There are only two types of applicants who bring up undergraduate grades.
– Ones who have low grades and are worried it will ruin their MBA chances.
– Ones who have high grades and are only interested in Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.
Both groups suffer from the same challenge – they are placing too much importance on undergrad scores. The good news for the people in the former group is that while grades are a very important part of MBA candidacy, they can be compensated for, to a certain extent.
Importance of GPA
Before we get started, let’s understand just how important GPA score is. An MBA application consists of several parts – some measurable like GMAT score and some conceptual like leadership. It can be argued that after GMAT, GPA is the second biggest measurable statistics on MBA application. For the admission committee, GPA serves as an indicator of your ability to handle the rigorous course load of MBA. After all, if you struggled in an academics setting during your undergrad, it is likely that you will struggle during MBA as well. So why should the admission committee give the coveted seat to you as opposed to someone with a great GPA who is likely to learn more from their lectures?
On the other hand, the admission committee understands that GPA is not the end all be all. Your grades may not accurately represent your ability to excel in an academic setting. You might have had extraneous situation(s). Alternatively, you could be good at analysis without excelling in college. Or, you might rate highly on other parameters such as people skills, leadership and career prospect. A number of factors could make up for lack a great GPA. Let’s discuss what these are and how you can leverage them.
Understand if your scores are truly bad
Unlike GMAT, which serves as a common platform to judge all test takers, grades are relative. Different colleges use different grading system. For example, Delhi University is notorious for being stingy with numbers. A person score in the high 70s in DU could easily be a topper. On the other hand, a 9 pointer student may not be topper under BITS grading system. What matters more is your position in the class. Even if you had low grades but were near the top of the class you are alright.
So, what if you have a low grade and aren’t in the top half of the class? You still don’t need to worry too much if you went to a premier institute. Given the relative grading followed at IITs/NITs, someone has to score low. It’s just the nature of things. Given the caliber of students you are competing against the admission committee is likely to more forgiving of low grades.
What if you don’t fall in either category? Read on.
Get a great GMAT score
One way to signal to the admission committee that your GPA doesn’t reflect your true potential is through a great GMAT score. GPA is in the past. There is nothing you can do to change it now. However, a GMAT score is still under your control. A GMAT score about 30 points above the class average in the targeted school could go a long way in making up for past transgressions.
Prove that you can handle a tough course load
As mentioned earlier, the admission committee wants to see good grades so that they know you can handle the course load. There are a few ways to signal your capability to the admission committee while advancing your career.
Go for a professional certification like CFA – Passing a rigorous exam like CFA which had pass rate of 43% in 2018 while working/studying goes a long way in proving your ability. Furthermore, the CFA curriculum has a lot of overlap with an MBA. This means that the admission committee will know you can ace business courses. Finally, CFA is a prestigious certification which has benefits way beyond helping someone get into an MBA. A CFA certification is looked upon favorably by employers in finance and even in other verticals.
Ace competitions – Acing competition requires several qualities – talent, drive and grit. The three things that you need to show that you possess to make up for a low GPA. There are several competitions available for students and working professionals that you can take part in. They can be case study competitions or business plan competitions. Just remember the more reputed the organizer and number of participants the better it will look on your resume.
Get publication in reputed journals – While MBAs are much more application focused, publications could help students to a small degree. The ones who will benefit from it the most are ones who know about their specialization. MBAs are typically meant for generalists, but if you find yourself in the rare category of applicants who know exactly what their major and post MBA industry will be, go for publications related to your field. It will have the additional benefit of establishing credibility in the targeted industry.
You have a good reason
As mentioned earlier, GPAs may not accurately represent your capability. You might have been under extenuating circumstances. Consider the following:
– Did you suffer from a serious illness?
– Was there a loss in the family or severe family crisis?
– Were you working part-time, launched a company or worked in your family business while studying?
– Were you involved in too many extracurricular activities?
The admission committee understands life is full of ups and downs. So, you can use one of the essays to explain these circumstances.
Let consider an example, say there was a dip in your grades in 2nd and 3rd year because of a family crisis. In the final year, your grades had started showing improvement. You can explain to the admission committee that you were helping out your family while studying. Don’t make excuses though. Own up that you weren’t able to handle both and show that you made your best effort to compensate after the crisis.
