Why apply now?

As I mentioned in my last post, this isn’t probably the best time for me to apply. I have one year of full time work experience and I graduated in 2013. By the time I matriculate (if at all I do), I will have just about 2 years of work experience in total. This is on the lowest end for most applicants. I am fully aware that on paper, I don’t look very good as an applicant.

Cons:

  1. Squarely in the Indian IT engineer bracket
  2. Not from an IIT/NIT/a brand that would be instantly recognisable
  3. No full time work experience at a big brand name company
  4. Only 1 year of work experience at the time of applying
  5. Not a genius of any kind, did not invent the cure to AIDS when I was 12
  6. Indian IT engineer, yes it’s that much of a disadvantage

Pros:

  1. Female Indian IT engineer (yes! the vagina is good for something)
  2. College brand gained value by leaps and bounds thanks to a recently appointed CEO *hint* *hint*
  3. Full time work experience at a startup that is growing rapidly
  4. 1 year of full time work experience while at the same time launching my own company
  5. Not a genius, but look good enough on paper ā€” 710 GMAT, 9.03 GPA, 94.4% 12th, 92.4% 10th
  6. Software engineer as opposed to IT engineer, gives me a slight edge as I develop products and applications directly for the end consumer

With all that said, I guess it largely comes down to how I build my application strategy, the schools I apply to and my essays. I know the top 5 are beyond my reach, so I’m not even going to go there. What I am looking at are the schools in the 10 – 20 range that I have a somewhat realistic chance of getting into.

So, why am I applying now? Why don’t I wait for a few years, get some more work experience and apply then? In an ideal world, I would. But in this world, I have issues, some of which are downright stupid.

  1. I am sick of coding. Honest to god. I’m good at it, but I can’t keep doing any more of it.
  2. All the jobs I do want to do /consulting/ need an MBA. To make the switch, I need a degree (at least the MBB firms).
  3. What good is waiting another year going to do? How much of a difference could a year make? I highly doubt that I would be able to make a drastic switch during this time.
  4. There is a clock ticking away in the back of parents’ heads for they fear I shall become an old maid by the time I get the damn MBA, and then of course no self respecting Indian man would ever look at me twice (I am seriously hoping this happens).
  5. I need to push the fast forward button on my career and I need to switch industries. I am also itching for that international work/study experience which is why I’ve given the IIMs the boot.

Good enough reasons? I’m not sure. I guess we’ll know soon enough.

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21 thoughts on “Why apply now?

  1. Hi there. Thought I would give my two cents’ worth.

    I’m at the other end of the age bracket (12 years WE) so have similar challenges to overcome, but at least you can just re-apply in one or two years’ time, whereas I’ll be toast! So, don’t freak out about your age. Go for it now by all means, but you always have next year to fall back on.

    I also think a consultant can really get you on track to apply this season. It sounds like you have a bit of work to do but a lot of fight and spirit to get you over that finish line – I have faith! I made a lot of mistakes last season but hiring a consultant was not one of them. They will also help with your school research and then bust your ass every day to get your applications in shape!

    Finally, consider applying to your top choice school in Round 2 or at least make it the last application you do in Round 1. You will learn a lot from each application you write so will be stronger the later you apply. The caveat is I don’t know if there’s any difference to your chances applying in Round 1 or Round 2 as an Indian IT engineer so best discuss this with your consultant.

    Best of luck though! Your blog is very energetic and I would love to have you as a classmate next year (apply to MIT!).

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    1. Hey topdog! Thanks for the 2 cents, they were much more valuable than you’d think. Wow, 12 years is really at the other end of the spectrum, but it does scare me that we’ll be pitted against each other in this MBA race. I have no doubt about who would win!

      With that said, yes! I just hired a consultant and I’m going to start working with them very soon. I had to shell out a pretty bundle, but I need all the help I can get since I’m fighting a lot of odds already. It’s good to know you don’t regret your decision!

      I will definitely keep that in mind, I’ve been hearing a lot about how the essays you write later are much stronger. But it would definitely make me nervous to wait till Round 2, I’ll confer with the consultant and see what he has to say about it.

      Sloan is actually one of my top choices, especially since it has a very tech oriented program and welcomes entrepreneurs. I hope we’ll see each other there!

