MBA in USA with scholarship & graduate assistantship: Karuna

The Carey MBA (ASU) offered by the W.P. Carey Schools of Business (Arizona State University) has strong ties with the industry, specially when it comes to Supply Chain Management (SCM). The W.P. Carey Company Networking Night (CNN) is a great way for students to rub shoulders with their prospective employers. On the official website, you’ll find stories of how students have got used the CNN opportunity to land interships and post MBA jobs. Here, Karuna (name changed) shares her story.

W.P. Carey MBA: How I got an admit
by Karuna Dwivedi

I am a graduate from a National Institute of Technology, I have around 4.5 years of IT experience.
I have decent academics and good extra-curricular records. I was attempting to get into a good Indian MBA college since 2008, though I gave CAT a serious attempt only in 2008 when I took TIME’s coaching.

CAT hasn’t been my cup of tea or maybe I didn’t prepare good enough to crack it. I gave several other exams like XAT, JMET, NAMT etc .. year after year, but to no good.

I gave GMAT last year (2011), when in the first attempt I scored pretty low (650) even with a good prep; I gave it a second shot when I scored 680 without any prep this time :-), which was ok for me. With more than 4 years work experience, I wanted to apply to 2nd or 3rd tier colleges.

When I took the GMAT, I thought 90% of the battle is over but then as I dived into the application process, I realised that I had not even reached midway down the path. It requires you to do a lot of brainstorming exercise on what you really want from an MBA and why that particular college. I spoke to some of my college mates perusing MBA at good colleges and gave in deep thoughts and research behind what kind of management work I would want to do.

Like many, I didn’t want to come back to IT services and be an IT project manager after an MBA. No offence to the industry as such, I loved my job, but I wanted to take up a role where I get to take decision in strategies and complete chain of services and not just manage a section of it.

I had some ideas for starting up an organization but then at the end of the day I didn’t really had the entrepreneur in me. I read about various streams/specializations in an MBA and I liked the kind of work involved in strategy management. I applied to ISB, SPJAIN, NUS,NTU CMU (Tepper), CEIBS – I got a reject from these.

I applied to WP Carey MBA (ASU), I have some friends there and I got good vibes about this institute. Because I got to know that the college is lot cheaper when compared to other MBA colleges in US and if you get a Graduate Assistantship job there you will get a good scholarship and a biweekly stipend.

The college is well known for its SCM specialization (one of the top 10 in US). I applied to this college with all positivity. I worked on my essays, presenting my profile in a stronger manner. I got an invite for an interview.

My interview went very well. They asked general questions from my profile about my positive and negative points of my leadership style; they also give you a case study to analyse and solve; it was fun and I fared well, I also mentioned that I wanted a GA position and the day came when I got the most awaited email.

An admit from this college with a good MBA scholarship and a biweekly stipend!

I shortlisted B-Schools on the basis of ratings, I applied to top Asian B-Schools like ISB, CEIBS, NUS, NTU and SP Jain. Then I applied to US B schools – Tepper (from the top tier colleges) was my bet university. Carey MBA (ASU) from 2nd tier was a more realistic bet.

I put forward my essays in a clear, crisp, concise and straight from the heart manner. I highlighted my extracurricular effectively in my essays. Keeping your essays light (less dense) is one of the factors which ensures that your essays are read and clearly comprehended by the admissions team. Convey your strengths and achievements effectively through these essays. Highlight what unique qualities or exp you would add to the MBA classroom that would bring in a different flavour to the class or from which the class could benefit (this could be academics / work experience / extra-curricular or a mixture of these).

Also, I think an international MBA experience will always give you a very different edge on others as you study with a very diverse group of people coming from unique backgrounds and cultures and hence bringing in a lot more to contribute.

For example, I have people from Law, architecture, Engineering, HR, Marketing, Finance, Supply chain and many more profiles in my class and coming from different parts of the world, and I am amazed at the umpteen number of ways in which people with different backgrounds/experiences tackle/respond to the same situation /case at hand. This really adds up to your MBA experience as an MBA course is not at all only about studying and academics but it is lot more about learning from the group around you and managing diverse group of people around you. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So my suggestion is, with about 4-5 years of experience you can earn a handsome salary (for e.g. if you get a long term onsite in an IT industry), so do not go for an MBA just with a dream of earning a fat salary but also keep the worst case scenario in mind. And think about what will give you a sense of achievement/satisfaction when you go to bed each day, an MBA degree, a good challenging job role or a good salary, or a mix of these. And think of ways you could earn that last thought of achievement each day.

Disclosure: Like several guest bloggers on this site, Karuna was not an MBA Crystal Ball client.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Linkedin | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

10 thoughts on “MBA in USA with scholarship & graduate assistantship: Karuna”

  1. Nice Story. Really inspired me as my GMAT is same with 5.5 years of IT experience. I am targeting W.P. Carey this year for SCM.

    Karuna, could you please share your experiences at the school? I presume you have just joined and still familiarizing it. :-)

  2. My experience is just 3 classes old for me till date! but with only a couple of classes I could understand the quality od education here. The class at ASU is very competitive and it give you a thorough global exposure. The faculty is amazing and the career management is very active and helping here. I love this school and am very excited for companies coming in for internship starting September.

  3. Karuna, How many students got scholarships in your class? Anyone getting 100%? What is the criteria? How much does the graduate assistantship pay?

    I am applying this year, but I am not sure how I will arrange for so much money. Indian banks give 20 lakh max. It would be great to get some advice.

  4. Hi Karuna,

    Is their anyway, I can talk to you? I have been working on my profile for this college for sometime now.
    I would really appreciate if you could please help me with it

  5. Hi Piu,
    I am sorry but I do not have the exact statistics of how many people have scholarships and how much, but many Indian students get decent scholarships with a good profile. If you land up with a good internship you could still manage in the 20 lacs with the scholarship I guess.
    I would suggest take a chance and apply givin in ur best shot and then see what you get?
    All the best for your preps and applications!

    Hi Udit,
    I will surely help you out, but I have got a tight schedule where in I sleep for like 3 hours…
    Give me your email ID, we can catch up sometime whenever our timings sync?

  6. Hi Karuna,
    I am keen on applying for the Supply Chain Financial Management specialization.
    My GMAT is 700.
    I am a CFA Level 3 Candidate, and will have 4 years of work ex by Fall 2013 in a Telecom R&D Organization.
    I don’t want a pure finance or a pure SCM role after MBA. I am looking more at a Business Development kind of profile, which would club the above two disciplines.
    Thus, I have zeroed in on the above mentioned specialization.
    Any inputs on whether my choice is justified ?

  7. Hi Karuna,

    Can you tell me in detail why did you get a reject from ISB? Is it because of GMAT score or not-so-good essays?

    It would be of great help as I am thinking of considering ISB but my GMAT is same as yours.

    Thanks in advance

  8. Hi Karuna,

    Congrats on your admit :) Carey is one of the schools I am targeting for 2014 Fall and have few questions around recruitment and possible roles after MBA. My email is and am based out of Seattle, if you can give a quick holler when you have some time, that would be great. Thank you!


  9. Hi Karuna,

    I’m applying this for ASU’s SCM for Fall 2016 intake. Would you like to suggest me some key points about the admission process viz, when is the best time to apply(Early round, 1st round, 2nd round).
    I’ve work experience in diverse fields (Construction – 2 years and IT – 3 years). Does this add as a key benefit to the application of having experience in diverse fields.



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