Unfolding Utsav’s Strategy of Getting Admitted to Michigan Ross with a Scholarship

    Indrita Ganguly Indrita Ganguly
    Content Curator

    Unfolding Utsav’s Strategy of Getting Admitted to Michigan Ross with a Scholarship

    I’m Utsav Basak, a typical student who graduated from a not-so-famous WBUT (West Bengal University of Technology) college having committed innumerable blunders on my way to pursuing an MBA degree from one of the top B-schools in the US. I’ve always been stamped as an 80-89 percentage holder with 90% being a distant dream but I did fulfill my abrupt desire to study abroad (despite having a sophisticated high-paying job in India). Let us get going while unraveling the mystery behind my longed success.

    1. What instilled in you the dream of pursuing an MBA?

    MBA was never my plan but my friend’s. Yes, heard it right, I simply followed the path because my friend wanted me to accompany him but that was the realization point when I actually felt like I could beat the CAT exam. Now you know how whimsical was the decision was.

    1. What resulted in 99.3% in CAT? And what was the aftermath?

    My CAT preparation was so fanciful that it only included enrolling in Career launcher (CL) that too because my friend did the same, with me having zero knowledge. It further included attending the weekend classes daily because I was ambitious about it, and also who would miss the chance of hanging out with friends in Park Street every weekend?

    The last month noticed me studying meticulously, and resulting in a 99.3 percentile in CAT. Yes, the score is not sky-reaching like many others but for me, it did matter. That score gave me high hopes of a call from one of the top-notch IIMs, lavish paying job, and also getting hitched with my crush.

    But, not a single call came from IIM apart from Shillong only (as it was a novice when considered to the others that time).

    It was either a 3.16 LPA CTC job at TCS for me or MBA. The second seemed way more approachable as it is not every day that the almighty bless you with a 99 percentile, you know.

    After the wait, I got admitted into one of the top IIT’s MBA programs and landed a high-paying job at a leading bank in their treasure division.

    1. Which instance made you yearn for a second MBA?

    It was in IIT when I went abroad during our summer school training programs and ended up with the desire to study abroad. To pursue MBA, GMAT was a necessity and that is when the voyage began for its preparation. But pursuing an MBA from abroad for international candidates (especially the ones with around 2.5 LPA family income) is a mind-boggling fact. I also wouldn’t have considered the decision if not:

    1. I was bringing in quite a lavish salary package;
    2. I’d held administrative seniority positions back at IIT adding to my extracurricular;
    3. Bagged quite a renowned internships at corporates and start-ups as well;
    4. Acquired victory in international and national corporate competitions;
    5. Serving at NGOs back in my engineering days
    1. How was the GMAT scenario?

    I attempted GMAT twice while getting 710 in the first attempt and 730 in the second - both of which were quite less for the B-schools I was targeting. Lastly, I realized that the adaptive scoring mechanism was not suitable for me as I was already been rejected by most of the B-schools.

    1. What incited the jump from GMAT to GRE?

    It was again a friend of mine who advised me to take the GRE instead of GMAT. Though I was filled with mixed thoughts about how GRE was considered equivalent to GMAT for assessment. I attempted GRE twice and every time ended with 330 - 335 which is equal to a 750 - 760 GMAT score.

    1. What were the main prep resources?

    The following served me the best while preparing for GRE and GMAT:

    • The official guide for both GRE and GMAT
    • 5lb GRE practice book
    • Manhattan GMAT books
    • E-GMAT
    • Target Test Prep
    • Magoosh for vocabulary
    1. What is the best process for application review according to you?

    I’d consider getting your application reviewed y professional admission consultants rather than peers. Though my experience with Applicant Lab has been quite beneficial, I failed in the first attempt and went on for a second attempt by utilizing the remaining subscription of the Application Lab itself.

    That is when I sensed the need for an advanced consultation and connected with MBAcrystallball. I got the guidance of two very proficient and helpful experts.

    1. What were the hardest steps before landing in one of the top B-schools?

    Firstly, my aim was to obtain a seat among the Indian quota. To simplify, most B-schools’ student intake has a distribution that admits students from various countries and India is already an over-represented pool.

    In my case, I was a Finance candidate which is again an over-represented subject, compiling my GRE score instead of GMAT and existent degree - all of which when punched is a nightmare. The next challenge was connecting with existing students through Linkedin - which was totally a thumbs down. It’s always better to connect with societies or clubs through emails.

    The one tact that worked great was me applying to 12 business schools. And the aftermath was:

    • Interviewed at 6 schools
    • 3 waitlists
    • 1 admit along with a USD 30,000 scholarship

    Thus, I ended up getting admitted to Michigan Ross Business School that too with a scholarship.



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