Experts’ Global: Hi Ravikiran, thank you for agreeing to today’s interview! Could you kindly share your story with us?
Ravikiran: Sure! I have an undergrad background in Engineering and a postgrad management diploma. Three years into my first job, I saw that most senior leaders in my firm had a background in finance, so I targeted a program in Quantitative Finance in the US with the help of MBA admissions consultants Experts’ Global.
Experts’ Global: What actions of yours do you think made the difference in your success?
Ravikiran: Looking back, when I was getting ready for my applications, I reached out to peers from my alma maters who had already pursued higher education in the US. I also used LinkedIn to identify alumni from my target schools working in the field of my interest and reached out to them. Their advice helped me structure both my expectations from my education as well as my responses in the essays.
Experts’ Global: Going back to your preparation phase, what were the main resources that you used, and what would be your advice to future candidates?
Ravikiran: For my GRE prep, I used Barron’s for the English sections, which was a good decision in hindsight. In terms of your applications, make sure to start well in advance of the deadline to account for delays in getting recommendations and drafting and redrafting essays as per the particularities of each school you apply to.
Experts’ Global: How was your program interview experience?
Ravikiran: For my Master’s in Quantitative Finance, I had virtual interviews where I recorded answers to simple behavioral questions about challenges that I have overcome in my life. With some prior interview prep, these questions posed little trouble.
Experts’ Global: What was your Master’s experience like?
Ravikiran: I attended Rutgers, and my program specialized in Quantitative Finance. I gained a good balance of hard finance skills as well as an understanding of the soft skills required to succeed in Finance under my professors’ tutelage. I picked some of the more intensive math courses as well as programming courses to build additional skills. Indeed, networking with my professors led to my first internship!
In terms of the peer experience, I got to build relationships with some truly learned professionals from around the world. I was able to use their insights and perspectives to augment my own and make the fullest use of our excellent location close to New York City.
Experts’ Global: What was your post-program job search like and what tips do you have for future candidates?
Ravikiran: Finding a job after a Master’s in the US is all about networking. You have to apply to as many jobs as you can, and tailor your cover letter and resume for each application to highlight the aspects of your profile that best fit each job. Converting your program internship is usually the best chance that you have to obtain a full-time job offer, but even if that does not work out, you will be fine in the long run. There were people in my class who received offers even six months after they graduated. Stay strong and keep applying!
Experts’ Global: How do you think your pre-application experience and Master’s journey added to your growth?
Ravikiran: Many of the skill sets I developed during my Master’s have been especially useful in my job since graduating. I have been able to use my programming knowledge to automate a few reports and enable time savings. The job market is quite fluid currently and I often get reach outs from recruiters looking to hire for Quantitative Finance roles, reach outs that my peers do not receive. In this way, my postgrad has boosted my employability considerably.
The pre-application process, with the time management it tested, the multiple external dependencies it entailed, and the soul-searching it required, helped me build the necessary resilience to persevere in my post-program job hunt!
Experts’ Global: What mistakes should all Master’s in Quantitative Finance aspirants avoid?
Ravikiran: Make sure to look beyond the top ten schools alone, when selecting which programs to apply to. Do not focus solely on a school’s brand name or location; instead, focus on the optimal ROI for yourself considering the financial investment you can realistically make.
Further, make sure that your essays are tailored as per the USPs of each school you apply to. Some schools might have a math focus, while others might emphasize commercial applicability. Make sure that your essays for each school are geared to present you as a good candidate in line with what the school is looking for specifically.
Experts’ Global: What is your final message to the Master’s aspirants reading this?
Ravikiran: Use your Master’s experience to immerse yourself in a culture different from that of the country you live in! If you have some idea of your budget before you start your two-year program, it will help you worry less and do more with your time. Have a clear understanding of the role you are targeting after the Master’s so that you can pick electives that best prepare you for the said role.
Experts’ Global: Your journey is inspiring to listen to, and thank you for sharing your insights, Ravikiran!
Ravikiran: You are most welcome!