Similarly, if you were involved in too many club exercises or leadership roles, own that you did a bad job of managing your time. Show the admission committee know that you have learnt your lesson by taking up some extracurricular activity now and simultaneously excelling at work.
Use the letter of recommendation
I have known candidates who did not excel in an academic setting but have been consistent top performers at work. If you fall in this category, you can ask your supervisor to address the perceived weakness in the recommendation. For example, if you scored low in calculus during engineering, you can ask your recommender to talk about your great analytical skills and then back them up with instances. Remember, the trick is always to show rather than tell.
In conclusion, having low grades makes people doubt your capability. Any action you can take to prove your ability will make your candidacy stronger. You can act on one or more of the strategies mentioned above to compensate for the past.
Remember, the admission committee is looking for reasons to accept you, not reject you.
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Debanjan Choudhuri is an Indian IT professional who beat all odds to get into one of the top MBAs in Germany – HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. In this post, he tells us about this feat and his experience at HHL Leipzig.
Like many of my engineering batch-mates, I realized that if I was to fulfill my dream of creating and leading organizations, I would need to develop the necessary skills and knowledge. Personally, an international MBA was always more attractive alternative over continuing my studies in India. After graduating from National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur with an Electronics & Communication degree, my plan was pretty simple – pick one of the three offers I had on the table, and spend the next 18 months preparing for the GMAT while doing the groundwork on universities. The initial feedback I received made two things clear 1) As per my current plan, no top B-School was going to admit me into their program with under two years of work experience. I was far from an outstanding candidate. 2) I belonged to an over-represented pool of applicants – Indian, Male and Tech. Which meant I would need much more than good GMAT and academic scores. I had to differentiate myself. With this realization, I decided to hold back on my plans by a couple of years. I would work towards developing a well-rounded persona. My dad worked for the Foreign Services which meant moving from one country to another every three years. Therefore, I had the advantage of having had a diverse educational background to go along with some international work experiences. I had also been pretty heavily involved in activities and causes outside of my professional life. These factors definitely played a part. Having a strong academic background and scores are important, but it‘s the minor details that many ignore which really ends up differentiating you. One of the beauties of an MBA is that a lot of your learning is through peers. So even throughout your application process, it is important to consider what you will bring to an MBA class.
My HHL Experience
I have to admit that an MBA from Germany wasn’t initially part of the plan. I was looking at schools in the US, Singapore and Australia. I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to afford the tuition fees without some form of financial aid. Germany as a destination was brought to my attention through a friend who was on his way there to pursue his masters. His reasoning to move to Germany was pretty straightforward. Germany is the strongest economy in the EU. Job prospects are aplenty and education and living costs are much lower than most international locations. In terms of ROI, it doesn’t get better than this. I only applied to HHL not only for its reputation as one of the oldest and top B-Schools in Europe but also for its focus towards entrepreneurship. HHL offers its MBA students a year-long Fast-track program and an 18-month Advanced track. I chose the 18-month program which would allow me to do internships during the course of my studies, something that is pivotal for students who have no prior experience in the German market. My 18 months at HHL can be described as nothing short of a whirlwind learning experience. With a small batch size comprising of peers from 13 nationalities, everyone brought something worthwhile to the table. One of the biggest positives of the curriculum at HHL is the flexibility it offers its students. Elective courses are spread out evenly throughout the academic year, allowing students to dive deeper into various subjects. Another highlight from my time at HHL was to be able to learn from visiting professors from top universities from around the world. Each professor would bring something unique to the classroom, giving us a broader picture of the global world. However, when I look back, my most memorable learning experiences were through the field projects and internships that I undertook during the course of my studies, where the learning curve was much steeper than I could have thought. Especially for MBA students who are looking for a career switch. From networking evenings to student initiatives, it is important for MBA students to be more outgoing and participative. Courses can be rigorous, group project meetings can always get heated, so it is important to wind down, have some fun and get to know people outside of a classroom setting. Finally, as mentioned previously, the school’s entrepreneurial spirit shines brightest. The school has produced founders for some of the top startups in Europe who are open to sharing their wisdom and students are given full support and encouragement to pursue their business ideas.
