We are primarily looking at the following attributes in prospective applicants:
1. Consistent academic record
2. Clarity of thought in terms of career aspirations and goals
3. People who have demonstrated attributes of leadership.
Consistent academic record is a good indicator of the applicants ability to take up the rigor of the programme. And to this effect, we look at the school 12th scores, graduation grades and the GMAT scores. For those who are worried about a not so good academic record, I have only one piece of advice – do well in your GMAT. The school and undergraduate performances are in the past and cannot be changed however what can be changed is the GMAT score. Each applicant should make an assessment of his/her academic performance in relation to that of other applicants ( an applicant may not know who else is applying but certainly knows what his/her position in their respective graduating class was). If one is in the top half of the class an average to above average GMAT score would be good to have but for a person in the bottom half of the class a well above average GMAT score would be desirable.
Career aspirations and goals: The essential question here is why does the applicant want to do a programme in management. We do look at clarity of thought and purpose in the applicant. We are looking at answers to questions like – where do you see yourself in say 3 years time, why is management education important to achieve the goals you have set yourself, can your current career path lead you to your goals even without management education etc. We certainly are not expecting answers like “I see myself at XXX position in YYY company in the next 5 years time” Such assertion are difficult to make and we do not expect such statements.
Leadership attributes: Our applicant pool can be broadly divided into two categories
1. Who have had sufficient work experience to have had the opportunity to lead people
2. Those who have not yet had the formal role of leading people. How then do we evaluate leadership in these two categories. The first is relatively simple – the role a person does has ample scope to demonstrate the impact of the leadership skills and that should be presented appropriately in the application. It is a lot more difficult for the second category. However all good leaders do have certain traits in common and these can be presented in the application. Leaders take initiative/ look for improved ways of doing things/are creative/encourage team work/are decisive etc. I have listed out only a few of the traits that can be demonstrated without actually having to lead a set of subordinates. Applicants who have no formal leadership role can highlight some of the traits I have mentioned with concrete examples in order to present their case well.
I will be writing more about the application process in subsequent blogs till then all the best.