Breaking down the application process

23 November 2022

Executive MBA (London) participant Ravi Kumar shares his top tips for a successful application process when applying for an MBA programme.

Studying for an MBA is not for the faint hearted. What would happen if a 48 year old veteran decides to comes to the party?

Cut to January 2022, and I decided to take a shot at the GMAT. A score of 740 did not hurt my aspirations of coming to Warwick Business School (WBS) for its coveted MBA degree. However, contrary to my belief, the GMAT score is just one of the tools that business schools use to pick up talent for their programmes.

Pursuing an MBA at a world-class university has been a dream since my early teens. However, my first love, a career in the coveted olive green uniform of the Indian Army meant that I had to push back the MBA plans. I could have managed to study for an MBA from any “regular” university while I was in service, but settling for anything but the best was unacceptable to me.

An admission to the MBA class at WBS has many facets. Although the process seems lengthy and demanding, it is designed not only to enable the admissions committee to ascertain the course or cohort fit in any candidate but also helps the candidate to know themselves better.

My blog will benefit all those lost souls (just like me), who are capable of telling the time, but need to know how watches are made. So let us break up this journey into tiny little steps for better understanding.

The decision and its timing

Please keep the admission cycle in mind before you decide to start your journey.  It is always better to start early and aim for the 1st or 2nd admissions cycle. A few of the advantages of this approach are better chances of scholarships and more time for preparing for the main battle i.e. the MBA. This is also beneficial to overseas students who would get more time to sort out the immigration formalities.

Do your homework

Have a proper understanding of the history, culture, and academic reputation of the business school of your interest. It will enable you to write a better and clearer application. Knowing about the interviewer can also be helpful. A word of caution here, please do not try to get connected on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, as it may be a bit too soon. You also need to make a smart MBA programme choice based upon your needs, constraints and learning style. Interacting with current students and alumni will always be beneficial and I personally benefitted immensely from the open evening at The Shard.

The application and its essays

This is your chance to showcase your writing skills. Take time to understand the essay questions, stick to the scope and word count, and avoid colloquial English. Spelling errors can make any good application look average.

While you must put your best foot forward in your essays, it still has to be your own foot. Please don’t take the risk of obliterating the real version of yourself in trying to project a better version of yourself.

While it may be prudent to ask questions such as ‘why MBA?’, ‘why now?’, ‘why WBS?’ to yourself, it is also advisable to be convinced of the answers yourselves before submitting to the School.  Your CV, your essays as well as the answers to your questions must be in sync to enable the admissions committee to draw a steady profile.

The interview

I was lucky to be interviewed by one of the best human beings on the planet. He made it so interesting that I felt I was a celebrity giving an interview post an award. I am sure the recruitment team is so well-trained for their job that they are able to get your best version out. My advice for the interview is to know your CV, know your essay, know yourself and, last but not least, know the School. Be authentic and genuine, trust yourself, trust the system, smile and showcase your curiosity, brilliance and restlessness to change the world around you. Be prepared to talk about how you will benefit from the MBA and what will be your contribution to the University. Remember, the focus of the interview is you, how difficult can it be to talk about yourself?

By the way, please be aware, getting a place is not the end of the journey, it is rather a beginning.

Just as I am writing this blog well past midnight, Robert Frost’s famous line comes to my mind,

“Miles to go before I sleep”.

Find out more about the Executive MBA programmes.

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