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MBA in USA with scholarship after 9 years experience

MBA in USA for Indian StudentsWould an MBA in USA make sense when you have twice the amount of work experience? The average pre-MBA experience generally hovers between 4-5 years in American MBA colleges.

Though the lure of job opportunities in the U.S. is tough to ignore, most MBA applicants from India who have spent a considerably higher amount of time in their corporate jobs prefer going for a 1 year MBA in India, UK, Canada and other countries where shorter durations programs are in vogue.

Vijay Raj Allen decided not to pursue the conventional approach. He sent us this after he completed his first year at Kelley. What’s worth noting is the meticulous way in which defined and used the criteria to select his business schools.


How I got into a top MBA in USA with a scholarship & graduate assistantship

by Vijay Raj Allen

I had written about my GMAT story previously. It can be found here

I had been working in the IT industry for 9 years – 3 years at Infosys and 6 years at Oracle. I knew I wanted to get into a role from where I could drive product and business strategy/vision. I tried moving into a different role at Oracle but quickly realized that I did not have enough expertise in Business, especially marketing – estimating market size/potential, segmentation etc.

It was then that I decided that I wanted to get an MBA. However the choices were many and after I took the GMAT I had a tough time choosing universities. The choices are many, and you may wonder how to choose universities and what metrics to use to judge business schools. You may also not be clear with your post MBA short term and long term career goals.

It was then that I came across MBACrystalBall. I contacted them and I signed up for the MBA MAP (Mock Application Process). The MBA MAP consisted of answering a questionnaire, a brief review of your resume and an over the phone interview with Sameer.

This was followed by a MBA application strategy document that contained a list of schools ranked – Safe, Stretch, and Ambitious along with a follow up call about possible career choices based on current professional experience and interests.

This process was really eye opening for me as it helped me choose schools and define a career role for myself. It was also a very self-introspective process that helped me assess what my strengths were and what I wanted to do post MBA.

How I selected the business schools

After the MBA MAP exercise, here is how I went about choosing MBA schools in USA. I used the MBA MAP report, and chose schools that were either safe or stretch for the most part, with one ambitious school in my selection. My choices were as follows:

  1. Kelley School of Business – Indiana University
  2. Ross School of Business –University of Michigan
  3. Goizueta School of Business – Emory University
  4. Paul Merage School of Business – University of California, Irvine
  5. Kenan Flagler School of Business – University of North Carolina

My choices of schools were based on the following metrics:

  1. Ranking in BusinessWeek.
  2. Placement statistics – more than 90% placements full time and 100% internships.
  3. Strength in my preferred function, when it came to placements – which was marketing in my case.
  4. My GMAT score and the possible competition I would face during the application process
  5. Percentage of international students (I wanted a minimum of at least of 35%) – This is because some schools post good placement statistics, but have a majority domestic student population – University of Wisconsin Madison for instance. This wouldn’t be so good for international students, since the career services in that school wouldn’t know how to deal with placements for international students. IMO.
  6. Percentage of women/general diversity
  7. BusinessWeek ranking of career services and teaching quality.
  8. Number of alumni – A large alumni network allows you to network much more easily.
  9. Tuition Fee – Yep!
  10. Historical record of financial aid given by the university. I did pay a little bit of attention to the endowments the University had as well. Since in my opinion, the higher the endowments, the better they would be able to fund your aid. Am not so sure though, if this is required.
  11. Responsiveness of the adcom and current students – Yep. This was important. If the adcom does not respond, in my opinion that was not good customer service (Applicants are customers!) and current students not responding would be a sign of how helpful alumni would be in your career search.
  12. Last but not least, LOCATION. This was a tradeoff in my case. I had to factor in living expenses vs. location in a big city. Big cities are not necessarily better, but in many cases they do bring you that closer to companies. But this isn’t so much of a problem provided you choose the right school, as I will explain later.


My MBA applications and final admits

After I chose the schools, I signed up for admissions counselling by Sameer’s team. I had a brainstorming session with MG, which helped me develop my stories. The essays were reviewed three times and this helped me develop my stories a lot better.

I applied to Kelley, Merage, Emory and Ross in the first round and UNC Kenan Flagler in the 2nd. I got interview calls from 4 schools – Kelley, Merage, Emory and Kenan Flagler. And I converted Kelley and Merage both with Graduate Assistantships and financial aid.

I finally chose Kelley, for its brand value, strength in marketing function, its huge alumni base, its relatively low cost living opportunities in Bloomington, Indiana, low cost tuition fees and its number one ranked career services and teaching staff.

I found that the location tradeoff isn’t so bad at Kelley. Kelley is a heavily marketing focused business school and as such specializes in two areas of marketing – Consumer marketing and Business to Business marketing.

