English language proficiency: Can it make or break your MBA planned career?

With most top management schools located in the west, i.e. US and Western Europe, there is a strong question, which comes from brilliant students in countries where languages apart from English are very dominant. Can my weak English put a brake to my progress towards admissions in top business schools?

In one word, the answer is NO. Let not anyone tell you that your mental capabilities and academic excellence can be hounded by language proficiency. The world, especially the west, has become more sensitive towards cultural and linguistic diversity and hence, there is an acceptance of transactional English proficiency. Eventually, it is not your excellent English which is going to take critical management decisions for you, but your mind is. Moreover, especially in admission interviews and placements, there is a lot more that is stressed upon apart from your language abilities.

Students from Asia, especially China and India and Southern America, Argentina and Chile, and Mexico are brought up in an environment where, though English may be taught as the first language in school, it is not the first language at home. As a result, students tend to think first in the language they are most comfortable in, in cases here like Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi and Chinese, and then frame replies and answers in English. As a result, their English proficiency is more transactional than fluent.

In no way can this be barrier in your progress towards your management degree and a dream job. Though placements are traditionally highest in English speaking countries due to the very nature of them being industrially mature, till the time you can put your point across so that your reason is clear and work is done, all’s well.

In a nutshell, you need to understand, there’s much more to management than just sounding managerial. There’s thought, rationale and action which take precedence.

Five things you should never say in your MBA admissions interview

There is a lot spoken and written about the important points you should be mentioning to your interviewer, but let us look at five things you should never say in your MBA admission interview.

MBA is the ‘in’ thing

It just says that you are a rat race runner and gets a thumb down immediately. Show your conviction on a competent reasoning for you to be choosing an MBA degree and investing time, efforts and money in it. Never say anything which shows you don’t think enough to reason your actions.

MBA pays a lot

Yes, it might be closer to the truth but two things: Don’t sound like a money-complex mind and colleges never guarantee placements or packages. You point will get shot down immediately, if they realize all that you aim and aspire is to have a healthy bank balance. Portraying academia and learning as secondary is a big no-no.

I am hard-working, that’s why I fit the requirements of a budding manager

Really, is that all that takes to be a manager? Especially when asked your personality assets or strengths, students tend to start with hard-working. Remember, everyone is hardworking in their own way; you cannot generalize it as your strength.

Engineering + Management = Win-Win

Again, this might work in the corporate world, but it sole does not reason you to join an MBA. If you showcase a plan as you did engineering with the intent of going further into management, it is fine but after engineering you decided an MBA sounded great, does not come out as a fitting reason.

I don’t have a choice apart from MBA

May be because of job-loss, investment of time or lesser availability of options, whatever is the reason you chose to do an MBA, it does not put you in a good light if you portray MBA as your last resort, as nothing else would have or was not working out.

Remember B-Schools are looking for an intention, vigor in their potential students. If you do not show that will and get-going attitude, you might miss the bus.

Is USA the best choice for an MBA?

Management colleges in the US have always been looked up to as the ones with the mettle. The Ivy-league colleges and the likes have been the brand ambassadors of US being the winner of the trophy of management education leadership.

Not so surprisingly, all top ten colleges in Bloomberg’s list are located in the US.


So, should one head to United States for their MBA? Is that the safest and the best bet? Let’s have a look.


If you look at the top 5 USA colleges, all have been set up over a century ago and have been delivering excellence since establishment. The reason can be attributed to the fact that for most of the top 10 universities, arts and science were the subjects which propelled them to the top and management followed suit by starting at the top. It’s those years of continuous investment in infrastructure, academic affiliations and faculty that gives these universities an edge over their world counterparts.

Highest GMAT Scores

Though GMAT score alone does not guarantee admission, the highest scorers are always absorbed by the USA universities. Over the years, as a result, the cut-offs have exponentially risen, thus attracting the best brains and firmly strengthening a foot ground of top scorers.

