Joined: Sep 11, 2016
710 Q47 V40
This review is for McDonough
Program Full Time MBA
Class of 2020
Like many of you reading this review, I had quite a lot of anxiety before embarking on the journey at one of the top business schools in the US. Having lived and worked in India, I was concerned about the cultural assimilation, going back to education after 8 years and capturing success in a new country. Everyday my mind battling the questions like you are probably right now- Will I be able to adjust in the social fabric of a new country?, How will my wife and I align our careers in the US when we are faced with so much uncertainty to start with, Is a $175K overall investment going to give me the ROI?
As as I write this review sitting in the living room of my Washington DC apartment overlooking the Potomac river, I walk down the memory lane reliving my fondest memories. Right from the day I stepped foot onto that Turkish Airways airplane from the Mumbai airport to this day, the journey has been exhilarating.
The credit goes to a welcoming, well designed and a truly global MBA program at McDonough. Coming to the program I had 3 expectations from the school and myself . First, get a job in a Leadership Develop Program (LDP) or a Consulting role. Second, get an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the brightest minds and third,learn what it takes lead and work in a multi-cultural climate.
1) Getting a Job: As you already know, getting a job in the US for an international student is hard but not impossible. I was a total disaster during in internship recruiting which starts in a month's time after you step foot on campus. I was fortunate to have interviews from some of the top tech firms, consulting companies, airlines and other industries. Unfortunately I couldn't convert any. I didn't have an internship offer until the last day of the first-year of my MBA (May of 2019). I stayed put and kept my networking game and interview prep ON. I finally landed a respectably paying MBA internship in one of the most science driven Pharma companies in New York. While the role wasn't what I would have died to work for, It helped me to train myself to work in a multi-cultural environment in America. I felt much better prepared for full time recruiting just with that internship. When I came back to campus for my 2nd year of MBA, right from day 1 I worked VERY hard to prepare for interviews. My hard work paid off and I thank God that I landed 2 offers - one from a Big Tech and other from a Big 4 Consulting firm. My first expectation was met and I credit McDonough for laying out the platform for me to get ready for it.
2) An opportunity to rub shoulders with bright minds: I was amazed to have classmates from all walks of life - US Government, military who served in Afghanistan, Technology, Investment banking, Engineering, Non-profits, etc. You name it and we had people from the sector. For the first time in my life I got to work on teams with Asians, Americans, LGBTQ+ community, etc. It was a steep learning curve. I made mistakes but I failed fast and learned quickly. I had a valuable opportunity to work consult a multi national oil exploration company in Ghana on a semester long capstone assignment. I traveled with my team to Accra for a week to do the field work and meet the client.
3) Third, learning what it takes to become a global leader in a multi-cultural climate: US business schools empower you to chart your own path- You can lead clubs, become a student ambassador, participate in paid Inter-school case competitions forming your own teams, Network with alumni , Organize events, Make decisions on social events, Manage a $500K fund to learn money management, etc. In my two years at McDonough, I made most of this culture of empowerment which I am grateful for. I was on board of Consulting clubs where I interacted with high achieving classmates, I participated in case competitions across the country to bring home cash prizes (My Blog- https://medium.com/@kavish2000/business-school-an-unforgettable-journey-of-experiences-def6e869bd0a ) and became a Leadership Fellow at school (Read my blog here- https://medium.com/@kavish2000/mba-has-been-a-leadership-development-crusade-for-me-4741ac5c9148?source=friends_link&sk=cf040fafa5f05ab19950fa16c9c15406 )
My expectations got met and exceeded in some cases on these three fronts. I can confidently say that I am a transformed person personally and professionally from what I was 2 years ago. That, I believe, is the biggest gift of attending a top notch business school.
Suggestions for future applicants:
1) Recruiting: This is probably the first thing on most applicants' mind. Getting a job in the US (esp, with the current administration's protectionist policies) for an international student is hard. Every year there are internationals who succeed and others who don't. That's true not just for McDonough but most top schools. While the career center is supportive, do not rely on it as a ONE STOP shop for the culmination of your career search. Certain roles are hard to succeed at for Internationals- Federal consulting, Marketing/Branding, Wealth management, etc. Be mindful of that before taking the plunge. Look outside and learn the tricks of networking with alumni early on. I found my internship only because I networked well. Additionally, your ability to articulate well and have an executive presence is the single biggest driver of recruiting success.
2) Be prepared to slog it out: Recruiting is a different ballgame in the US. You have to slog and give your best and leave the rest to the fate- Case prep, Mock Interviews, Networking, etc.
3) Cherish the journey: Might sound cliche but I will still say this. No matter where you end up you must know that the experience will transform you in ways you do not realize. The transformation will be permanent and the core principles will stay with you forever.
4) Talk to an existing student AND alumnus at Length before making the decision
Overall BSchool experience (4.0)
Schools contribution (4.0)
Classmates rating (5.0)
Student body, diversity
Culture & Student Support
Curriculum, Classes, Professors
Career opportunities provided by school