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icon-case-study Dipak
Degree 3.6 from University of Virginia, B.S. Finance
Initial GRE Score 155Q/153V
Profile 25-year old Indian male career switcher needs MBA to pivot from finance to Media Operations (Entertainment/Music). Applying only to UCLA Anderson
Target Schools UCLA Anderson (Competitive)

Application Branding Strategy

Dipak had one goal in mind: UCLA Anderson. It was the school that many in his firm had graduated from, and the one that would be perfect for his industry pivot from finance to entertainment/media. We decided to focus the application on his lifelong passion for music and entertainment and demonstrate how is leadership and accomplishments in finance were a direct result of his ability to build consensus among people and tell compelling stories. In the end, his essays reflected his human side and focused less on his professional accomplishments (which we accentuated in his résumé). The admissions folks would be able to make the connection between a lifelong finance/numbers guy and someone who wanted to make an impact on the industry that stokes his personal passions.

Result

In his first essay, we sharpened his post-MBA career vision, which appeared a little disjointed in the first draft. As with all our clients, we encouraged Dipak, through detailed notes and suggestions, to dig deep. Together, we were able to craft a narrative that blended his short-term post-MBA vision with his long-term dream of becoming the next Rupert Murdoch (‘atta boy Dipak!). In his second essay, the story was already there. And it was compelling. We helped Dipak to refine the talking points and build more emotion so that the story reflected the intent of the prompt better—to showcase humility. His initial draft seemed to jump all over the place, not letting the reader connect the dots back to how Anderson would benefit from his lesson learned.

Outcome

We loved how the final versions came out. Though it took, in this case, five rounds of draft revisions for us to be happy with it, when were done it really shined and Dipak was invited to interview. After prepping him with our mock interview team, he was admitted to his dream school.

Bottom Line

Final GRE Score

159Q/156V

Accepted

UCLA Anderson

Waitlisted

N/A

Rejected

N/A


We help you capture the vital elements that top MBA and graduate schools looks for in your personal statement. Below is a side-by-side comparison of Dipak’s initial draft to UCLA Anderson and the final version that led to his acceptance.

Before


ESSAY 1: At UCLA Anderson, we believe our students are engaged, courageous, humble, and open. Describe a time when you demonstrated one of these traits in your personal life. (250 words maximum)

I was humbled when my sister got diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. The condition debilitates the person suffering and turns them into a person that loved ones don’t even recognize. Such was the case with my sister and I.

My older sister and I are seven years apart but were extremely close, playing video games together as kids and sharing a love of movies. As she moved on to college, she became more distant and I became more confused. By the time I got to college, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Everything started making sense—her distance, emotional volatility, and our increasingly strained relationship.

I was skeptical about “depression” as a disease. I mean, everyone gets sad, right? But as I learned more, I realized that I was being insensitive to her struggle and I needed to change as well.

Today, our relationship is flourishing, thanks to me humbling myself and realizing that there are a lot of things that I just don’t know, even though I think I do. My sister’s condition has taught me a lot about sensitivity, empathy and connection, three things I hope to bring to the Anderson student body.

After


ESSAY 1: At UCLA Anderson, we believe our students are engaged, courageous, humble, and open. Describe a time when you demonstrated one of these traits in your personal life. (250 words maximum)

Sibling rivalries date back further than any Bruin-Trojan battle at the Rose Bowl. My older sister and I are seven years apart and our Rose Bowl was a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. We built our bond the way many 90s kids had - Nintendo 64 and Disney VHSs. She took me to my first PG-13 movie and guided me through my college decision.

A straight-A student and my best friend growing up, my sister was an ideal role model for a bewildered, teenage boy. But, as the years passed, she moved a lot and the bond first formed by Mario Kart was slowly unbinding. Over time, the hole in our friendship slowly filled with sadness, and even hate. I was angry.

Fast forward to my sophomore year. My mother called to tell me my sister was at a rehab facility in North Carolina battling depression. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

First, it took me time to understand the complexities of her condition. As my understand grew and I heard stories from her traumatic experiences, the grey cloud hovering over our friendship started to dissipate. I realized my resentment towards her “distance” was misunderstood.

Six years later, this humbling realization continues to play a vital role as we forge the bond that once was. More broadly, this experience taught me the importance of empathy and relying too much on untested assumptions in client and team member interactions.

Today, we exchange emails, texts, and advice. My latest advice to her: “you’re too old for Snapchat!”