Case Study #4: No international experience

Applicant Profile for “Gavin” (not his real name)

Academic: Electrical engineering major at a top university in India. Graduated with a 3.8 overall GPA. Then earned a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from a top-20 US university
Professional: 3 years of experience as a software engineer
Non-work activities: Serves as a volunteer in Rotoract community projects. Participates in some activities as a member of undergraduate alumni association
GMAT: 740
Post-MBA goal: Broaden expertise beyond the engineering realm by working as a strategy consultant
Target schools: Wharton, Chicago, Michigan, and Tuck

The MBA Exchange’s Solution

Gavin is concerned that, despite his strong academic, professional, and personal profile, admissions committees will view his lack of international living or working experience as a weakness. Gavin did not spend a semester studying abroad in college, nor has his work enabled him to gain international exposure. We reviewed our experience with past clients who had similar profiles and goals, and devised the following four-part strategy to help Gavin relate his pursuit of an MBA to his interest in gaining cross-cultural experience and perspective:

– Identify and emphasize the learnings from cross-cultural travel.
– Reference the diversity on the b-school campus as an attraction.
– Add a prominent, international component to post-MBA career goal to show that he understands, values and seeks it.
– Mention in essays the international clubs, summer internships, semester abroad programs and other initiatives at the targeted b-schools that he intends to explore.

Applicant’s Outcome/Results

Following our advice, Gavin dedicated time to reaching out to local alumni and visiting b-school campuses to understand the value of each school’s diversity and international exposure – and how this could enable him to achieve his entrepreneurial career goals. We worked diligently with Gavin to help him develop powerful essay content that communicated this rationale for an MBA, integrating it with his professional and extracurricular endeavors. He also focused his optional essays on how he developed personally as a result of his cross-cultural travel experiences. We helped him align his strengths with the selection criteria at his targeted schools. Gavin was ultimately offered admission to Harvard, MIT, Columbia, and UCLA.

In order to capitalize on our experience and advice as Gavin did, The MBA Exchange invites prospective clients to contact us for free, preliminary evaluation up to a year before they apply to business school. Engaging us for a Comprehensive Consultation will allow you time and proven strategies to strengthen your candidacy and then to prepare more compelling applications that maximize your chances for admission.

Client Comments

“I knew that my background was lacking any sort of international element or diversity, so I approached The MBA Exchange for help with my applications. Not only did my consultant work with me to position my experiences in a way that demonstrated my exposure to diversity and intent to gain more international perspective through an MBA, but she also helped me develop strong essays that communicated that – as well as my personal and professional accomplishments – to admissions committees. As a result, I’m thrilled to be attending HBS this Fall.”