MBA Applications: Tips for Indian Applicants

MBA Applications

MBA Applications: Tips for Indian Applicants

Article courtesy of, MBA admissions consultancy
By Jennifer Bloom Senior Editor

India's growing economy has created many exciting opportunities for people with a business education that will enable them to lead and manage growth. But because of this, elite MBA programs are deluged with applications from Indian applicants. So how can you pull yourself out of the crowd and distinguish yourself in the eyes of the admissions committees?

First, understand what typical Indian applicants reveal in their applications. Then, differentiate your own.


Average Indian MBA Applicant: Works for a family business

Working for a family business can be extremely educational: You earn high-level responsibility earlier, manage teams of employees, and gain perspective into the workings of the entire company. However, family businesses lack the influence and scope of larger companies, and it is difficult to compare your performance to that of others.


Differentiated Applicant: Has made a broader impact

Applicants who have proven their abilities in a family business and then applied the skills in management at a large international company are able to demonstrate that they are truly talented beyond the scope of their own family. Letters of recommendation written by impartial superiors, unlike those from family members, employees, or even clients of a family business, carry more weight with admissions committees and can demonstrate that you truly outperform your peers and have honestly won the recognition of senior management. The Differentiated Applicant’s resume, work history, and essays can illustrate his or her impact on this large organization.

  • Did the marketing campaign you designed boost sales of the product by 50% within 6 weeks?
  • Have you earned a promotion every year or become the youngest department manager?


Average Indian MBA Applicant: Works in India's burgeoning high-tech industry

India's high-tech sector has blossomed in recent years as global companies tap the nation’s highly educated, tech-savvy population. Many of today's business school applicants have experience in that industry.


Differentiated Applicant: Has management experience

While your background may be in technology, you can prove to the admissions committees that you have what it takes to lead companies in the future by demonstrating that you are leading and managing teams of employees, designing company strategy, earning promotions, and boosting your company's bottom line.

  • Did you identify an untapped market and lead a taskforce to create a product to tap this niche?
  • Do you manage 30 people, the largest revenue-producing sector of your company, or its most prestigious clients?


Average Indian MBA Applicant: Has modest goals

Most Indian applicants aspire to either expand their family business or launch their own small business.


Differentiated Applicant: Has great ambitions

The top business schools are searching for applicants whose ambitions will have impact on a larger scale. Furthermore, you need to convey your excitement and enthusiasm for your career and your goals. Grant the reader some insight into the emotional reasons behind your decision to pursue your path.

  • Did your experience collaborating with a Western consultant to boost the results of your department inspire you to launch your own consultancy?
  • Did spending your afternoons toiling on your family's vegetable garden motivate you to develop an environmentally safe insecticide and lead a company on a mission to increase the world's food supply?


Average Indian MBA Applicant: Has many extracurricular activities

Unlike many other population groups, Indian applicants are often involved in many activities outside of school and work.


Differentiated Applicant: Takes leadership roles outside of work

Don't confuse hobbies for involvement and impact. The top business schools are looking for applicants who hold active leadership roles in a few organizations, not a jumble of low-key memberships. Be sure to continue your active extracurricular involvement and leadership even after college.

  • Has your love of the sciences prompted you to found an after-school program with free science tutoring and exciting interactive experiments that now includes 20 schools across India?
  • Do you lead the Red Cross volunteer recruiting efforts across India?


Average Indian MBA Applicant: Thinks all top business schools are the same

Indian applicants tend to know they want a top MBA, but they don't do enough research on the programs to determine if and how each aligns with their goals. They tend to give a brief overview of the skills they hope to gain from the MBA and don't demonstrate that they know anything about each program.


Differentiated Applicant: Knows why he/she is applying to each school

Just as it is in your interest to know a school’s requirements, such as a fourth post-high school year of study (e.g., the Master in Commerce), before you apply to ensure that your application is even considered, it also is in your interest to determine if the schools you are considering will meet your needs. If you plan to concentrate in a particular industry, you need to make sure that the schools you are applying to have courses of study in that industry.

The top business schools seek applicants who can demonstrate that they understand the school's goals and how they fit with the applicant's needs. They are looking for applicants who have visited the school, spoken to alumni, researched their specific interests, and know what makes this school distinct.

  • Do your medical background and future aspirations to fund medical technology ventures steer you to Fuqua?
  • Do you want to refine your manufacturing background in a specialized program like Kellogg's?


Putting it all together

Each school is sifting through hundreds of applications to find the applicants who will benefit from its program and enhance the education and experience of other students. But determining which stories differentiate your application is daunting. An editor can help you reflect on your experiences, select the anecdotes that best portray your exceptionality, and fit them into each school's individual questions to help your application become one that they don't let slip through their fingers. Check out's services to help you stand out from the crowd.


 Copyright 2003