Most assume that it’ll be smooth sailing once they get an admit. But the F1 visa process cannot be taken for granted. Here’s Abhijit’s (name changed) F1 visa rejection story that tells us – It ain’t over till it’s over. He had excellent corporate brands on his resume. He applied to a reputed MBA program. He got in with a scholarship. But something went wrong towards the end.
I graduated with Bachelors Degree in Technology from College of Engineering Roorkee in the year 2006 and have since then worked with Bharti Airtel, TCS, Accenture, and of late with Cognizant Technology Solutions as a Business Analyst for a leading Banking and Financial Services Firm.
Over the last 6 years I have been successfully investing in a host of Asset Instruments and that kindled in me the desire to take my passion for a career in the Capital Markets to the “next level” and set up my own successful venture in Capital Markets.
In order to succeed in my endeavors, I felt it was extremely imperative for me for to have a formal Business School education from a leading Business School and it was round about in April last year when I finally decided to take the plunge.
Since I was already late for Application for the Fall intake, I looked for Business Schools whose Program starts in Winters and ended up applying at Simon Graduate School of Business (University of Rochester), Rotterdam School of Management and IE Business School.
Having been accepted at all of these Programs on a Scholarship that ranged between 25-40%, it did not take much time and effort for me to decide that Simon GSB, known for its top ranked Finance Program and stellar Finance faculty, would be the best fit for me considering the exposure that I would get studying in the US and in a City close to the Financial Capital of the World.
After I received an Admit from UoR Simon GSB in July last year with 40% Scholarship, over the next couple of months between August and September I focused all my energies in getting the Finances sorted out (which I felt was the biggest hurdle for me with the Loan Sanction taking eternity) in addition to securing all the VISA related documents.
By the end of September I was all set with all the VISA documents and had even booked my flight tickets for the Pre-MBA Program (which begins Mid October) that Simon offers. In the meantime, I began communicating with the candidates who joined the Program in Fall, sorted out an On- Campus Accommodation, and even had a formal discussion with the Dean on various career related concerns.
I was all excited about the MBA Program at Simon and about the post MBA prospects, but little did I know what lied in store ahead. I fixed an appointment with the Embassy for September end and was pretty confident about securing the F1 VISA until the moment when I was denied a valid VISA for reasons that are still incomprehensible to me to a certain extent.
Below is the Account of my Interview with the US Consular at the New Delhi Consulate
Visa Officer – So you are traveling for Masters Program?
Me – Yes, I am traveling for MBA Program at the University of Rochester
Visa Officer – Why are you traveling so late as all the students have already flown?
Me – UoR has 2 intakes for the MBA Program – one starts in Fall and the other starts in Winters. I had applied for the Winter intake and am now travelling for the Pre-MBA Program that begins Mid October.
Visa Officer – Why do you want to do an MBA now?
Me – Suggested to the Consular the reasons for attending the MBA Program
Visa Officer – What are your Post MBA Plans?
Me – I want to set up my own entrepreneurial venture in Capital Markets back here in India (Consular promptly interrupted me here)
Visa Officer – What have you done after your undergrad
Me – I have worked in Software Sector for close to 5.5 years
Visa Officer – Which firms have you worked in so far
Me – I have worked with TCS, Accenture and I am now working with Cognizant
Visa Officer – Why did you changed so many firms (This went a bit too far for me as far as the VISA Interview was concerned)
Me – Career growth et al
Visa Officer – So why entrepreneurship after 6 years of working and not before and would you even need an MBA for E’Ship?
Me – Suggested similar reasons as in the B-School Interviews
Visa Officer – OK. How would you be funding your Education?
Me – Gave a detail around how I planned to fund the entire Education
Visa Officer – Which School have to applied to in the US?
Me – Simon GSB is the only B-School that I applied to in the US as it is the only Top Business School I knew offered MBA Program starting in winters.
Visa Officer – Why have you applied to only one school in US?
Me – I planned to apply to a few Schools for the next fall – Darden, UNC Kenan Flagler, Boston University SoM – but UoR Simon offered the Program in Fall and that provided me the opportunity to begin the Program an year earlier.
Visa Officer – Did you apply to any School outside the US?
Me – I have been admitted to Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands and IE Business School, Spain
Visa Officer – Why US and why not Spain/Netherlands?
Me – Suggested length of the Program, Curriculum, etc as the major reasons I chose UoR Simon over others
Visa Officer – What was your undergrad?
Me – Engineering
Visa Officer – Do you have a relative in the US?
Me – No
And finally came the dreaded words from the Visa Officer – “Your reasons for studying in the US are not credible. Thank You!”. The walk from the Counter to the Exit seemed to be the numbest and longest that I had walked.
After ample discussions and further preparation I once again booked an appointment with the Consulate. But after being asked a couple of basic questions on the University, Course and the Funding I was denied VISA once again “based on the previous denial”.
Though I requested the Visa Officer to give me an opportunity to put forth my case and that I was ready to answer the doubts he had about my candidature for the F1 VISA, I was politely asked to leave.
In retrospect, I feel that probably I should have kept it simple about my Post MBA goals with the Consular and maybe could have allayed his fears on why I applied to only one Program in the US by a more articulate explanation.
We published another story about someone who got into Simon MBA with a scholarship. His story ended well.
So what exactly went wrong here? Why was Abhijit’s F1 visa rejected even though he had a confirmed admit, and a scholarship as well. It’s tough to really pinpoint. Was it the post-MBA plan? Was it the single school strategy? Was it the answers he gave? What could he have done to avoid this situation?
We have theories, but that’s the problem. These will only be theories.
So the next best thing to do is to read the other F1 Visa articles to form your own strategy to tackle the final hurdle that stands between you and your MBA degree. After working so hard on the MBA applications, don’t let an F1 visa rejection spoil the party.
– F1 Visa requirements in U.S. for Indian students
– F1 Visa Interview Questions and Answers
Disclosure: Abhijit did not work with us for his applications, but he was kind enough to share his story on our blog so it would be beneficial to other applicants.