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      1. I recently attended an event for MIT Sloan and got to chat with their admissions director. They have an awesome team which really welcomes enquiries and expressions of interest being made to the admissions office (a refreshing change from “check the website”).

        One of my key takeaways is not to obsess about the statistics or your “competition”, just focus on writing the best possible application you can, focus on all the positives about you and what distinguishes you from everyone else.

        Sounds simple, right? I’m sure you will get there! Let’s hope for the double offer and see each other in Boston next August!

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      2. Oh wow, that’s awesome! I checked and while most schools do have something going in India, Sloan doesn’t. Boo. I’ll have to sit in on one of the online chats to make up for it.

        I hope so! But Boston is so cold, dreading that part.

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    2. PREFACE: I really like topdogmba and am a huge fan. These are only my opinions, and I want you to prove me wrong this year and get into a top school.

      OPINION:
      You ask what good is a year going to be? A LOT can happen in a year. Your company could take off, you could get a promotion, you could switch jobs/companies, etc. B-schools look for DEMONSTRATED excellence. It is extremely tough to show that 1-2 out of school (not impossible). If you check out the class profiles (http://grantmeadmission.com/references/2015-class-profiles/) you’ll see the average work experience for HBS and GSB is 4 years, everyone else is pretty much 5 years.

      Whether you like it or not, that’s who you will be competing against. I don’t want to discourage you, especially since I don’t know all your details, but at the same time I don’t want to disillusion you either. If your #1 reason is that you are sick of coding, that does not scream to me that you are ready for B-School.

      You have a LOT of factors going against you. Your age, background and experience can be played against, but let’s say you do get in. Then you have to get a consulting internship and eventually a MBB job. You will be competing again. I encourage you to speak with MBB recruiters to ask them about who they typically hire out of the top MBA’s.

      Again, I hope you prove me wrong on all accounts (and I have been wrong many times). One of the ways you could do it, is finding people that have gone to the top schools at a young age (such as yourself), and figure out how you can apply their experience to you. Check out this podcast for younger applicants: http://www.touchmba.com/mba-application-tips-for-younger-candidates/

      I will be rooting for you the entire way!!!

      PS: As for topdogmba, I think being older is a different type of challenge (and not a bad one).

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      1. I totally understand where you’re come from, since you’ve pretty much echoed my thoughts as well. A lot could potentially happen in a year, BUT with that said, I’m applying this time knowing fully well that I might get rejected everywhere. What is the purpose of applying then you might ask? Well, for the slightest chance that I might actually get in and because it’ll be good practice for the next time. But in my heart of hearts, I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I feel fairly certain that once you do get into b-school your background before that is quite irrelevant to consulting, unless of course you do have consulting experience in which case you’d be offered a more senior position. Otherwise, regardless of the age/background, everyone starts from scratch. But again, I should probably get this confirmed from more people.

        Thank you for the link to the podcast. I’m going to see if I can get in touch with any of them to get more insight. I really appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Sometimes we need to hear what we might not necessarily want to! Reality checks are hard to come by. But I’m still going to give it my 100% since I’ve got nothing to lose.

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  2. Ooh! A bit of debate going on! šŸ™‚
    I guess you can call this the carrot and the stick. I tend to try and identify the very best elements of people and draw that out, but I totally agree that the application process is a brutal business and you need to be completely honest with yourself.
    One of last year’s most prolific bloggers, MBAOver30, spoke about not trying to be that one exception to the rule, i.e. the one person with a low GPA and one year WE who gets into Stanford. That said, it is always worth a shot if you have got your story together and the time (and a few hundred dollars to throw at it).
    I think being an introverted European myself means I need an ego boost every now and again, perhaps that’s why I’m so encouraging to other applicants new to the game?
    Bravo though GrantMeAdmission for bringing us back down to earth again. I’m off to rewrite my goals – also pretty much decided to add Stanford back into the mix. Bring it on!

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  3. You went to ***… šŸ˜‰ I can totally relate to your reasons for doing an MBA! I wish I had the guts to do that 2 years ago. Call it extreme exam-phobia or just laziness, I spent 2 years contemplating on whether or not to do an MBA. But I also got a professional degree in addition to my Bachelors & Masters so I’m hoping the wait was worth it! And I’ve abandoned IIMs in favor of international experience too (not that they were waiting for me to come join them. šŸ˜› Just saying…)
    P.S: I’m 23 and I can already see a million thoughts going through my parents head! I hope I don’t lose all my hair when I’m 26 and end up single and lonely… lol! šŸ˜›

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    1. Ahhh! You’re way too smart for me. You’re right but I want to leave everyone guessing, so I hope you don’t mind that I did a little censoring :p

      Anyway, I think contemplating the prospect of getting an MBA for two years was a wise decision! It’s not something that you can really do on a whim, especially when you consider the time and money that goes into it. I hope your hair stays because I’ve lost a huge chunk already! So are you applying this year?

