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Avinash Satish – Multiple MBA Admits with a 700 on the GMAT

Posted on December 15, 2016

In Conversation with Avinash Satish who bagged admits to Oxford and ISB with a 700 on the GMAT…


Could you tell us a bit about your profile?

I graduated from the Vellore Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Technology degree in 2011. I worked as a software developer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for about 2 years. During my second year, I took some time off to volunteer for a non-profit organization called Make A Difference and I gained some corporate fundraising experience while volunteering. In 2013, I quit my job at Bank of America to build a start-up social enterprise called Paperman in Chennai. I ran the operations in Paperman for about two years. Over the last 6 months, I have been working as a Consultant for a non-profit organization called Ashoka, which works with social entrepreneurs across the world.

What was your motivation behind an MBA?

I have always wanted to study business. I am interested to explore the different ways in which one can set up and run a business. In the future, I want to become a business consultant for non-profit organizations and social enterprises. An MBA degree will equip me with a basic understanding of the workings of a successful organization. This insight can help me become a better consultant.

How did you go about with your GMAT preparation and what techniques did you use?

I attempted the GMAT thrice. The first time, I didn’t prepare at all. I had the Official GMAT guide but I just skimmed through the questions. The second time, I prepared harder, and bought the additional Quant and Verbal guides from GMAC. I also did practice tests from Manhattan. The third time, I prepared with the help of CrackVerbal guides, coaching classes and guidance along with the study material – GMAC books, and Manthattan Sentence Correction guide. My GMAT scores were : 560 – 630- 700

What section was the hardest and how did you overcome it?

I found the Verbal section the hardest, especially the Critical Reasoning section. I improved my CR with the help of the CR Power Bible. By thoroughly knowing the rules to eliminate SC answers, I could save time while solving SC. The RC passages, I tackled by writing a summary of one line in each paragraph that I read. This helped me keep track of the passage and solve RC questions better.

How was your experience on the day of the GMAT exam?

The first time I wrote the GMAT exam, I had no expectation. I was under-prepared, and was very casual about it. That reflected on the score I got. The second time, I was nervous, and that again reflected in the score I got because I ran out of time. I had no timing strategy.
The third time I was confident, I had a timing strategy and I had taken enough tests by then to be comfortable with all types of questions.

 Why ISB? Did you have any other B-schools in mind?

ISB has a good reputation in India. It will give me access to some of the top consulting firms of the world. It has a strong alumni network, and the professors are supposed to be world-class.
I applied to Stanford, Yale, Kellogg and Oxford. I didn’t make the cut for the first three. I got into Oxford but decided to drop it because of the lack of post-graduate job opportunities for Indian citizens in the UK.

How did you go about the application process?

Chose my schools. Found out the essay questions. Began writing my essays and introspected a lot. Read my essays over and over and edited them till my writing was well articulated. Shared my drafts with other people to get their opinions and thoughts. Re-drafted. Made a resume. Shared and got their opinions on it. Re-drafted. Got detailed letters of recommendation, highlighting my strengths and why I would make a good business professional. Applied before deadline!
I used CrackVerbal’s services to help draft my essays, and it really helped me get a good, clean version of my story out to the school.

What made you stand out in your essay?

I shared the fact that I was not afraid to follow my dreams and I showcased that through relevant  examples. I have taken calculated risks in my life to follow my passion, and that made for an interesting story.

How was the interview at ISB? Were there any obstacles you had to face?

I had a very smooth interview with the ISB alumni – all three  of them. Most of the questions were targeted towards my start-up experience, and my reasons for wanting to pursue an MBA. I had done several interviews by this time, so I was very confident of my answers. It was very conversational and I don’t recall any  bad moments as such. I felt that the alumni were genuinely interested in what I had done, and were probing to see if I knew what I was talking about. I actually had a very pleasant interview, and enjoyed the process.

How was the CrackVerbal Experience? How did it help?

CrackVerbal helped me articulate my thoughts better and shape up my essays well. I worked with Arun and Vasudha, and they both went out of the way to help me with my applications. Arun connected me to people in his network, and I could have very useful conversations regarding the choice of schools and interviews. Vasudha and I worked over-time to make sure I had my essays out within deadline dates!
The CrackVerbal curriculum and teaching has been fantastic, and I would recommend it to anyone who is preparing for the GMAT. The Verbal classes helped me improve my verbal score, and I had a great experience working with the CrackVerbal staff.

Do you have any words of wisdom/GMAT mantras to share with other MBA aspirants out there?

Have given the exam 3 times, I know that this exam is beatable with the right approach. The things that helped me improve were  having a good timing strategy, working on areas of weakness, and answering the questions calmly. Knowing when to take the practice tests also helps because these tests are  fairly accurate. I would suggest taking the last exam approximately a week before the actual exam. This way, you can always postpone the GMAT if  you find that your score isn’t what you need it to be.

Thank you for your time Avinash, and all the best! 🙂

Are you inspired by Avinash’s story? Leave your comments below!

Pro Tip: Curious about how to start off your own journey towards an awe-inspiring GMAT score ? Download this free e-book – A guide to GMAT to get started.


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