I have recently been offered a place in the Masters in Management – Class of 2015 at London Business School. I wanted to pen down my experience with applications so far in the hope that it will be useful to prospective students applying for the Masters in Management programs and Business schools in general.
For the uninformed, Masters in management (MiM) programs are a fairly recent phenomenon picking up a lot of attention. As the name suggests, the course of study focuses on general management just like an MBA. However, the key difference lies in the target audience of the courses. While MBAs are aimed at experienced professionals, MiM programs, with some exceptions are aimed at recent graduates with little or no work experience.
A key idea to understand while applying to graduate schools, and business schools in particular is that the selection is not solely based on your past performance and future potential, but also your fit with the university.
Many students are baffled why they could not gain admission with very good academic and professional record. Fit is a very important factor as it determines how well you represent what the university stands for and if they can see you as a flag-bearer for the school. This can seem alien to most Indian students where admission is granted based purely on performance in specific entrance examinations.
Resume Overview: http://www.linkedin.com/in/akasina9
Test Scores: GMAT – 730/800, TOEFL – 115/120 (Not required for most MiM programs), GRE – 324/340
- Creating a career path: Have a clear career plan (preferably both in the short-term and the long-term, both in alignment with each other)
- Check the prerequisites: As much cliched as it might sound, ensure that you satisfy all the prerequisites in terms of academic and professional requirements. If in doubt, contact the admissions representatives before you begin your application. It can save a lot of wasted effort if done upfront
- Take the required standardized tests: Give yourself enough time to prepare well for the standardized tests such as GMAT. Though they are not the sole guarantors of your admission, a good GMAT score goes a long a way in creating a favorable impression of your application
- CV: Keep your CV concise, current, accurate and gap-free. Refer to this post for tips about writing a better CV
- Essays: Be as authentic as possible in your essays. Do not try to blow things out of proportion or fake your way through. The admissions committee is experienced enough to call your bluff. Before attempting to write your essay, research well about the school and about yourself – in terms of what you want to do and what the school has to offer. This results not only in a much more cogent essay but also in understanding your fit for the school
- Recommendations: Recommendations carry an enormous weight to your application. A well written and insightful recommendation from a manager who knows you well is much better than a generic recommendation from a CEO. And a self-written recommendation is a strict no-no. Refer to this post for a better understanding about recommendations
- Interview: Interviews are logical extensions of the application. The admissions committee was impressed by your application and has decided to get to know you better to assess you, your abilities and your fit. As long as you were authentic through the application process, this should not be stressful for you. However, it pays to know your application inside out and think of possible questions that the interviewer might have as he/she reads your application. If possible, participate in some mock-interviews, and always have background information about the interviewer
Tips for applicants:
- Think thoroughly and deeply regarding what you want do in your career. Discuss with colleagues, friends, family and as many people as possible. It gives you a greater clarity about your priorities and definitely shows in your applications
- For the GMAT, I strongly recommend two books: (1) The Official GMAT Guide, and (2) Kaplan GMAT Premier. For the AWA section, have a generic format (available online as well as in the recommended books)
- Be authentic. I cannot stress on this enough. Know what you want and be true to that. If you get rejected because you were true to yourself, it just means that the school might not be ideal for you
- Graduate school application is a give-and-take process. Schools are competing as fiercely for you as you are competing for them
- Reach out to current and former students from the program you are targeting. Getting their views gives an inside perspective on things which will be invaluable
Most of the views expressed above are my personal views, their appropriateness depends solely on their use and the nature of the user.
I’m more than willing to help any future candidate through his/her application, please feel free to reach out to me.