B-school preliminary shortlist

Gmat Done. Yes, a long time ago now. Now, if I look back 730 is not a bad score. The thumb rule, I have learnt, is that your GMAT score should be above the average of the schools where you are applying. And 730 is above average to all the schools I am applying to. No worries.

Now the next step was to shortlist the schools. Last week, I had been so busy that I did not get time to research schools at all. So the weekend was deicated to prepare a preliminary list, at least. Well, at first I shortlisted around 14 schools. That is a big number and I guess impractical too. So I understood I had a lot of work to do.

My situation

It is a do or die situation for me. I am 28 and it is just the right age for me to do an MBA. I am at such a juncture in my career that if I do an MBA right now, it would be ideal. I do like my job, rather the industry I am in. I want to rise in high-tech industry but not in the job function I am in, that is engineering. So the more I stay here, the more stagnant I will become since I do not aspire to grow in this function. An MBA right now just seems right.

Where do I want to be

I would definitely like to work in the US for some time. In addition, the exposure you get in US is not comparable to any school in India. From family or stability perspective, staying in India is logical, but I want to think long term. My family, wife are understanding, so I can afford to move to US for some time. Now coming to the job function. I have made a tentative plan of where I want to be. Keeping this factor in mind, I prepared my tentative list.

I want the best

Now coming to the shortlisting.

Outside of US:

Duke - Fuqua
UCLA - Anderson
UCB - Haas
CMU - Tepper
Emory - Goizueta
Michigan - Ross

Now that is a big list I know. And I have less time, considering I am in the office for 10 hours every weekday.

My thought process

I think I'll start writing the most common and long essays first. The benefit will be I will just have to tweak the common essays (like career goals) for every application and reduce my efforts. Based on my progress, I'll see which schools I can eliminate. I also have to divide the schools into R1 and R2. I guess 50% distribution would be just fine, keeping at least one top 10 in R1 and one in R2. As the application progresses, your writing improves, you think of stronger points and you will know how to write better, and impactfully.

Now let's see. I want to ask my readers. What is your shortlisting strategy? Am I going wrong somewhere?


Anonymous said...

Hey man, thanks again for the tips on prepare the GMAT. I received some books and I'm getting started this weekend.

Back to your post: I will only point things I have questions about. I saw your list, and the way I like to think about things is backwards. Where do you want to be after your MBA (what field) and how do those programs help you? What rankings or other parameters did you take in account to make up that list? Is a shorter list comming up, if so why? What system are you applying to choose them: Let me explain, personally I would have a tier system (2 programs in top 5, 2 in top 10 etc..) though I am currently choosing to only apply to top 5 (loosely) programs with 1 program top 10. Why not go for the programs often ranked as the best of the breed (Stanford, Harvard, Wharton...)

Thats a lot of questions I know, but I'm just curious. By the way when you look at your potential applications (what you can say in essays + GMAT + academic & professional experiences + "delta") are you satisfied?


Starwalker said...

hey teacher.

wow! thank god i'm not the oe applying to all those places! I think there are (inevitably, i guess) some overlaps between our lists, and i have a similar number of schools, but i have 3 iim's (why no iim?)

so where are you interms of essays? have some generic ones going?

The Teacher said...


Thanks for the kind words. and all the best for your GMAT!!!

Well, I agree with your strategy and to arrive at a list of schools is broadly based on your aspirations, your background and of course, "fit". I do plan to answer those questions on one of my weekend posts. That will help me answer the questions to myself and will give my thoughts a structure.

Thanks again.. Do keep posted on your progress too.


Sir, :) I'm sure there will be a lot of overlap with many applicants, considering a lot of us (Indians) apply and all tend to aim high.

IIMs usually prefer people with more work-ex (the 1 year programs). I have 5 years of work-ex now. Of the 3 IIMs, only IIM offers me the post-MBA options of my preference. But IIMA-PGPX are crazy after high GMAT scores and more work-ex. So I ruled out that option. I'll spend my energy on other apps.

Well, in terms of essays, I have just started with the generic job description and career goals essay. I know I'm going slow. I feel if there was a procrastination competition, I'll be the winner. ;). But I'm pushing myself hard. If not this year, then it'll not be.

Ashwanth said...

Hey dude...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I was wondering where I had seen 'the teacher' before and then I remembered reading ur blog a coupla months ago. You have an awesome blog going on here! In fact, I should attribute, to some extent, my decision to apply to ISB in R1 to ur blog :-)

I'd like to keep in touch with you, especially considering that we might just land in the same class at a B-school :-).


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I write about Graduate School Admission in U.S., Job opportunities for students, University Selection based on my personal experience.
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U.S. University Selection

Job Search Guide for Students – Using LinkedIn

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