Experts’ Global: Hi Bethun, thank you for agreeing to talk with us today! Could you kindly share your journey with us?
Bethun: I am in the first year of my MBA, and before the business school immersion, I posted eight years of experience in primary entrepreneurship and general management roles. As a three-time entrepreneur, I felt I should pursue an MBA to upgrade my skill sets and explore problem-solving at a bigger scale within corporates. With the help of MBA admissions consultants Experts’ Global, and a GMAT score of 700 on my second attempt, I secured admission to five schools.
I got admitted to HKUST, Cornell Tech, and Babson with varying degrees of scholarship support. My Oxford admit came without a scholarship, but I finally settled on the STEM MBA at the Mendoza College of Business in Notre Dame with a 100% scholarship!
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what actions of yours made the difference in your success?
Bethun: There are three parts to your application. The first is your profile and work history, which you cannot do much to enhance since it is already past. The second and third are your GMAT score and application materials respectively. The GMAT is truly important, especially in the hunt for scholarships, but your application needs to be a reflection of your true motivations. The sooner you get your GMAT done the better because you can then introspect at length about your reasons for an MBA.
Experts’ Global: With the benefit of hindsight, what mistakes did you make in the process?
Bethun: My major mistake lay in mishandling the application timelines. I took my second and final crack at the GMAT in the first week of January, and two of my targeted schools had application deadlines for the following week! I would advise other applicants to keep at least six months in hand for the entire application process, instead of condensing it as I did.
Further, scoring high on the GMAT is recommended for Indian applicants, as we generally have amongst the highest scores on the test, making the competition fierce. Use a good-quality GMAT online course to clarify your concepts and practice questions at your convenience!
Experts’ Global: Regarding your GMAT preparation, what resources did you use and what advice do you have for other applicants?
Bethun: I benefitted much from the Experts’ Global GMAT mock tests. I was able to complete 6 out of the 15 mocks before I took my actual GMAT. I also used the Manhattan Advanced GMAT Quant guide. I would definitely recommend others to plan out their prep better, take more mock tests earlier, identify where their weaknesses are, and then try to shore up the same.
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your lessons from managing the application timeline?
Bethun: Make sure to have a firm list of schools in mind before you begin working on your applications. Do your research to pick schools that provide the best outcomes for the particular field you wish to enter post-MBA. In my case, Mendoza was a good choice as it connected me to an in-house fundraising program for start-ups. In the year I have spent on the MBA, I have raised USD 140k in equity funding, and the valuation of my August-2020-founded start-up has tripled to USD 1.5 million.
Further, through the Business on the Front Lines initiative, I have got the chance to work with the University of Puerto Rico to develop their business school and enhance the entrepreneurship ecosystem across the island. Mendoza also offers an applied investment management module where you get to manage an equity portfolio worth USD 28 million. Knowing these things about the schools you target will help you write well-tailored essays and come up with situation-specific interview answers.
Experts’ Global: How was your MBA interview experience?
Bethun: My past work with non-profits, including an initiative at Durgapur to set up the third-largest medicine bank in the region, was something I focused on during my Mendoza interview. My MBA interview prep had positioned me to have certain answers to common interview questions in hand, and I modulated these answers as per the USP of the school in question. In a more general sense, the idea is to think about your life story and present how you have created an impact, how you can benefit the MBA community, and what your vision is for the future.
Experts’ Global: What can you tell us about your MBA experience thus far?
Bethun: Overall, I have had a fantastic time until this point. The US seems to be going through a Great Resignation phase, which means more companies are looking to hire for growth roles. I am currently interning at EY, a firm that only this year began to look beyond the top 10 schools to hire talent. My peers in the internship are from schools such as Berkeley, Stanford, Wharton, and Harvard, so there is significant scope for MBA students to target more aggressive roles right now.
Experts’ Global: How has your internship search during the MBA been and what advice do you have for future students on the same?
Bethun: Be very intentional and figure out what you want as early as possible because time in the MBA glides by very fast. In the very first semester, investment banking firms come recruiting, so students targeting roles in the industry have to come prepared from the jump. People are often overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options opened up by an MBA, in terms of which industry to enter. Research your chosen field as soon as you get your admission. Reach out to alumni and current students from your soon-to-begin MBA and get a clearer idea of what to expect.
Experts’ Global: What mistakes would you advise other GMAT and MBA applicants to avoid?
Bethun: It is always good to get polished guidance during your GMAT preparation, so that you can get a good score well in time and start the application process on a high note. Selecting a good GMAT mock series is crucial to getting a high GMAT score, and you should try out several free GMAT practice tests before settling on a single set of mocks. Reaching out to others who have already been through the MBA journey is crucial, as their insights into their failures and struggles can make your own path easier!
Experts’ Global: What is your final word to our readers?
Bethun: The MBA is a big investment in terms of money and time alike. Make sure that your motivations for the program are crystal clear. Alongside significantly boosting your employability, an MBA will allow you to build connections you would otherwise have missed. I used this opportunity to work on my start-up, but others might wish to pursue personal interests or hobbies through the several on-campus collectives. Once you know what you want, all that remains is exercising your strategy perfectly!
Experts’ Global: Many congratulations on your substantial scholarship-supported admit, and thank you for sharing your insights with us, Bethun!
Bethun: Sure! I am more than willing to further help any prospective applicants who wish to reach out!