year of learning the ropes, I moved to Mumbai to join a larger, more established firm. And then, yet a year later, an opportunity to join a small private equiy firm surfaced. I finally made the jump to my target industry and have since expanded my skills and helped the firm evolve. My family was baffled, but I was secure in the knowledge that I had built the life I wanted to be living.
When I felt ready to pursue a business education, I came to The Red Pen ready to apply in 2015. To my surprise, I was advised to stay in my current position for another 12 to 18 months and invest more of my energy there before attempting the rigors of the application cycle. In hindsight, that advice proved to be the right guidance; when I returned to The Red Pen a year later, I was truly ready to frame my experiences and abilities in a holistic and effective way.
Following a structured framework allowed me to explore my own reasons for wanting an MBA, and helped me find schools that would challenge me and help me continue to grow. Having been accepted to both Kellogg and Booth, I know that whatever school I chose, it will be the right one for me. My business school path, just like everything else in my life, is the one I’ve chosen for myself.
Preparation makes for progress, from IIT to HBS
As a child fascinated with my family’s companies, I always knew I wanted to be involved on the “business” side. When I was 14, one of my cousins graduated from Harvard Business School (HBS), inspiring me to learn more about business education.
Years later when preparing for college, I chose to study engineering at IIT Bombay, because I knew from my research, that a solid foundation in mathematics and analytics could propel my career and prepare me for a rigorous international business education.
At IIT, I balanced my focus on academics with diverse internships in sectors such as consulting, banking, and technology. Knowing that leadership is a key component of business success, I pushed myself, joining different types of campus organizations and successively taking on greater responsibility.
Since real world work experience is required for a global MBA, I knew consulting would maximize my exposure to the greatest number of companies and business scenarios. Joining A.T. Kearney allowed me to gain foundational business knowledge and develop analytical skills, while transitioning to Abbott gave me the chance to act in an operational role with direct bottom-line impact. At both organizations, I had the opportunity to interact with alumni from various business schools and get a sense of diverse MBA programs.
Between my work and internship experiences, I have realized that what the company does is less important to me than my role and the impact I can make within it. My goal is to join a high growth company in India and eventually move into a CXO level position. To jump-start this process, I knew this was the right time to pursue an MBA.
I decided to apply in the first round and took a proactive approach in completing my applications. Initially I conducted extensive research, trying to understand the ethos and personality of each school, and gauging fit. I think that was the most valuable time spent in the whole process, as it gave me a strong perspective of each school, for essay development and interview preparation.
Looking back, my early exposure to and interest in business school motivated me to lay the groundwork for my applications years later and helped me gain admission to top-tier business schools. As I look forward to joining the HBS Class of 2019, I know my hard work and the support of family and friends have paid off.
From setback come successes, charting new courses
Growing up in a small city, with a family full of MBAs, I actually didn’t have a clear sense of what I wanted to do exactly, but I knew that whatever I did would be in service of the pursuit of knowledge. Working hard to excel at school, like so many other young Indians, I was crushed when, despite my preparation and diligence; I didn’t score high enough on the IIT entrance exam to secure a spot. But, in what I would soon realize was a tread in my life, my setback ended up leading to something better for me.
I pursued my love of math studying at Hansraj College in Delhi University, and afterwards secured a spot at IIM Calcutta. It was at IIM that I began to cultivate a love of business, and an interest in learning outside of India, which I nurtured studying abroad in Sweden. When I joined Tata Administrative Services (TAS), the consulting arm of the Tata Group, my exposure to different kinds of businesses increased exponentially, and rotating across work with senior level executives gave me strong insights into operational roles. After TAS, I joined Tata Capital, enjoying focused work on investment banking transactions across a range of sectors.
When I reached a point at which I knew I could no longer grow as fast or as in the direction I wanted at Tata, I had to think seriously about how to leverage my skills and experiences into the future, and that was when I decided it was time to pursue global MBA program. Although I had a master’s degree in business in India, I wanted the exposure and skill building opportunities I knew I could only find in a more global setting.
Applying to MBA programs gave me a chance to evaluate my life, celebrating my accomplishments and acknowledging the way I had been able to bounce back from setbacks. But it didn’t prepare me for not getting into what I thought was my dream school at the time, Wharton, and being accepted to another program. Lucky for me, my two years at HBS were some of the best of my life. Sitting in front of change makers, innovators, Olympians, amidst classmates from completely different parts of the world, and feeling awed by the depth and breadth of cases we studied, became a commonplace phenomenon.
Pursuing an MBA outside of India transformed my career, and opened doors for me I didn’t know existed.
Achieving his dream, the MIT, LGO program
MIT Sloan’s Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, which combines the traditional MBA with a MS in Mechanical Engineering, had always been Rahul Nechlani’s dream. While achieving it wasn’t easy, today, Rahul is a first year MIT Sloan student. The LGO program is uniquely aligned to his goal of leading global operations for a large-scale biopharmaceutical company. The school’s teaching focus, “learning by doing”, mirrors his mantra for learning.
Strong academics – he attended IIT and earned a 740 on the GMAT – and professional experience – he worked at Cipla and Godfrey Phillips – formed the foundation of Rahul’s application. But, his sense of individuality, focus and the ability to introspect gave him the true competitive edge.
“The unusual choices I made at different points in my life have shaped me into the person I am today,” says Rahul. “I have always followed my heart and once I make a decision, I work tirelessly to make it reality.” This belief spurred Rahul to leave his home in Ahmedabad and pursue his passion for engineering in Kota instead of joining the family business. Rahul’s can-do attitude gave him strength to drag himself up the 25-foot icy slope, which he had fallen down during the third day of a trek to Roopkund, a summit 13,500 feet above sea level. And he chose to get out of his comfort zone, as he immersed himself in In Sync – the dance club of IIT Mumbai. Once considered a black sheep, Rahul now is an inspiration to younger members of his family!
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