Supreet Virk chose to pursue a full-time second MBA from an international business school, as opposed to a part-time executive MBA after her MBA from NMIMS.
She joins a growing number of MBA graduates from India who think they played their MBA card too early in their careers. To stay in the competitive global race, an international MBA makes good sense.
Supreet had made a mark in the rapidly-growing digital media and entertainment industry. What prompted her to consider a double MBA? How did she prepare for the applications? She answers these queries below.
She has some helpful tips for second MBA candidates, and also freshers who’re planning to jump straight into an MBA program after Btech or any other bachelors degree, without experience.
Second MBA abroad after entertainment and media experience
by Supreet Virk
Persistence and a single minded focus were my key strengths on the application journey. I grew up across different towns in Maharashtra owing to my dad’s government job and since my 10th std had made up my mind to pursue a career in management. My lack of interest in technology also helped in pushing me towards an MBA after my BTech.
With an MBA degree on my mind, I utilized my engineering years by taking part in business plan and case study competitions and also led committees for my college fest. I maintained a decent score across my 10th, 12th and BTech years to help me get the coveted MBA seat in a top bschool in India.
Eventually, I landed up at NMIMS Mumbai for a 2 year MBA Program. I continued building my resume during my MBA through case study competitions hosted by Unilever, L’Oreal, Amazon for MBAs. I was fortunate enough to win some competitions, this experience not only refined my CV but also gave me a lot of practical business exposure.
I started working with Vodafone right after my MBA but soon shifted to the Digital Entertainment industry and worked for OTT apps such as Voot and MX Player.
My role as a Content manager was similar to a product manager role in a tech company. In my role, I acquired suitable content for our platform and thereafter coordinated with several departments:
- Operations team to on-board it.
- Marketing team to promote the content.
- Legal team for contractual documentation formalities.
- Programming team to ensure appropriate placement for the content on our app/platform.
What I didn’t get from my first MBA
Initially, I struggled to communicate and coordinate with cross functional teams since I was not well versed with their area of expertise.
Leadership and coordination within my own team was also challenging as it took me time to put protocols and processes in place after understanding the scope of my team mates’ work.
In terms of functional knowledge, I had to acquire legal and operations domain knowledge on the job as my MBA couldn’t not help me much in those areas.
One year post my MBA I realized the lack of leadership training and practical exposure provided by Indian b-schools as I found myself learning most of the required skills on the job.
Pursuing an MBA right after my BTech didn’t help either as lack of work experience had hampered my learning experience during college.
Thus, I began my journey towards my second MBA to bridge my skills gap, gain international exposure and take my career to the next level.
My long-term goal is to move to the e-commerce industry.
Although my current content manager role is in many ways similar to the category manager role that I am targeting in the e-commerce industry, there are many elements in the domains of operations, analytics and leadership specific to this industry that I still need to learn. I hope to bridge this gap through my second MBA.
GMAT vs GRE decision
My second MBA application journey began with preparing for GMAT, I studied for the exam for 5 months and gave a few practice tests to assess my score.
But I was unable to reach the 740 mark due to my low score in the sentence correction section.
After struggling for a couple of months I decided to pursue GRE instead of GMAT, as I felt more comfortable with English vocabulary compared to grammar which was an essential part of GMAT.
Fortunately, I scored a 329 on my GRE exam which helped me target the top bschools.
My MBA application strategy
While choosing schools I gave preference to the country I wanted to settle in, the language spoken there (I was targeting English speaking countries), job opportunities and ease of getting a work visa.
I also researched extensively about the various schools and their USPs / rankings through Poets and Quants, GMAT Club forum etc.
Finally, I chose to apply for the top business schools in Europe – IE , IMD, Oxford, HEC Paris, RSM and INSEAD.
Working with MBA Crystal Ball
My first application was for RSM Business School (Netherlands).
Being new to the application process I reached out to MBA Crystal Ball for help with my essays and resume.
One of my friends had informed me about MBA Crystal Ball services and I also checked online about it.
I didn’t talk to many teams, probably just one or two teams. The introductory call that I had with MCB convinced me to sign up for the services.
Rohit from the admissions consulting team at MCB helped me put together a convincing story to explain my motive behind pursuing a second MBA and also polished my resume to highlight the important milestones of my career.
After going through five drafts for the essays and three drafts for the recommendation letters with Rohit, I finalized my application for RSM.
Our hard work paid off and I received an interview call from the school!
My MBA application results
The experience of working on the RSM MBA application prepared me to work on applications for the other five schools in the next few months.
I received interview calls from four out of the six schools and got admitted to IE and Oxford. I also received a 25000 Euros scholarship from IE business school.
My learnings from this application journey were – explain your motive to pursue an MBA in depth through your career journey so far and stress on how the MBA is important to take your career to the next level, highlight areas that make you stand out from the other applicants.
For example, I highlighted my background of working in the entertainment industry, winning case study competitions during my college years and my passion to gain practical knowledge through my multiple internships during college.
As for the interview, all my four interviews were conversational and the questions were based on my post MBA goals and motives behind pursuing an MBA at this point in my career.
In hindsight, I benefited positively from MBA Crystal Ball’s guidance. When I started the application process I hadn’t done much research about the right way to draft essays and my resume.
My consultant (Rohit) taught me all the basics which helped me write my responses for the 6 applications that I wrote in the next 6-7 months.
To conclude, the best strategy to secure a seat at a top b-school is to make the admissions team believe that an MBA is the best way to accelerate your career and achieve your dreams.
Tips for second MBA applicants
Nowadays many good universities are very open to welcoming second MBA applicants compared to 3 years back.
I remember attending seminars for Tuck School of Business, Ross and other bschools 3 years back and the admissions directors were not very supportive of second MBA applicants.
But I feel the scenario has changed drastically in the last 3 years.
Out of the 6 universities that I had applied to 4 gave me interview offers and 2 gave me final admits. This clearly indicates the change in attitude towards second MBA applicants.
Specially for students who have pursued their MBA right after their undergrad as is the case in India, universities are very supportive. They now understand the unique educational system in India which leads to many students taking this route, and don’t consider it a career mistake.
For students planning to get an MBA from India immediately after graduation, I would recommend getting a minimum work experience of 3 years before going for an MBA, as this degree is all about practical knowledge and not theory.
An MBA degree abroad is very different from an Indian MBA and I would strongly recommend the former (i.e. international MBA) if your financial circumstances permit you to go abroad.
My best wishes to all the candidates applying for a second MBA abroad, with the right strategy and clarity of thought it is very much possible to get admitted to your dream college!
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