This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Shriansh Shrivastava, a student at Northwestern Kellogg’s joint MBA/Masters in Design Innovation program.
Accepted: We'd like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent job? Where are you currently studying?
Shriansh: I grew up in India, then moved to the UK for undergrad in electronics and communications at the University of Sussex. After graduation, I worked at Ericsson UK, working with mobile phones and broadband, and also worked in the Ericsson Innovation Scheme. After this, I moved to Canada to work with mobile phone innovations in suicide prevention.
I’m currently attending the Kellogg School of Management, due to graduate in June 2016.
Accepted: Can you tell us more about your joint degree? What do you plan on doing with your degrees?
Shriansh: The MMM program at Kellogg has to be the best kept secret in the MBA world. It’s a joint program – you end up with a Kellogg MBA and a Master in Science in Design Innovation from the McCormick/Segal schools at Northwestern.
The biggest misconception about the MMM is that it’s an ‘engineering-y’ program. Not true. Around 50% of my class is from a completely non-technical background! My MS:DI degree is teaching me design thinking: how to approach any problem creatively and differently. So skills I’m going to end up with will be a very creative spin on an already great MBA program. This fits best with my current objective of getting involved with innovation in big tech post graduation.
Accepted: How are you liking Chicago? Do you plan on staying local after you receive your degrees? Any ideas yet where you may be headed?
Shriansh: Chicago’s brilliant. We’re based in Evanston, which is about 20 minutes north of Chicago by the Metra. Evanston’s very self-sufficient, so I actually don’t end up going to Chicago all that much. But it’s an awesome city, of course. The architecture is amazing, the culture’s friendly and the food is awesome. And it’s cold. Very cold. Having spent the last year in Canada, I’m actually comfortable with the weather so far, but my peers from tropical parts of the world are…having fun!
Accepted: Do you have a favorite coffee shop or another nice place where you like to study or hang out with friends?
Shriansh: We MMMs have our very own exclusive lounge, which is a modern space, well lit, with some sort of creativity always going on. I love hanging out here with my peers. There are actual coffee shops and breakout rooms around campus, of course, but this is the best place to be at, at least for me.
Accepted: Why did you choose Kellogg? Which other programs had you considered? How would you say that you're a good fit for Kellogg's program?
Shriansh: For me, it came down to Haas or Kellogg – what both have in common is the extremely cooperative, friendly spirit. Kellogg really embodies this – from day #1, we were thrown into tons of group work – at this time, I’ve completed 9 courses, each with its own team, and have done more coursework in groups than individually. Also a brilliant example: For recruiting, a bunch of us work together on making each other better – we all know we’ll be gunning for the same job, but that ‘competition’ is just not in the picture. For me, it’s important that my peers do well – and vice versa. This lack of any sort of animosity actually makes Kellogg, Kellogg.
Accepted: If you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
Shriansh: I’d move it to someplace warmer…I’ve heard Hawaii is nice this time of the year…
Accepted: What's your favorite class so far?
Shriansh: I’d like to say Operations, with Professor Chopra. It’s not my favorite, but it’s the one that’s blown my mind the most. I enjoyed Marketing, really enjoyed Research-Design-Build, and Strategy. But ops is a different beast, and portrays concepts you learn in Marketing in a completely different light (e.g. Selling more can end up ruining your business!!).
Accepted: Can you share your top 3 admissions tips with our readers?
1. In essays and interviews, be clear why you want the second degree and tie it to your goals. If it brings you new skills, say that. If you have the skills and want to practice them in the real world, say so.
2. Saying ‘what people might want to hear’ rather than what’s real will get you into trouble. An interview is a ‘personality fit’ test as much as a competence test. If you fake it, you might even end up in a program, but probably will end up around the type of people you don’t gel with, instantly diluting the value of the MBA.
3. Network, network, network – talk to alumni – LinkedIn is a great resource for this. When I was applying, I spoke to a lot of alums. All Kellogg alums I reached out to were happy to help, which actually factored a lot into my decision. When approaching an alumni or current student, do ask precise and intelligent question. Asking someone “So tell me what Kellogg does” is horribly vague and will probably irritate the person. A better question could be “I’m interested in photography. What do you think the photography club on campus is like? Did you go to events?
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You can read more about Shriansh’s journey by checking out his About Me page. Thank you Shriansh for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!
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This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.