Six US MBA admits with hefty scholarships | Darshit’s success story!




Experts’ Global: Hi Darshit, thanks for joining us today! Could you share your story in your own words?

Darshit: Sure! I began my MBA journey in 2015. At the time, my entire career had been spent in software engineering. Interactions with product managers allowed me to understand how the business aspect of the industry worked, and so I decided to pursue the MBA, with the help of MBA admissions consultants Experts’ Global, to pave the way for entry into a leadership profile. Ever since graduating from San Diego State, I have been working in a product manager’s role!


Experts’ Global: Could you share your GMAT and MBA application outcomes?

Darshit: I applied to ten business schools, a higher number than usual as I had decided that I wanted to get an MBA admit on my first application attempt. With a GMAT score of 690, I applied to five dream schools and five backup schools. I got admits to Yukon, a couple of Canadian business schools, and San Diego State, which I ended up choosing. My brother was living in Los Angeles at that point, which made my choice easier.


Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what factors or decisions influenced your success?

Darshit: When I first decided to pursue an MBA, my research showed me that having substantial work experience would help me make the most of the business school immersion. This was later confirmed as my greater work experience allowed me to have more meaningful classroom discussions with my peers in the MBA itself. I had six years of work experience as a software engineer when I began my business education, and the diversity of opinions and perspectives on business problems and culture I received in the MBA only added to them.

I could have worked towards having more co-curricular engagements in my profile while applying. Many business schools place emphasis on having holistically developed students over only academically inclined ones. I did have a collegiate history as the table tennis team captain that gave me that extra edge though.


Experts’ Global: What were the main GMAT prep resources you used and what advice about the same do you have for other aspirants?

Darshit: I took the CAT right after my undergrad, but was unable to crack the exam and get my IIM admit. Switching to a plan B, I decided to take the GMAT as I thought my CAT prep would transfer to the same. I ended up with a 570 on my first GMAT attempt which opened my eyes to how much studying I yet had to do.

When I formally began my GMAT prep, I took a free GMAT practice test to get insight into my weak areas. I struggled to deal with the Verbal section and made sure to clear my basic grammatical concepts thereafter by reading Wren and Martin.


Experts’ Global: How was your experience with applying to business schools and what things did you do correctly to secure your admits?

Darshit: One of the things I did well was that I planned in advance. When I started preparing for the GMAT, I also laid out contingency plans for if I did not secure any admits. I also began to track the application deadlines for all my targeted schools, and started working on getting the respective essays and recommendations ready for each school accordingly. Practicing a lot every day and taking GMAT mocks regularly were essential in getting me out of the GMAT stage with a good score!


Experts’ Global: How did you overcome your difficulties with certain parts of the application process?

Darshit: I started by drafting a set of base essays that addressed all the important parts of my story. As a next step, I researched the learning outcomes and ethos of all the MBAs I applied to, and modulated my particular essays for each specific school accordingly. I was able to show a progression toward these learning outcomes in my career prior to the MBA. I remember doing a year’s worth of research on all the schools I was targeting before I began any aspect of the MBA journey, and I think this was a difference maker.


Experts’ Global: What lessons did you learn from managing the application timelines?

Darshit: I applied to ten schools in total, and focused on applying to my top five targets in their respective first application rounds. Accordingly, I prioritized getting the essays and other materials for these schools ready earlier, and by the time I was applying to my remaining five target schools, I already had the results in hand from the previous five applications. I went ahead with the remaining five applications as further admits would allow me to negotiate for higher scholarships from my first choice MBAs.


Experts’ Global: How was your MBA interview experience?

Darshit: I had two MBA interviews, and the questions I faced therein were about my motivations for the MBA, why I had chosen a particular school, and how a school’s curriculum fit into my learning goals. I also faced a case-study-base question in one of the interviews. The idea there was to test how my personal problem-solving thought process went. Overall, I did well because my MBA interview prep was in place beforehand.


Experts’ Global: What can you share about your MBA experience itself?

Darshit: My MBA experience was quite interesting. I began the program only looking for career-specific skill growth, but along the way, I found many interesting activities to engage with. I joined the Toastmasters chapter at my school which helped me develop my communication skills. Having Toastmasters on my resume also gave me an edge in the post-program job hunt, and as an internal student, made me more confident that I could express myself in job interviews.

I was also one of the five participants in the Venture Capitalist Investment Competition. For the same, I traveled to several schools across the US with my team, opening up expansive networking opportunities for myself in the process. Overall, the curriculum in the MBA was quite straightforward, and I earned the most from conversations with my peers and professors, all of whom continue to be important parts of my post-MBA network!


Experts’ Global: What was the post-MBA job search like and what advice do you have for other aspirants about the same?

Darshit: The job search can be tricky, and a lot depends on how well you can network with others. My particular school, San Diego State, attracts employers such as Qualcomm and HP who attend the school’s career fair and recruit on campus. However, I was looking for employers who had more of a software focus than a history in hardware manufacturing, and I struck out on my own job search.

The career counseling team at the school helped me improve my resume and showcase the most appropriate skillset therein for my targeted jobs. I also made good use of LinkedIn to hunt for opportunities, and reached out to my manager from the company I had interned with during the MBA. Even after I secured my full-time job, I made sure to maintain the relationship I had with professionals at the said company.


Experts’ Global: How have the pre-application process and the MBA immersion influenced your post-program growth?

Darshit: I have transitioned through four companies in the five years since my MBA. Looking back to the pre-application process, I was aiming to enter a product management role after the MBA and so made sure to upgrade my technical awareness before the program began. This knowledge base combined with my business lessons has made product leadership much easier for me currently.


Experts’ Global: What common mistakes should all MBA aspirants avoid?

Darshit: Be sure about why you want to do an MBA, as it has to be more than a means for you to move to another country for work, and has to grow your skills in some form. Regarding GMAT preparation, begin planning things well in advance, preferably a year before you think you will take the exam for real.

Planning in advance will help you pivot if your GMAT score does not turn out to be great or if you want to alter some part of your application trajectory. I got a 570 on my first GMAT attempt, and having a year-long study plan in place thereafter really helped me improve my performance. Picking a good GMAT online course can help you along.


Experts’ Global: What is your final message to our readers?

Darshit: Make sure that you are perfectly clear about and have strong reasons for why you are pursuing the MBA. In my case, were I to decide on doing an MBA today, I would probably choose a more specific course on product management instead.

This is not to say that an MBA is not a good program to pursue, but rather to point out that there may be more cost-effective programs out there that sync directly with your chosen ambitions. Accordingly, be sure about how an MBA is the best choice as a career accelerator for you.


Experts’ Global: Thank you for giving us the benefit of your experience today, Darshit!

Darshit: Always happy to help!


Experts Global

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