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  4. Haha! Not at all! Forgive my insensitive…umm.. revelation..(?) šŸ˜›

    Yes, I am! At least I really really want to. But like I said, I’ve got this exam-sickness. And I am yet to nail the GMAT. I got tired of my own insecurities. So I just registered for Sep 22nd on a whim! And I just started studying today (wish me luck!). So let’s see how that goes. I’m mostly targeting schools in R2.. except a few public universities that have deadlines in November.

    I was targeting UCLA initially, but their Essay is too difficult this time and I don’t know how well I can write it. Other than that, I’m looking at Duke, Ross, Booth, McCombs, UNC and the likes of them.. Top 25, really. I would never ever be noticed by the top 5.. (I would give my life for Stanford too! But I’m just not sure I wanna spend $275 when I know they’re going to chuck my application without a second notice!) And I don’t wanna postpone because the parents would not have any more patience! *nods head*

    Anyhooo, my profile is quite different than the average Indian profile. Female, Commerce, Couple of successful “ventures” (more on that later)… so if I get a decent score on my GMAT, I do think I can at least get the Adcom’s attention.Let’s see how it goes. I do have a blog as well. I’ll probably make it public post GMAT. I’m too freaked out right now to be blogging. SO I’ll probably start again after the exam šŸ™‚

    Oh, btw! My friend attended the Booth session too! If you happened to spot a really fair, skinny girl in the session… she was her!

    Good luck on your Applications!

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    1. Tell me about exam sickness. I was too lazy to retake the GMAT this year and I didn’t want to apply to the IIMs partly because I would have to prepare for the CAT. But having written both, GMAT is way easier and much more fun to write. Oh, 22nd isn’t too far away, best of luck for that! There are a lot of useful tips and guides floating around (and study plans), so do some research if you need help figuring out a plan of study.

      R2 is a perfect time to apply, but make sure you hit all those deadlines because R3 would put you in a sticky spot. Sigh, Stanford. So elusive. If I don’t get in this year, I’m definitely going to apply there next year. Your school choices are looking good! Duke is my number one choice at the moment, so I have my fingers crossed. Ross and Booth are great schools as well, so I think you have a nice mix.

      Lucky you! You will definitely stand out in that case. Now you’ve got me extremely curious about your “ventures”, I’d love to see your blog. We have a great community out here, super supportive and helpful, so I definitely recommend it.

      Hmmm. I do remember seeing a fair girl with kind of curly hair maybe? I’m not too sure now, ha. I think I remember the company she worked for though.

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      1. I’ll definitely network with y’all soon šŸ™‚ But I’m afraid if I start now, I’ll be too distracted to study. And I did go through a lot of study plans and they all seem overwhelming! And at the end if the day, I’ve got to make a plan that suits me. So I’ve just gone ahead and done that. It might seem bizarre, but I’m taking the less-is-more approach and focusing on qualitative preparation rather than quantitative. It may seem like too much, considering it has been 5 years since school & I haven’t done Math since then nor is my Verbal too good. But I’m just having that R2 safety net. Worst case scenario, I retake by October end. *Fingers crossed for that to not happen*. And no, I don’t plan to take it to R3, no matter how much I procrastinate.

        Have you taken your TOEFL yet?

        And no, she doesn’t have curly hair šŸ™‚ Extremely straight! She gets it straightened!

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      2. Haha, yeah. Plans don’t work for me either, but they seem to for a lot of people which is why I suggested it. I had no structure while I was studying. Pretty much went with my gut and studied areas that I didn’t feel very confident about. That, and practices. So many practice tests. I’m glad that’s behind me šŸ˜€

        Most schools don’t ask for the TOEFL if you’re Indian. At least, the two I’ve applied to so far doesn’t require a TOEFL score.

        OH wait. Yes, my bad. She had straight hair. I think I definitely know who you’re talking about.

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