Life in Germany
It has been nearly 30 years since the reunification of East and West Germany, yet life can be strikingly different. Leipzig, with slightly more than 500,000 inhabitants is located in the eastern state of Saxony. A student-friendly city, surrounded by lakes and nature, has a steadily growing international population, Leipzig is considered to be a strong alternative to the increasingly congested Berlin. There are still strong remnants to its communist past and locals are yet to fully warm up to outsiders. Germany welcomed more than a million refugees in 2015, which coincided with a sharp rise in right-wing supporters. However, incidents of racism are very rare and the city now offers a nice mix of multiple cultures. Standard of living in Leipzig is also much cheaper than other major German cities. Overall, one of the biggest highlights of living in Germany is the lovely summers. While winters can be dark and slightly depressing, summers are a time to behold! There is a wonderful park culture here and a day at the lake is just the therapy you need from time to time. In fact, it’s hard to concentrate in classes during the summer give how you’d much rather be out in the sun having a nice barbeque over a few beers (yes, it’s cheaper than water here). Germany is also a convenient central point for the rest of Europe with Leipzig providing a nice gateway into Central and Eastern Europe.
Moving to completely new surroundings tends to have its own set of hurdles, requiring one to adapt accordingly and Germany is no different. Follow the rules, no matter how ridiculous they are, and you will avoid a piercing stare and/or a few harsh words. Germans are very upfront and aren’t afraid of mincing their words. So if there’s a character trait that they don’t like about you, they will let you know, be it in a professional or a more casual setting. Be prepared to take, but don’t be afraid to give back.
Post – MBA Scenario
While there is no dearth of jobs, getting a break can be challenging for international MBA students. This can be put down to two factors:
Language: German language skills can go a long way in deciding the future of most international MBA students that want to make a career in Germany. Companies across all industries require a good grasp of the language for most client-facing roles.
Rigidity: For most students, the purpose behind pursuing an MBA is a career change. It can be challenging for an MBA student to land a job with a big consulting firm with no prior experience in the field. It would be equally challenging for an IT professional to break into finance or marketing. This can be attributed to the education setup where local students are required to having a vocational training within an industry, thus laying a foundation to develop expertise within that industry. Hence, German employers always have a preference for candidates with prior industry knowledge and superior language skills.
Post-graduation visa regulations are pretty lax as compared to other student hotspots like the UK. Non-EU students have up to 18 months to land a job post-graduation provided they can show that they have the funds to sustain their livelihood. Once employed, you can apply for an EU Blue card if your annual salary range is more than 46,000. The exact requirement for this depends on your role and the state you’re working in. Alternatively, should you not meet the requirements of an EU Blue care, you will be issued a general work permit that would last the duration of your work contract.
Words of Advice
I can’t stress this enough. Learn German! If you’re presently contemplating studying in Germany, start learning the language. It’s not the easiest language to pick up. Start early and make it high on your priority list during your studies here. It is easy to ignore it once your courses are in full swing, and that is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. It’s quite simple, having a good command of the language will open doors, both in your professional and private life.
My last piece of advice to Indian students would be to put yourself out there. Given my slightly introverted nature, one of my proudest moments during my time at HHL was how outgoing and confident I was around my fellow peers. I was curious and open to new experiences. I was able to expand my comfort zone which was instrumental towards making my time at HHL and Leipzig memorable. I also noticed that most of my fellow Indian peers would rarely be seen outside of a classroom setting, while usually keeping to themselves and missing out on an opportunity to understand different cultures. This bothered me because of the simple reason that we have already taken the first step to push our boundaries, so why not make the effort to make the most of it rather than confine ourselves to our comfort zones. So put yourself out there and be open to new experiences as there is a lot to learn and teach.
Debanjan is a coach at Admit Vidya. In order to receive guidance from him reach out to us at team[at]admitvidya[dot]com.
Given the Interdisciplinary nature of MPH, there are several reasons for considering an MPH.
I come from a family filled with doctors. Most of my uncles and aunts on both sides of the family are doctors. My grandfather, a surgeon, took it to extremes by getting an Master of Public Health Degree (MPH) from University of Michigan backing in the ‘60s. As such, if someone in my family said they were going to get an MPH , it would be considered as mundane as declaring you were going to the grocery market to buy vegetables (actually my family would be quite surprised if I declared my intent to buy vegetables for once). However, in the greater healthcare fraternity getting an MPH is a rewarding albeit demanding process. Apart from the cost of tuition and opportunity cost of giving up a stable salary from your current job, you have to consider the time and effort that goes into getting the coveted degree. Getting the degree though helps you develop leadership and research skills that open up a range of career options.
