Seven Things To Absolutely Avoid In Your Emails and Cover Letters

As we have discussed in our earlier articles, the covering letters are the first set of communication that you have with your possibly next educational institute. As much as it is important to be real in communication and original in thoughts, there are a few sharp edges that you should absolutely avoid.

Let’s uncover a few unknowing blunders which we may commit in our emails and cover letters.

Dear, this word

The point here is not to drag to a respect and disrespect argument, but it is best to avoid such personal salutations. If we cannot do with respected, let’s just keep it mister and miss. So instead of Dear Mr. Philip, just keep it Mr. Philip. This use of salutation is very colloquial and less marred with personal representations.

Forgetting to remove FWD from the subject when forwarding an already send email to a new school

Not only in admissions but also in the corporate world, this is a mistake well committed. During customer care and sales pitches, people tend to forget to remove the word FWD from the subject line and hence, the recipient can instantly make out that it is a copy-sent forward email. Bad signal to send.

CC’ing unrequited people

No CCs to fellow friends, family or self. Even if you have to, please bcc so that the recipient does not get to know about it. Not only does it raise the question of why it has been done, it also shows a lack of sensibility of email etiquettes

Not introducing yourself

Rule No.1, they don’t know you. Ok, they probably don’t know on your first name basis. Introduce yourself each time, unless you’re conversing on the same mail thread. State your application number, name and location clearly to avoid any doubts. Also, if you’re talking further on an email already sent, mention the reference.

Extra spaces or no spaces

To err is human and emails forwarding and resending might just pop some unknowing errors, the commonest being spaces. Ensure you give a double space between new paragraphs and starts and a single space regularly. And do not copy paste from Microsoft Word to Mail and expect the same spacing, the definitions are different in both.

The Closing Line

Please ensure you close with the expected response to the email. If the response has to be the acknowledgement of the documents, mention something like ‘It’ll be great if you can acknowledge the receipt of the documents’. Mention the expected action, to have the action.


No first names only please, provide your full name. Do mention your contact details (online profiles, alternate email address, contact number & address) beneath every signatory. It’ll just help speed up the profiles else they need to scout for your details each time they need to contact you.

Do not forget again, that it is your first interaction. Make it healthy and as comprehensive as possible. Good luck!

Is It The Right Time To Do An MBA?


A lot of times students have a perpetual doubt, is it the right time to do an MBA? Economies around the world are facing a crunch and the corporate has gone as skim on hiring as possible. In the midst of all this, investing time and efforts on a potential job out of MBA, which is not even known of, is it worthwhile?

Let’s reason out three things before we get to answer.

Do you want to do an MBA?

It is not always about the economy, job crunch and other environmental reasons. If you don’t really want to do an MBA but are planning to do it just because it is the ‘in’ thing to do, then good times or bad times, it will be a bad choice always. On the contrary, if you’re determined for the course, even in tougher times you’ll find opportunities. Remember, businesses require managers to get them out of bad state and manage the good period.

Back-up plan, anyone?

First of all, investing in an MBA degree is not like investing in stocks that you look forward to a 5% rise in value every week and a dividend coming interim. So, do not expect a back-up plan with all your ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. It is a building process which may take time to reap the benefits. And especially for entrepreneurs post MBA, you cannot ask for a back-up plan. You need to jump into the corporate world with both your feet. You can just take better calculated decisions.

Do you really read the economy?

A bad economy never signals a bad job market. It is a big myth that everybody has. A bad job market can be because of many reasons, e.g. changing skill requirements, more experienced people entering the market, industries becoming technology dependent than people amongst many others. Do not just believe the bad economy= no jobs explanation.

All said and done, yes, this is and will always be the right time to do an MBA. Period.

Chicago, University of – Booth School of Business Ranked Best B-School in the world by The Economist MBA Ranking 2013

The Economist ranks Chicago, University of – Booth School of Business United States as the No.1 B-school in the world in its MBA rankings 2013. Booth School of Business was ranked as the top b-school by the British magazine even in the year 2012. The Economist has ranked Chicago Booth as  the world’s best business school, more than any other school. It is ranked No. 1 in 2013, 2012, in 2010 and in 2007.

Apparently even Dartmouth College’s Tuck School stayed put as the second best b-school in the world for both years 2012 and 2013. Haas School climbed three positions and jumped upwards to the third from sixth place last year in 2012. What’s not so surprising is that among the top 10 b-schools in the world, 8 hail from the US.

