Wednesday, January 19, 2011

15 Schools to 2 Apps - How I chose my target schools..!!

When I started a year back, like everyone I wanted to apply to Harvard/Stanford/Wharton and almost the top 15 schools. Anyone who has applied to B-Schools will know that its stupid to apply to more than 3-4 schools. Simply because you cant do justice to all the applications.

And more importantly there is no one in this world who could culturally be a good fit to so many schools...!!

I am not saying whether one could get an admit to 15 schools, I am just saying that individuals are what they are... INDIVIDUALS..!! You cant follow a one-size fits all approach.

You need to carefully understand the following:

  1. Which PROGRAM and not the SCHOOL will get you to your END (which I spoke about in my prev post)
  2. Ask, what the Program can do for you and not the other way round
  3. If you are in a state that you would accept any school provided its in Top 10/ IVY LEAGUE etc. etc. then you need to think again.
  4. Lastly, dont be in a situation where the school will chose you, be in a situation where you will chose the school.

I am glad that I realised this before I decided to apply.

At 31, I figured out that H/S/W and the other traditional 2 yr programs were not for me. I did not think that I was not for them. Reason being, my takeaway in a class of people with 3-4 yrs experience will be extremely limited. I needed a class from which I could learn more. So I looked hard for a program which would have more experienced classmates but I kept bumping into the Exec MBA courses at several colleges.

I never wanted to do a part time program. It is just not worth it. It may even take you faraway from your END. Then I found the Sloan Fellows program at MIT, Stanford and LBS. --- Bingo..!!!

Just what I wanted and I applied to MIT and Stanford.

I finally made it to MIT (my dream program) and will be starting in a few months time. There were lots of reasons for my admit which I will discuss in future posts.

I also decided not to apply to ISB, IIMs, Oxford etc which were on my initial list. I will discuss that also later.

Define the END...!!

GMAT - means to an MBA.... But an MBA  - means to what..???

A lot of people want to score a 700 to get into a good school. While there is nothing wrong but people usually fail to understand that GMAT is a means to an End but not an End itself.

Lets take a moment to understand this..!!
  • We need a good score to get an admit.
  • We need an admit to get an MBA
  • We need an MBA to ..............................???????

Some may say that MBA is a means to an End.

Please ask 'WHAT IS THAT END' for you.? In other words, what is it that you would like to do..??

Is it money, experience of being in school or just a brand on your resume.

I think once you DEFINE the end, your journey to get into the school of your choice would become far more easier.

Lastly, a Harvard/Stanford/Wharton/MIT may look cool on your resume but don't start your journey without having the END in mind.

And, dont let your END be limited/controlled by the career options available - Banking/Consulting/and the likes.

Because if you do, you could be in the same shit again..!!