Posted on October 5, 2011

How Can IT Applicants Distinguish Themselves In Their MBA Application Essays?

One concern that Indian IT applicants have is that with 40,000+ Indians applying to B-schools, they (applicants) will have a hard time distinguishing their profile and projecting their worthiness to top MBA programs. They could not be more wrong.

It’s true that most Indian B-school applicants have an engineering degree, an excellent GPA, a decent GMAT score, 4+ years of international work experience, and overall an excellent analytical background. However, that is where the similarities stop.

When evaluating potential candidates, analytical skills are just one aspect that B-schools look for. In addition to analytical skills, Ad. Com looks for leadership, management, and problem-solving skills. They also prefer candidates who have shown initiative and involvement in work-related and non-work activities. Even though all IT applicants may be similar in their analytical skills, they greatly vary from one another in other areas like leadership skills, etc. Out of the many applicants that I have worked with, I have not found any two applicants with a similar set of experiences in the areas of leadership, management, and problem-solving.

This then begs the question. How can IT applicants distinguish their applications? Below is a list of scenarios through which IT applicants can make their essays stand out.

1. A difficult situation when you a faced a dilemma and had to make a difficult choice. Describe what your thought- process was at that time and how you arrived at the decision. For example, while working on your recent project, you may have had a difficult time with your teammates or superiors that gave you jitters and made you make a difficult choice.

2. An experience/ situation that expected you to change your existing method of functioning to develop new ones. For example, an IT professional with work experience as a manager in an Indian company may find himself changing his managerial methods when working with his team in a company in a Middle East city because cultural and religious differences requires him to do so. It is the thought process that he goes through and the resulting transformation which sets him apart from other applicants.

3. An experience that revealed to you that part of your personality you were not aware of. For example, you might have never known that you could address a huge gathering of professionals, but an opportunity opened up and you were surprised at your oratorical skills and your ability to influence people which finally led to incredible outcomes.

4. An experience that brought forward the need for an MBA degree. You may describe an incident in which you succeeded because you relied on your management skills and decided to go for a management degree. For example, you may have worked on a project with a team of highly experienced professionals and realized that you need an MBA degree to sharpen your management skills that are essential to rise to the highest position in your company. Also, do not forget to articulate your reason for an MBA degree - is it for enhancement of skills, for a career change, or for starting your own business? In the above-mentioned case, the purpose is the enhancement of skills.

5. Describe out-of-work experiences that show initiative, interpersonal skills, and organizational ability. For example, if you demonstrate your passion for any kind of sports (tennis, badminton, cricket, baseball) or fine arts (music, dance or drawing) and specify what you will gain and how you will contribute to their clubs, organizations etc, you will come out as a well- rounded person rather than a person who believes in spending all his time behind computer screen solving technical problems. This is why some schools (Manchester Business School, Duke University) have included a question about non–work activities e.g. hobbies, sports, and social activities.

Thus, it is evident even though there are thousands of  IT applicants with almost the same profile i.e. same GPA, GMAT score, and work experience, but what distinguishes them from one another is their ability to think and their way of dealing with a particular situation in the past. This is where admission essays come to your help; they provide you an opportunity, a platform where you can substantiate your uniqueness through your real-life experiences demonstrating how you thought and worked through those situations. Your essays can be testimonials to the fact that no two IT applicants are the same.

At myessayreview, I work with applicants and list out their achievements along these lines. To get your profile evaluated, send your resume with a list of schools that you are interested to apply to Also, include your GMAT score and your GPA.

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.