India to Wharton - The Journey of a Lifetime
Grandeur, mystery, pomp, glory, and legacy- getting into an M7 school is nothing short of a magical journey! Dare we compare it to the feeling of getting into Hogwarts? No, not really! Unlike magicians at Hogwarts, even a muggle can get into their dream school with sheer consistency and dedication.
To understand what exactly drives one’s application to be successful, we sat down with Sakshi Jain, a Wharton MBA student, to decode her journey of a lifetime! Read on to know the spells, skills, and strategies she used to ace her application journey.
Graduating from IIT-BHU in 2012, I worked with various organizations such as Evalueserve, Google, and Careem. I recently resigned from Careem as a growth manager. Overall, I have eight years of technical and analytical experience.
Even though I was on a great trajectory at my current job, I yearned for a shift in my career. I had two options: to either start at the very beginning in a different function or to pursue an MBA that’d help me jumpstart my new career. I realized that neither my current peer network nor my profile would help me make the transition; therefore, an MBA was the most logical next step in my professional journey.
One of the most significant aspects of the application is the GMAT. I initially took an official mock test to gauge the amount of preparation I’d require. After assessing my weak areas, I made a structured plan keeping the deadlines in mind. Having a clear timeline helped me stay calm and efficient. I consistently solved at least a few questions from both quants and verbal sections every day. GMAT is not about quantity but quality! So, instead of solving numerous questions blindly, I spent time assessing my mistakes and making a note of the same. I revisited every exam after 2 weeks to ensure my mistakes weren’t repeated. My mantra to ace the GMAT was simple - be consistent and assess/re-assess your mistakes!
When it came to choosing the schools, I realized it was a very personally-driven decision. It’s important to consider not only your fit but also your expectations from the MBA experience. With 8 years of work experience in my pocket, I wanted to pursue an MBA mainly for the network and global exposure. I targeted the M7 schools and shortlisted my top choices based on ROI, academic opportunities, networking opportunities, and finally the rankings.
With my school list ready, I began working on the applications. One of the most important steps of the entire process that I found was to dig deep and understand my journey thus far: understanding my USP. I reflected on my journey deeply, maintaining a detailed document summarizing all my life-experiences. This pre-work took me almost a month, simply going over my experiences and identifying my own story, and served as the holy grail for all my school applications. Once I was ready, each school application took around a week to complete. This process of working proved to be extremely efficient and helped me provide a holistic view of my candidature to the AdCom.
I have two pieces of advice for anyone fretting over essays. First, go on to the school’s website and spend time to understand what the school values in a candidate. Second, reach out to the alums. Ask them about the school culture, programs offered, networking opportunities, and all the important questions to get a deeper perspective. It is essential to obtain first-hand information to bring in a holistic and convincing approach to your candidacy.