Exceptional Promise (PM applicant). Rejected, Appealed, Endorsed

Hello,

I’m posting below my TN application details to pay forward the help I received from this forum and in the hope that it helps others in a similar situation.

TLDR;
I’m a PM from Pakistan, currently based in the UK. I applied for Stage 1 in mid-November and received a rejection during the winter break. I failed MC but passed both OC2 and OC3.

I got a lawyer to appeal the decision by Jan-end (feel free to inbox me if you want the lawyer’s contact details, he is happy to be speak to other applicants). Despite the initial rejection, I had some faith in my application and believed that there was ample ground to appeal the decision as key parts of the evidence had clearly been overlooked or misjudged. But I still got a lawyer because I didn’t want to take any chances. I gave the lawyer an initial draft of the appeal and he added finesse to it and changed one of the 4 appeal points. The appeal was successful and I got the revised decision within 3 weeks of submitting the appeal.

Evidences & LoRs
Evidence:

  1. Reference letter from Analytics Professor (UK MBA transcript attached + evaluating my work at ABC company as an external predictive modelling expert)
  2. UK MBA Dean reference letter (including incubation program acceptance letter)
  3. Payslips
  4. Reference letter from organiser of Pakistan’s premier startup conference (evidence of my role in organising the event via pictures, media, press coverage etc)
  5. Reference letter from a place I was an intern at
  6. Highlights from MBA (reference letter from MBA program director noting scholarship award and my election to lead MBA tech careers club)
  7. Evidence of leading MBA tech careers club (events organised, pictures, mentorship to incoming cohorts and 3 mentee testimonials)
  8. Mentorship and career support evidence from network in Pakistan (mentee testimonials + election to undergrad’s alumni council)
  9. Reference letter from CTO of ABC company certifying my £XXXk commercial impact
  10. Screenshot of Data Architecture and MLOps pipeline of past product releases at ABC company

MC evidences:
1,2,3,4,5,6
OC2 evidences:
4,6,7,8
OC3 evidences:
1,3,9,10

LoRs:

  1. Co-Founder of ABC company i was working at
  2. Leading EdTech VC
  3. Founder/CEO of incubator I was working at in PK

TechNation initial feedback:
The candidate has applied with optional criteria 2 and 3 (work outside occupation and impact). The candidate has not provided sufficient information to be endorsed for exceptional promise. The candidate has not shown he has been recognised as having potential to be a leading talent in the digital technology sector in the last five years. Although the evidence indicates an enthusiastic product manager and dedicated learning, there is nothing to show extraordinary ability by emerging national or international recognition or demonstrate a level of emerging expertise which places him at the forefront of the field.

Several of the recommendations are from people who will not know the candidate well, including someone he interviewed with and someone who supported him on an internship.

Academic references are useful, but they do not pertain to his work for business but his time at the university. The evidence does not show him leading the growth of a product-led digital technology company, product or team, winning substantive awards or having built a substantial public profile. More information is required.

The candidate has been able to show recognition for work beyond his occupation that contributes to the advancement of the field. He has contributed to several societies and mentoring opportunities alongside work to support events in Pakistan and to support connectivity there.

The candidate has demonstrated significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field at a product-led digital technology company via his work with ABC company building proprietary tools for the business and increasing efficiency.

Appeal
You can appeal on up to 4 points:

  1. Assessment Panel Feedback: “Although the evidence indicates an enthusiastic product manager…there is nothing to show extraordinary ability by emerging national or international recognition…Academic references are useful, but they do not pertain to his work for business but his time at the university. The evidence does not show him…winning substantive awards”.
    Scholarship had been misjudged as something I had received during my MBA rather than BEFORE my MBA, hence it was for work done outside university and was awarded after a competitive application as cited by MBA program director
  2. Assessment Panel Feedback: “Although the evidence indicates…dedicated learning, there is nothing to…demonstrate a level of emerging expertise which places him at the forefront of the field…Academic references are useful, but they do not pertain to his work for business but his time at the university”.
    My analytics professor, in addition to citing my performance in his course, also offered a positive review of the work I had done at ABC company where I got to apply the concepts I studied in his course. This also qualifies as work done outside university
  3. Assessment Panel Feedback: “The evidence does not show him leading the growth of a product-led digital technology company, product or team”
    The company I worked at was based in the UK but operated in emerging markets where the £XXX commercial value of the product release means a lot more and hence signifies growth for the company, as also cited by the CoFounder in her LoR
  4. Assessment Panel Feedback: “The evidence does not show him…having built a substantial public profile.”
    Quoted press coverage to show scale of PK startup tech event + election as MBA tech careers club.

Generally I used an almost MLA style citation format to quote direct para/lines from my submitted evidences/LoRs to make it easy for the reviewer to see what part of the evidence had been overlooked/misjudged eg Product Release A had £XXX impact on company’s growth as noted by the Co-Founder (Evidence 1, para 5). Always tried to quote more than one source from the evidence where it was possible (but not always possible). They don’t tell you which appeal point was the key deciding factor or if it was a combination so no idea what worked exactly.

My takeaway:
There is a fine line b/w putting in sufficient detail in your evidence docs and overloading reviewer by putting in too much info such that the key points become missed. I probably fell into the latter bucket. If I could do it again, I’d use one of the 10 evidence docs to just cite points from the TN visa guide and point towards how the other 9 docs meet that criteria.

Thanks a lot to @Francisca_Chiedu @westside @Maya @Secure_Tobs for your initial feedback.

Feel free to put in any questions in the comments and wish me luck for stage 2. Thank you.

cc: @ask4jubad @wanderer_007

9 Likes

Big congratulations @Jazeb

Congratulations @Jazeb. I hope to share my testimony here soonest.

@Jazeb, Congratulations! Did you write a one-paragraph explanation on the first page of each evidence ? I’ve seen people suggest such an introductory paragraph. Would you like to use a single document only to associate items even though you wrote it?

1 Like

I know what you mean. I did do that too in my initial application but it was more just 2 lines around the context of the evidence. Due to limitation of space I couldn’t quote the TN guide in those 2 lines.

Whichever method you choose, as long as you’re able to make as explicit as possible as how the evidence meets the TN criteria, it should be okay.

One more thing I want to add that Francisca pointed out. My initial application involved a lot of academic references which in of itself is not a great strategy. To reduce reliance on academic work, I asked my analytics professor to also verify the xxx£ impact and technical complexity of the product I released at ABC company as an external subject matter expert in evidence 1. I highlighted this in my appeal point 3 to show how my work led to the growth of ABC company, in addition to the xxx£ commercial impact mentioned by the co-founder in her LoR. I’d recommend a similar strategy to others getting academic references

@Jazeb Please inbox the lawyer details to me.

For me, I had an entire three page document that i used to explain how the other 9 evidences met the criteria. I called it a cover letter.

I have a question: can one evidence be applied to multiple criteria? I think in the Tech Nation guide they said no?

Lawyer contact: John Kiely john.kiely@howardkennedy.com.