Let’s call him Kumar*.

A finance professional, Kumar had just quit his last job. As per Kumar, his work quality was average with no major stand out achievements. He had a below average GMAT score and he wasn’t keen to retake the GMAT. He had set his sights on three schools, two of which were highly competitive.

How did we help Kumar?

We had a lengthy discussion with Kumar on his profile, examining his academic and work experience in detail. Turned out Kumar was good at networking and bringing people together to work on projects. He also had good reasons for the breaks in his career, such as consciously choosing to work with start-ups (many folded after few years of operations) because he enjoyed creating things from scratch. Kumar was a risk taker but was also surprisingly, risk averse when it came to GMAT. He was adamant about not retaking the GMAT. Without a good GMAT score, his chances at making it to schools with strong emphasis on academic performance were slim because he had mediocre undergraduate scores. We advised him to take the GMAT again. Meanwhile, we started to work with him on his essays. Kumar’s essays lacked the structure that would convey his stories effectively. Kumar also had a penchant for rambling which meant his essays had lot of content but not much in terms of substance.

We helped him understand how to break up his narrative into smaller modules and focus on highlighting the essence to answer the essay question. Initially Kumar struggled. He was an accounting guy not a writer, was his defense. But as Kumar started to follow our guidelines, he could think more clearly about what he wanted to communicate and more importantly, why. We encouraged him to highlight his ability to work well in teams and team coordination capabilities. By focusing on his strengths and demonstrating that the gaps in his profile were based on sound decisions, Kumar was able to shift gears from being defensive to that of conviction. Kumar also retook the GMAT and scored 680+, improving his chances of being considered by his target schools. He got an admit to two of his schools, even winning scholarship from one of the schools. Most importantly, Kumar gained confidence in himself not just professionally but also personally.

* Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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