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Chasing the American MBA Dream: Tale of an Austin McCombs Admit

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New post 16 Jul 2018, 02:23
The @MBADecoder team was fortunate to interact with @nishantverma91 who had applied to several American b-schools for the Fall 2018 intake and got into some top programs such as Austin McCombs, UNC Kenan Flagler and ISB. Nishant tells us about his goal of getting into product management post-MBA, how this impacted his b-school decision and he leaves future applicants with some excellent tips. Read on...

MBA Decoder: Hi Nishant, please tell us a little about yourself.
Nishant: I belong to a family of doctors with me being the first one to opt for the engineering-then-MBA path. It’s been an interesting journey till now. I usually performed well at school and like many 16 year olds in small-town India thought that one day I can crack the coveted IIT-JEE exam. Eventually, I did, but after spending one year at IIT I had no clue of what I was doing or what should I do going ahead. I dabbled in robotics, sports, music and anything I could find. Fortunately, I developed an interest in data analytics through some projects and finally found a target to work on.

Fast forward to now. I have 4 years of experience in Product Analytics and a substantial part of it has been spent in India’s most iconic startup stories - Paytm. Working in Paytm has been a roller-coaster ride. From doing wonderful projects in days that any other organization would do in months to the awesome team parties, the ride has been an exhilarating one. I also got introduced to Product Management over the last few years spent here and now it’s my next target which hopefully an MBA will help me achieve!

MBA Decoder: What led to the decision of doing an MBA?
Nishant: When I joined Paytm as a Product Analyst, I had the opportunity to work closely with some excellent Product Managers. I was amazed to see products evolving from concept to reality and then being used by a million users each day. It was a great experience to see ideas discussed on glass-boards coming to life on a mobile app, and touching so many lives. Inspired by this, I decided to become a product manager and eventually build products that can solve real-world problems.

However, I soon realized that there’s not only tech or data expertise that is required from a Product Manager, but other critical skills such as influential leadership capabilities and stakeholder management are very important components too. I also observed that Product Managers have a very clear understanding of business goals and the impact that products have on business. I understood that this is the right time for me to get a B-School education as the business knowledge, network and the leadership experience obtained during the program would immensely help me fill the gaps in my current skill-set and help in my all-round development as a product manager.

MBA Decoder: Which b-schools did you apply to and why? How did u research these programs?
Nishant:I applied to nearly 10 schools, with all being US B-Schools apart from ISB. I was primarily focused on schools that have strong relationship with the US Internet Tech industry as this was my target industry.

My research started with finding information about these schools on the internet. Forums such as GMATclub were very helpful in understanding the application process that B-Schools follow. After shortlisting relevant schools, I spoke to 2-3 current students or alumni from each school and this really helped me get insights on what the school expects from me as an applicant and also on how can the school help me achieve my goals.

MBA Decoder: How was your experience with every b-school application?
Nishant: I believe every b-school application made me explore something unique inside me. This was a chance for me to introspect and assess what my strengths and areas of improvement were.

During the process, I came across some very interesting essays. One that comes on top of my mind right now is the McCombs essay which asks you to describe your 2-year journey at McCombs in the form of a graduation speech. It was fascinating to write about something that I haven’t experienced yet!

Schools are becoming very innovative with applications now and are eager to test the creative side of applicants as well, and as a result of which things like video essays, Pinterest pages etc. are coming up.

One advice to applicants is that prima facie some essays look similar across b-schools but there are always nuances and one should always be wary of them.

MBA Decoder: You had many admits by the end of the application cycle. How did u decide which program will you attend?
Nishant: First criteria was to choose a school that has a solid reputation when it comes to tech product management roles. McCombs being located in Austin,TX was a huge advantage as Austin has a booming tech culture right now.

Financing my education was the other criteria. The scholarship at McCombs was helping me fund my education without too much financial burden on me and my family.

And the final criteria was alumni network. The University of Texas has a huge network of alumni not just within Texas, but also on both the coasts. This provides excellent networking opportunities.

MBA Decoder: What were the 3 biggest takeaways from your application journey? What would you advise future applicants based on these experiences?
Nishant: Introspection is must before starting with your applications. Understanding your strengths, areas of improvements and having clarity on goals are the 3 key ingredients of any application.

Researching comprehensively on B-Schools helped a lot. The internet has a lot of information, but it’s best to connect with current students or alumni of target schools and gain some insights.

Time Management is also very crucial. Applying to a single or very few schools can be risky and when you apply to more than 5-6 schools then it’s best to stay organized and give sufficient time to each b-school application. Applying last-moment or in-a-hurry inevitably leads to poor, unstructured essays.

To all the future applicants - You’ll learn a lot about yourself when you begin the applications. Just make sure to be clear on your goals and try to connect with people from your target schools - it’ll help you a lot. All the best !
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Namita Garg,
http://www.mbadecoder.com
Contact us at: contact@mbadecoder.com

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Chasing the American MBA Dream: Tale of an Austin McCombs Admit   [#permalink] 16 Jul 2018, 02:23
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