Common Challenges All Applicants Face While Selecting an MBA Programme

"I do not feel that B-schools can take the responsibility of your transformation that they currently claim they own"

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Almost all the applicants explore MBA programmes with a hope that the change will bring the necessary satisfaction, happiness, and abundance currently missing in their professional lives. However, being blind to this approach really leaves them weak, and at the mercy of the business schools.

Where do Applicants Struggle the Most

A lot of us deal with our inauthenticity — we pretend that we are happy and contented with our past/present professional lives, however, considering the difficulty an average applicant faces while constructing responses to the situational questions makes me wonder — Why is it so hard to explain your point of view to a b-school?

Let me share an example: Some B-schools ask us for our "Most significant accomplishment"- If you look at this question, it is asking for a superlative "MOST" — They are asking for the best outcome that we have created in our lives — and I realize that many applicants struggle with this one.

They try to weave stories that they think the B-schools want to hear, and in doing so, many of them fail miserably.

However, if we have led authentic lives, and we are pursuing jobs that we really like, why are we not proud to project something that is BIG for us. It does not have to be bigger than the rest of the world — it has to be biggest for you?

Situational Questions Applicants Struggle With

Applicants also struggle with many more situational questions such as leadership, failure, and teamwork. Some applicants find ways to concoct community experiences as opposed to realizing that they can actually use their time very well to do something meaningful for their lives and not just business schools.

Are We Just Surviving in Our Jobs?

Let us think about it this way — if we do not have a strong leadership story even after five years of work experience, we are just surviving in our jobs and are not creating anything effective. We are all capable leaders, who go past thousands of opportunities to create accomplishment, but we miss them because we pursue careers that we DO NOT LIKE. If this is the scenario, one can at least be very authentic while picking up the future career opportunities?

Can B-Schools Actually Transform You?

This makes me question the overall model of TOP B-schools and their existence. Many B-schools claim that "We create leaders who graduate to make a global impact". Well, I want to recreate this statement and say — "We have a very accurate process that enables us to selectively pick professionals who ANYWAY were going to be strong leaders, and then we give them a functional understanding and throw them back into the pool". I do not feel that B-schools can take the responsibility of your transformation that they currently claim they own.

Only One Life to Choose a Career Path

My suggestion to everyone is to really realize that we do not have two lives. We do not have a backup option if this life does not work. All of us are capable of making an impact in ONE CAREER/INDUSTRY/FUNCTION that is meant for us. All of us can identify newer and newer problems that exist in this world, and set out to solve them.

Right Approach

lf you are keen on overhauling your careers, do a very strong and due diligence in picking up your schools and make this process very well thought and structured or else you are jumping from one puddle to another. If you make this process very authentic for you, it will ensure that the future that you are jumping into is not as uncomfortable as your present professional life. With the right approach, you will have absolutely right reasons for:

Why am I picking an MBA program?

What skills are needed for the future career I am choosing for myself?

Which schools are really strong for the core-competencies I want to develop?

What are the future stories that I want to create in an application?

This will also create a sense of "Being up to something". It will pull you out of your current limbo and make you take the right actions. You will start networking with the right set of people in your Target MBA community.

You will even start exploring B-schools objectively as opposed to a typical Indian applicant mindset of focusing on rankings or brands of the MBA programs.