Just one day before The Economist came up with its rankings, Forbes had named stanford as the best b-school in the US. Stanford is ranked on the 9th spot and harvard on the 6th spot while wharton did not show up in the top 10 et al showing up only on the no 15th spot. Wharton was ranked on the no 13th spot in the year 2012 and this year it further dropped 2 positions and was featured behind schools like  the University of Queensland in Australia, New York University’s Stern School, and HEC Paris. What comes as a surprise is that Harvard, Stanford and Wharton have never been featured on the top by the economist rankings ever since it started these rankings in 2002.

The top 10 b-schools in the world according to The Economist MBA Ranking 2013 :

1.) Chicago, University of – Booth School of Business United States
2.) Dartmouth College – Tuck School of Business United States
3.) California at Berkeley, University of – Haas School of Business United States
4.) Virginia, University of – Darden Graduate School of Business Administration United States
5.) IESE Business School – University of Navarra Spain
6.) Harvard Business School United States
7.) New York University – Leonard N Stern School of Business United States
8.) HEC School of Management, Paris France
9.) Stanford Graduate School of Business United States
10.) Columbia Business School United States

The ranking had only one Indian b-school – Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad featuring in the top 100 b-school rankings. North America and Europe accounted for most of the schools in the top 25.

The Economist’s methodology takes into account :

  • new career opportunities
  • personal development/educational experience
  • increasing salary
  • potential to network

and the statistics are backed by hard data or b-school’s providing the data themselves as a part of the survey.

The Economist’s rankings are facing very aggressive criticism on the web and the majority seem to have their differences and questions regarding the accuracy of the rankings and the methodology. Some even have gone to say that The Economist should stick to what it does best and let go of its rankings feature should it want to maintain any credibility. Once you have Harvard and Stanford out of the top 5, the raking loses all credibility.  The Economist though consistently has the oddest results and because it is highly influential and very well read,  The Economist’s ranking is followed and consulted with the result that it contributes to the reputation and image of any b-school.

You can take a look at the rankings at


IIMA breaks into the top 40 B-schools list globally for the first time

IIMA breaks into the top 40 B-schools list globally for the first time in The Economist MBA Ranking 2013

October 14, 2013:  The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) has  been ranked 39th globally in The Economist full-time MBA programmes ranking 2013, moving up from 56th position last year, in the top 100 B-schools list. Moving ahead year after year, IIMA breaks into the top 40 list for the first time.

IIMA is the only Indian B-school to get ranked in The Economist full-time MBA programmes ranking since the last four years. The Institute has made it to the 4th position in the Asia and Australasia 2013 regional rankings.
IIMA is also ranked number one on the following criteria:
• Student quality
• Open new career opportunities
• Percentage increase on pre-MBA salary
• Percentage in work three months after graduation
• Percentage who found jobs through the careers service


The Chicago University’s Booth School of Business retains first place in the annual ranking of full-time MBA programmes. In a ranking done by princeton review and entrepreneur magazine, the school was ranked 11th best for its entrepreneurship course.

Five Reasons That Make India’s IIM-Ahmedabad, the World’s Most Selective MBA College

Ahmedabad’s biggest claim to world fame has to be the Indian Institute of Management nesting in the city. For years ranking as India’s best MBA College in all possible surveys, IIM-Ahmedabad is to Asia, what Stanford or Harvard is to the US, a brand name to reckon with.

The college holds a unique distinction, the world’s toughest college to get into. With a selection rate of 0.25% for its 2012 batch, IIM-A as it is popularly known as, beats the likes of Harvard and Stanford with its extremely difficult selection criterion.

We look at five things that make IIM-Ahmedabad the power-house college it is.

Prolific Alumni

In every true sense of the word, the alumni of this esteemed college is building the brand equity further for IIM-A. From India’s RBI’s current governor Raghuram Rajan to Shikha Sharma, CEO, Axis Bank & Ajaypal Singh Banga, CEO, Mastercard to Chetan Bhagat, India’s highest selling English writer, the alumni of the college is wide and strong. Many have gone ahead to build some of the leading start ups not only in India but also in the US. Not to forget, possibly the institution’s most popular management name, C.K. Prahalad, the author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.

