MBA Podcaster has teamed up with The MBA Tour to bring you a special series of shows for international MBA applicants thinking of attending U.S. business schools. Each show focuses on the special considerations that applicants from various teritories should consider when applying to U.S. business schools. In this episode we tackle special considerations for Indian MBA applicants.
Meredith Siegel, Senior Associate Director, The MBA Tour
Support for MBA Podcaster comes from The MBA Tour. The MBA Tour has been a catalyst for thousands of careers around the world since it’s establishment in 1993. A host for conferences designed to introduce working professionals to their future business school programs, The MBA Tour offers business school candidates the tools necessary to familiarize themselves with school programs, meet admissions Directors, and explore opportunities to gain an advantage in the application process. Register free online!
Janet Nakano: I’m Janet Nakano from MBA Podcaster and I’m here with Meredith Siegel, Senior Associate Director of the MBA Tour, an organization that connects business school applicants with quality MBA schools around the world. Each year, 15% of all GMAT test takers are from Asia and out of that 15%, 9% are from India. Just this past year, the number of Indians taking the GMAT exam has risen 19% according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council. It’s a competitive landscape with top students vying for limited spots at prestigious business schools.
Meredith will be speaking with us to give us advice and recommendations for applicants from India looking to apply to top US and European business schools. We also have specialized podcasts for applicants from Asia, Latin America, and Canada on our website, mbapodcaster.com/mbatour.
So Meredith, your organization has been helping international students connect with the right business school since 1993. You’ve seen countless Indian candidates applying to top business schools, what advice can you offer these students on how to pick the right school for them and stand out amongst their fellow applicants?
Meredith Siegel, Senior Associate Director; MBA Tour: One of the things that is very common among Indian applicants is that they typically want to go to business school right after they’ve completed their undergraduate degree. And the difference between Indian schooling system and a western system is that the Indian business degree is very theoretical and the western system is very practical whether you’re talking about Europe or the US or Canada. So to distinguish him or herself, the Indian applicant will want to have professional work experience and that might be in something entrepreneurial or within the family, it may be within something governmental or it may be within something in industry. The Indian applicant doesn’t necessarily have to have a top job at a multinational company, but they do have to get some very practical working experiences in a company or an organization, government or private that will help them to understand where business theory actually meets business practice. So that is one way that I would recommend right away that an Indian student could distinguish him or herself from among his or her peers.
Another factor that an Indian applicant should keep in mind is that western business schools are not only looking for test results. In India, the system is very focused on testing results and testing results determine your placement in school and whatever, and that’s not so much how admissions works in western business schools. Test results are important for example on the GMAT or the TOEFL, but they are only one part of the application. Equally as important would be that work experience, would be their performance in their undergraduate studies and would also be their leadership. So, any involvement that they have in extracurricular activities, any volunteer work that they do or, you know, any constructive way that they spend their time outside of their working hours will be something that will help set them apart from their peers. And better yet or better still, if they can talk about how those activities have helped to make them a better professional and a better MBA student, that is really important in the MBA application process.
Janet Nakano: I hear that Indian applicants tend have similar work experience and in those cases where they do have similar work histories, what would you suggest they do to differentiate themselves from others?
Meredith Siegel, Senior Associate Director, MBA Tour: There are a lot of MBA applicants in general who have similar experience and particularly in India we would say that the best way to differentiate yourself as a candidate would be to talk about the ways in which you took on leadership in your position. So did you manage a team or a group, did you head up a project, if you were not the lead but just a member of a group, what ways in which did you contribute to the project’s success, to the success of the project. It is not as important to an admissions committee that a student would worry about the fact that he or she and 10 members of his company are applying for business school because many people have many similar roles when they apply to business school. The important thing is to really focus on not just the title you held but what you did in that role to make you really valuable to your company.
Janet Nakano: And when will the MBA Tour be in India and what are the highlights of that tour?
Meredith Siegel, Senior Associate Director, MBA Tour: The MBA tour will be in India the last week in September. We’ll be in New Delhi on September 25th, Bangalore on September 27th and Mumbai on September 30th. And I think that the highlights of our trip to India this fall will include the panels and workshops that we’ll be offering to prospective MBA students to give them additional opportunities to work very closely with admissions directors on understanding the application process and understanding how to be successful in the MBA admissions process and also the MBA classroom. It will also be an opportunity to get to know the differences between business schools in Europe and business schools in Canada and business schools in the US because we will be represented by actually business schools around the globe and we’ll also have some Asian, Korean, and Chinese business schools with us in India. So, prospective MBA candidates can really get the full gamut of the different kinds of opportunities that are available to them.
Janet Nakano: That was Meredith Siegel, the MBA Tour Senior Associate Director. If you’re interested in attending one of their international recruiting events and want more information, visit thembatour.com. You can also visit our website, mbapodcaster.com/mbatour to hear more specialized podcasts for applicants from Asia, Latin America, and Canada. I’m Janet Nakano for MBA Podcaster, thanks for listening.