So, you were relaxing and chilling in your undergraduate degree and ended up with low academics and those Purane Paap (Old Sins) won't stop haunting you? Well, you are not alone and being a five-pointer engineer, I can very well relate to you.
After being asked to explain those grades at every other B-School interview, you have finally made it to one! Congratulations, as the saying goes, the fun has only begun. Your grades are still going to be used: Initially, to filter your resume from the pool of candidates while being shortlisted for your SIPs and then as a weapon during the PI round.
You must already have a good story by now, which definitely worked in your last interview. What else can you add to your arsenal? Well, these tips are applicable to every incoming student out there, who wants to beat the others in the rat race and emerge victoriously:
1. Resume, Resume, Resume
So, you ranked 1st in a class test where the strength of students was 100. Let's look at how this could be framed as a CV point:
Stood 1st in a class of 100 during my ___ standard
Ranked at the 99th percentile...
Well, jokes apart, the sole focus should be on getting rare and distinguishing CV points to stand apart from the crowd. Keep reading on to find multiple ways to do it.
2. Case Competitions
Every week or so, a new case competition would be announced. You would be ever-enthusiastic (and so will your batchmates) in the initial ones. Almost every Raj, Ahmed and Mahesh would apply to these and make the final submission. This buzz would soon subside as people lose interest. That is when you have to save the energy for. Given that you might have already appeared for an X number of case competitions, you have more or less figured out what is expected of you. There are folks who believe they wouldn't be able to compete, especially in the ones wherein the senior batch is also participating. At times, a fresh perspective is all you need. Again, as the competition is now relatively lower, the fruits of accomplishment (read coveted CV points) are hanging low and you must seize the opportunity.
3. Live Projects
Update your LinkedIn, add every great achievement out there, and start messaging your undergrad and b-school alumni for live project opportunities. Do it for the learning, show them how you can add value by sharing your skill-set and any other relevant information. You will have to send 100s of messages before you land up with a live project opportunity. You can automate the mass messaging using free LinkedIn automation tools.
4. Online Courses
There are two ways you could approach online courses - Do it for the sake of the certificate or do it for the sake of the learning (of course you get the certificate too). It goes without saying which approach is better. Additionally, once you have completed a course, try to implement what you learnt in a practical setting. Unless you do so, you will not remember any of it when actually required.
Take your subject projects seriously, try to do something out of the box. Involve technology, automate something, get some good numbers ready for the CV. Do something that is different from what the others are doing. Not to forget, build a strong team. You will mostly end up continuing with this team for the rest of your b-school projects.
I am not telling you to start dancing and be a star dancer if you have never done so. All I mean is try to get some sort of tangible certification portraying your skills. While not possible in every case, you sure can give it a shot. These are good talking points.
7. Mentor (The Gyaan Wale Seniors)
Assuming the classes will be held online (for the first-term or so), try to connect with seniors wherever possible and seek direction. B-School is all about seniors helping the juniors and this cycle is what results in incrementally better batches.
All the very best on your b-school journey. Buckle up and brace yourself.
P.S.: Especially for all those lazy ones like me: You are going to miss those 8 hour long sleeps.