It Pays to Plan

Having grown up in the secure environment of his home in Tamil Nadu in a protective family that did not connect much with the outside world, Ravi was worried that his profile was that of a typical Indian IIT graduate with no extracurricular involvement after college. He felt that this would make it difficult for him to stand out in the competitive MBA application process. After failing to get admitted into the business school of his choice for two years in a row, he decided to change his strategy in order to secure his place at Darden School of Business. To ensure that he did not repeat mistakes from his previous application experience, the first step for him was to retake the GMAT and increase his score. 

Ravi heard about The Red Pen from a friend who had been admitted to Wharton and Berkeley, Haas. Once on-board, he was open and transparent about his story and expectations and worked collaboratively to reap the benefits of the MBA application process. Ravi communicated clearly and took the right steps to organise his thoughts and come up with a coherent application strategy. Most importantly, he shortlisted the right schools based on his forte, goals, fit and the kind of environment he was looking for. He took feedback constructively and reflected on his strengths and weaknesses. Over time, he built his confidence and started to express his opinions, not only in the essays but also in the interview. 

An introvert,  Ravi was apprehensive about interviews initially. However, he worked regularly to upload answers to The Red Pen’s weekly interview questions. Based on feedback, he consistently modified his answers, developing them until both he and The Red Pen team were satisfied with the final response. The added support he took for interview preparation helped Ravi assimilate his thoughts better and prepared him for D-Day. The candid conversations and feedback boosted his confidence and helped him convert three out of the four interview invitations.

Ravi’s advice to any future applicant is to focus on achieving a good GMAT score, choose the right schools (and not simply look at ranking), develop a story early on, and prepare for interviews throughout the process. Remember, introspection and self-realisation is key to success in the MBA interview process!

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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?