Experts’ Global: Hi Pralabh, thank you so much for joining us today! May we request you to please share your journey in your own words?
Pralabh: Absolutely! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story! My journey to the MBA started in 2017 when I decided to take the GMAT and pursue a management education from a reputed global school. I started out by assessing the feasibility of the top 10 business schools for my profile, and as my research went on, I gained a clearer idea of schools outside the top 10 that fit my needs and were more realistic.
The biggest initial hurdle was the GMAT itself. I decided to take it in 2017, and approached the MBA admissions consultants Experts’ Global for aid. Their organized approach helped me map out my prep time and pre-application phase well, and I proceeded with my GMAT studies, scoring a 730 on my first attempt! The application process yielded good results thereafter, and I secured admission to my dream school with a full scholarship!
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what are a few factors or actions you took that made all the difference?
Pralabh: In my experience, getting into one’s dream school starts with research. You need to know if your targeted school is scholarship friendly, what its lower-GMAT-score tolerance is, and what the demographics of its MBA class – in terms of identity and professional history – are, amongst other things.
Thereafter, you need to have a truly organized approach to the application process and your GMAT preparation. Availing of Experts’ Global’s GMAT online course helped me keep my GMAT studies focused, even as its GMAT practice tests helped me track my progress!
Experts’ Global: In hindsight, what do you think were a few mistakes you committed in the process?
Pralabh: The biggest mistake I made was not having my MBA funding plan cleared up well in time. With a good GMAT score in hand, I had not then clarified where the money for my studies was going to come from. Even though I got into schools such as USC Marshall and Rice, I could only secure a 50% scholarship for my respective admits therein and had to forego my seat. Thankfully, I had another year in which to apply for the MBA again, and I secured a full scholarship to Olin.
Experts’ Global: Thank you for your candor! What advice do you have for future GMAT aspirants?
Pralabh: The GMAT, fortunately, has a very well-defined syllabus and concept scope, which means that enough practice can very well help you master the exam. Use tools like a free GMAT practice test to see your level when you begin your prep, and modulate your studies accordingly.
Use a series of GMAT practice tests, attempting one test weekly, after you are done covering the exam syllabus, to identify your strong and weak areas. Adjust your preparations to shore up your gaps, and you will surely ace the GMAT!
Experts’ Global: What is your advice to future aspirants regarding their MBA applications?
Pralabh: The MBA application process can be difficult, as it involves knowing how to express yourself well and how to network and sell yourself productively too. In this light, my main advice to aspirants is to understand their targeted school’s culture by reaching out to current students and alumni alike. You can also use your outreach to get different perspectives on your essays and application. As a final thought, make sure to be both aggressive and realistic with the range of schools you target, by having a mixture of safe and dream schools!
Experts’ Global: Could you enlighten us on your MBA experience?
Pralabh: The MBA has been the most fulfilling experience of my life yet. My memories of the two years I spent in the program are enriching and inspiring. The MBA broadened my social circle to include Japanese, American, and Peruvian friends! As a whole, the MBA has helped me diversify my ambitions as a leader!
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your job search experience during the MBA and what tips will you give to future candidates?
Pralabh: Indians are used to placement processes where companies usually recruit on-campus. Things are quite different in the US, however. Networking is absolutely essential to landing a job, post-MBA.
For context, when I first started my MBA, I had 500 connections on LinkedIn. I now have over 1300 connections and have reached out to and interacted with the vast majority of them. This kind of outreach was just part of the long process it took to get into my dream company, a process that included eight coffee chats and six rounds of interviews.
You have to be extremely self-motivated and networking-driven to succeed in the post-MBA job search!
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your interview experience with the B-school?
Pralabh: Even though my GMAT score of 730 was a plus, I was unable to excel similarly at the MBA interviews. Perhaps as a natural introvert, I was unable to project my personality as well as I could have. The Experts’ Global MBA interview preparation program helped me keep my confidence up throughout the interview stages, and helped me focus on the lessons from my early missteps.
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your learning from managing the application timeline?
Pralabh: Back in February 2017, when I first began mapping out my MBA plans, I started with GMAT preparations and proceeded to take my first GMAT mock in the first week of March, scoring a 540. Gearing my studies to shore up my deficiencies, I began scoring consistently in the 720-740 range on mocks in July. After taking my GMAT and TOEFL within the month of August, I started working on the MBA applications in September, taking around a month and a half to complete the same. I was targeting the first round of all the MBAs to maximize my scholarship chances. For almost the entirety of November, I persevered through the various interview calls that I received, and by late December, I had almost all the application results in hand!
Experts’ Global: Your journey of growth is so inspirational! Regarding your GMAT preparation, what were the main resources that you used, and what advice would you give to future GMAT aspirants?
Pralabh: I referred to my math textbooks from the 11th and 12th grades and the preparatory material from Experts’ Global for the initial stages of my GMAT studies. The final resource that I used, in the last three weeks of my prep, was the collection of the mock tests available for free on the GMAC official website. I would suggest that do not collate prep resources from all over the place. Stick to one set of preparatory materials and focus on that.
Experts’ Global: What are a few mistakes that you believe GMAT aspirants must avoid?
Pralabh: One of the mistakes I saw other people around me making during their GMAT prep is that they would overreact to single variations in their mock test scores. I also saw people remain focused on working on sections of the syllabus that they were good at, instead of challenging themselves to fill in their knowledge gaps. Maintaining your dedication to GMAT preparation on the weekends, especially for working professionals, is also quite a challenge. Those who can keep their efforts concentrated win out!
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your journey post-MBA? Also, could you share how the pre-application experience helped in the growth of your post-MBA life?
Pralabh: I think that there is a direct link between one’s pre-MBA and post-MBA journey. In the pre-MBA journey, I learned to be comfortable with reaching out to strangers and comprehending their perspectives and accents! Talking to so many interviewers and alumni from all over the world during the pre-application phase has been truly useful in my current job as well. The pre-application phase also brought me the habit of tracking my day through the optimal use of my calendar. In many ways, the pre-application journey has made me a more balanced professional post-MBA!
Experts’ Global: Is there any final message that you would like to give to our readers?
Pralabh: Most importantly, trust yourself and believe in your abilities. Develop a personal study schedule, a personalized style of presenting yourself through your applications, and remain honest throughout the process!
Experts’ Global: Thank you so much Pralabh for interviewing with us and giving us your time!
Pralabh: My pleasure. I hope my story is of some use to others as well!