Former Fuqua Admissions Director Provides Advice for Prospective Indian Applicants to U.S. Business Schools
The regional director for India at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business recently devoted a column in the Times of India to providing advice to Indian students on how to approach the process of applying to U.S. business schools. Between his current role and a previous one as Fuqua admissions director, Dan McCleary has reviewed hundreds of applications from Indian students, and the tips he provides are well worth reading.
For starters, think of the application as a mosaic, McCleary suggests. “There is never one piece of a mosaic that is so good it makes the picture come together, and there is never one piece so weak as to ruin the whole image,” he says. “But the different pieces do need to work together to create an indelible picture of you.” So don’t focus so much on getting the best possible GMAT score that it comes at the expense of some of the other components the admissions committee will consider, such as your academic performance, work experience, recommendations and essays, he says.
Business schools, both in the United States and elsewhere, look for a diversity of backgrounds to enrich the learning environment for the entire class, McCleary points out, which provides international candidates with valuable opportunities to show their sophisticated awareness of the global business world. “If you aspire to work abroad after business school, the time to start thinking of yourself as an international businessperson is before you apply,” he advises.
The application process also gives international students a chance to use their work experience to highlight their strengths as an international candidate, McCleary adds. For example, consider your organization and help depict it to the admissions committee as an international one – by focusing on international clients, vendors, products that serve and international market, etc. Continue by explaining to the committee how your role in the organization fits into the bigger picture of your academic background and future career goals.
Last but not least, develop a global perspective, McCleary says. “Even if you work in a domestically focused company, you should still try to gain a global perspective on your job, company and industry,” he writes. “Whatever your organization does and whatever you do within your organization, there are U.S. and global analogues. It is up to you to draw parallels to equivalent businesses in both in U.S. and markets throughout the world.”