Economy-Blues Beating Placements

As per the report released by the college of the placements for its flagship PGP Programme, Boston Consulting Group was its largest recruiter. The median fixed yearly cash component (domestic) was Rs 13, 10,000, with the maximum being Rs 32, 65,000. The median fixed yearly cash component (international) was $38,956, with the maximum being $125,000.

World Rankings

The institute has been one of the only few from India to have made it to global education rankings. In Financial Times 2013 Global MBA Rankings, the institute is ranked 26th, higher than Ross, University of Michigan. IIM-A is the only Indian institute in the list compiled by The Economist for its 2012 Full-time B-school ranking 56th. In Business Today’s India’s Best Colleges for MBA, the institute was again ranked No.1 in 2013.


One of the strongest points of IIM Ahmedabad, which pulls in students and faculties from around the globe, is the diversity and depth of research and publication activity undertaken at the institute. Since 1967, the faculty, research staff and doctoral students at IIMA have together published a total of 573 books, 459 monographs, 3976 journal articles and 1246 articles in periodicals and dailies.


Confluence is the annual international Business school summit hosted by IIM Ahmedabad. This flagship event was started in 1999 and is considered to be the biggest B-school summit in Asia. Confluence hosts participants from leading business schools around the world like Harvard, Rotterdam, Tuck, Haas and Stern. Equally famous is Insight, the annual market research festival being organized since the last 25 years. It comprises of events and seminars related marketing research tools and techniques.

Well, the institute has gone strength to strength over the last many years thanks for relentless dedication towards quality by its management, faculties and students. We’ll look further into details of the various programmes offered by the college in our successive articles.

Forbes Names Stanford as Best US Business School


Beating Harvard and Booth, Stanford has claimed the No.1 position in Forbes list of business schools in the US. With likes of recruiters like Bain, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, Apple and Google, it firmly cements its position as the best of the best. We have a peek look at Stanford’s top ranking and the numbers that go behind it.


With the highest paycheck entering the school at $80,000 and the median salaries after five years coming to $221,000 in total compensation, it safely edges out other business schools when it comes to return on investment. With a tuition fee of $117,960, it is not the most expensive MBA college in the list but is definitely the best in ROI with the time around being less than two years.


Stanford is the most difficult nut to crack of all the MBA colleges in the states. With a selection percentage as low as 7% and a GMAT score of 740, the reach to Stanford is becoming lengthier and very selective. This ensures only the best brains across the world get a coveted seat in its class.


With its top five recruiter destinations being the most revered names in the management field, Bain, BCG, McKinsey, Apple and Google, Stanford does act as feeder program for the most sought after jobs, landing its graduates among the top six locations for MBA in the US.

Stanford Graduate School of Business is renowned to produce some of the wealthiest and most well-known business leaders and entrepreneurs. With Financial Times and Business Insider also ranking it among the top two business schools worldwide in their last two editions, the war for the top 5 colleges is getting hotter.

We leave you with an astounding fact about Stanford Graduate School of Business, it is the second wealthiest business school in the country with an endowment of roughly $825 million, richer than many multi-national corporations.

Five Things That You Should Be Sure Of This MBA Admissions Season

Every year with the spring and fall admissions starting off comes a whole bag load of things that students either tend to forget or do not prioritize. This can cause setback to potential admissions and can slim chances of an Ivy-School badge.
Of all the necessities, we gather the top five things that as admission hopefuls you should be extra-careful and sure about.


As silly as it might sound, forgetting submission deadlines is the biggest issue that students face. With so many schools to consider, each having its own process and requirements with different deadlines, it is human to err. But you can definitely do something about it. Go to your Email -> Open Calendar, and please start marking dates and ensure notifications are on. We’re giving you tried and tested way to not forget when to submit what. Don’t jest about this solution and weigh it off, it is easy and extremely helpful.


If you’re planning to apply for student loans, the time to figure out details is now. It is because once you crack the admission; you need to apply immediately because the entire procedure takes time. There are many banks which tie up with different schools to facilitate loans. Know about them and figure out your options well in advance, do not leave it till the last minute.


Remember, many different schools have different documents which you need to submit with your application form. Counter attestation is sometimes necessary so know if you have to. If it is that graduation extra credit certificate that you need from your university or anything else, please arrange all the documents needed now. You know the entire admissions process is sometimes so overwhelming that we tend to forget such basic things but these basic things can only work against you. Be sure you have all documents well in advance.

