How did everyone overcome this challenge? We asked 29 students of the Class of 2020 about their MBA applications experience including the time length to prepare their whole applications, how long they studied GMAT/GRE, to whom they asked their reference letters, how they prepared for the interview, and their advice for the future MBA students.
The students who joined the Hitotsubashi ICS official applications process tended to take 6 months to prepare, whereas *Young Leader's Program(YLP) students took less than 3 months.
This is mainly because the GMAT/GRE score is optional for the YLP candidates but mandatory for the applicants of the Hitotsubashi ICS official applications process.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of the students who passed the Hitotsubashi ICS application process admitted that preparing for GMAT/GRE was the hardest part of the whole process.
The YLP is one of the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Program. Hitotsubashi ICS is the only institution in Japan where recipients of the prestigious and competitive YLP scholarships are eligible to study business management.
They tended to prepare for GMAT/GRE before starting the Hitotsubashi ICS application process. They studied for seven months overall on average. "Taking practice exams on the GMAT official website is an efficient way to increase your GMAT score", one student suggested.
Two reference letters are mandatory to apply to Hitotsubashi ICS. In addition, at least one letter should come from a supervisor from the applicant’s current or previous employer. Whom did the students ask to write their reference letters? Besides their current supervisors, the two most common answers were their current colleagues and their former bosses. Others requested their previous colleagues, professors, and even a person who knows the applicant from her pro-bono activities. The key is that you should ask someone who knows you the best.
The second screening is the interview.
The Class of 2020 had to do three essential things to prepare: clarify once again why you wanted to pursue an MBA in Hitotsubashi ICS, prepare their answers to FAQ, and practice, practice, practice!
Many students answered that they looked into details of their essays and Hitotsubaushi ICS to clearly understand why they were applying. "Just sorted out some points about why I would like to join the MBA program, and how my past career and future career would be enhanced by the ICS program." To learn about the school, the students looked closely at the website and attended the school's events.
Then many students prepared their answers, consolidating their core responses to the questions. Some reached out to the alumni, students, or friends who had participated in the MBA interview to learn more about it. Then they practiced until they felt completely confident. Some practiced with their friends, and others found an English tutor.
Advice from Class of 2020
"Prepare early!" This is what many students suggested. "It is better if you can get a GMAT score as soon as possible because you can then focus more on your essay process, which is more important." When writing the essay, many people recommended students take a deep dive into themselves. "Have a thorough conversation with yourself! No one in the world knows you better than yourself". It is crucial to know yourself to convince the school. "Being able to show a unique combination of skills and experiences you've gained in the past is key to communicating the value you can give to the class."
Some recommended you consult with someone you trust to brush up on your goal.
Another student made a good point that "how to encourage yourself is the most important part of the application. Knowing your own motivation helps you a lot." To maintain your motivation and gather information, some suggested connecting with alumni, students, and other applicants.
To get updated information, some students recommended attending one of the recruiting events for Hitotsubashi ICS.
Finally, we received good advice about how to improve delivering one’s message. "Drafting an essay seems intimidating, but you can always start by jotting down any story/project you can think of that demonstrates a certain quality." "Express your personality and uniqueness with confidence!"
We wish you the best of luck for the first challenge of your MBA journey.
If you need help or have questions, please contact us anytime