An Ideal PGPB candidate & approaching the 2018 Admission Process….

Posted on 11th November 2017

A PGPB candidate asked an Admissions Officer as to what he was looking for in a candidate?

The Admissions Officer replied promptly that he was looking for a well-rounded candidate.

I am sure almost all of you have heard this phrase while at different admissions interviews. Sounds easy to understand, but what does this phrase really mean?

Does it mean someone with well-balanced soft and technical skills? Sounds about right but still not clear enough.

I’d like to elaborate this further so that you will have a better understanding of who is an ideal candidate for any MBA or PGPB program.

One should be a person who is committed to life-long learning. Having an undergraduate degree; while does open some doors, does not necessarily set you apart anymore. The job market is very competitive and employers look for candidates who have furthered their intellectual skills.

Having a strong undergraduate GPA and a competitive GMAT / GRE or CAT score are very good indicators of one’s academic performance. However, if he / she have a master’s degree or a designation in any field, any Admissions Committee will definitely pay attention to the extra schooling they have undertaken. Of course, needless to mention the fact that if the candidate is planning on quitting his / her job and taking admission for a MBA or a PGPB program will also show his / her commitment to learning but pre-MBA schooling will help them distinguish themselves in the competition.

Every Admissions Committee looks for a diverse experience. They look for candidates who demonstrated leadership potential / skills in their work. It could be their professional experience or community involvement. Having strong community involvement is very important especially if this experience is in a field that is meaningful to the candidate. All of these will also count for the candidates technical skills.

Every top business school will look for strong technical skills. Submitting a thorough resume and well-written essays along with a good GPA and GMAT / GRE or CAT scores help any candidate make that great first impression he / she need in order to be invited for an admissions interview. During the interview, they would be required to supplement their technical skills with their people skills.

Some of the Top B-Schools have special Entrance Exam similar to CAT or GRE to facilitate students who have not appeared for any competitive exams like GRE / GMAT or CAT. A Top B-School also looks for candidates with strong soft skills. “Soft skills” is another broad term. It encompasses strong leadership potential, communication and interpersonal skills. While having strong skills in all of these areas is an asset, let’s not forget self-management skills. Being able to manage others is a great skill but being able to identify areas for self- development is also equally important. Always remember that there is always room for improvement. One can be as accomplished as he / she can be but he / she will always need to work hard to keep up with the changes and progress further. Pursuing an MBA or a PGPB Program is a great step to identify and work on opportunities for growth. If a candidate has already identified some areas for improvement and if he / she is targeting the business schools that can provide them with the right resources to strengthen these areas, any Admissions Committee will be very impressed.

Nearing the end of the blog post, I’ve come to realize that describing the ideal candidate is not an easy task at all but I hope I was able to give you an idea of one’s perception of the ideal candidate at a top B-School.

Lastly, I wanted to provide New MBA / PGPB aspirants with 3 tips on how to approach the 2013 admissions cycle at any reputed Institute:
1. When possible, beat the rush, submit a week or two prior to the deadline. This ensures that the admission committee begins working on your application before the wave of applications that come in right at the deadline so it will be likely that you will hear back with respect to next steps in the process (i.e. an interview invitation) even quicker.

2. Apply as early as possible since both scholarships and seats in any Program are awarded to the best candidates throughout each Round. Normally there are no allocations of seats that must be filled at each round! The B-Schools simply make offers to the best candidates who apply throughout the admissions cycle.

3. Plan ahead. Most candidates underestimate how much time it will take to complete the different components of the admissions cycle (which is precisely one of the reasons that most B-Schools have multiple deadline dates.) Identify which Round you want to apply for, and plan the key milestones you need to coordinate to hit that deadline (i.e. the GMAT / GRE / CAT, ordering transcripts, writing essays, and selecting referees). Stays tuned for my next blog post,

Have a great day ahead… - Ashish Shah