Before you take the plunge though, you need to meticulously prepare your MPH application which can be quite demanding in itself. In this post, I take a look at the journey of an MPH applicant through the entire process mostly for US candidates.
1) The inspiration
You might have heard a colleague speaking about MPH. She seemed sold on it being the silver bullet for your career woes. She has you convinced. Now you are trying to figure out what is the best program that you can get into. But as the saying goes, look before you leap. There are several reasons for getting an MPH, be sure that one of these reasons fits your intrinsic interests and aspirations.
A desire to make a difference in community health
The most common reason for getting an MPH is a desire to make a difference in preventive medicine and community health. Several candidates come from communities in dire need of healthcare professionals.
An interest in a particular job
Strong interest in a particular role or sector can be another reason for getting an MPH. It is said that a person’s career is doing more of what you like and less of what you don’t. If you regularly come in contact with say Hospital Administrator and the highly challenging role interests you. Go for an MPH.
The best way to see if an MPH will meet your desired career outcome is to look at the placement stats for the colleges you are interested in. For example, consider the stats for 2017 Class of Mailman School of Public Health Columbia. Nearly one third found employment in hospital/healthcare. University and government were the second and third highest recruiter. Does the prospect of working in these organizations interest you? You know where to apply.
MPH opens up a plethora of career opportunities. It is a golden opportunity for individuals who have reached a glass ceiling in their career. An MPH can help smash the ceiling.
Given the diverse nature of MPH, there are other reasons for considering an MPH. It is recommended that you look at the post-graduation stats of class to get an idea. Don’t rely on just stats though. Network with alumni of your dream programs before taking the plunge. Program alumni are often very happy to discuss their experience with prospective students.
2) The entrance test
Okay, so you have done your homework. You are convinced that MPH is the route for you. Next, you need to consider the tests you need to give. Let’s take a look at the most common entrance tests.
The entrance test accepted different schools vary. However, GRE is the most commonly accepted standardized test at Public Health Universities. For students who aren’t comfortable with GRE there are some colleges which also accept GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, DAT. The structure for different exams is different. If a particular test is being a tough challenge that you can’t overcome, you can try a different test. Keep in mind though that not all colleges accept a different test in lieu of GRE.
In some cases, the need for a standardized test can be waived altogether for students with significant work experience and great academics.
In addition to the aptitude test, international candidates will be asked to demonstrate proficiency through tests such as TOEFL and IELTS. TOEFL is the more common test in the USA and therefore recommended.
Several programs mandate you have taken high-level mathematics course and biology/healthcare related course before you join the program. Furthermore, it is usually preferred that MPH applicants have two years of work experience. Be sure to look at the FAQ section of the program to know about the eligibility criteria before applying.
To get an idea of the eligibility criteria for a typical MPH program you can check out Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health’s requirements.
Finally, we have the application for MPH program. It comprises of a Statement of Purpose, (Usually) three Letter of recommendation, transcripts, application fee and resume/CV. The good news is that Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) a centralized application service helps you apply to most colleges in the US through one portal. This significantly reduces the duplication of work and makes applying to colleges much easier.
Hopefully, this article gives you a good overview of the application process for MPH. The interdisciplinary approach of MPH makes a very challenging but rewarding degree. We wish you all the best on your MPH journey.
For more info on the visa process at different countries after Master click here.
One of the most important reasons for getting a Masters is the myriad of career opportunities post-graduation. It makes sense. You put in years of hard work, move a to a different country and spend thousands of dollars while pursuing your passion (hopefully). Now you want to reap the rewards! However, it can be a heartbreaking situation to have to head back to your home country with little ROI (believe me I speak from experience) due to lack of work permit. In this post, we take a look at the visa situation at the top Master’s destination for international students so that you can make an informed decision.
American work permit
USA has been the preferred destination for MBA students for decades. In 2017 U.S. attracted one-fourth of International students worldwide. The obvious interest can be explained by a strong economy, high salary packages and high standard of education. However, there has been a decline in the number of students interested in the US of A in recent years due to policy changes. Still, it remains the most preferred destination for international students.