Consumer marketing is a no-no for internationals as none of the CPG companies like – Kraft, P&G, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Coca Cola, Pepsi, ConAgra, Kroger, Target etc recruit international students.

Business marketing has quite a few opportunities (although even here some don’t recruit internationals – but this is the case with recruitment all over the US – 80% do not recruit international students) – Ecolab, Cummins, Danaher, Sears Holding, Dish Network, Direct Supply, Grainger, DHL, Amazon, Ebay, NetApp and in consulting – Deloitte, AT Kearney, EY, Cognizant, Bain, Kalypso, Gallup and so on and so forth.

Added to this is the awesome career services staff, that literally hand hold you and help you develop your resume, networking skills etc.

Today it has been a year since I started my MBA and am now interning in Louisville in a Marketing position. I will go on to pursue product management or marketing roles and am pretty sure I will be successful.

I hope this article is useful for people looking for Business school choices and looking for some info on Kelley overall.

Wish you guys all the best and please let me know if you have any questions.

– Vijay Raj Allen

Before leaving the site, go to our MBA Crystal Ball reviews and testimonials page and search for Vijay’s reaction (4th from the top) when he started getting the admit decisions from the Admissions Committee. Yup, it’s the one with the maximum number of acronyms (like ROFL, LMAO) and exclamation marks.

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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: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

12 thoughts on “MBA in USA with scholarship after 9 years experience”

  1. hello sir,
    i am pursuing m.tec in microelectronics and control system. after completion of my course i wanted to join in lecturing field but the thing is i have got 3rd class of percentage in 2nd puc so i am thinking that how i wil attend interview and also lack of my communication…so plz suggest me how i wil improve our comm… and how i pass my interview..
    thank you

  2. A great article. I can totally relate to this as I’m more or less in the same situation. Have over 7 years of work experience in marketing and communications, after which I left for London for an MA in Creative Writing. Finishing my novel and a collection of short stories now. But, I still have MBA dreams. Question: Provided, I do get published, would the year or two writing the novels count as full-time experience, e.g. say 9 years in all (7+2)?

  3. @AK: It may be difficult for you to project the 2 year of writing as full-time experience. If you created a best seller, managed the production / marketing aspects then perhaps we’d have had some more stuff to talk about.

    Btw, I wrote 2 books while working in a full-time job 🙂

  4. Thanks Sameer,

    First of all, kudos on writing 2 books while doing a full-time job. I understand and acknowledge the effort that would’ve taken. 🙂

    Yes, I do plan to take care of all the aspects of production, distribution and marketing of my novel. FYI, apart from writing (I hope this doesn’t sound defensive) I am also strongly involved in volunteer work and paid freelance projects (related to my previous experience). Cheers.

  5. Hey! First of all, I think what you guys are offering here is great, considering the confusion people often go through while applying to B-Schools. Coming to my question:

    I am 21 years old and pursuing CA. I, however, am interested in Finance & Economics and would like to get a PhD in the same in future. Hence, I think an MBA would be more relevant. I have passed the intermediate exams in CA and am about to start applying for Articleships. My doubts are:

    1. If Articleship can be counted as Full-time Work Experience if I’m doing it in one of the big four?
    2. Would you suggest moving on from CA and taking up a Full-time job at a company like Goldman Sachs?
    3. Will 3 years of Work Experience be sufficient for having a competitive application in top B-School?

    I have had consistently good grades and have a pretty good extra-curricular record too.

  6. Hey please help me in either choosing a normal MBA or an executive MBA. I have 9 yrs of experience in an IT company. For me executive MBA seems to be very expensive. So I am unable to decide in choosing type of MBA and colleges.

  7. Hi Sameer

    I have approximately 8 years of work experience in compliance – financial services and working at an investment bank in India.

    I have done a b com and MBA from a tier 2 Institute.

    My wife is on a project in the US.

    I have always wanted to get am international exposure and work experience abroad.

    Given the above., is it feasible to do a graduate program in the US.

  8. Hi Sameer,

    I am somewhat in a same boat, 9+ years of experience in IT, with both development and Lead positions, had a great exposure of working and communication with overseas clients. As I wish to move up in my career, will MBA in US with Business Analytic s as major is a good choice?

    What are the chances of getting scholarship, considering the costly tuition fees of MBA in US?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

  9. Hi Vijay, Thanks for great details and your structured article. Helped me a lot to relate to it my case. Liked your story line up of GMAT from 540 to 710. Would be great if i can connect with you for some guidance on clearing GMAT and post MBA aspirations. BTW only 1 question from your complete journey which is “Why there was no business school from India on your list?”

  10. Huy , I am Working in Pharma Company having an Slaes experience of 13 years , I want to do an MBA For my Carrier Growth Please guide which one is better to do from India or from USA .


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