Experts’ Global: Hi Anuj, thank you for interviewing with us! Could you kindly share your story in your own words?
Anuj: My journey started in 2012, when I first began my engineering undergrad. Realizing then and there that my true penchant lay on the business side of things, I reached out to peers and mentors in my circle who had pursued an MBA, only to be advised to get some work experience under my belt before following a path similar to theirs. Accordingly, I worked in the marketing field for about four and a half years, and then decided to start my MBA journey.
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what actions of yours made the difference to your success?
Anuj: When I first started to actually research the MBA, I started with some personal forays into understanding what kind of essays and inputs the application process required. Working with MBA admissions consultants Experts’ Global was a good next step. Apart from that, getting a good GMAT score was key. Applying in earlier rounds to maximize my chances of bagging a scholarship was also a beneficial move.
Experts’ Global: In hindsight, what mistakes did you make along the way?
Anuj: In the earliest stages of my application research, I was choosing schools based solely on the rankings. Hearing from an outside advisor that certain schools, based on my overrepresented background as a male Indian engineer, were a bit out of my league was helpful.
Experts’ Global: Regarding your GMAT prep, what resources did you use and what advice do you have for future applicants?
Anuj: I took the GRE in my last year of undergrad, and ended up using the same for my applications as I realized, a little late, that my final GMAT score was a bit average. Nevertheless, taking the GMAT was a good move as it helped me develop my quantitative and linguistic knowledge base. I used the official materials from the GMAT website, as well as Experts’ Global’s 15 GMAT practice tests, with in-built analytics that helped me isolate my conceptual problem areas and improve upon them.
Experts’ Global: According to you, what is the frequency and number of mock tests that an aspirant should take?
Anuj: In my case, I did not take too many mocks because I found the process a little exhausting, and instead focused on building up my conceptual grasp. Taking a free GMAT mock to select a good mock series, and then taking five to ten of the practice tests is what I would advise. More important than tackling a huge number of mocks is understanding where you are making errors on them and improving on the same.
Experts’ Global: What did you learn from managing your application timelines?
Anuj: Starting as early as possible on streamlining your application materials is a good idea, especially for professionals. Choosing an achievable list of school targets is also vital. Further, make sure to know exactly what you need from an MBA, and how a particular school stands to benefit you. When it comes to landing a scholarship, you might have to go for a relatively lower-ranked program, and thus knowing your growth gaps and how an MBA fills them in comes into play.
Experts’ Global: How was your business school interview experience?
Anuj: I interviewed with three or four Canadian schools, and apart from the fact that I had to wake up at 5 am for them, they were great. My MBA interview prep helped me get ready for most of the questions that popped up therein. My interviews were all highly conversational, and that made it easier for me to share my story in a more coherent manner. Honestly, if you have done the necessary introspection about your MBA motivations, you should have a smooth MBA interview experience too.
Experts’ Global: What can you tell us about your MBA experience?
Anuj: I just finished my first year in the program, and am loving the practical focus in the classes. There are a ton of case competitions and a largely case-driven pedagogy to benefit from. My first year was sadly completely online, but the in-person classes started a fortnight ago, and the experience of being in an academic setting again has been quite fun!
Experts’ Global: What lessons have you taken from the pre-application process?
Anuj: I learned a lot! When working on my applications, I took the time to really plan for my future career, and understand what kind of skill deficiency I had. In the MBA, I have had the chance to interact with peers from a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds, and as a marketing expert, have been able to help out my classmates where they need it, even as I take finance-related advice from a CFA peer of mine!
Experts’ Global: According to you, what common mistakes should all GMAT aspirants avoid?
Anuj: Starting the application process too late is a big no-no. Make sure to start planning your entire application, including the GMAT prep, about a year and a half in advance, to allow yourself leeway to take the test multiple times in case of a less-than-satisfactory first score. Try and select a trusted GMAT online course to make the most of your downtime during prep. Starting to plan early also allows you to show up any gaps regarding, say, volunteering experience to round out your profile.
Experts’ Global: What is your final word to MBA aspirants out there?
Anuj: I think that availing a consultant’s help during the admissions process can be a huge time saver. Further, the MBA journey is one that takes time to culminate in success, and patience is necessary throughout. Apply multiple times if you have to, but make sure to land a school that really fits your specific growth needs. Trust me, waiting a year extra will be worth it in the end!
Experts’ Global: Thank you for giving us your time today, Anuj, and we hope for your continued success!
Anuj: Thanks for the wishes, and for this interesting conversation!