The average age in MS programs is lower than the average age for MBA programs. In most cases, based on the candidates experience and career goals, only one of those two degrees would be a good choice.
When supply chain professional, Nidhi, was applying for masters degrees, she picked a combination of MBA and MS programs. She explains why she decided to do that, and how she tackled the dilemma of choosing between multiple MBA and MS university admits with scholarships.
I actively participated in stage plays, debates etc. during my school days. I also found a plethora of such opportunities during my engineering days at my alma mater, NIT Jalandhar. I maintained an average GPA there and was in the top 10 students of my branch.
After graduation, I joined IBM India as a SAP Supply Chain Consultant. It gave me a chance to learn the business side of supply chain as well. Here, I was getting a chance to speak to global IT Directors, Operations Managers that allowed me to pick up the business communications skills and jargon used in addition to technical skills.
The job was highly challenging in terms of managing customer expectations and client management skills. But little did I know that this was my preparation for the journey that I am looking forward to right now.
I knew the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system side of supply chain and wanted to equip myself with the supply chain analytics and business fundamentals as well.
Upon rigorous research, I shortlisted seven target schools for MS and MBA programs based upon program rankings, employment opportunities, personal preferences and financial implications.
Based upon my research on the class profiles and various interactions with alumnus of my target schools, I got a realistic idea of GMAT score required, scholarship opportunities and its requirements, and employment opportunities post-graduation.
Another way of research that I adopted was to search for prospective students on forums such as MBA Crystal Ball and GMAT Club where you can get plenty of information on how the entire process evolves.
In fact, I then contacted them over LinkedIn. In my experience, every single connection that I contacted over LinkedIn was extremely helpful in answering any query related to the school or curriculum.
I got a GMAT score of 690 in my second attempt. My second attempt was roughly after one month of preparation post my first attempt. For Verbal, I focused on Official Guides (OG) and e-GMAT.
For Quant, I completely relied on GMAT Club Quant practice and Manhattan books. I wasn’t very happy with my score but I knew if I could couple my application with strong essays, my score should not prove to be a disadvantage for me.
For my first round of applications, I barely had a month. All of my prior research came extremely handy while drafting my essays. For any clarifications, I could easily connect with alumnus that I got in touch prior to my GMAT preparation.
For MBA application essays, my learning has been that if one is clear about his/ her career goals and has a roadmap to meet those goals, it is just a matter of translating your thoughts into words.
I had put in exactly those instances that motivated me to pursue a career in supply chain and let those unique occurrences during my job assignments reflect in my essays as well.
I gave my best to my application essays, got them reviewed from my husband and my brother multiple times and they started taking a satisfactory shape after a couple of iterations. With every next application, my essays improved.
I finalized upon seven schools for specialization in supply chain for a mix of MBA and MS programs, and luckily got through all of them.
After I had heard all of my results, my next dilemma was to decide between MBA and MS.
Most of the MS programs are STEM certified and have their obvious advantage. They are of shorter duration as well.
But then, the scholarship opportunities are limited too whereas, in case of MBA there are plenty of scholarship opportunities.
Also, another advantage is that the job roles and employment opportunities are more diverse after an MBA degree.
Since I was getting decent scholarship for MBA programs which are also highly ranked programs for supply chain, I decided to go ahead with an MBA degree.
But this decision wasn’t easy as like every other prospective student, MIT is too hard to resist as an option. Although I had decided upon an MBA, I needed a third part impersonal viewpoint as well.
Here, my LinkedIn interactions with Sameer Kamat further helped me in my decision making and re-instated my confidence that I was thinking in the right direction.
Although I had no formal engagement with MBA Crystal Ball, Sameer was still very helpful with all the queries that I had. I am very thankful for his kind gesture.
Overall, I had quite a few learnings during my entire journey that I would like to share with you all. To briefly quote a few:
Looking back, since I wanted to explore in the area of supply chain, I would not have changed my choices of schools. They are all great schools and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire application process with each one of them.
But I wish I had devoted more time for my AWESOME video application for MIT SCM Residential program.
So, once you have decided to spend your money, time and energy on a school application, make sure you have put your best foot forward.
Most importantly, stay optimistic during the entire journey as one improves with every application.
My husband has been my biggest strength during this academic journey and didn’t let my confidence waver at any point of time. My family helped me stay optimistic even when my GMAT mock tests were not so encouraging.
With the Covid-19 situation, financial implications have played out a huge role in my decision making.
Further with visa uncertainty right now, I am not sure how the situation would evolve in the coming months.
If everything goes as planned, I have decided to go ahead with W.P. Carey as it is a STEM MBA program now and has a location advantage as well.
However, only time will tell what my fate holds!
Lastly, I didn’t have an extraordinary GMAT score or have a very coveted work experience but I chose to put my best in every application and highlighted in what ways I performed my regular tasks at my job in a different manner.
Sincerity and honesty in the process definitely helps.
Wish you all the very best as you plan to make the best move :-)