With the B- schools results out, most MBA aspirants with multiple acceptance offers from B- schools are facing a common dilemma of choosing between B- schools. For many aspirants in such a situation, the general choice discussion revolves around two definite factors- prestige and price. However, there are also some aspirants who have offer letters from good B- schools and yet they may not be satisfied with their performance and believe that they can do much better with some more practice and preparation. The question that is put forth, is then – Should they believe in their potential to perform or just accept the offer and compromise on their dreams a little? This article is an attempt of the C2NO team to understand the reaction and response of aspirants under such circumstances and to help other aspirants make their decisions when they encounter a similar choice conflict. To accomplish this task, we interviewed Devraj, who is a NIT- Kurukshetra graduate and an IIFT call converter. Last year, he got an offer for admission to IIFT- Delhi but he decided to prepare for XAT instead.
A year after, in this interview with him, we will try to explore some potential reasons MBA aspirants sometimes reject offers from top B- schools and take a look at his journey in the aftermath of such a bold decision.
Q.) Hi Devraj! First of all, many congratulations to you for making it to XLRI! How’re you feeling?
A: Thanks a lot! Feeling quite elated as it is a dream come true for me. I’ve made it to one my favourite B-Schools.
Q.) Last year you received an admission offer from IIFT – Delhi, what were your reasons for not accepting the offer?
A: I’m a person with very clear intent and will. I always aspire to achieve the best in whatever I do. The same followed in my MBA preparation as well. Although, IIFT is a great B- School but for some reasons I was not satisfied. So, I decided to drop a year and prepare all over again.
Q.) How was the reaction from your parents and friends when they got to know about your decision to drop a year?
A: My parents were very supportive of my decision. They believe in my potential and have always allowed me to take my own career decisions. However, most of my friends were skeptic about my decision to drop a year. They were of the view that I was letting go of a very good opportunity as IIFT is one of the best B- School in India.
Q.) From which B- schools did you receive admission offers this year?
A: I’ve an admission offer from XLRI. Apart from this, I’m waitlisted at MDI, IIM Indore, IIM Shillong and some other new IIMs.
Q.) What difference has the decision made in your life a year later? Did you at any point of time regret not accepting the offer?
A: This decision helped me focus on my goal in a better way. It has also given me the strength and fortitude to follow my heart and back it with the best of my abilities.
During May last year, I was not scoring very well in the mock tests, and that was the only time I had some regrets about my decision of not joining IIFT. But after that, I never looked back.
Q.) What would be your advice to the students who are in a similar situation and facing the same dilemma?
A: Just follow your heart! I would like to add a note of caution here, candidates must consult their teachers and take their advice. Your teachers are the most likely to know your true potential and educational profile, and their advice can certainly be of great help.
Q.) What was your line of thought when you decided to drop a year? Are you happy with your decision now?
A: My line of thought can be best described by an inspirational statement of Kargil martyr Late Captain Vikram Batra- 'Take care to get what you like, otherwise, you will be forced to like what you get.' Yes, over allI am happy with my decision now as by God's grace I was able to achieve what I wanted.
Q.) Did any particular advice stand out to you?
A: One of my teachers advised me to just forget my past achievements and not to put undue pressure on myself. He asked me to start from a clean slate. This was an advice which really stood out to me and helped me a lot during my drop year.
Q.) How difficult was it for you to start the preparation all over again?
A: The difficulty was not related to studies. It was about overcoming psychological challenge; I was putting too much unnecessary pressure on myself to perform better than before. This affected my preparation in the initial stages.
Q.) In your opinion, what makes XLRI a better option?
A: In my opinion, the three parameters that make XLRI a better option are:
1. Better teaching and overall curriculum during MBA;
2. Stronger alumni strength and industry connect;
3. Enriching campus life.
Q.) What kind of questions were asked at IIFT?
A: At IIFT, the questions were mostly on trade terms and quite a bit about WTO. There were also some general questions like 'Why MBA?' and 'Why IIFT?'.
It was knowledge based.
Q.) How was your interview experience at XLRI? Was it different from IIFT? Which one was tougher?
A: The interview at XLRI was a grilling one! The panel members repeatedly asked the same questions until they were convinced. It was based on my profile and the questionnaire which I had submitted to them beforehand. One of the prominent questions asked by two of the panel members was the reason for comparative low marks in B.Tech(77%) as compared to my earlier marks(90+ in tenth and twelfth). It was different from IIFT in the sense that more questions were based on my profile and personality rather than the knowledge based questions at IIFT.
XLRI was tougher!
Q.) Any tips for MBA aspirants?
A: Yes! MBA entrance exams preparation involves 30% percent knowledge and 70% practice. So focus more on the practice part.
Q.) Do you think Mock tests are useful?
A: Mock Tests are one of the best yardsticks to constantly monitor your preparation and gauge your standing vis-à-vis other aspirants. So the best use of mocks is to analyse your performance to identify your weak and strong areas. Take the next mock test keeping this in mind. Another point to remember is, not to get too carried away by the percentiles in mocks.
Q.) How did you prepare for GD/ P.I rounds?
A: I read newspapers (one general and one business) on a daily basis. I also revised three of my graduation subjects and work experience related topics. Along with these, I took part in mock GD's and participated in mock PI's to check my preparation.
Q.) During your drop year, what kept you inspired and motivated?
A: The wise and encouraging words of my teachers and parents kept me inspired during those times.
In the end, it is important for the aspirants to remember that they have come this far through hard work, consistency, and perseverance. With continued efforts and the right focus, the road to success gets easier to navigate. Gail Devers, the two times Olympic champion has the best advice ever, “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”