Most students study in US on F-1 visa. F-1 visa makes you eligible for one year of Optional Work Training (OPT) after graduation. Furthermore, if you have done a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) major you can work for an additional 17 months in US. The prospect of working in US for 29 months is very alluring with a chunk of candidates qualifying for further residency afterwards.
There is a catch though. You need to find employment with 3 months of graduation in order to stay on in US. Furthermore, to continue in US after the completion of your OPT you are required to apply for H1B work visa. Not qualifying for H1B can force workers to shift to other countries.
Canadian work permit
Canada has risen in popularity as the preferred destination for international in recent years due to a welcoming culture and immigrant-friendly regulations.
You qualify for Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) immediately after completion of your masters if you have graduated from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). You must apply for the PGWP within 90 days of completing the program. The length of the work permit depends on the duration of your chosen Masters. If your program length is anywhere between 8 months to 2 years, you are eligible to work in Canada for the same duration.
If your program was of 2 years you could qualify to work for 3 years.
With a great healthcare system and support from the government, there are not many cons to studying in Canada. However, you should consider the employment scenario post-graduation. The pay scale is lower in Canada when compared to the United States. Also, there aren’t as many top tier employment opportunities.
England’s work permit
England is the second most preferred destination for international students. Cultural history, a strong economy, world-class education, quality of life and language make England an alluring destination.
There are great opportunities in the job market for students with exemplary credentials. UK has been the hub of finance for centuries and continues to be crucial in the Finance world. All the big business houses have a significant presence here.
You will be studying in the UK on a Tier 4 Student visa. Once you have completed the course you have an option of working in UK for 12 months on Tier 4 visa.
You can also apply for a Tier 2 work visa once you have graduated and have received and received an offer from an employer. The work visa is granted for 5 years and you can apply to continue working even afterwards.
While students from top colleges gain stellar jobs and quality. The picture is not as rosy below the top tiers. The students have 4 months after graduation to secure employment.
Additionally, Tier 2 work Visa for international students in UK needs to be sponsored by the employer creating an extra step.
Australian work permit
Australia is another popular destination. It offers a common language, friendly laid-back culture and lower cost of tuition & living. Furthermore, international students have the option of staying back post-graduation.
Masters students typically receive Student Visa (Subclass 500) for studying in Australia. You can apply for a Temporary Graduate visa (Subclass 485) to work in Australia after graduation, provided the program was 2 years in duration.
Most job openings are for Permanent Residents or citizens. Therefore, the competition is high for the few job openings which accept international students.
Each country has its own merit and demerits. Make sure that you know the regulations. Consider the fit with your career, skill set and aspirations before deciding. To under the understand the real impact of work permit regulations in your target destination, talk to alumni of your desired program.
To read about the MBA journey of an Indian Candidate in Germany, click here.
Of all the MBA essays, I like the Why MBA essay the most. Being able to answer why you need a particular schools MBA is not an easy task. You will need to do a deep introspection of your motivations, carefully evaluate your career so far, do your due diligence on the school and think about future goals. In a way, it is like a roadmap of your present and future career. Answering the question brings you clarity on your life so far and your aspirations.
This post takes a look at essential sections of great Why MBA essay and how you can craft them.
It is always to the applicant’s advantage to write in an engaging manner that immediately grabs readers attention. The admission committee members go through thousands of essays so it helps to stand out from the crowd. Secondly, it showcases an applicant’s communication skills, an important attribute of a good MBA. Finally, it displays passion and enthusiasm. It is a good idea to open the essay with an interesting short anecdote or prose that immediately catches the reader’s attention.
2. Short term and long-term career goals
An MBA doesn’t occur in a vacuum, it is not the end all be all by itself. An MBA is a means to an end. It is a tool which allows you to reach your ultimate goal. With this in mind think about what it is that you would ultimately like to achieve. Then consider if an MBA even makes sense given your passion. Don’t get into the rat race for the sake of it. Be very clear on the direction you want to pursue. The answer to this question is at the heart of the Why MBA essay.
For example, one could an IT engineer who is passionate about technology. He/she aims to be at the forefront of shaping future through innovation as a Principal at Amazon or Apple. They could have the immediate goal of working as Product Manager at Amazon post-MBA. However, to make the switch from it to Product Manager they need the MBA.
