‘JUST PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN AND FOCUS ON EXECUTION’
Pratik has three key pieces of advice for B-school applicants and re-applicants. First, spend a lot of time on introspection. “I feel 90% of the effort is ‘thinking through’ your life experiences and what make those unique, your learnings and growth, etc. Writing is the relatively easier part.”
Next, practice for interviews — or as he puts it, practice, practice, practice. “Try to simulate the actual interview in a formal setting,” Pratik says. “The idea is to get comfortable with the format and get over the nervousness and jitters. I felt I suffered from this in my attempts and blew my Stanford interview.”
Third, nail your CV. “Each of my bullet points in my CV actually gave full context about what the challenge was, what the situation was, and what was the impact I delivered. If I were to summarize it, I would say my CV or my application last year was more like a job description, whereas this year it was more about telling a story. The point is, you must focus a lot on what is a good way to tell a story.”
Finally, he has some advice exclusively for re-applicants: Successfully reapplying is possible. “Once dinged, don’t carry forward the negativity to your second attempt. Many told me that I was at a disadvantage as a re-applicant, but all through the process I never felt like one. It’s doable, possible. So just put your head down and focus on execution.”
Pratik rolled the dice in a big way by re-applying to three schools that had rejected him. But he had one big safety net: applying to a fourth school that he most wanted to attend.
Pratik says his decision to apply to Kellogg along with his three re-applications was a matter of practicality — and that’s another key piece of advice for re-applicants: Have a backup.
“My plan was, if in the end these three don’t happen, I know I only have limited time to apply to another school in the first round. Last year I only had time to apply to two in the first round, and to add one more was a huge, huge stretch.
“If none of these schools had worked out, then definitely I feel I would have applied to more schools in round 2, like an INSEAD, or a Booth, or a Columbia. That was my plan.”
AND THE WINNER IS …
Piyush Pratik didn’t need to apply to any other schools. He got in where he wanted to — finally. So now the question is, which will he pick?
And the answer? He hasn’t decided.
“Between the four schools, I have been able to narrow it down to two,” Pratik says, “and of course they are the most obvious two that you would guess. So it is between HBS and Stanford, definitely, and I still have a couple of weeks before I have to communicate my final decision. This is by far one of the toughest decisions that I have had to make — and I am still in the middle of it.”