An MBA after BBA is a common and logical progression for many. Most BBA grads complete their MBA in India and realise only later that their Indian MBA degree will not help them build an international career.
Some who’ve already done the research know how important it is to get their MBA from Canada, USA, UK or another popular international study destination where they want to live and work.
Amruta Nadkar was among those who had this foresight and clarity very early in her career.
She took a slightly offbeat path to her MBA. She completed an MS in Marketing from USA first, before setting her eyes on getting a top MBA from Canada (Business Schools in Canada).
With a 700 score on the GMAT, she got into both the Canadian business schools she applied to, with scholarship.
How I got MBA scholarships in Canada as an international student from India
MBA (Canada) after BBA (India) & MS (USA)
by Amruta Nadkar
It was 2019 and I was eagerly waiting for my Canadian PR. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to receive it around October that year.
I spent Diwali exploring Toronto and fell in love with the city that I would soon call home.
But the pandemic had different plans. I had to push my move to Canada intermittently when COVID struck.
Despite all the uncertainty, I was thankful for two things—the pandemic had taught me the value of patience and had given me time and reason to explore my next career move.
I am not someone who meticulously plans every detail, whether it’s my personal or professional life. I like to go with the flow. And that’s exactly what I did after I graduated with a BBA.
Being a generic business degree, BBA opened up a range of opportunities for me across business functions.
One of them was an opportunity to work with KPMG as a Markets Analyst.
The world of B2B marketing was exciting and I evaluated some of the biggest companies as prospective clients.
I also honed my written communication by drafting multiple white papers and articles on key audit legislations.
Wanting to pursue marketing further, especially in the B2C arena, I pursued Masters in Marketing at Johns Hopkins University.
It was exhilarating to venture out of my comfort zone and live in a foreign country all by myself.
I made friends from different parts of the world, explored marketing from an international lens, traveled extensively and joined the University’s international fellowship.
This experience as an international student left an undeniably positive imprint on my personality and shaped me into an adaptable and independent person.
My masters program emphasized the need to integrate sustainability into business. It’s central tenet—‘Business With Humanity In Mind’ — stayed with me.
On returning to India, I joined a social enterprise working in the education sector as Branding & Campaigns Manager.
It was challenging to work as a one-person marketing team but the value we created for underprivileged students and the programs that we launched in tier 2/3 towns kept me going.
After working in two diverse industries and catering to very different consumers, my next stint was as Communications Manager for Kotak Securities.
As a newbie to the world of stock markets myself, I had fun breaking down complex stock market concepts into relatable articles and stories that informed the next generation of tech-savvy stock market enthusiasts.
Halfway into this role, the pandemic was upon us. I saw how businesses changed in a matter of days.
The digital revolution I witnessed made me realize the skill gaps I had in areas like digital marketing, marketing technology and data analysis.
Having performed largely creative roles so far, I was also awakening to the need to strengthen my business and strategy acumen.
Aware that these skills would be very important if I were to navigate the Canadian job market in the post pandemic world, I decided to give MBA a chance.
It wasn’t easy to make that decision given the financial commitment that MBA requires.
On the personal front too, I struggled with the idea of leaving my husband behind while he continued to work in India and support me financially.
To add to that, my workload kept increasing and finding time for GMAT prep became another stress trigger.
My dad’s sudden demise and the prospect of leaving my ageing mother on her own almost stopped me in my tracks.
But with my family’s support, I decided to meet the challenge head on.
It was impossible to study for GMAT while working weekends so I attended as many online classes as I could till end-October 2020.
I realized that I would have to quit full-time work and take up consulting assignments if I was serious about MBA next year.
A break from work for a month helped me focus on GMAT and I scored a 700.
I wasn’t altogether satisfied with my score but I didn’t have the time to reapply given that the 2nd round of admissions was fast approaching.
I had heard a lot about MBA Crystal Ball while talking to fellow MBA aspirants and thought their MBA philosophy was quite unique.
In a world of cutthroat competition where consultants force admission-counseling packages down your throat, MBA Crystal Ball took time to understand my motivations behind pursuing an MBA.
My initial interactions with them were about uncovering my skill gaps and determining if the MBA was just an escape route or something that would truly add value.
If there is one tip I could give someone considering an MBA, this would be it!
The team at MBA Crystal Ball is very well trained in helping you cut through the clutter, truly reflect, and stay true to yourself during the application and school selection journey.
I realized that spending some time on this stage crystallized my understanding of ‘WHY MBA’ and made writing essays so much easier.
I was clear that I wanted to stay in Toronto after my MBA and narrowed down my options to Schulich Business School and Rotman.
My consultant Vibhav Agarwal spoke to me at length about the schools’ admission criteria and explained how my application strategy should be shaped.
The most eye-opening part of the application process with MCB was a preliminary essay that I was asked to work on about everything that defined me as a person from childhood until now.
I had to take a trip down memory lane and identify highlights, victories, failures and difficulties from my life.
It was surprising to see how effortlessly these could be translated into my admissions essay at later stages.
The process of writing the essays was definitely grueling but worth all the effort.
Vibhav made me think of this exercise as drafting a story—painting a vivid picture of my life for the admissions team to remember me by.
The layout, sequencing, sentence structure and choice of words were all thought out and both of us had a chance to debate and question.
After multiple drafts, I finally had an essay that both he and I agreed on.
Drafting my own thoughts gave me a sense of ownership while his inputs gave me a sense of partnership in the process.
As a result of our combined effort, I got interview invites from both the schools!
Having been very satisfied with my experience so far, I approached MBA Crystal Ball for help with interview prep as well. This was also meticulously done in the presence of my consultant and a communications coach.
Finally, I had given all that I had and could only pray for the results to be in my favour!
A few weeks after my interview I was ecstatic to get offers from both the schools, that too with a CAD 20,000 scholarship from Schulich and a CAD 15,000 scholarship from Rotman.
With a giddy mix of emotions and hope, I look forward to starting my MBA journey at Rotman this fall!
For those in the same boat as I was a year ago, here are my two cents:
- Really reflect on whether you need an MBA.
- Research potential career tracks and match schools to them.
- Speak to as many alumni and current students as possible.
- Apply in the first few rounds to be eligible for entrance funding.
And KEEP PERSEVERING!
After all, nothing worth achieving comes easy.