Jan 19, 2016

Differentiating Yourself as an (Indian) Applicant

Much of Suds’ MBA application advice is universal, but it is perhaps most applicable to those from India. After all, Sudershan Tirumala T’10 is Associate Director of Admissions, Regional Director of India and South East Asia, and a proud Tuck alumnus, so he knows a thing or two about Indian applicants! As MBA Crystal Ball puts it, his experiences have “given him rich & unique insights about international & Indian applicants that very few (admissions officers) have.” This post was originally published there – on MBA Crystal Ball – earlier this month, January 2016. Below we’ve included an excerpt, but to read the whole post (it’s worth it!) follow this link.

By Suds Tirumala T'10 on MBA Crystal Ball

During the hundreds of conversations I’ve had with MBA applicants across the length and breadth of India, a few constants have unfailingly stood out for me:

  • It’s obvious applicants want to get admitted to a brand name school. What that brand will do for them, whether it’s the right place for them, whether they will be a good fit in the program – these critical questions mostly come up by accident, if at all they do.
  • Indian applicants tend to think they’ve achieved it all, if they get a good GMAT score – which is far from the truth, by the way.
  • Consulting is, by far, the one career path Indians talk about the most. A vast majority of the applicants I’ve talked to want to be associated with consulting one way or another!

Over the next few – or however many – posts, I’ll try to debunk or reinforce the seemingly infallible logic that’s held in high esteem by the applicant community. Over time, we’ll even explore the rationale for some of these observations or maybe get into answering other questions posed by the discerning readers of this blog, but first, let’s start with the applicant story.

  • The typical MBA aspirant from India who is targeting a business school, articulates a line of thought that almost uniformly sounds somewhat like this.
  • I’ve got my degree in engineering from so and so university and I’ve been an integral part of the college “tech fest” as an organizer
  • After undergrad, I’ve been working in XYZ industry in such and such capacity and have been very involved with extracurricular activities through the company’s CSR initiatives
  • I’ve set my sights on an MBA to advance my career further in the industry I’ve been a part of
  • After the MBA, I want to get into consulting in order to be exposed to best practices that are being followed across industries and projects
  • After a few years of this kind of experience, I’ll come back to India and apply these best practices to make a difference in the country and to the sector of my interest
  • And I want to make it all happen through this MBA program because of its strong alumni network, collaborative community, learning in the classroom as well as experiential learning – the works. You can basically plug and play any MBA program in the world and hope to sound somewhat authentic.

Does the above story sound familiar?

So, how do YOU differentiate YOURSELF and show us the unique person YOU are? Keep reading at MBA Crystal Ball.