8 Ways to build your profile for an MBA
Is my profile good enough for me to get into a top B-School?
This is among the most common questions which all CAT aspirants struggle with.
Remember, CAT is a standard checkpoint which all MBA aspirants will appear for. Thus, to get selected, you will either have to stand out amongst the crowd or have a healthy balance of all the other prerequisites which top B-Schools look for in a candidate. Besides, many colleges like S.P.Jain and ISB give heavy weightage to the profile of candidates, and hence this is something that cannot be neglected anymore.
A good approach would be to start considering these parameters early on in your undergrad and work on them gradually. We have listed eight such parameters below which can help you build a strong profile:
1. Academics & Competitive exams:
As a distinct weightage is generally given to your 10th, 12th and undergrad scores, this aspect of your profile cannot be undermined. A tip that can go a long way in scoring well in college is: Talk to your seniors. Ask them how and what sort of questions to prepare for, which resources to refer to, etc. Doing well in college academically will not only automatically improve your profile but will also give you access to valuable scholarships.
Some scholarships to consider are:
Olympiads during your school years can also strengthen your profile. Some reputed olympiads are:
Alternatively, make sure you list out your scores at other competitive exams (the XAT, JEE, SAT, GMAT)- these are also looked at and can add more credibility to your academic qualifications.
2. Internships and Live Projects:
Internships as a fresher are like bread to butter- while the academics get you in, these are going to be your talking points! You need to be able to demonstrate how you have fit in a real organization, whether they were right to take you onboard and why the company/college that’s taking you right now, will benefit by having you there!
Lesson number 1: Be persistent with your applications and use all the platforms at your disposal. Apply, and apply effectively. Typing “Interested” beneath LinkedIn posts won’t get you internships, but aggressively approaching people with your profile, crafting well-honed application cover letters for the kind of profiles you’re looking for will. If your college has an internship cell or drive, then make the most of it; otherwise, get active on Internshala, Letsintern, LinkedIn, etc to land a suitable internship for yourself.
While interning, always try to quantify the work you have done at your internship. Here’s an example of how you could quantify if you were a social media/digital marketing intern:
“I have made an _____percentage increase of web traffic to the page”
“Worked to make ________ Facebook/IG/Twitter garner ____+ new followers in ___ days
handle gain 101k+ unique profile reaches & 250k+ profile impressions
Increased engagement rate by _______%
Generated ______+ unique profile views
Devised creative post campaigns to improve content- (here name a few + samples will help!)
This means that when you’re wrapping your internship up, ask whoever you’re reporting to for access to this data. It’ll help tremendously later on because, in the eyes of a recruiter, they want to know exactly how you’ve benefited another firm, which hints what you can offer for them too!
3. Certifications and Courses:
These courses can help you prove your inclination towards a particular field and hence strengthen your profile. Apart from professional courses like CA, CFA, FRM, you can also opt for Online Courses on platforms like Coursera, Udemy, EdX, etc. Try to choose a field that interests you and then narrow down on courses relevant to that field. This way, in addition to exploring your interests, you can build your resume simultaneously.
Some MOOCs to explore are:
4. Volunteer at NGOs:
This is an easy opportunity that college students often miss out on. Unlike internships, volunteering roles are much easier to grab. Apart from local NGOs, certain bodies function across the country such as Make a Difference, Teach for India, etc. You can use the exposure gained here as a means to find other internships as well.
The social angle shows that you are empathetic and enthusiastic about giving back to society. Today, we need leaders with a head & a heart. Demonstrating this side of yours helps you communicate it well.
5. Learn a new language:
A rather underrated way to add value to your resume is by learning a new language! Things like Duolingo make it super easy to pick up a language at a conversational level but to really flex your multilingual skills, present your interest in a more tangible way by doing the exams at their respective globally recognized examination center. You can opt for a relatively easier language (relatively, because the script is still Latin!) like German or French or go for a pictorial language like Mandarin or Japanese which has wider global applicability but is more difficult to learn. Certain international opportunities require knowledge of foreign languages and hence this can give you an edge over your peers.
For German, you may check out Max Mueller Bhavan.
For French, you may check out Alliance Française.
6. Join clubs and societies:
Although this advice might sound cliched, the benefit of joining college societies is truly immense. They can be a route to earn positions of responsibility which will help you hone your leadership and communication skills. They can be used as a great avenue to connect with like-minded peers and seniors. Outside college as well, you can join bodies like Rotaract, Toastmasters, etc to network effectively.
Another golden chance that you can capitalize on while in college is starting your own club. There are certain global student communities like Enactus, 180 Degrees Consulting, etc. If your college doesn’t already have a chapter of such organizations, be the one to set it up.
7. Participate in competitions and events:
Abandon the fear of failure and embrace opportunities of participating in competitions related to your field of interest. Dare2Compete is a leading platform that hosts such opportunities. Apart from that, look out for events happening on your campus and register for them without hesitation. Apart from the cash prizes and internships which you might earn if you win such competitions, participating in them will greatly help you build your confidence and personality
From a purely resume point of view, being a campus finalist is a viable resume point. If you make it to regional or national finals, well, it’s a given that you’ve got to write it there! Within an MBA as well, you’ll find it as being extremely popular to watch peers doing case study competitions day in and day out. Many bag PPI’s/PPO’s from the same, as big firms notice you during these competitions.
8. Pursue a hobby:
A hobby like quizzing, sports, music, cooking, or painting can greatly help you in your interviews. However, nothing you say is a hobby is a hobby unless you can really talk about it. Don’t list one for the heck of it, you’ll never know if your IIM Bangalore interview panelist is also a hardcore rock fan, and he ends up outwitting you! Know your stuff, be confident in what you do, but be humble and accept when you have more to learn.
Regardless of your expertise in the field, if you want to talk about it, try and go beyond the average to prove your interest in it. For instance, if you enjoy cooking, start an Instagram page or a Youtube channel to show off your skills. An art page as a portfolio for your work or a SoundCloud to flex your new DJing set. Keep it accountable, and make sure people can go back to see that they’re genuinely trying. Remember, it is not as important to have xx no. of followers as it is to start off with the endeavor. Starting off will give you insights that many closer artists won’t have, and it’s these insights that B-Schools and companies are looking for.
Interested in learning about how to approach the CAT? Check out our Strategise the CAT series here!