3. Qualities of the school
Candidates often have a tough time answering why they want to attend a particular school. They end up providing generic answers which means you could easily swap the names of the schools and the essay would still sound the same. It is important the candidate be sure how exactly the school will help. If a student wants to study at Wharton, it is not enough to say that they want to major in Finance. A lot of schools can boast of great finance curriculum. How does Wharton’s resource exactly help you? Do you need the proximity to finance hub of New York in order to be successful or do you need the Quantitative modeling skill that is taught at one of Wharton’s courses?
4. Previous work experience
It is a good idea to highlight previous experiences. However, which experience you chose to highlight depends on your scenario. Depending on your candidacy you might want to highlight
a) Your experience in light of future goals
b) The need for an MBA
c) Your passion for industry
For example, if you have chosen to make a difference in the government. You may want to focus on the skills that an MBA can provide which will help you in the public sector.
Do you want to work in impact investing to foster more inclusive growth in Nepal? You may want to mention how the socio-demographic forces in Nepal shaped your childhood.
5. Your contribution to the class
Finally, depending on the length of the essay you can talk about your contribution to the class. There are several ways of addressing this section. It is a question of what makes you unique. Did you have a unique childhood? Did you grow up among the underprivileged section of the society or are you an army kid or a second-generation immigrant? All of these could color your life perspective and if so show how these help you bring a unique mindset to the class.
Another way you can bring a unique perspective to class is if through your previous work experience. Were you assigned job responsibilities that made you an informal leader among your peers or were you the Chief Emotions Officer for your team? All of these allow you to bring something unique to the class.
For more ideas check out this excellent post by Admission Team at Berkeley.
In conclusion, break down the Why MBA essay into its essential components and address each separately. However, make sure that flow of the essay is maintained. Lastly, run your essay by someone. It could be a friend, mentor or consultant. They might spot something could have slipped by you.
Best of luck on your MBA adventure.
Looking for further inspiration? Check out this post on my MBA journey at Wharton.
I was sitting with my parents in the living room watching TV. I was barely paying attention though, I was distracted. Wharton MBA admits were supposed to get calls that day. I hadn’t told my parents about the call to spare them the anxiety.
Suddenly the phone rang, I quickly rushed to my room to take the call. The admission committee member informed me that I have been selected to Wharton. With that call, my journey as a Wharton MBA candidate had officially begun.
Over the duration of the next few weeks, I received admit from Kellogg (with scholarship) and Tepper. After considerable deliberation and talks with several alumni from the schools, I decided to go for Wharton due to its brand value, culture and opportunities in the consulting sector.
The next few months were hectic as I was busy fulfilling the VISA requirements, handing over the project I was working on and connecting with fellow Wharton admits.
It is a good idea to start networking even before you start. A few months before school started I went on a hike to picturesque Himachal with a small group of Wharton admits. Most of them went on to become my closest friends at Wharton. The trip further helped solidify my decision to join Wharton.
Wharton offers a small set of fixed core classes that you are required to take but you can choose the bulk of the courses. You can spend the two years at Wharton honing your finance skills from the best in the industry or developing leadership skills by taking Negotiation and Public Policy courses from other schools or even take photography course if you have enough credits left.
A typical course at Wharton is a balanced mix of case study and assigned readings. However, courses can vary from those in Analytics which have no case study and a very pedagogical focus to ones like Marketing Simulations which are all about on-the-feet decision making. Overall, the curriculum at Wharton is designed to help you improve your interpersonal and intellectual abilities.
It is highly recommended that you have a goal in mind when you start you MBA. Given the number of choices available at Wharton, it will help you remain focused and make conscious decisions. Most students change their goals (often several times) while at Wharton but you should know what you are trying to gain out of the experience.
The biggest differentiator between education abroad compared to India is that U.S. education is much more Socratic. Class participation usually amounts to 5-10% of grades. An MBA candidate is expected to interact with the Professors and engage in lively dialogue. I loved being able to provide my input during a class and being able to engage the teacher in a dialogue. However, it can take students from Asian countries some time to get used to it.
Furthermore, the assignments are usually done in a group of 4 or 5. This helps hone develop interpersonal skill. At the end of it, most students claim to have learned more from their peers than from professors or books.
