Here is an example of strategy for an application with two major weak areas – high age and extremely low GPA. GMAT was above the median, but not too high.
You’ve an MBA degree and have worked for 4 years now, but you aren’t satisfied with your career- either you didn’t get the right opportunities post-first-MBA or, after few years, you found that this industry isn’t your true calling.
It’s now or never, and the best option that comes to your mind is doing a second MBA, preferably from U.S. or Europe.
But unfortunately, many international MBA programs don’t accept applicants who already have an MBA. Some accept with riders. And some unconditionally. But even those who accept, want to know why you are pursuing a second MBA, after all it’s not common. That way, they’ve raised the bar higher for you. Made an already competitive process, even tougher.
But it can be negotiated if you focus on the right reasons for pursuing a second MBA.
Does the quality of English in your essays matter?
That’s no-brainer. It does. Higher the quality, the better it is. After all it’s reflective of your communication skills.
But how accommodative are admission committees of your sub-par English – rule-based things (grammar, punctuation, and spelling) as well as style (structure, transition, variation in sentences, and so on).
Before getting into it, let’s first see some of the examples (source: Harbus Essay Guide, a compilation of essays of 16 students admitted to class of 2017 at HBS) where admits to HBS deviated from the canons of good English (comments in brackets):
You’re working on essays of your target MBA programs for the last three weeks, often struggling for good, punchy lines. Sometimes, you face blank laptop screen, when you can barely write two sentences in thirty minutes. You struggle for words, impactful lines, and, sometimes, even ideas.
Then you come across a sample essay on the internet which has stuff similar to what you want to write. It has great, articulate lines too, and you think your essays will get a touch of class if you use a sentence or two from this essay.
Or it could be just a sentence or two from the school’s website itself.
You commit nearly $200,000 (not counting opportunity cost) for a two-year MBA program. Imagine, you struggle to land a job of choice after this investment!
Although this can happen to anyone, the chances of international students facing this is generally higher (relative to those with work authorization) at most schools, including the top ones.
If you’re an international applicant (to MBA programs), then you may not have to necessarily write TOEFL or similar tests such as IELTS or PTE, measuring your fluency in English. Instructions by schools regarding who needs to write and who doesn’t are quite clear in most cases, but most instructions aren’t very clear on what evidence they want to see if you had English as the medium of instruction.
For every Roger Federer, there are tens of thousands of tennis players whose games and faces go unrecognized. They don’t get talked about.
For MBA admissions too, tales of glories receive the most eyeballs on GMAT Club and BEAT the GMAT forums, relegating stories of outright disappointment (all dings) and underperformance (admission to not-so-stellar schools) to quick obscurity.
These stories of disappointment get some exposure, but what escapes our attention is that many of these applicants had the potential to avoid an all-ding scenario or get into a better school.
Haas School of Business doesn’t admit 80+ percent of applicants with 750+ GMAT score.
Proficiency (or lack of it) of your recommender in written English has little impact on how adcom evaluates your recommendation. After all, they are not judging your recommender’s communication skills.
As far as recommendations are concerned, adcoms primarily focus on content.
Probably, the best insights in this regard come from Stanford GSB. In response to the following two questions, they say:
If you are a non-traditional applicant to MBA programs, you’re an attractive bet to B-schools, on the first glance at least. However, when they dig deep into your profile, they may have some concerns, which aren’t uncommon among non-traditional applicants.
If you take proactive steps to allay these concerns, you can be – even to your surprise – a strong applicant.