Experts’ Global: Hi Amit, thank you for interviewing with us! Could you kindly share your story in your own words?
Amit: I would say that my story has three parts. I think of it as life before, during, and after the MBA. My pre-MBA career in a trading firm exposed me to high-impact professionals who inspired me to educate myself in the field through an MBA. I secured admission to Rice in 2018, working thereafter at Hewlett Packard and moving to Google about a year ago.
Experts’ Global: That is quite the path! In your opinion, what actions of yours made the difference to your success?
Amit: I believe that reciprocity is a big part of success during the MBA journey. Especially during the program itself, I had the opportunity to help classmates with their assignments on certain occasions, and those friends did me good turns in return during my job search. Networking, with a desire to help others as well, was a key aspect of my decision-making.
Experts’ Global: In hindsight, what mistakes did you make along the way?
Amit: I applied to MBA programs over two separate admissions cycles. Learning from my shortcomings the first time around, I worked with MBA admissions consultants Experts’ Global on my second go to form a modular approach to my essay writing and GMAT prep alike. Earlier, I had worked with generic essays that I made minor tweaks to for different schools, but bringing in a more detail-oriented, research-based touch helped me with my admissions success.
Experts’ Global: For GMAT studies, what resources did you use and what advice do you have for future applicants?
Amit: On my second attempt at MBA applications, I realized that I needed to devote around four months of dedicated study to master the GMAT fundamentals. For the same, I used the official material from the GMAT website, while using GMAT Club as a supplementary forum to explore certain concepts. Taking around three-and-a-half months to study, I then used the Experts’ Global GMAT practice tests and their in-built analytics to understand my weaknesses and make them strengths. All-in-all, I worked on my flaws and was able to do well on the day of the exam.
Experts’ Global: What were your lessons from the application process?
Amit: I made sure to have a table of the colleges I was targeting, laying out the essay questions and deadlines for each. Researching each school thereafter, I figured out the culture that each one had, finding synergies that would help me speed essay drafting up. Networking started early, as I reached out to alumni and current students from my selected schools, getting their takes on their applications experiences as well.
Experts’ Global: How would you describe your business school interview experience?
Amit: While I had my MBA interview prep in place, I made sure to research the culture of each of the schools I interviewed at. Alumni outreach proved indispensable herein. In keeping with the Rice ethos, I focused on the aspects of my profile that showed a selfless commitment to the team, showing my fit for the small MBA class size. Keeping my responses conversational, and asking questions of the interviewers myself also helped keep the interaction flowing.
Experts’ Global: What can you tell us about your MBA experience?
Amit: Going into the MBA, I thought it would be like my undergrad experience itself. Instead, the MBA ended up changing my perspective, exposing me to different personalities from across the world. Working with military veterans, for example, from my peer group helped me understand a team-driven outlook. Classmates who were athletes brought a singular work ethic, and showed me how to compartmentalize mentally. These lessons have proved vital professionally.
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your job search experience during the MBA? What tips do you have for future candidates regarding the same?
Amit: Back in India, applying for a job is pretty straightforward, as you see if your profile fits a role, you reach out to the HR, and the process goes ahead from there. In the US, most recruiting decisions are made on the basis of your fit for a company’s culture and the functional team you would be joining. In my case, I tried building connections with current employees from Google to get a sense of the expectations there before applying to the firm.
Experts’ Global: How has the entire pre-application experience as well as your MBA journey contributed to your growth post-MBA?
Amit: Post-MBA, one is expected to drive business decisions, manage multiple stakeholders, and oversee change. The MBA experience helped me build expertise in all three domains. The pre-application process underlined the importance of perseverance, a quality that helped me during the MBA and drives my professional efforts even today.
Experts’ Global: According to you, what are a few common mistakes all GMAT and MBA applicants should avoid?
Amit: During my own prep, I found my peers focusing too much on either their strong or weak areas on the GMAT. I would suggest that aspirants work smart, focus on approximations, and take guesses on some questions because the test is adaptive. Use a free GMAT practice test and see where you stand, and then, when you take your actual mocks, try and attempt questions through various strategies and section orders to find what works best for you.
Experts’ Global: What is your final message to MBA aspirants out there?
Amit: Do not be disheartened if you do not land your dream school on your first go. Take the lessons from your misstep, focus on adapting your application to the school you are applying to, and try again! Try your best not to focus too much on brand names, and find schools that offer the best career advancement path for your particular domain. Working professionals who are finding it hard to optimize their study time would do well to opt for a good quality GMAT online course.
Experts’ Global: Thank you for sharing your inspiring story with us today, Amit!
Amit: Oh, absolutely!