Guide to survive B-schools

MBA has become the watchword for Gen Z, who aim at skyrocketing pay packets and enviable positions. Easier said than done when applying to a B-school is as tedious as the course.Samee

Published: 05th September 2011 10:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:57 PM   |  A+A-


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MBA has become the watchword for Gen Z, who aim at skyrocketing pay packets and enviable positions. Easier said than done when applying to a B-school is as tedious as the course.Sameer Kamat, alumni of University of Cambridge and founder of MBA Crystal Ball ( ), an admissions consulting business for international B-schools, gets talking about his latest book Beyond the MBA Hype ( ), a guide to understand and survive B-schools abroad.

What is the best way to choose an international B-school?

The best way would be to ask yourself whether the B-school will choose you, as in meet your objectives in the areas of education, networking and career. Before taking any decision, speak to alumni from top schools. They are a good source of information.

What are the typical cliches a B-school aspirant has to avoid in his/her application?

Remember that there is nothing like an ideal candidate profile. Never force yourself to be a part of community service to later impress your B-school admissions officers. Don’t advertise yourself to be the ‘most deserving candidate for the programme/scholarship’.

Indian B-schools arrange internships and placements, making it easier for our students. Abroad, a student is expected to make contacts and network to create his own opportunities. Which according to you is a healthier trend?

A healthy, wealthy and wise option would be to get the best of both worlds. The comfort of having multiple companies come to campus and offer the flexibility of choosing your designation, location and salary is exhilarating. But unfortunately the two models work in different contexts. The campus placement approach works well in India. For overseas programmes that select experienced folks, the legwork required to land an internship and a job can be tiring. But many are able to find opportunities with their pre-MBA experience.

Is it advisable to study on your own for GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS?

There are plenty of options for students who want to study on their own. A good starting point is to become part of online forums like Pagalguy, Beat The GMAT and GMAT Club. There are tons of free resources to get started.

There are self-paced online coaching options that provide practice questions and full-length practice tests like Knewton and Manhattan GMAT. When it comes to self-study, getting access to test prep material is easy, but knowing what to do with it is the tricky part students face.

How important is the essay component of a B-school application?

This is one area where a lot of students falter since this component is missing in a typical application process for Indian B-schools. While the themes for essays bear similarity to some extent across B-schools, it’s not advisable to resubmit Harvard’s essays to Stanford with subtle changes. Customise each essay according to the requirements of the B-school you are applying to improve your chances.

What are the best B-schools one must consider for applying?

Your list of B-schools should be based on your background, age, work experience, budget and post-MBA goals. However, my recommendations would be Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Wharton School of the University of Pennysylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, based in USA, London Business School, UK, Insead, France and Singapore, National University of Singapore and our very own Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, and IIM-A. Again these aren’t the only good B-schools n

— As told to Shilpa Vasudevan

India Matters


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