We met Murad, an MBA candidate, who told us how and why he decided to pursue an MBA degree. He also shared invaluable tips when applying for the best business schools around the world. Finally, Murad explained his strategy for his GRE preparation. Get to know him better by reading the conversation we had during the Access MBA event in Sofia on May 11, 2019.
My name is Murad Kasim. And currently I’m applying to some of the top universities in the United States and Europe. In MBA.
How did you decide which MBA program to apply to?
My background is in Engineering, but I have noticed that emerging technologies require a new breed of entrepreneurs. I think it’s really important to combine both Computer Science with Entrepreneurship, so we can embrace those technologies to their maximum potential.
What did you choose first? The programs or the universities?
I first tried to get a clear idea of what would be my greatest contribution to the local community. And from there I pin-pointed on an actual map the best universities to help me achieve my goals. Then I went one step further, researching the admission requirements in those universities, and finding out how long it would take me to complete the process.
How long did it take you to go from thinking of applying to actually doing it?
I think the entire process took me about two years. And as one of the mentors who guided me through the entire endeavor said: “The most important part is to start!”
How did you start with your preparation?
I attended a few preparation courses just to get an overview of the format of the exam. Then I had a few months of self-preparation. To succeed you really need to give yourself enough time to study and prepare. And, above all, you have to be consistent.
Speaking of tests, which ones are you preparing for?
I’m taking the GRE and TOEFL tests. I think the GRE is a little bit more challenging, and it has some things that you have to pay extra attention to. My strategy was to learn one thing from the GRE test per day, and slowly proceed. My goal was to learn slowly, but every day.
Did you prepare with a tutor, or alone?
I did both. I purchased a few books which helped me get a clear idea of where I’m going with the preparation. I think it’s also important to visit a preparation center. Preparation experts can assess your strengths and weaknesses, and help you work on them. This eliminates the initial stress candidates have when starting their preparation.
How long did you prepare for the GRE exam?
Between four and five months.
What is your advice for candidates?
I think the most importing thing is to start! Do not reflect too much on it. Do not question yourself if you’re well prepared. Just start! Early on in my MBA preparation I found out that consistency is key when applying for the best business schools.
How much time do you think you’ll need to finish the rest of the application process?
I spent about four-five months just applying to universities with all my documents ready in advance. I gave myself more time, as I wasn’t sure how long it would take for each university to review my documents. My advice here Is to apply as early as possible.
What did you focus on in your preparation process?
The GRE was one of the most important parts of my preparation process. And I spent significant time preparing. I advise making a list of all the steps in your preparation, like I did. And check them one by one. This will give you a good idea of how well you’re doing, and how much more work needs to be done.
What were some of the challenges you experienced while preparing?
I did struggle with the recommendation letters. First, I had to ask myself to what extent the person I was seeking a recommendation from, could help in my application process. Because you can ask a high-rank professor or employee to write you a recommendation, but they might not know you well enough. My advice would be to get a letter from someone who knows you really well. And to make sure they present you as the right person for the program.
If you had to start the whole application process from the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would certainly write earlier to my university professors and my supervisors. Also, I would buy the preparation books and materials in advance. The key is to have a clear plan of what you want to do, and how long it’s going to take you. From there all you have to do is actually start preparing.
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