Experts’ Global: Hi Tejeshwar, thank you so much for interviewing with us today! May we request you to please share your journey in your own words?
Tejeshwar: Sure! I completed my undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering in 2015, after which I worked at JSWC for five years. While my career provided me with deep operations expertise, I wanted to fast-track my professional growth and so decided to pursue a global MBA. Beginning my GMAT online preparation in 2017, I was able to secure a good GMAT score in 2019. However, the impact of COVID-19 early in 2020 made me turn to MBA options closer to home, and I am currently completing my MBA at XLRI.
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what are a few factors or actions you took that made all the difference?
Tejeshwar: I think taking things one day at a time and being honest with myself about where my career was going pre-MBA, helped me immensely. I enjoyed my work at India’s largest steel plant, but felt that my growth curve was stagnating. I began considering an MBA, and took a free GMAT practice test to see how I could tackle the GMAT syllabus. Convinced of my path moving forward, I so took the MBA leap.
Experts’ Global: What are the main GMAT resources that you used during your preparation and what advice will you give to future GMAT candidates?
Tejeshwar: While I did have a short stint at a GMAT coaching center in Chennai, in 2015, I began my GMAT preparation seriously in 2017, with Experts’ Global’s assistance. The Experts’ Global GMAT online course, with its 15 GMAT practice tests, offered me the most comprehensive study support. As a working professional with little free time on his hands, I was able to make good use of Experts’ Global’s succinct GMAT syllabus explanations to consolidate my concepts over two years. After each mock that I took, I was able to get a detailed breakdown of my performance and so understand the gaps I yet had to fill in.
Experts’ Global: What are a few suggestions that you have for future aspirants regarding their MBA application process?
Tejeshwar: I would say that there are many factors involved in a successful application, such as a good GMAT score, credible recommendations, and compelling essays, and that winning MBA applicants give their best effort to each. For aspirants with over four years of experience, you need to reflect on your journey and express the value you have gained from it for a compelling MBA application.
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your MBA experience?
Tejeshwar: My MBA experience has been really good! I would say that it started in January 2021, when I received an interview call from XLRI. Classes began in April of the same year, and ever since, my days have been hectic. On-campus classes resumed in September 2021, and so I was also able to leverage XLRI’s rolling placement process for one-year MBA students such as myself.
Experts’ Global: How was your interview process with the school?
Tejeshwar: It was quite the experience, I would say! I have a year’s gap in my profile after my undergrad because JSWC delayed my joining date due to economic turmoil. Explaining the gap became a particular pain point during the MBA interviews, and I often got feedback that I needed to do a better job explaining the extenuating circumstances there. With Experts’ Global’s MBA interview preparation coaching, I was able to improve well enough to ace the XLRI interview and explain my profile gap clearly.
I also learned to bring out the USPs of my work experience, such as my leadership and mentorship exposure as well as the lessons I had learned from failure, in the interviews.
Experts’ Global: Can you share your experiences and lessons while managing the application timeline?
Tejeshwar: In December 2019, I had my first viable GMAT score with which to start applying to colleges. I had then planned to take the GMAT again in May 2020 to improve my score, but the advent of COVID-19 threw a wrench into the works. I decided to apply to a few colleges with the GMAT score I had, to get an idea of how competitive my profile was. I applied to IIM A, B, and C, as well as to ISB, after which I applied to XLRI. My admissions decisions had all come through by February of 2021, and that is how my application timeline proceeded.
The MBA application process is like test cricket – one needs to be ready to play the long game. Make sure that you are genuine with all the information that goes into your application, and choose your recommenders with care, taking into account their ability to express themselves and their affinity for you. Furthermore, a good GMAT score is not the end-all and be-all of the MBA applications process, and a gripping narrative that highlights the exceptional parts of your journey is just as valuable!
Experts’ Global: What are a few common mistakes that MBA applicants should avoid?
Tejeshwar: You should definitely seek feedback on your application but not from everyone you know. Reach out to alumni from the schools you are targeting and get their inputs, talk to current MBA students, and request aid from MBA admissions consultants, but also trust your own instincts.
Do not try to manufacture information for your profile, or present an embellished picture of things. Instead of putting forth all your certifications and awards to build a grandstanding application, be genuine with the parts of yourself that you share with the MBA admissions committees.
Further, in these pandemic-affected times, you might question the value of an MBA that is held online in large part. Do not fret, because remote work and studies are the way of the world now, and you can approach your online MBA experience as a good way to get comfortable with the new work economy post-MBA.
Experts’ Global: All your suggestions are very helpful, and we are sure that they shall immensely benefit the MBA aspirants reading this. Thank you for giving us your time!
Tejeshwar: It was my pleasure, and I am always happy to help!