Engineering Management degrees are quite popular among those who like both disciplines – engineering as well as management – and don’t want to leave one for another. These degrees are known by different names. Some universities call it the Master of Engineering Management (MEM), while others may call it the Master of Science in Engineering management (MSEM).
Shashank Agarwal describes how he managed to overcome a low GRE score to get into 4 top MEM programs in the world – Purdue MS/MSE, Johns Hopkins (JHU) MSEM with scholarship, New York University (NYU) Management of Technology & the University of Waterloo MBET.
I am a very introverted and a serious person. Have been that way all through my life .I worked as Research Associate in IITB working on time series analysis, trying to solve dengue problem in Mumbai.
There I realized I don’t have a strong predilection for only technical stuff and I would like to work at the confluence of technology and management. Hence I started looking for various programs in the US – MIM, MEM and MIS made the shortlist.
Since my goal after completing the MS degree was to get into management consulting or analytics, I chose the MEM specialisation.
I prepared for GRE and TOEFL for around 3 months scoring 318 (166Q, 152V, AWA 3) in GRE and 110 in TOEFL. I was not satisfied with my GRE performance and believe my AWA score cost me admits of some top schools, but I didn’t have time to reappear as deadlines were closing.
I wanted to put my best foot forward in terms of all US school applications, hence I took the help of consultants. Also I was facing a time crunch. Manish (MG) sir has been a consultant at McKinsey and reading all the reviews of MBA Crystal Ball on the internet were very promising. Hence I decided to go with MCB. I enrolled for the SOP package under MG sir.
I had never written a SOP in my entire life .I was flabbergasted to see the difference between my initial draft that I made and the final that was made after 3 round reviews with MCB it was that good. It helped me put my best foot forward in a very structured and concise manner.
I really like MG sir advice on making things specific rather than general and his timely responses to my draft with edits and suggestions.
My main was to go to a top US school for MS in engineering management with a good program structure or not go at all, since I also had offers from top schools in India.
Hence I shortlisted Duke, Stanford, Dartmouth, Columbia, Purdue, Johns Hopkins, NYU. Apart from that I had also applied for MBET program in University of Waterloo in Canada. In total I applied to these 8 colleges only.
I got in 4 out of 8 colleges I applied i.e Purdue, Hopkins (with scholarship), NYU and the University of Waterloo. I closely screened the curriculum of each college with my career goals.
MG sir helped me with this as well. I also got in touch with alumni from these colleges and asked them some questions to decide which course would be the best for me.
My main criteria for choosing the college was one that had heavy maths and stats technical courses along with strong management courses in an equal ratio.
I really can’t say what differentiated me from a strong and competitive applicant pool. Maybe it was TOEFL score that compensated for low GRE verbal, my GATE score, my unique work experience, my luck, my SOP and LOR or my zeal to constantly learn new stuff, I will never know.
My advice to fellow aspirants would be to plan about career path early on maybe in college 3rd year itself by doing as many varied internships as possible and only listen to your heart, not the heard or the noise of others who try to demotivate you.
Don’t be like me and plan things early on with a definite timeline in mind. Also score 335+ in GRE and don’t ignore the AWA. It is easy if your plan your journey well in time with a definite timeline. :-)