Tthe Admission Process


The admissions process to a b-school is handled by the admissions committee. The committee consists of faculty members from a given programme and its composition varies with each school. A senior professor usually heads the chair of this committee. This article deals in detail with the individual factors that are configured into the admissions process. The factors determining the admission decision of B schools are as follows.


“What is a good GMAT score?” Well, a good GMAT score is 800. There are colleges where you might not get admission even after getting an 800 if the rest of your profile is weak. And, there are colleges where you can get admission with average GMAT scores if the rest of your profile is strong. Afterall, it is just one of the parameters for admission. On your part, you can get the maximum weightage for the GMAT score by getting as close to 800 as possible.

In the maths section, top schools expect a score of about 47-48 from Indian students, and in the verbal section, they expect a score of 34-36 from Indian students. This is because Indians get very high scores in the Maths section. Also, the average GMAT scores of Indian test takers are higher than the average scores. So, if in a university website, it is given that the average GMAT score is 650, the average of the Indian applicants will be something like 700-710. Remember- when you are applying to B schools outside India, your initial applicant pool will be the Indian applicants of your industry – your application will be assessed with reference to other Indian applicants from your industry.

Universities give preference to students who have balanced sectional scores. So, try to do equally good in all the 3 sections.


While assessing your academic record, B schools take into account:

• The college from where you have done your Bachelors degree

• The Bachelors degree course that you have completed

• Your performance with reference to the usual standards of your university

• Your rank in the class

Consistent academic performance works in your favor, rather than very highs and very lows. They want to see a consistent performer who is motivated throughout.


Work experience is evaluated by looking at 2 aspects:

 1. Quantity of work experience:

– Some B schools like ISB, IIM – PGPX programs, etc. have cut offs. In that case, you have to have the required number of years of work experience.

– Most European MBAs are for 12-15 months. So, they prefer people with work experience.

Good European B schools would like to see 4-5 years of work experience.

Asian and Australian B schools like students to have 2-3 years of work experience – but there is no cut off.

US and Canada are very flexible in terms of quantity of work experience. Their main focus is quality. Usually, one should have 2-3 years of work experience to get into a top 20 US or Canadian B school. However, we have had students who have got into even Stanford with 10 months of work experience – Quality of work experience matters a lot.

2. Quality of work experience:

– The diversity of the industry from where you come matters a lot. That’s why a doctor or a fashion designer will probably get admission in a particular school with a lesser GMAT score as compared to an IT applicant.

– Career graph with respect t your peer group is very important.

– A lot of weightage is given to your leadership experiences during your professional career.


What is the one common quality of all good managers across industries? – IT IS THE ABILITY TO


 Universities use your involvement in extra curricular activities (ECAs) as an indication of you ability to multi-task. This shows overall development and ability to succeed in different activities.

It shows your varied interests. Examples of ECA are sports, music or social work. Community service is appreciated by business schools because it shows that you are a person who wants to give something back to society and also, you have had a different experience while doing this work.

However, one should never fake ECAs.


Business schools want to know the person behind the numbers, transcripts and certificates. They also want to know your motivations for undertaking higher education. Also, they focus on your essays because they want to see a qualitative assessment of two very important criteria that are reflected by your application in entirety, but specifically by your personals. These are Distinctiveness and Diversity.


Admissions committees especially at the top business schools receive applications that are very strong on all three aspects of the application pie. They then want to consider distinctive applications.

Distinctiveness is something valuable which you bring across to the field of study, the batch and future alumni of the b-school.

Distinctiveness may be:

• An achievement during university or your working career

• An unusual set of skills

• A unique field of interest or career goal

• A personal quality like leadership, or brilliance or compassion (eg through social work)

• A personal experience (eg an obstacle overcome)

Hence distinctiveness is anything that makes admissions committees remember your file after having been through hundreds.


Business schools recruit students from diverse backgrounds. Diversity may:

• Geographic or cultural

• Ethnic or racial

• Gender based

• Personality or personal traits

• Academic or work background

Business schools want a diverse classroom because different kinds of people have different ways of

dealing with same problems. This provides a broad and stimulating experience for all the students.


These help the admission committee get a third party opinion about the applicant. Hence, they are very important. Most B schools require 2 letters of recommendation. However, nowadays, a few of the schools have started asking for three. The choice of recommenders is extremely crucial. One should choose the recommenders in such a way that they can comment on different aspects of his personality.


This is the final stage of the admission process. After the initial application process, shortlisted candidates are interviewed to assess their communication skills, maturity level and clarity of thought regarding their career goals and decision to pursue the MBA. Once you submit an application to a B-School, most Top B-Schools continue their quest to find the “Perfect” Candidate through a Personal Interview; generally Interview is an elimination stage and most often the final stage in the application process, hence making it extremely important for applicants.

 The preparation for the steps of the entire admission process needs to start 8-10 months prior to the start of the MBA semester. So, for people targeting the Fall 2012 intake of various B schools, this is the right time to start building your profile.

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