Most would say the GMAT score and not be off the mark really. But with more and more students prospecting a good MBA degree and more and more schools being able to offer a rewarding global program, the GMAT score is definitely not the only criterion for gaining entry into a business school. In fact it is now not uncommon to hear of someone with lower than a “good” score securing admission. So, when the application rounds are over, when the back-breaking effort concludes and we take stock of the statistics we are in for surprises that consistently get more and more bizarre with every passing year.
Some years ago it was pretty much certain that admission was about a check list of to- have things. The better one adhered to the list, the surer admission was. As such, the application process was simple, there was no substitute for a high GMAT score, work experience stipulations were strictly adhered to by schools while reviewing applicants and any kind of deviation from the norms of the check list and the standards set by the school was not healthy. If an applicant had everything a school required, had scripted excellent essays, but was on the low end of the GMAT score range the admissions committee very certainly rejected him.
With the passage of time both the applicants and the schools have become more inclined towards what is special and unique. Applicants turn themselves inside out in order to discover things about themselves that make a statement of their being different; schools probe into the profiles and seek what is unique and can add versatility and flavor to their ranks. The application process is no longer a routine task possible to do sans passion. From the preparation for the GMAT, to the drafting of the application essays and onward to the preparation for the interview is a story of passion. This passion does not manifest essentially in high scores alone but runs like an undercurrent through the minutest task associated with the application.
So for those wondering what one should have or do to secure an admission, the answer is, without a second thought, passion. Spend quality time deciding the time line of the application, planning the GMAT and then preparing for it; once the test scores are in hand do not obsess over them and avoid retaking the test too many times in a bid to outdo the best! Always start the applications only after you have the test score in hand because this helps you plan the schools and evaluate your chances of an admission. Get all the papers together, craft a smart resume, catch up with your recommenders and give them ample time to do justice to their role. Work smart. Do not rush off essays until and unless you have edited them well, answered what is asked and made the best statement of yourself. Remember, the Admissions Committee has only the essays to peep into your world through! Enjoy writing them and relish the opportunity. At the same time, be truthful. Do not make up stories that will be difficult to sustain at a later stage, do not overload your resume, and last but not least, even if you take professional help for the essays make sure they echo the real you.