A 25 year-old Indian man has won a place on the University of Iowa’s Tippie MBA program thanks to Twitter, after his tweet-entry saw him selected as the sole recipient of its international scholarship.

The story isn’t as crazy as you may first think as, last year, the university opened an initiative to encourage MBA candidates to use the microblogging service to win a paid-for place on the program.

Rahul Rathi, who has spent the last five years as an engineer, won his place — which is worth more than $36,000 — after his tweet and link playing on the word ‘packaging’ was selected:

The real selling point of the entry is in the link provided, rather than the tweet itself, although no doubt a well put together 140 character messages can get things off to a good start.

rahul image 520x309 25 year old Indian bags his place on a $36,000 US based MBA program thanks to a tweet

Rathi, who is the second Tippie student plucked from Twitter and the first from overseas, linked his tweet to a series of simple images annotated with his strengths. One impressed judging panel commented:

The photo slideshow was a unique way to present information, and he chose to keep it simple while communicating his points effectively. We appreciated that and the message came through loud and clear.

Tweeting entries isn’t mandatory and other more traditional methods are open to applicants, though the university revealed that an impressive 30 percent of its prospective international candidates applied through the popular social media site.

With the international competition over, the university’s domestic application process remains open until the end of June, with Twitter one submission option for those interested.

While I’m a Twitter addict, as my 20,000 plus tweets to date testify, I wouldn’t feel comfortable communicating something this personal and important over the site, nor any other social network. Kudos to those that do though, it’s great to see an educational establishment firmly embrace new communications channel, even if the prospect does sound a little gimmicky.

Note: There’s is one fairly significant #fail, as the University at Iowa has no link to Rathi’s Twitter account or his tweet application. We’ve contacted the organization for these details.

Update: The university has confirmed that Rathi’s Twitter account is @rathirahul86 but, before you go dropping him congratulatory tweets, it’s worth noting that his account is set to private. [He’s not private any longer and has provided the link to the tweet-application.]