A few universities with their cut offs as on January 1, 2013 are

1 Stanford University 721
2 California – Berkeley (University of) 718
2 MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology – United States 718
4 Columbia University 716
5 Chicago (University of) 715
5 New York University 715
7 Dartmouth College 713
8 California – Los Angeles – UCLA (University of) 711
9 Cornell University 710
9 Indian School of Business 710
9 Pennsylvania (University of) 710

Home to Fortune 500 companies

In the list of Fortune 500 Global companies, US is home to 132 of them and has offices of all. This strongly cements the interaction and enrichment of USA universities with corporate excellence. If you check the top recruiters, 96% are companies based out of USA and more than 60% land you jobs in the country itself.

Placement Scenario
Not only do universities in the US clock more than 100 percent placements, they also attract some of the highest pay packages across the world. This works for three reasons:

• The cost of living in the biggest cities in the US is amongst the highest in the world

• The work profiles based out US are more in the C and B levels. Also, the biggest investment and portfolio management firms, consulting majors and advertising behemoths root out US for their top level jobs.

• Experience is in demand in the US and experience is paid more than other factors

Given the reasons and the factors, yes, USA is ‘the’ country for management education. It is the highest paying in terms of ROI with respect to packages and job positions. Nonetheless, a lot of universities and colleges in Asia like China, India and Singapore are giving a tough fight for US universities for the top position.

Do let us know you views and questions.

How do I choose my MBA specialization before I start my course?

Now that’s a common question and is very valid. You’re an engineer or probably a history under-graduate and planning to study management. How are you supposed to choose your subjects, if required, at the start of first term? If you’ve been facing this issue, or are thinking the same, read on!

The answer to this question lies in the following five steps procedure:

Know what excites you

We’re not talking salary figures but subject excitement. Does building brands and handling customer theories and strategies give you an academic adrenaline rush? Or is it the dream of managing company investment portfolios seems to be your true calling? The best way to know this to observe what you read online or in newspapers when you’re free and are not doing it for a task.

Know what suits you

Have always been applauded for your superb elocution skills and creative inputs and are looking to be an investment analyst? Not saying its black and white but does give you a step to take a reality check. And the check if not always to match the ‘hobby’ with your specialization but to match your best quality.

Know what pays you

Let’s call spade a spade, its, if not all but to a large part, all about money. No one likes to invest time and efforts and not get paid. No one likes to waste five years to realize that they stood on a less-paying job when a better opportunity was always available. Read reports and placement brochures about which specializations get paid what.

Know what is in demand

Generally, the job in demand is the one which pays the best. But there are always two sides of a coin. The job in demand also demands certain capabilities and requirements which is pay worthy. It is crucial to know both as they need to go hand in hand. If copywriting for financial corporation is being looked up to as the next slide to the top, the slide upwards comes with its own strength test and requirements. Basically, do you think you’ll be able to acquire the academic halo and domain understanding to pitch for the job during your course? If yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head. If no, it’s time to revisit step one. Its fine, you’re making a choice for an important part of your life.

Know your sustenance timelines

Basically, it means do you take up a task with the thought of giving it your best and get tired and bored of it pretty soon? Are you the kind of person who loves change and detests monotony? For you the decision then becomes all the more critical. Not that you’ll never have a chance to make a change, but at least as of sometime, there’ll be a lot of financial and time commitment to be honored and that requires some planning. Be sure, and be double sure.

Though you always have time before you pin your specialization, it is definitely a good option to visit these questions well before your school entrance. It’ll even help you plan your school of choice accordingly.

Good luck and do write in if you have any questions.

As an MBA applicant, Topics you should know (Part 1): Green Management

A lot is being talked about how corporations across the globe are trying to strike a balance between financial motives and environmentally sustainable processes. As MBA aspirants, this issue becomes important to know and discuss because when you’re at either the admissions or the placement table, this hot favorite and controversial topic can pull fingers. Let’s get to know about it, smartly and efficiently.

Green Management is enhancing corporate performance by applying green techniques and technology to benefit internal and external customers. An example of the same is application of virtual meetings and discussions to avoid the need for business travel as much as possible. This not only cuts costs for companies but also helps in reducing the carbon footprint of the travel as a part of the task.

This brings us to a special term, which I am sure a lot must have heard recently, ‘carbon footprint’. Carbon Footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, activity or event. In logistics, for example, the movement of a shipment from one location to another involves a lot of sub-activities and events. From the carton materials used, to the trucks used to ferry the cargo, the flight from one state to another and the eventual delivery, it is important to not only look from a financial perspective of cost cutting and profit maximization but also if the steps chosen do not degrade environment severely, if not contribute to the building up.