Recommendation Letters

Without exception, all business schools require recommendation letters and most of the times, there are specific people only from whom a recommendation can be sought and accepted. So, before you go juggling your options and coaxing to get a good recommendation letter to submit, ensure that the person from whom you’re seeking recommendation falls in the accepted criterion.

A decent email address

Please do not use juggernaut87, misspinklullaby and other ridiculous names in your email addresses to send documents and start other registration formalities. It is best to get your first name and last name in the email address. If it is not available, try some combinations, but do set it right. You do not want to be sending applications to leading business schools with such high-school framed email addresses. You know when we spoke about maturity and managerial skills required in potential business management students, such small things showcase it.

MBA admission processes are tedious and complex, but the best doesn’t come easy right? So buckle up tight and be sure of these small nuances and you’ll be much more at peace during the entire process.

Indian School of Business: Leading the India Story of World-Class Management Education


Indian School of Business or ISB as it is more popularly known is India’s story of coming out of age in world class education. Though the baton is still held by the Indian Institutes of Management, which also rank among the top business schools and churn out global managers with astounding pay packages, ISB has a more international appeal.

ISB was founded by two senior executives of McKinsey and Company and is heavily funded by private companies, foundations and individuals from around the world. It started off with its first campus in the tech-city Hyderabad and has since then opened its second campus in Mohali, near the north Indian city of Chandigarh.

The ISB’s Mohali campus is host to four research centres namely, Max Institute of Healthcare Management, Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Munjal Global Manufacturing Institute and Punj Lloyd Institute of Infrastructure Management. The flagship programme of the school, in both its campuses, is its one-year Post-Graduate Programme in Management. It also offers specialized courses for senior executives, middle level and senior level management. Apart from this, it also offers a Fellowship Programme in Management and a Young Leaders Programme which is aimed at facilitating select graduates for their management education with scholarships.

What makes ISB stand in the growing crowd of world class management schools in India is that it has been run and nurtured with an international outlook. An example of the same is that the school exclusively considers GMAT score whereas IIMs and other colleges ‘also’ consider GMAT along with other scores. Additionally, it offers one year PGP which is quite a reflection of many international leading business schools. In India and other Asian countries, a post graduate degree is taught for minimum two years otherwise.

ISB has been felicitated over the years being in FT’s Best B-Schools in the World, the lowest rank being 34th and the highest being 20th. This puts it in a league far above many other Asian and Eastern colleges and universities.

India is a burgeoning economy beating the downfall each time and ISB is a shining beacon in India’s growth story.

To know more about ISB, visit

How B-School Rankings Are Calculated: Part 1: Financial Times Ranking

Forbes, FT, Business Insider, Bloomberg, The Economist and US News are the top of the league names which rank business schools especially in the US, Europe and majorly worldwide each year. Not only are these rankings the basis on which potential students choose their schools of choice but they’re also the brand equity of these schools. One controversial thing always is the rankings sometimes drastically contradict and rankers rarely let the complete ranking process out.

Today we’ll have a look at the first five names mentioned above, one by one and look beyond the list and see how these rankings are calculated.

Financial Times

By the end of the article series of you’ll realize, FT has the most transparent and detailed ranking process. The basic requirements for a school to be ranked are that it should be accredited by AACSB or Equis, one if its programmes should have been running for at least four years; and it should be three years of its first class graduating before it can apply for rankings.

It takes two online surveys, one for the school and one for the alumni, like for 2013 rankings; it considered the alumni of 2009 batch. At least 20% responses should have been fetched and of them 20 should be fully complete responses. This contributed a whopping 59% to the overall ranking.

For the next 20% of the ranking comes, Weighted Salary. Baring the salaries for non-profit, public sector workers as well as full time students, the salaries are converted to US dollars with Purchasing Power Parity in force to remove any differences in the relative strength of the currencies. Resultant average salary is calculated by removing variations by industry. This is an extremely well thought feature, I believe. Salary increase is calculated comparing salaries before MBA and three years after graduation.

Eleven criteria from the school contribute 31% to the ranking. It includes diversity of staff, board members and international outreach of the school and programmes. The integrity of the data is considered as KPMG audits a number of business schools every year.

Then considered are the FT research ranks, which rank according to articles published by full time faculty in the Top 45 journals and magazines internationally. It calculates using absolute number of articles published vs. weighted number of articles as per faculty size. An extremely good measure, indeed!

Along with this, international reach of the programmes is weighted 3% and language exposure to 1%.

