Experts’ Global: Hi Deepak, thank you so much for interviewing with us today! May we request you to please share your story in your own words?
Deepak: After completing my undergrad in 2019, I started exploring postgraduate education and was conflicted about whether to pursue an MBA or a different technical Master’s. Deciding to go for a non-MBA Master’s program, I needed to take the GMAT as a first step. Securing my targeted GMAT score in January of 2020, I joined the LBS MFA, and as a recent graduate of the same, am currently working at a trading firm.
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what are the factors that made all the difference?
Deepak: I think deciding early that I wanted to pursue a global Master’s was a plus point. Further, my academic performance in my undergrad days also made the application process easier for me because of my higher GPA. From the GMAT preparation aspect, availing of Experts’ Global’s GMAT online course was a difference maker. The 15 GMAT mocks series provided by the company allowed me to thoroughly test my exam readiness!
Experts’ Global: With the benefit of hindsight, what are some mistakes you made along the way?
Deepak: First off, I made the mistake of spreading out my GMAT preparation over too much time. I began my GMAT studies in February 2019, and at the same time was occupied by an internship. In June of the same year, I shifted to Hyderabad for a new job which ended up stretching out my prep timeline even further. My first attempt at the GMAT, in October 2019, yielded a lower 650 due to this haphazard timeline.
Experts’ Global: Regarding GMAT prep, what resources did you use and what advice do you have for future candidates?
Deepak: Primarily, I referred to the official guidebooks and the official guide mocks. However, once you get done with these materials, you might be at a loss about how to proceed. I would advise candidates to learn their GMAT concepts from other materials and practice their understanding by using the official guide questions.
Personally, my research on GMAT Club informed me that Experts’ Global’s GMAT prep program was ideal for me. I was convinced by the sheer quality of the company’s free GMAT practice test, and their support during my studies was the cherry on top!
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your experience and lessons from managing the application timeline?
Deepak: While I had planned to apply in round one of the admission processes of 2019-20, the delays in my taking the GMAT pushed my applications to the second and third rounds. The application process taught me to look beyond just my test scores and academic grades. I also learned that getting an early start on the recommendations and essays in one’s Masters application can be a difference-maker in their eventual quality!
Experts’ Global: Can you describe your interview experience with the school?
Deepak: I applied to two schools, HEC Paris and LBS, and was able to secure admits to both thanks to the interview preparation program at Experts’ Global. The HEC interview was highly technical as I was applying for a program in International Finance. On the other hand, the LBS interview focused on my personality and interests as an individual. This focus on my personhood was later explained by the sheer diversity of the LBS MFA cohort. My particular study group had six people, each from a different country. The interview process for LBS, I suppose, helps the admissions committee assess whether one is a good fit for such a pluralistic culture.
Experts’ Global: Could you enlighten us on your MFA experience at LBS?
Deepak: My MFA experience has been truly wonderful. Even though COVID-19 meant that there were times when half of the students attended classes on alternate days, we made the best of our situation. The sheer diversity of my MFA cohort, encompassing people from 45 different nationalities, truly made me a global citizen.
Experts’ Global: Would you like to share about your job search experience during the MFA and what tips would you give to future candidates who are planning for an MFA?
Deepak: While in India most colleges have campus placement processes, this is not the case abroad. At LBS, I was provided with the relevant resources to brush up on my CV, my self-presentation, and my access to recruiters. I was also given advice on cracking a job interview by the investment banking expert at LBS. In the final analysis, though, I had to find a job on my own.
It took me close to eight months to even land an internship, as firms were reluctant to hire full-time due to the pandemic’s stresses. Seeing most of my MFA cohort gradually finding a job over time gave me hope too and staying resilient, I finally secured employment!
Experts’ Global: What would be your advice to GMAT aspirants and those currently working on their own MFA applications?
Deepak: Make sure to get your GMAT prep done within a four-month span at most. Spreading out your studies too much might make it difficult for you to retain all the concepts you learn over a long time. Thereafter, once you are done with the GMAT, do not go into rest mode. Immediately begin work on your applications, as they are just as labor intensive as the GMAT, and you might be targeting several schools and so have many applications to complete.
Experts’ Global: What is your final message to our readers?
Deepak: Work hard and with sincerity, but also know that it is alright if your first attempt at the GMAT yields a low score. It is fine if you do not secure admission to your dream school. Take the long view, and learn from your failures to inform your later success!
Experts’ Global: Sincere congratulations on your journey. You have come a long, inspiring way, and thank you for sharing the lessons of your path with us!
Deepak: Thank you too for enabling me to share my story and possibly help future MFA aspirants!