A general doubt is what to choose, financial viability or environmentally safe activities? Before we jump to a conclusion, it is important that we figure out if there can be financially viable and environmentally safe activities. Yes, such opportunities are growing, thanks to the entrepreneurial and financial investment that organizations are making. But in most cases, still an option has to be chosen.

If given an option, prefer the environmentally sustainable option, if it doesn’t stretch your financial costs a lot. It’s an investment and not additional cost. In fact, carbon credits are being traded within countries and externally. A corporation’s public value these days is heavily dependent on how it plans to change and improve the current process to align them to green actions.

Basically, it is a five finger rule:

1) Save electricity and fuel
2) Think again before you make a purchase
3) Use recyclable and reusable products
4) Plant trees
5) Substitute natural products office use with technology

As mentioned earlier,

It is important to understand that green management is an investment and not a cost. The investment will not yield results immediately but will definitely do. The need is to do it and do it now.

The following info-graphic by Schneider on Energy Management states what can be done and how. Have a look.

Case Study: How Oreo Became One of Social Media’s Most Loved Brands

Oreo is easily one of the most loved brands across the globe. With a reach spanning all age groups, languages and cultures, Oreo has effectively become a well-known brand. Regarded as a social media behemoth, Oreo has a reputation of playing the game in the situation.

We present a case study on Oreo and how they capture the buzz in the moment.

A look at Oreo’s best daily Twist social media posts









A Successful Interview: What You Should Wear and Is It Important To Look Perfect?

Interviews are like stone crushers; they’re tough and can break even the hardest of the players. The battle is of mental strength and academic capability. There are people who end up speaking a lot in the interview and some who go mute. The reasons are over-confidence, nervousness and fear of the result. The anxiety is the killer of all performances.

In the midst of all the academic and personality checkpoints, how important it is to dress well for the interview? What is defined as well? What should be worn and what is best avoided? Long discussion but let’s get some points noted.

How important is it to dress well?

Extremely. The point here is not to get a Brooks Brothers suit or a D&G dress, the point is to dress perfectly and immaculately. Wear your regular suit but wear it with confidence and poise. Wear it fresh and neat. No crumples and no loose threads. Be humble in the colors you choose and go optimum on the perfume you wear. Dressing well means dressing for the occasion, in this case, an interview. Just wearing designer brands never equals dressing well.

What is defined well?

Irrespective of the gender, the first point is to ensure what you wear is washed and fresh neat. No stains and no pulling your one year old shirt out. Secondly, choose your colors right. Pastels and lights work the best for interviews. Gaudy and attention seeking colors are a big no-no. Remember, the attention should be on you and not your clothes. Thirdly, keep your hair regular and fine cut. It is best to avoid any in-trend cuts or am-just-out-of-undergraduation hair styles. Again, keep it minimal and simple. Finally, your shoes make a far more lasting impression than you think they do. Again, do not go scouting for designer pairs a day before your interview. Wear your regular shoes. Ensure they’re clean and spot-free. Nothing leaves a worse impression than unclean shoes and disheveled hair.

A few important check-points you should not miss:

• Get your interview attire ready a day in advance. It is important that the first thing on your mind on the day of your interview should not be how to get a stain off your shirt. Be ready.
• No strong perfumes, please. As much as they show how much you care of how you smell, your choice of perfume may not necessarily go with your interviewer’s. Plus, it is too attention seeking.
• Keep your hair such that they do not distract you. Your attention in the interview should not be diverted with the constant falling of hair on your eyes. Not only does it distract you, it can be annoying for the person sitting opposite to you.
• Smell and breathe fresh. No mouth odors or old-suitcase smelling sweaters. They can be a big slayer of attention quotient you might have earned otherwise.
• Do not wear newly purchased clothes or shoes. As you might not be used to them, they can play a spoilsport to your personality.

Be yourself. Dress regular. That’s the key.

Does an MBA from a top B-School guarantee me Big Bucks and Corporate Recognition?

