How realistic are my chances of converting a top B school after a 2 year gap?
Long story short - It won't affect you if you have a good story to back it up.
Long story -
I have a few friends at different IIMs who have converted the IIMs despite having year gaps. All of them had one thing in common - the art of convincing the interview panel that they did not simply throw away those 2 years of gap. Instead, they explained how the experiences in those two precious years motivated you to go for MBA.
Write an essay
if you do write an essay about yourself, you could talk about what you did during that time. Did you travel or do volunteer work? Anything that makes the interviewers hooked up to your content. A lame excuse won't work, that would just create an impression that you just ran away from your work or didn't want to do it.
Because you can't undo the sin (if at all you have not used the two years fruitfully). Neither you can travel time to go back and change those two years. The best you can do is to act upon the present i.e come up with the most convincing story.
All the best :)
Thank you. Your answer has given me some hope.
TL;DR - Chances are not great, but you never know. If you score well/have scored well in CAT/non-CAT exams, your profile is good (academics), and if you can convince the interview panel by giving a reasonable justification for your gap, then perhaps you can salvage an admission offer.
People before you with similar issues have managed to convert B-schools. I can think of 3-4 such cases that I read about on iQuanta who converted B-schools like MDI, MICA, and other institutes. But all of them had one thing in common - a really good academic profile (90-90-80), at least from what I remember.
So, it is not impossible.
It all boils down to this - what did you do in those 2 years?
Scenario 1 - You were preparing for competitive exams (CAT, UPSC etc.) and did not take up a job.
In this scenario, your chances of converting become somewhat difficult. One of my acquaintances had a 1.5-year gap and appeared for SPJIMR and IIM Shillong interviews and did not get selected, even though his academic profile was quite decent. His justifications were not great. He was preparing for CAT and GMAT and he did not take up a job, internship or any other productive task or project.
Interview panels perceive this as laziness, and lack of dedication towards your professional career, because you see around 3/5th of most MBA batches have 1-4 years of work experience, and if 60%+ can get into B-schools by preparing for CAT with a job, interview panels won't understand why you couldn't. Also, this gap will be a difficulty for the B-school to get you placed.
In short, your chances will be very difficult here. Once again, it's not impossible.
Scenario 2 - You did internships, certificate courses, and prepared for competitive exams on the side without taking up a job.
This is much better than Scenario 1, and you have a much higher chance of converting a B-school because you may not have worked, but you were pragmatic enough to be productive and that can form a basis for your justification for a two-year gap.
This won't be easy to convert either, but with the right explanation, things may actually work out in your favour.
My opinion - If you already have a 2-year gap and are going to prepare for CAT in 2019, don't extend it. Take up a job and start working. There are way too many benefits of work experience when it comes to MBA admissions.
If you're considering dropping a year to extend your career gap to two years, don't do it. Take up a job.
If you're sitting for B-school interviews in March-end/April, then please start thinking of highly reasonable justifications to give to the interview panel.
Ok. Thank you for your answer. I graduated in 2018 and was planning to sit for cat 2019.