The Tuesday Q&A: Indian Applicants and Top-10 B-schools

QUESTION:

They say being an Indian they expect me to score above 740 to get admission into any top-notch B-school. Is that true? Is there a mantra to get a really good score?

Also, I am working in IBM as a programmer but have only three years of experience. As I don’t have 5 years of experience, would I be able to get admission into a Top B-School? Will having the brand name of IBM in my resume fetch me some points?

ANSWER:

Here’s the thing about Indian applicants: yes, you’re gonna need to crush the GMAT to make a mark at Top-10 schools. They don’t say this, of course, but because you’re coming from such a competitive applicant pool (where people are getting upwards of 780 on their GMAT), in order to compete, you’ve got to, well, compete. And that means getting as close to 740 or 750 as you can.

Unfortunately, I don’t know about a mantra or magic formula. You just gotta practice, practice, and practice some more.

Now, the GMAT isn’t gonna be the end-all, be-all for ya. Yes, doing well on the test is going to help, of course, but lots of people can (and do!) score well on that test. In orde to truly stand out, you gotta have more to offer. It’s what you have done and where you come from that is more important. So, for example, if you have a multi-million dollar family business with 1000s of employees you can get accepted with a 620. A lot depends on what you DO, which is why we always stress promoting your achievements in your application.

The fact that you’re working at IBM is definitely a plus, as is any other huge, recognizable brand name. Even more helpful is if you have taken some leadership post there. That’s what you are going to want to focus on. Highlight your experiences, and show the adcom that you’ve got what it takes to be a strong, effective manager.

And finally, yes, three years is more than enough to apply to business school. Remember that they count the months of work experience form your MATRICULATION and not APPLICATION, so you can go ahead and apply.

But please do great on the GMAT. It helps a LOT!

— Jon Frank

 

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