I work hard to crack GMAT with a perfect score, take a loan to pay the fee for the expensive business school, spend n-number of hours in the rigorous grill of the management education. Now the least I can expect is to get a seven figure annual salary to start with and a strategically important and recognizable position in a multinational corporation. I want to settle in Boston, London, Tokyo, New York or Chicago, fly Business Class with company paying for it and travel extensively, as my job ideally should demand it.

Welcome to the mind of an MBA aspirant. Instead, let’s say, welcome to the mind of a top business school MBA aspirant. With economy getting fragile and companies cutting corners with respect to expensive employees, it is MBA from a top business school which can defy all fears and serve life in a golden plate. Why shouldn’t it, there’s a lot that has been given into getting through the school. In the light of all that, this is the bare bones minimum a student can expect right?

Yes, to be honest, this is the expectation and there’s nothing wrong with it. The average pay packages at leading business schools are touching the roof and there’s no dearth for companies hungry to fetch these students.

With millionaires and billionaires as alumni and a constant war to get to the top of the rankings list by making admission process as rigorous as possible, students can be termed ‘realistic’ with these expectations.

What students forget is that your MBA School will give you the initial push, a push which is cushioned and well-paying but is equally demanding with cloud-level expectations. There is no scope for a second best. If there are million-dollar opportunities served, you need to make yourself worth those million dollars. Do not forget that companies look for top business school pass-outs as assets and not pricey liabilities. The assets will reap snowball benefits.

The secret is open and it is to make one self gold worthy.

If you have a look at people, correction, successful people who are represented as the alumni pride of the school, you will realize that those people have given their best to get into that list. Now the business school becomes a help to reach the top and not the path.

Yes, your MBA can pay you a lot, it is indeed worth a lot of dollars, but so should you be. The degree is eventually tagged to you. An MBA school will mould, groom, test and make you ready but you have to eventually fight the war. A top business school will provide you better ammunition to fight the war but the mind will always be yours. Make that worth a million dollars and you’ll be worth all those dollars.

Inculcate these Five Characteristics to Win Like an Underdog Always

There is one thing very common in all successful people- they never boast of their abilities. Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Narayana Murthy or even Michael Dell, how humble and work-focused these gentlemen have been. They choose to stay away from limelight and concentrate on being better at their tasks. Eventually, they have the last laugh in the race!

So what goes behind being one of these people? They’re sharp, focused and winners. We list five qualities which can make you win like an underdog, each time:

Start Listening

Many have said this before but less actually listened to this valuable thought. Also, we’re saying listen, not necessarily follow. Listen to everyone’s opinion, even if you don’t want to follow it. It is not a waste of time but an investment in making a better opinion. To contradict someone’s thought process, the first step is to understand their thought. If you keep propelling your views onto everyone, you give little room for improvement to yourself.

Start Writing

I-listen-and-I-forget is a common characteristic of most of us. Start writing and noting things. Heard a good thought from someone or you plan to finish 11 tasks in the next 48 hours? Please make a note. Start using Post-its. Have a long planning to a presentation? Start by making a Word document first and then jump to the Powerpoint presentation.

Stop Gossiping

Stop talking about people and their work. Utilize that time on yourself. Or less said, be selfish. Spend that time on yourself. Read an article instead. Gossip is like quicksand, the more you do it, the more you get pulled into it. Plus, it is absolutely unproductive. There is no good that you’re going to learn from it.

Develop a Hobby

Hobbies keep you productively distracted. Making music, cooking or designing bookmarks, hobbies can be your best friends. You can look up to them every now and then to keep you refreshed. This refreshment can help you better your performance and also not get very distracted away from your task. In the day and age of sheer work monotony, hobbies can pump you up and charge your inner batteries.

Take Care of Health

No work or task can be done if you’re physically unwell. You don’t want to have a bad throat a day before your presentation or a severe stomach ache before your interview. We tend to ignore this point the most. Health is now taken for granted and we do little to nourish our bodies. With fading work timings and crunchier work pressures, health suffers instantaneously.
What matters is to showcase your winning move and not just brag about it. Save that ounce of energy of wasteful talk and instead put it in your practice. The point here is not just the actual unproductive verbal talking and boasting but the time and energy wasted behind it.

Put your thoughts and energy to good use – to improve yourself, the world will acknowledge by itself.