MBA at McCombs Business School with a GMAT 710
In conversation with Abhinav Pawar who scored a 710 on the GMAT and got an MBA admit to McCombs School of Business.
What was your motivation behind an MBA?
The motivation behind my MBA was the dream of achieving something big like working in an awesome firm such as McKinsey. To get to that level I felt that taking the GMAT and doing an MBA would be necessary.
Also, I wanted to experience a mix of global education and networking with people from different backgrounds.
Tell us a brief about your background.
I graduated under the discipline of Computer Science from a Tier-1 university and got placed in MuSigma during my final semester. I was working there as a business analyst for 2 years during which I got interested into the field of business. It was this interest that led me to pursue an MBA.
Why not MS?
After completing my under graduation and working for 2 years as a business analyst, I realized that I would be much happier pursuing an MBA rather than going into full-on tech mode 🙂 I felt my strengths lie in the business field.
What was your GMAT Mantra?
As far as the GMAT is concerned, out of the two sections – Verbal and Quant – Quant really didn’t bother me that much since I was already from an engineering background. Just plainly taking the mock tests helped me do justice to Quant. Verbal was the real challenge. When it came to verbal, I would say CrackVerbal played a major role. Whatever I learnt in class helped me develop the foundation for verbal.
Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning were not that hard when compared to Sentence Correction.SC was the real challenge when it came to the GMAT. I would say the GMAT Official Guide is the way to go for this.
I usually spent majority of my time preparing for Sentence Correction because it had a lot of theory to it. So, to overcome that obstacle I used to read up on the rules of grammar and practice problems. I used my remaining time to prepare for both RC and CR.
When it comes to taking mock tests and using tactics I would say set a 15-minute window and have a set of questions that you would want to complete in that window. In that way you would know how many questions you are behind or ahead. This will also help you complete your exam on time.
What’s your memory of attending the CrackVerbal classes?
There are a lot of memories that I have from class keeping aside the all those funny jokes and interactions that I had with the faculty. They always emphasized on one thing and that was to break the problem down into bits and then tackle them one at a time. Exhaust all your options then go for the right one! This I believe was my most fond memory because I’ve applied this to places other than the GMAT. And, yeah! It still holds true 🙂
What was your experience on the day of the exam?
The night before, my exam jitters surfaced, I was unable to sleep because of which I was really sleep deprived on the day of the exam hence I wasn’t at my full potential. I reached a little early and relaxed outside the center for a bit. Once, I started with the exam everything went with the flow. I only ran a bit short of time when it came to the Quant Section.
An important thing would be that you should behave like your mocks are the real exam. Whatever you eat on the day of test to refresh your mind shouldn’t be a surprise to your body because it may actually dip your productivity. One thing I would recommend to anyone! DO NOT DRINK RED BULL! You will not be able to take it. It will surely make you feel giddy. I would say have Gatorade, and a few biscuits; maybe even a banana would be the way to go.
Which B – Schools did you apply to?
I applied to ISB, UCLA Anderson, Tepper and UT Austin. Every application that I wrote to these colleges was a journey for me. I learned something new each time! A few instances as such would be: when I was submitting my ISB application, I understood the importance of doing things on time when you write an essay.
During the time of my UCLA application, I learned that it is important to collect enough background info about the program you are applying to. These experiences helped me analyze my mistakes before I applied to Tepper and Austin out of which I got an interview call from UT Austin.
How did you go about your Applications?
When it came to applications I would say that essays are very important. I had written about 12 to 13 essays and learned quite a bit by the end of it. Some common questions that you can expect would be –
Why would you want to pursue an MBA?
What are your short term and long term goals?
What would you do if things don’t go the way you’ve planned?
Why would you like to join us?
Although I felt overwhelmed before I begun writing my essays I was sure I wasn’t going to give up. I would try my best to spin the best stories I have. When I started to write ISB’s essays I realized that I had no introspection and that posed to be a huge problem.
I spent some time and figured out what I actually liked, wrote down my entire life journey starting from 5th grade from my likes to my dislikes and childhood aspirations (of what I could remember 😛 ). This helped me connect the dots when it came down to my application. Another tip would be to do a lot of research as well on HOW to write applications. This will help you get a fair idea on how to go about it.
You had mentioned that the essays had a question that asked, “If things don’t work out as planned what would you do?” How did you respond to that?
Umm…That was where I felt I needed to think logically! My plan was that I would’ve continued with my experience. Maybe shift my job role to a better-suited one that aligns with the ones that I had planned post my MBA. I just wanted to keep it simple and co-incidentally this question was asked by UT Texas twice in their essay and in the interview as well.
What about when it came to you interview prep? How did you go about that?
CrackVerbal helped me with my interview prep. I reached out to them about any problem with the process that I faced. They were constantly in touch with me either via Emails or Skype calls or over the phone. They helped me to a great deal and swore by their virtue of “Unlimited Support”.
They also advised me to keep in touch with the school post my interview that actually helped me frame a good impression. I would definitely recommend CrackVerbal for interview prep.
What made you stand out?
The way I portrayed my 3-year experience was the aspect that made me stand out. Although, I was really worried about how my work ex would matter in comparison to the hundreds that apply every year with much more work ex than me. Later, I realized that it wasn’t the quantity but the quality of my experience that would do the trick.
So, I worked on the way I portrayed my experience and the projects that I had undertaken, the impact that I created at my workplace and the value I bring along with me. I believe that this was the one aspect that made me stand out
How do you feel CrackVerbal helped you?
CrackVerbal helped me by giving me a head start with my MBA journey. They helped me by structuring my entire GMAT and interview prep. They gave me guidance and a routine to follow. CrackVerbal not only helps build your foundation but they also help you structure your prep. I would definitely recommend CrackVerbal to any GMAT Aspirant!
Any words of wisdom for our readers – many of whom are aspiring to be in the same place as you?
Here are 10 rules that I am listing down in no particular order:
* For your GMAT prep, Use the GMAT Official Guide in a smart way by analyzing the right questions along with the wrong ones!
* Use the advanced material that is provided in the class. An extra few questions won’t kill you!
* Avail GMAT prep 3 and prep 4 to prepare because this will really help you gets accustomed to the pattern of the exam.
* Use the “window technique” taught at CrackVerbal to manage your time.
* Don’t experiment on the day of your GMAT.
* GMAT is not the only aspect when it comes to an MBA. Trust Me! Applications are the real deal.
* As far as recommendation letters go, I would say don’t get them from someone very high up in the company who doesn’t know you. Take recommendations from the people who know your everyday work like your managers and senior managers.
* Never draft out your letters for your managers. What they write would be their perspective and not yours.
* Finish your GMAT ASAP. And, start with Applications as soon as you can.
* Don’t look at the ranking of every school! Search for what school fits you the best and try applying in Round 1.
Are you inspired by Abhinav’s story? Leave your comments below!
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