Experts’ Global: Hi Pradeep, thank you so much for giving us your valuable time and interviewing with us. May we request you please share your journey and your story in your own words?
Pradeep: Starting with my undergrad degree, I graduated as a mechanical engineer back in 2011 from NIT Kurukshetra, after which I worked for five years with Maruti Suzuki, both in India and in Japan. Early in my professional life, I decided to pursue a business degree. The global nature of my work pushed me to explore international business schools, and the US was a natural choice as a starting point.
In 2014, I reached out to Experts’ Global for assistance with my GMAT prep, prompted by the quality of their free GMAT mock! Further, Experts’ Global’s help was essential in my application success. In 2016, I joined the ’18 MBA class at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and have been working with Navistar ever since, being currently based in Canada.
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what are a few factors or actions you took that made all the difference?
Pradeep: The primary factor was the decision to pursue a business degree itself. Around five years into my career, I began to feel the need to supplement my work experience with a managerial qualification. Higher education was a topic of conversation in my circles, as we were all at similar career stages. Beyond that desire for self-improvement, my growing clarity about the career path I wanted to take was also an important factor.
Experts’ Global: Going back to your preparation phase, what were the main GMAT resources that you used, and what kind of advice would you give to future candidates regarding preparation today?
Pradeep: To be honest, back then, I mostly used Experts’ Global’s resources. I know that the GMAT course at Experts’ Global is digitized now, but when I studied with the firm, they provided me with a binder of paper resources and training materials that were truly exhaustive.
My first attempt at the GMAT got me a 680. The second attempt landed me a 740! Before the second attempt, I had extensively taken GMAT mocks. The sheer number of mocks I attempted allowed me to get into a problem-solving rhythm, and to time my answers well.
I did also visit GMAT Club, among other websites. Many of them had really good resources, with 760+ quant questions and 770+ verbal questions. Comparing the resources to Experts’ Global’s prep material though, I could see the difference in scope. Staying with the Experts’ Global GMAT preparation program allowed me to make the most of my limited time, considering I was then working six days a week. I would advise students to find a prep program that works for them, and stick to it!
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your experience and lessons from managing the application timeline?
Pradeep: The most important thing for me was applying early. I applied in 2015, with a strong score, and plenty of time to plan out my applications with Experts’ Global’s MBA admissions consultants guiding me. We made sure to apply in round one of the admissions processes for the year, and I feel this approach netted me many conversions.
To aspirants, I would say that if you apply in round one, and get admission to your targeted schools, you have a choice on your hands. You can be more aggressive and target better schools in the next round, or rest up and prepare at leisure for your MBA. Often, that depends on a person’s financial circumstances and workload, so do what is manageable!
Experts’ Global: Insightful! How would you describe your MBA experience?
Pradeep: Bittersweet is how I would describe my MBA experience. Fortunately, I had a scholarship from my business school, and was able to avoid incurring any debt during my studies and so realistically finance my studies. As a risk-averse individual, I was quite happy about that!
However, I was trying to move from an operations role to an HR role, and this made my business school experience tricky. The classroom setting and the lessons were all fantastic. My peers were some of the smartest people that I have ever had the pleasure to interact with, and I learned much from them. The problem was that around 2016, a lot of restrictions related to immigration and visas for international students came into effect in the US. This also had an impact on campus recruiting, as only one company decided to sponsor an international student from my MBA class.
Even securing an internship was tough, because of my functional transition. I feel that I was also unable to effectively communicate my story to potential employers. I did end up securing a full-time job offer in the end, which was ultimately rescinded because the company that hired me underwent restructuring. Students should know that the employment outlook after an MBA is not always rosy and that times may get tough. It worked out for me alright, as I ended up in an HR role, in a job that I love!
Experts’ Global: Regarding the job search during the MBA, what kind of tips would you like to give to future candidates?
Pradeep: Networking is very important. Learn how to network and connect with people, with the mindset of reaching out because you want to learn. Reach out to people when you go through their LinkedIn profiles and find something interesting there; try and gain mentorship and guidance, as well as build those relationships early in your career.
Also, understand how to communicate your story well. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to know how to communicate where you are coming from, where you are, and where you are going, in a pitch ranging from 45 seconds to three minutes. At the end of the day, we are all storytellers in some way, shape, or form!
Experts’ Global: What kind of mistakes do you think GMAT aspirants must avoid?
Pradeep: Depends on the stages of the process. If you are preparing for the GMAT, do not run around various websites and forums, trying to get different questions and solve them. Just focus on the process of upgrading your verbal and quantitative skills and concepts. After that, pick a set of GMAT mocks and practice until you reach the score you are targeting. Practice is the vital part. You might reach a point where you have mastered the concepts, but it is your practice that will give you a winning edge.
Experts’ Global: What would be your final message and suggestions to future aspirants and MBA applicants?
Pradeep: All the best! It is a fun, exciting journey you are on. There can be a lot of ambiguity along the path, but always trust yourself. You are choosing to be ambitious and there is no harm in that. You are choosing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and that is always commendable. There will be, at times, a lot of challenges and you might feel discouraged. However, just push through it. It worked out for me and I am certain that it will work out for you too!
Experts’ Global: Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
Pradeep: No worries! I will be happy to connect with aspirants and help them where I can. Thank you so much!