Prospective MBA applicants are always curious to know what it takes to get an admit offer from a top school. We have seen that, initially, all applicants, even those with stellar profiles, have no idea how to present themselves to the admission committee. However, with proper planning, brainstorming, and guidance that sometimes takes several months, together, we have created applications that have earned them offers from their dream schools. MER (myEssayReview), is publishing case-studies of some of our recent successful candidates to top programs. Here is our first case study in the series.
Name: Puja (not her real name)
Age: 26 years
Academic: Associate Chartered Accountant
Institute: Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
Industry: Financial Advisory (Fraud and dispute advisory)
GMAT: 750 (Q49/V42)
Work Experience: Puja had 2.5 years of work experience. She worked at an MNC as part of the dispute and investigation advisory team, responsible for executing financial investigations. She progressed quickly in her short career and worked as an assistant manager at the time of application. She had done three years of clerkship as part of her education as a chartered accountant. She also had a few months of international experience.
Extra-Curricular Activities: She had volunteered for ‘Teach for India’ fellows for a few months and was also briefly involved with two other NGOs. Her non-work interests include standup comedy, swimming, and preparing her organization's weekly newsletter.
Career Goal: Puja aspired to head the finance function of an organization in retail/ consumer products based in Asia, where she could contribute to strategic growth and profitability.
MER Approach: To gain an in-depth understanding of her profile, we first had her fill out a questionnaire of 20 questions about her background, accomplishments, and interests. Having brainstormed all her personal and professional stories, we started working together on her application to showcase her candidacy for Tuck.
Here are some of the key highlights of our work together:
- Puja’s early background of frequently moving to different cities because of her father’s transferable job had taught her to quickly adapt to new situations that later helped her work well with small teams across varied organizations. Her adaptability aligned with the collaborative and close-knit community of Tuck. Her ability to work well with small groups made her a good fit for the small teams of 4-5 students from diverse backgrounds.
- We accentuated her ability to work independently and as a team leader in line with individual and team-based learning at Tuck that would hone her skills and augment her growth as a leader.
- Puja’s involvement in voluntary work and her passion for women’s issues was well in line with Tuck’s values. She arranged an awareness drive for HPV vaccination to reduce the chances of contracting cervical cancer. We helped her communicate her ability and desire to contribute to Tuck through clubs, especially ‘Business in Women Club.’
- We helped tie her thorough knowledge of accounting and finance and post-MBA goal of entering I-banking to Tuck’s curriculum and other resources, primarily the Finance Club.
- We guided her in selecting relevant content/stories in the essay and LORs to demonstrate her ‘fit’ with Tuck’s admission criteria (nice, aware, and accomplished).
- We also advised her to attend admission events and connect with current students and alumni to gain additional insights into the program and its culture, and share those insights in the essays.
Outcome: Puja was accepted at Tuck school of business at Dartmouth, one of her top choices.
MER’s views: Puja came across as an exceptionally hardworking, decisive, and diligent applicant. She had the skillset, commitment, focus, and temperament to be a leader. From the beginning, she was articulate about her need for management education and her post-MBA goals. She was quick in editing and reverting with revised drafts. We are delighted at her success and wish her luck for future endeavors.
Puja’s Feedback on MER Services: Poonam was excellent in understanding my profile and helped position my stories in the best possible way. She was most helpful in organizing the details and helped me envision how the structure would come along. I had tons of questions throughout the process, and she was very prompt in providing prompt and precise answers. I had a wonderful time working with her; she offered me the required guidelines, encouragement, and structure. Thank you so much, Poonam, for helping and supporting me. I'm so happy :).
You may email Poonam at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about your application for the 2020-21 admission cycle.