Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
NYU Stern | Ms. Luxury Retail
GMAT 730, GPA 2.5

Savvy Advice For MBA Applicants In India

Graduates at the Indian School of Business. Photo courtesy of the Indian School of Business

How personally connected do you get to your clients?

It’s one of these experiences where you get to know someone at a very close level. If you have been able to add value beyond what is expected, clients come back to you for more advice. It is very gratifying. I had a candidate who was working in Europe for a major consumer products company but in a function that wasn’t the front end of the business. He was in more of a process role and this person’s personality was more suited to business development or marketing. He looked at business school and didn’t think he had a profile for a top end program.

But you could see this person had done a few things that business schools would appreciate. He ultimately got into Kellogg and INSEAD and because his wife was working in Germany, he took up INSEAD for personal reasons to be closer to his wife. He told me how I was able to instill in him the confidence that his family instilled in him in 29 years. That was feedback from the heart. He was obviously happy that someone could achieve what he did.

After graduation last year he came back after a couple of offers from top end firms and I played the same role for him. He got an offer from a top global consulting firm, But he had more of an IT background and he had actually applied for their technology process and they encouraged him to look at the general management practice. He wasn’t giving himself the confidence he deserved. His question was: Should I take something I know I’m good at even though it may not give me that breadth of experience? Or should I throw myself in the deep and go there?

I encouraged him to take the dive. He still stays in touch. Someone who you developed a deeper relationship with lets you know what a difference you made in his life.

Given the tough odds against Indian candidates, how many schools should someone from India apply to?

You have to ask yourself what schools would you be happy to attend? That builds your list. Five is the optimal number. Five well chosen schools tend to be the right target for any client. It shouldn’t be fewer.

Sometimes Indian applicants might want to apply to eight or nine and you have to tell them they need to understand the school so the school can understand them. It’s often not possible to help them know eight schools intimately.

And what do you recommend to help an applicant understand a school?

It’s going beyond the school’s website and not having a sense of false security by reading so-called insider guides. You want to engage with current students and recent grads. You want to take advantage of information sessions in India by being the first to arrive and the last to leave. It’s human contract, even by Skype or email, where you can get some dialogue going with members of that community. Sometimes, we encourage them to look at opportunities that might come if they are visiting the West Coast for work. If they have a couple of schools on their list, they can stop by and visit them.

Do Indian candidates tend to favor certain business schools?

Yes. A typical example is Michigan Ross. It tends to be quite a favorite with Indian applicants because a lot of people may have gone their for undergrad and know the school. Wharton tends to be another favorite but it gets a lot of applicants from other geographies, too. Still, at those schools maybe even less than half is the admit rate for Indians as it is for the general applicant pool.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.