Finally, Z-scores are deduced to calculate the range between the top and bottom school and weighted according to the key and finally the rank is assigned.

Complex, isn’t it? But a very well-thought of and conducted exercise, definitely.

Next in our series, will be Forbes. Stay connected.

Ten Things You Should Not Miss In Your MBA Application Cover Letter

An application cover letter, like any other step in your MBA application process can literally make or break your admission chances. We look at ten things, which you should not miss in your application letter.

Correct Salutation

Gone are the days to ‘To Whomever It May Concern’, please mention the target audience. If the letter is to the admissions department, address them. This not only shows confidence in application but also shows focus. Moreover, when it is like ‘TWIMC’, it looks like a very generic letter written to copy pasted and sent everywhere. Ensure, that if they have they’ve asked to address to the Dean, or the School, you get it correct. No one wants to read and respond to a letter not addressed to them.

Please include a subject, yes, it still holds valid

We feel in the times of emails, the value of subject lines may have gone down drastically, given the fact that we have address lines in emails, but do not forget you’ll be sending a whole bunch of documents in the email together, and you don’t want to confuse the addressee with a narrow subject line like ‘Application Cover Letter’ and you also don’t want them to lose sight of it. Best said and done, put a subject line. And for so much, many schools restrict you to address the subject of the email in a particular format. Do not miss on that.

Correct Date

Ah, nothing can sink the ship faster than a hole in the bottom. A wrong date is like that hole. You do not want to get that wrong. That’s the most basic thing that they want you to manage around. As MBA is a global program and you have schools to be applied to in different time zones, check the time zone do verify the date and time. Imagine being in US and writing an application to a college in Dubai or China and dating it to your today, which is their yesterday. Small but important nuances, you should be careful about.

Program Name

Though this detail is already with the school authorities and the admissions department in cognizance with your admission form, you do not want to confuse with incorrect degree details. If it is Global Program in Marketing Management, it is, and yes it is, very different from Masters in Marketing Management. Different schools and countries might have different ways to name a program, so be careful that you get it right.

Where are you from

Imagine getting a letter, the first detail that we look for is where it has come from. Exactly the same hold true in a cover letter. Along with your name and application number, one of the first things you should state is which country and city you belong to. One facilitation reason is the segregation of international applications that is generally suggested in top business schools to evaluate how they can imbibe international diversity. Help them, it leaves a better impression and also lets your application stand out.

Academic Background

Do not copy-paste from your resume. This has to be written in sentences, not tabular. Again, your highest degree comes first and then others. After that, your most recent and prominent certification should be mentioned. Do not talk about awards and felicitation you’ve received for academic excellence as yet. Also, if you’ve been a part of a research program or are currently pursuing a research, do not dilute its importance by mentioning it here. We’ll mention it separately to get focus.

Corporate Experience

If you’ve any, yes, any experience in the corporate world, now is the time to mention it. Find that part time job at Pizza Hut too petty and shameful to mention, time to get a reality check. Please do not forget two things; you’re competing with people who might have a lot of experience in top companies and other people who are fresh undergraduates. To beat both, mentioning even the smallest of jobs is crucial. You have had a feel of the corporate world, doesn’t matter what. It needs to go in black and white. But remember, no salary mentions and no corporate anecdotes. Reserve them to in case they ask you in the interview.

Research Experience and Awards

Been a part of research programs or are currently pursuing one? It goes in the letter now. Imagine the letter to be a funnel; we started from academic to corporate and now to something specific like a research. Also, ensure now you should list your academic and co-curricular achievements. It is time the letter reader knows how awesome you are!

Closing Lines

Do not shower praises on the college, unrequited. Just because you’re applying there, does not mean you need to go praising it to them only. Rankings and alumni have proved the college’s worth; it is time to prove yours. State how the college and you can work together on something to excel.


Do not mention, looking for a positive reply, or anything similar to this. Firstly it is a very old-school rotten way of asking for a positive reply. Be confident. Secondly, there cannot be positive or negative reply to the letter. So, do not solicit one. Just say ‘Best Regards’ and your name. Period. No unnecessary talking and no flurrying around the closing style.


An ideal covering letter should be contained within 500 words. Go beyond and you might not hold the interest of the reader. Your application and other documents also have to tell your story. Keep it short and simple.

Remember; write a letter thinking if you were on the other side of the table, what would you expect? What would delight you? Then get to writing and framing the perfect cover letter.

Feel free to ask any questions.