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Goizueta MBA (partial scholarship) vs Kelley (full scholarship) for second MBA

Goizueta MBA (partial scholarship) vs Kelley (full scholarship) for second MBA

Second MBA applicant, Abhinav Gupta, got admits from 3 good schools with varying amounts of MBA scholarships. He took the unusual decision to leave close to $100,000 (~ 65 Lakhs in Indian Rupees) in free money on the table and choose a program where he saw a better fit with his profile and career aspirations.

Why I chose Goizueta MBA over Kelley for my second MBA

by Abhinav Gupta

The most difficult decision in my MBA journey was making up my mind if I wanted to go for this education. My decision was made further difficult as I already hold an MBA from one of the top 15 B schools in India, so I knew what I was going to put myself through (Why a second European MBA after an Indian MBA and career in the entertainment industry). The risks were higher as I was working with a global MNC in a managerial position which meant the personal bar to succeed was higher for me.

In those vacillating times, Beyond The MBA Hype written by MBA Crystal Ball founder Sameer Kamat was a big help.

I finally made the decision to go for my second MBA as I realized it would not only benefit me professionally but also would give me a much needed break from corporate life where I was engaged in repetitive tasks every month leaving little scope for learning. Time spent during MBA would help me re-evaluate my future career options.

Once I made up my mind, I broke down the entire process in three parts: GMAT preparation, deciding on the MBA college and admission essays plus interview preparation.

GMAT was more difficult than I thought. As a result, I appeared for exam twice. The good part was, I had planned my time well so I could afford taking test twice before applying to business schools. I was able to increase my score from 690 in first attempt to 730 in second attempt by changing my study approach and focusing on selective sections in which I was strong or at least confident of improving.

The increased score opened a host of opportunities: better colleges, more scholarships and as I would realize later, better prospects at finding job in my preferred sector. If I thought GMAT was difficult, choosing the right college for me was a nerve wrecking job. I looked at the process objectively, identifying factors important to me: quality of job placement (percentage of class which goes to sector of my choice), financial aid, starting salary, rank of the program etc. Then using various online resources and interviewing current students, I shortlisted five colleges: INSEAD, Darden, Kelley, Georgetown and Emory.

I strongly recommend doing your own research on colleges and making connections with current students. It helps not only in the admission process but also in developing a valuable network of friends at the school.

The third step involved writing essays and preparing for interviews. I faced a dilemma here: I could hire an expert admission consultant or I could work on the stories myself relying on my years of corporate training. I decided to work on the essays myself although it took me a while to get my stories in order. I took help from my family members as second and third set of eyes to make sure what I wrote made sense. In order to make sure the stories reflected my experience, I addressed three things in my essays:  how my experiences had prepared me for MBA education, how the college would help me achieve my post MBA professional goals and most importantly, how could I contribute to the learning of my MBA peers.

I received three interview calls: Emory, Georgetown and Kelley. The interviews were easier than the essays. I met the Kelley interviewer in person and Emory and Georgetown interviewers over skype. The great part was, all the interviews were very conversational and the interviewers wanted to know me and my aspirations. There were no trick questions in the interviews, my essays had answered what I wanted and my interview was all about why I wanted that.

My biggest advice to a candidate is be yourself in the interview, it might sound clichéd but it’s the reality. I practiced a lot of different questions and answers and tried to work on my fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation but what helped me was clarity of thought and articulation. The interview is a discussion of your goals and make sure you bring your authentic self in the process.

Goizueta vs Kelley vs Georgetown

Finally I got admits from all the colleges with varying amount of scholarships: Kelley offered the most with 100% scholarship and Georgetown offered least with 0%, Emory was in-between.

I finally chose Goizueta Business School at Emory partly because of impressive placement stats in management consulting industry but mostly because of small class size, location in a metropolitan, weather like my home town and academic rigor focusing on problem solving rather than specific concepts in various disciplines.

Goizueta classroom experience

I must say I have not been disappointed with my choice. Goizueta offers all the advantages of more popular business programs and the benefit of a tightly knit community because of smaller class size. The highlight of the program was high involvement of the career management center from beginning with focus on achieving 100% internship and full time placements. To that end, school organized special classes for international students highlighting the importance of networking and how to excel in professional networking scenario to land your coveted job.

Along with CMC, various professional clubs are quite active in guiding first years: for instance, consulting club organizes case workshops, finance club organizes investment banking treks and marketing club organizes mock interviews. I was amazed to see fellow classmates helping each other with mock interviews when they knew they are grooming their competitors.

