A Focused Goal Won Him Scholarships

Rahul* came to The Red Pen with a convincing profile. He graduated with a high GPA from IIT Mumbai, earned a GMAT score of 780 and had an accomplished 5+ years of experience in consulting. He had a depth of financial servicing and insurance consulting experience and held numerous leadership roles within his professional career.

While Rahul was confident in the quality of his experience, he struggled to express clear and defined goals that showcased how an MBA would help him at this point in his career. In his first draft, he described a post-MBA scenario where he would be working in a consulting firm such as McKinsey & Company. He would then shift into a marketing role for a larger firm. Rather than bolster his profile, this description would hurt his chances, as it did not help him stand out.

We challenged Rahul to think deeply about his experiences, his likes, and dislikes and the unique knowledge he built throughout his career, with the aim of pinpointing a more specific MBA goal. Ever the consultant, he treated the exercise like a consulting challenge and came back to us with a four-page PowerPoint presentation that became the basis of a specific, logical and ambitious strategy for achieving his dreams. In the process, Rahul found a vision and path about which he was genuinely passionate. 

Applying to top MBA programmes with a revised vision of leveraging technology to reinvigorate the insurance business, first as an “insurtech” consultant and later as an in-house CTO, helped Rahul strengthen his profile. He was able to provide concrete examples from his professional experience that prepared him to pursue his goals, recognise specific skills he wanted to develop and identify relationships he wanted to build through an MBA programme. His passion and clarity resulted in admission offers with significant scholarships from three top MBA programmes – INSEAD, Kellogg, and Columbia. 

He will head to New York in the fall and join the Columbia Business School. He chose Columbia because of its location in a global financial capital, its early mover expertise in fintech and insurtech, its international student body and the fact that they offered him a full-tuition scholarship!

*Name changed per applicant’s request.

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?