For medical professionals (doctors, dentists) who wish to transition to the corporate side, we’ve published several articles. But we haven’t covered anything on getting an MBA after physiotherapy.
Dr Robert Sandeep Madduri’s success story is a special one to add to our repository. That’s because his academic capabilities were written off by doctors when he was just 16 and diagnosed with epilepsy. They said education is not going to be his cup of tea.
We can’t blame the doctors either. They made the judgement based on his medical records. But they had no way to test his will-power, which would prove them wrong in due course. The physiotherapist with a never-say-die spirit got into, not one, but two of the best business schools in India.
MBA after Physiotherapy
How I got into India’s best business schools despite low grades
by Dr. Robert Sandeep Madduri
I am calm and introverted, mostly described as a workaholic by colleagues and friends. A close friend’s death at a very young age pivoted my education and career in healthcare.
Since then, I have worked across the multiple verticals of healthcare, helping both government and non-government stakeholders in designing healthcare growth strategies across the globe.
The journey to becoming a healthcare professional wasn’t an easy one. Coming from a financially humble background, it wasn’t easy to afford a quality education. However, tutoring help from university students fulfilled that void.
At age 16, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, and doctors declared me unfit for education. I was discriminated against for my condition by near and dear.
While everyone believed that my journey to become a healthcare practitioner had ended, I didn’t believe in it and trained my mind accordingly.
I made slow and steady progress and worked hard to secure a full scholarship admission at one of the state’s best physiotherapy colleges.
By graduating among the top 5 in the batch, I became a first-generation graduate in my family by overcoming financial, health and social hurdles.
After practising for two years in clinical space, I moved to corporate space to create an impact at scale.
I started my corporate career in healthcare IT and then moved out of it to work in healthcare consulting, public health and finally pharmaceutical industry.
After coming to Novartis, a European pharma giant, I was content with my job as I was helping in improving the lives of people across the globe.
However, as the days passed, I realised the shortage in my business acumen while working with stakeholders around the world.
My manager advised me to go for an MBA, and my colleague from a similar background with an MBA supported his decision.
So I decided to go for an MBA, but I wasn’t motivated.
Here my manager helped me again. He took a personal interest and scheduled weekly calls with me to motivate me and monitor my progress.
It took me more than 1-year prep to make my first GRE attempt. I took GRE as I was more comfortable with it compared to GMAT.
I scored 328 (90%ile) on my first attempt. I was initially happy but received feedback that I needed to increase my score to 330+ for being an Indian male.
However, my mocks weren’t improving further, so I didn’t invest my efforts in retaking the test.
I decided to go with the same score, and my manager advised me to go with a good consultant who could help me overcome the shortage of 2-3 points on my GRE.
As the MBA journey was new to me, I felt initially that investing much money in a consultant would not help much.
However, I was proved wrong when my results came declined for 3 schools I have applied to.
Realising my mistake, I changed my consultant and chose MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) for their honest and high quality reviews.
Manish Gupta (MG) was my point of contact and was very supportive from the beginning. I was in touch with MG even before I chose my initial consultant.
I simply avoided MCB for the first time due to their cost but returned to them later, realising that quality comes with a price.
MG told me that I am generally an outlier due to my age (late realisation) and gave me realistic expectations.
I have taken a 3-school MBA application reviews package with MCB, and the knowledge I gained from their services helped me apply to 6 more schools on my own.
Since I am a healthcare enthusiast, I have applied to all the schools known for healthcare recruiting across the US, Canada and Europe. However, my lack of international experience and higher age affected my chances in those schools.
On a good note, I received interview invites from IIMA and ISB.
IIMA’s interview happens at specific locations, and I chose Mumbai for my interview. It ended up being very tiring due to long wait times.
On the other hand, ISB’s interview was scheduled online, and the experience was very comfortable.
Both the interviews are panel interviews focused on why MBA and what I bring to the table.
However, the IIM interview panel were more interested to know the rationale behind my low grades during my graduation and post-graduation.
In contrast, ISB’s panel mainly focused on my experiences instead of my grades. My grades appear low on paper during graduation and post-graduation due to stringent markings at my universities.
I made it to both IIMA and ISB in India!
I chose ISB over IIMA since ISB’s one year PGP is a flagship program compared to IIMA’s one-year PGPX.
So finally, I began my ISB journey on Apr 2, and I believe it’s worth all the pain I have endured over the past 2 years.
I became part of the senior executive club at ISB as I have 8 years of work experience (entry requirement – 8 years).
It seems my decision is a good one, as I see more students with 8 plus years of experience at ISB compared to IIMA due to the huge batch size at ISB.
I applied to all the target schools on my list before going to ISB, and in that process, I wasted a lot of time, money and energy on the applications as I was rejected by all the schools except ISB and IIMA.
I don’t regret any of it because I don’t want to live with the feeling of not applying to this or that school later in my life.
Being content and happy with my final choice is of utmost importance, and I am finally content with my choice after putting in my best efforts across different schools.