Posted on April 9, 2020

Case Study #3: How a Re-applicant Got into 5 Good MBA Programs With Scholarships


Although every applicant has specific concerns about their chances of admission to the top business schools, their apprehensions multiply manifold when they have already faced rejection once. Nitish's application got rejected by Rice and ISB last year, but this neither dampened his spirit nor deterred him from applying the following year again. MER worked with Nithish on 4 schools and helped him in creating an application that helped him fulfill his dream of securing a place in five top 30 business schools, three with generous scholarships. Nithish decided to attend Rice Jones business school, which offered him a 75% scholarship.

And now presenting Nithish:

Name: Nithish

Age: 27

Country: India

Academic: Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering

Institute: National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli

Industry: Oil and gas

GMAT: 740

Work Experience: 5 years

With a degree in Chemical Engineering, Nithish started his career as a Graduate Trainee at an oil and gas service provider. He worked his way up and was promoted to Process Design Engineer after three years. As a Process Engineer, he worked on Sohar Refinery Improvement Project, a 2.3 billion USD project in Oman. Working on this fast-track project, he faced numerous challenges and saved millions of dollars for both his client and the company. With five years of experience in the energy industry and the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) business, he gained both technical knowledge and an understanding of project execution.

Extra-Curricular Activities

In college, Nithish volunteered for CRY, an NGO that works to protect the rights of underprivileged children. He provided financial help to ten mentally challenged children to support their good education and vocational training. Nithish loves to undertake treks to mountains and indulges in adventure sports such as Kayaking and rappelling; he plays football and loves to solve puzzles.

Career Goal

Nithish felt that his career had hit a plateau, and he needed training in business and leadership to assume the role of a manager in the growing energy sector. Nithish's post-MBA goal was to work with one of the leading organizations in the energy sector for infrastructure development, including new oil and gas plants, refineries, and pipelines to meet the world's growing energy demand. He was keen to make a difference in the energy sector and believed affordable energy is essential to our society.

MER'S Approach

To gain an in-depth understanding of his profile, we first administered a questionnaire of 20 questions about his background, values, professional career, accomplishments, leadership stories, career goals, extra-curricular activities, and interests. After scrutinizing all his personal and professional stories, we started working together on his application to showcase his candidacy for his four target business schools - Rice, UNC, McCombs, and Mays.

Some of the key highlights of our work together are:

1. We first evaluated the reasons for his unsuccessful application last year, and to present a holistic picture of his personal and professional attributes that would distinguish him from other applicants, we devised a strategy to create an application that highlighted his key strengths- work accomplishments, volunteer work, international experience.

2. For Nithish, the most challenging part of the application was the essays. Being an Engineer, he found it challenging to weave his thoughts into words when asked about his career goals and other experiences. We helped him in selecting stories, fill the gaps in his stories, organize details, and position them effectively in the essays.

3. We guided him in presenting his candidacy to demonstrate his 'fit' with the admission criteria of respective schools.

4. We also advised him 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. We also provided recommendation letter guidance so he could guide his recommenders about the format, process, and requirements of LORs.

5. We constructed a reapplicant essay to highlight his accomplishments in the seven months between his last application in Round 3 in the previous application cycle and his present application in Round 1. Some of the high points were - the commissioning of the 3 billion project on which he was working for 3.5 years, the new project for which he was leading a team of four and the leadership roles he took outside of work (organizing trekking expeditions, adventure camps, and football matches).

6. Lastly, Nithish was working 7 days a week in those months, so he was going through tremendous stress because of work pressure and application prep. We worked as per his schedule instead of our stipulated turnaround, sent him constant reminders of deadlines, and provided him with the moral support he needed at that time.


Nithish received admit offers from Rice, Mays, UNC Kenan Flagler, Kelley, and ISB. Kelley offered a $30,000 scholarship and allowed him to work within the campus. MAYs offered him a $15,000 scholarship and in-state tuition, which also became a $30,000 scholarship. Rice specially offered him a 75% scholarship. Nithish had targeted schools in and around Texas since he wanted to work in Houston in one of the major oil companies. Therefore, Rice and Mays were at the top of his list. Nithish finally selected Rice for its ranking in the top ten schools in entrepreneurship, excellent career prospects, and strong alumni network.

MER's Views

MER was delighted to work with a hard-working and accomplished professional like Nithish. He came across as a person with strong technical knowledge and a positive frame of mind. His 'never say die' spirit impressed us. His positivity, focus, diligence, and perseverance to realize his dreams despite all odds bore fruits and won him seats in 5 good business schools, 3 with scholarships. MER revels in his success and congratulates Nithish on this stupendous success. We wish him good luck in his future endeavors!

In a video interview with MER, Nithish shares his story of determination and strong will and the resulting success.

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped hundreds of applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Free Resources

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10 Key Essay Tips with Examples

All Essay Analysis at One Place- 2019-20

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