Feb 12, 2016

Survival of the ‘Fit’test – Fittingly Enough, It’s All about Fit

Sudershan Tirumala T’10 is Associate Director of Admissions and Regional Director of India and South East Asia. He hits the nail on the head once again with a new post on MBA Crystal Ball - this time as he tackles the ever-present, but often ambiguous issue of business school fit.

By Suds Tirumala T'10 on MBA Crystal Ball

Now that you’ve had an opportunity to internalize the message in the earlier post (Differentiating your MBA Application), it’s time to take the next step, and talk about something that’s probably given the least importance by Indian applicants when taking that decision to apply to business school. Fit.

“What does ‘fit’ mean??”
“Does it even matter?”
“It’s a bunch of balderdash!”
“I can fit anywhere – I’m a flexible guy…”

These are not random statements – I’ve been involved in conversations where applicants have posed these rhetorical questions alongside some off-the-cuff remarks. But really, what is fit? What’s all the hoopla about?

An example: Because you’re a very busy person normally, you don’t have too much time to spend in the departmental store. Let’s say you hop into the store, simply pick up clothes that you think might fit you without first trying them on. Better yet, let’s say you just bought some clothes from an e-commerce site. Until the stuff is shipped home and you try them on, you’d have no idea whether the clothes you ordered pass the “wear-worthy” test. In the event the clothes are either too tight fitting or too loose fitting, would you be comfortable going out in those clothes to a party? Or will you do whatever it takes – move your schedule around, figure out other websites, etc. – to ensure you’re ultimately the owner of great fitting clothes and not the ones you had bought earlier in tremendous hurry?

My guess is you’d do the latter. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to wear clothes you will look good in, why are you ignoring the same question when it comes to business school – the degree you’ll be wearing on you for the rest of your life?

Why aren’t you asking yourself and your near and dear ones, these questions:

“Does this school fit me well?”
“Am I a good fit for this school?”
“If everything seems to be falling in place, how do I demonstrate my fit to the admissions committee?”

The beauty of figuring out fit is, if you get the answers to the first two questions above, the last question automatically gets answered and you don’t even have to struggle to demonstrate fit! That brings us back to the question: “What’s FIT and what’s the big deal?”

At the risk of gross generalization, many applicants tend to think of business school rankings and career outcomes as proxies for fit. As long as they have a decent GMAT score, they think they’ll be able to fit anywhere, and believe they just have to get through a couple of years of MBA studies, in order to be set up with a rewarding career.

But is it really that simple? Why that extraordinary focus on the destination to the extent that you’re conveniently forgetting the journey?

Isn’t it the journey that makes the destination so much more meaningful?

Shouldn’t you be looking for a business school experience that’s truly transformative for you – in whichever facet of life – something that enables the quantum leap you’re looking for?

More on fit to come! Or if you just can't wait, check out the rest of Suds' post here