Posted on April 25, 2018

Indian Engineer- Harvard and Stanford admission: Mansi’s journey to top 5 MBA programs – Part 2


Mansi was accepted into 5 top MBA programs– Kellogg, Wharton, INSEAD, Stanford, and Harvard. Mansi is headed to her dream school, Harvard.

Mansi’s interview will be published in 4 parts wherein she will share her background, goals, reasons to pursue MBA, unwavering preference for HBS, application strategy and preparation, advice on video essays, and much more.

In Part 1- Mansi talks about:

  • Her Background
  • Goals
  • Reasons to do MBA 
  • Her Preference for HBS

In this Part 2, Mansi talks about

  •  Her Application Strategy
  •  Planning
  •  Preparation

PoonamMansi, you started preparing for your application pretty early in the game. I remember you reached out to me in July 2017. We started working in July and we wrapped up all the applications by December end. Can you share your application strategy, your planning, and preparation with the prospective applicants?

Mansi: Yes Poonam, as you rightly said, I started preparing for GMAT in March, and I took my GMAT in June.  And then I took a couple of weeks to decide about the schools, which schools should I apply to in Round I, which schools in Round II, and then, of course, come down to my Consultant.  The first part of my strategy was doing away with GMAT and get a score that I would not have to think about the second attempt. I gave my best and earned a good score.

Poonam: You got a stellar GMAT score. Can you please tell the viewers your GMAT score?

Mansi: Sure. I scored 770. I was expecting somewhere around 740, 750. I think by the last week of preparation, I brought it up to 770. I then kept it aside and didn’t have second thoughts about retaking it. After GMAT, the second part of the strategy was actually to decide the consultant. I knew that I wanted one.  And to be honest, Poonam, I will not be just praising you blindly, but it was a tough decision. I had talked to five-six consultants, and by the time I reached out to you, I was totally disheartened, as all the consultants I had talked to were very discouraging. I am not sure what their strategy was, but they were extremely discouraging.

What I really liked about you was when I told you about my experience; you were very supportive and encouraging.  You encouraged me to apply to all the top schools including my dream school Harvard. So I think that choosing the right consultant is very important. As for me, I like to have positive encouraging people around me, I cannot function well when people around me try to pull me down and vice versa. So the second part of the strategy was choosing the right consultant. You have given me enough time and you have gone beyond your comfort zone, holidays, during your travel, and being in different time zone, you were always extremely supportive and positive. And then the third thing was finalizing target schools and dividing them between Round I and Round II.  Though I started early, still, I had just two months for Round I, July and August, Harvard deadline was early September, was really keen on applying to Harvard in Round I, but I remember you advised me to apply to Harvard in Round II.  To be honest, that was the best suggestion from you to date. Even now I am sure that had I applied to Harvard in Round I, I could not have made it. I was very eager and very ambitious. At that time, I was really pissed off at your suggestion.

Poonam: I know you did not like my suggestion at that time.

Mansi: Yes. honestly, I was pissed off, but now I just can’t thank you enough for that advice. It gave me extra time to work on the stories, have that confidence in myself, think about goals and where I want to be.  I think that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I wanted to apply to Harvard, INSEAD, Stanford, Wharton, and Kellogg. And the essays of Harvard and Stanford are tougher than other schools’ essays in the sense that they are not direct. They do not ask why HBS, or why Stanford; they really ask about you. So I moved these schools to Round II. Also, INSEAD’s application is very long. In no way, it could have been done in a month or two months. So I moved INSEAD also to Round II and applied to only Wharton and Kellogg in Round I.  I remember that by the end of the entire application process, we even discussed that the way we structured and distributed the schools did really made good sense for us to have enough time for each of the schools. So the third part of the strategy was to distribute schools in different rounds to have enough time for preparing each of the applications.

Poonam: Absolutely.

Stay tuned to Mansi’s interview Part 3 wherein she shares the most challenging part of the long admission process, and how she overcame the challenge.

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

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