IF YOU’RE READING THIS, chances are that you’ve at least considered applying to business school and have probably realized that the process is a little more complex than you had originally thought. Naturally, many people will seek advice from a counselor, friend, family member or any other source they come across.
While getting some help is generally a good idea, the Business school admission process is far from simple and is ever evolving. Someone who hasn’t been in the field for a while, like your Dad/Uncle/Mom who graduated from Business school 25 years ago, or isn’t making an effort to stay up to date with all of the developments, such as a school adviser whose job description isn’t specifically focused on Business schools, might provide you with some bad advice.
Here is some of the inaccurate – if not downright awful – advice that applicants say they’ve received.
There’s no risk in retaking the CAT/GMAT/XAT.
You know how even a broken clock is right twice a day? Well, that’s the case here. While it is true that some schools will even take only the highest or most recent score, the vast majority of schools will use a vague, noncommittal guideline like, “We use a holistic approach when considering applications along with test scores.”
Most of the B-Schools including IIM’s are shortlisting candidates based on 360-degree profile analysis along with CAT score. There are fair chances that 98 percentile candidate will miss the call and 91 percentile get the call from IIM’s.
The implications of taking wrong advice here cannot be understated. The decision to retake the CAT/GMAT etc. involves a lot of factors, from practice test scores to timing and price, opportunity cost and basing those on a wrong assumption could lead to disastrous consequences, hurting your chances instead of helping them.
Schools barely read the personal statement/Achievements/Extra-curricular Activities – it’s all about the scores.
Let’s not sugar coat it: Grades matters a lot. If your grades fall well outside a school’s typical range, admissions officials may not even consider your application.
However, it’s dead wrong to assume that because you have a 9.0 GPA and a 95 pertentile-plus CAT score, you’re guaranteed a spot somewhere.
Business schools today looking for diversity in class ranging from geographic/Demographic/Experience/Sports/Culture etc. Admissions officials will read your personal statement, and more importantly, will read between the lines to spot attributes like laziness or lack of motivation. Your grades may get you through the door, but your profile and personal statement is what will seal the deal.
An applicant who has great scores, all well within the range for the target business schools, could still find it difficult to get in. Bad personal statements – full of half sentences, making no connection between paragraphs, conveying nothing about why you want to go to business school – can keep you out no matter how strong your scores are.
You don’t need to prepare for Business school interviews.
Don’t mistake the laid-back vibe, because the main purpose of Interview is still to decide whether you’re the type of student the school wants to join its student body. In today Era, its more of Student recruitment process rather than selection process. While recruitment is 2-way process selection is more of 1-way process.
If you show up unprepared – have no questions about the schools, unable to answer simple questions like “why this school” or clearly have no idea of some of the school’s strengths or programs – it will become evident, and quickly. And while it’s rare for a fringe candidate to break through thanks to the interview, many applicants have been denied admission because of interview mistakes.
Treat the Business school interview just like an interview for the job of your dreams.
There’s only one path into Business school.
People subscribe to the idea of there being a certain type of Business Management student. This person is often a Commerce or Science major background. But the last thing business schools want is a cookie-cutter student body.
There have been instances in which business schools take Liberal arts students, Design graduates, Hotel Management, Sports Champions, members of rock bands and generally people who have done nothing to prepare for their business school application in the traditional sense because they didn’t decide to apply until their senior year.
Take any sweeping statements about applying to business school with a grain of salt. People telling you, you’ll never get in likely don’t know much about the process. Do some research so you can synthesize facts from different sources and decide for yourself what is more likely to be true.
“Leaning on others is fine, but trusting them blindly could come back to haunt you”.
Director – Corporate Affairs & Strategy
Universal Business School