Recruiting is a big part of the Wharton MBA experience. Companies are clamoring to be the first ones to claim the brightest minds B-Schools have to offer. Again, the importance of interpersonal skills becomes glaringly obvious as you are expected to know potential employer months before they actually come to campus for recruitment. Representatives of the company come on campus for coffee chats. It gives the candidates and the recruiter an opportunity to get to know each other. Students often cram coffee sessions during lunch, free periods or after classes. The recruitment starts pretty soon after you start at the school so it helps to have an industry in mind even before you start.
Pre-games, Parties, After Parties and After After Parties
It’s not all work and no play though. Wharton has a club for everything you can imagine and if they don’t you can be sure that UPenn does. Some of the clubs are Wine Club, Wharton Scotch and Whiskey Club, Mindfulness Group, Public Speaking Club (my favorite), a group for dog lovers, Aviation Club (you get to fly a plane), etc.
Then there are the epic Wharton Parties without which the Wharton MBA experience wouldn’t be complete. Wharton is known to be a party school and it doesn’t disappoint. You will hard-pressed to find a weekend not filled with at least one major party event. Wharton students work hard and party hard.
In conclusion, the Wharton MBA experience can be whatever you want it to be. You can be an introvert who enjoys small dinners or the life of every party, you can come with years of experience in the finance sector with a desire to get into private equity or a school teacher trying to change the way education is imparted in developing nations. No matter who you are Wharton has a place for you. No matter what path you choose, two years at Wharton are guaranteed to be a transformative experience that will leave a lasting impact.
For inspiration check stories by other MBA students here
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MBA essays can often be the most daunting part of B-School application. This is due to the open-ended nature of the essays. While the lack of detailed instruction allows for a great deal of creativity it can also be a source of uncertainty and anxiety. Candidates are often left wondering if the essay is “good enough”. Once an ISB alum admitted to writing 50 versions of his essay in search of perfection. This post can serve as a guiding post when writing essays and reduce the number of iterations needed. Here is a look at 4 essential tips to keep in mind when drafting MBA essays.
Answers the question
A surprisingly high number of essays fail to answer the question posed by B-Schools. The most common reason being a desire to cram as much accomplishment in the essay as possible. It is important to highlight your biggest achievements if the prompt asks for it. However, don’t use all the essays just to list out how awesome you are.
For example, when asked for “defining moment” it might be tempting to say it was when you helped a client with a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) and then go on to mention impressive financial skills needed during the project. However, the admission committee is looking for leaders not financial analysts. Use this space to show your human side. Tell the reader what makes you tick. The candidate would be much better off mentioning how the he or she led the team through the hardships of IPO process. The essay will have much better emotional impact and highlight candidate’s driving motivation.
Be error free
Grammatical errors on the essay can be fatal as they not only betray poor grammar but also shows laziness. Given the plethora of grammar checking apps like Grammarly available these days there is no excuse for silly grammatical mistakes.
Another pitfall which candidates should avoid is mentioning anything which does not support their decision to pursue an MBA. For example, it is a good idea to mention the skills you will acquire as an MBA which will make you more effective at your current work. Mentioning that you lack experience in your chosen field is not. If lack of experience is your biggest challenge the admission committee member is likely to wonder whether what is you need is more work experience, not an MBA.
Make it interesting
The admission committee members have to go through hundreds of essays in a day. They are going to appreciate it if the essays are written in an engaging manner. While you are not expected to write a thriller, your essay shouldn’t put the reader to sleep either. Furthermore, as an MBA you are expected to be excellent at communication. What better way to show your excellent communication skills than making your essay gripping. One easy way to achieve this is to weave stories into your essays. Everyone loves a good story.
Another way to make the essay engaging is to mix length of sentences regularly. Readers get bored reading prose consisting of complex sentences. Using shorter sentences make the reading much easier.
Spell it out
In the rush to include all the information the intended message can get lost. Make sure that the reader can easily understand the theme of each paragraph. If there is scope for ambiguity be sure to summarize the main points in the last paragraph. End with why the event was a defining moment, what were the lessons learnt and what impact the event had on your life since then.
Keeping these tips in mind when drafting an essay will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls MBA applicants fall into.
For tips on handling the Why MBA essay, check out this post.
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