The spirit of Goizueta encouraged all of us to help each other become a better version of ourselves and succeed as a community. This philosophy transcends in class room as well. There was a lot of collaboration between faculty of various courses, for instance we would deliver an assignment in which content would be evaluated by one faculty, presentation by second faculty and problem solving methodology by third faculty.

I learnt how to look at marketing problem with accounting focus, and solve finance cases with concepts learned in strategy class. The focus was not on introducing some concepts but to help me develop a holistic approach of solving complex business problems.

To sum up, I had an amazing experience at Goizueta Business School. My two cents to US MBA aspirants would be:

  • Define your reason: Be clear about your story of why you want to invest your time in MBA. This will help you not only in admission process but also later in job/internship interviews.
  • Reach out to current students: Ensure you make contacts with current students/ alums of your target schools early on. Speak to as many students as you can and try to understand if the target school is really worth of your time and money by evaluating its culture.To that end, students whom you speak to reflect a true sample size of an average student of that school.
  • Be your authentic self: The whole selection process is very straining. Yet you should not forget your story is yours, do not mold it to please the interviewer. They look for authenticity, so bring out the diversity of your experiences.

Read these related articles:
Second MBA from China vs India vs Italy vs Hong Kong
Is a second MBA abroad worth it after IIM, ISB, other Indian programs
Michigan Ross MBA admit for second MBA applicant
Profile building for second MBA after IIM
Second MBA abroad with scholarship for happy IIT IIM grad

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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

4 thoughts on “Goizueta MBA (partial scholarship) vs Kelley (full scholarship) for second MBA”

  1. Abhinav was one my fellow competitor who went on to win the Emory Healthcare competition. I loved his thorough analysis. This was in year 2015. I clearly recollect how he held his nerves under a barrage of questions from E&Y partners in healthcare practice. Having to defend your calculations infront of more than 10 judges is no fun. Abhinav literally carried the team on his own to the finish line. I knew for sure this guy has tremendous potential.

    Now I don’t want to play the devil’s advocate here. But I would like to mention Emory was Abhinava’s second MBA after IMT Ghaziabad – a prior business education brings in a well rounded perspective into your next career moves. IMT experiment and then marketing role post IMT, probably played a significant role in him being able to craft a positioning statement for the jobs he was applying to. This brings home an important point. No matter which school you end up at, if you do not have the clarity of your post MBA goals then, the journey to a challenging and exciting full time role gets that much tougher.

    Long story short, one should know what one wants to do post MBA and select a program which is aligned to his or her aspirations.

    • True that. If you don’t know your pre/post MBA goals, its better to figure out those before making any change in your professional life.

  2. This is purely focussed on two things . He saw nothing other than placements and what he saw second is Global ranking which was a second connecting dot . Rest all are stories. I can say had kellys rank been better and no schols he would have joined . Finally what makea him believe that Mck and BCG OR BIG 4 will hire him in US ?? Rules for hiting in usa are completely different than in India BIG 4 . They generally hire Green Card Holders thee days and for Number Crunching roles like BIG DATA Analytics HADOOP they hire Indians who have solid Trch background hands on before MBA . In plain and simple words it was moving to usa under disguise of student Visa like thousands of Desis do. Getting placements salary over there through the student route is mucg easier than tobprove in india and get internal movement in the same role in US which doesnt ever happen and Finally Brand name in Linked in profile .

    • Hi Tamal,
      Lot of myths in your reply, I will try to break some of those:
      1. Consulting companies don’t only look for technical backgrounds for indians. They look for candidates with diverse backgrounds with strong analytical skills. Having strong technical/coding skills does help you get through technology sector consulting with Big 4. I have experienced it personally as well as saw this happen with most of my indian friends at Goizueta and other business schools.

      2. These are all stories: If Kelley was ranked higher than Goizueta, had higher consulting placements, was located in a bigger city, had friendlier alumni etc etc etc, I would have chosen otherwise as it would have fulfiled all my requirements. Look at the holistic picture and not focus on bits and pieces of story.

      3. Moving to USA under the guise of student visa: US business schools fare much better than indian business schools when it comes to imparting MBA as they focus more on problem solving and not only giving technical gyan such as how to make a balance sheet ( true story). That was the big motivation for me to come to US and it should be for anyone wanting to take full experience.

      Hope I was able to break some of your myths, if not I would be happy to connect again.


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