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 follow up interview with Piyush, who was recently accepted to UCLA Anderson. (We first met Piyush last year – you can read our first interview with him here.)
Accepted: Can you remind us a little about who you are?
Piyush: I am an incoming UCLA Anderson MBA candidate with experience in development consulting, entrepreneurship (retail) and oil and gas. Most of my roles in these industries have been people-orientated and in sales. I am a biotech graduate from London and have lived in 7 countries, mostly in the Middle-East.
Accepted: Which schools did you get accepted to and why did you choose UCLA Anderson? Why do you think that’s the best school for you?
Piyush: I got accepted at number of top-tier business schools in India and the U.S., but choose Anderson mainly for the student body, diversity in recruitment and location. I have expanded this in detail on my Anderson student blog post here.
Based on my interests and past experiences, I will be looking in pharma/biotech marketing and sales at tech companies such as Google or Amazon. Anderson has focused its curriculum around different functional tracks including marketing, allowing me to focus early on. Also the school has a great relationship with companies such as Amgen and Google.
Accepted: Can you talk about your decision to attend a U.S. MBA program over a program in India?
Piyush: It is difficult to compare MBA programs in India and the U.S. because they are serving different markets and addressing different business problems. India scores more on the economy growth front, job placements numbers, and cost. But U.S. schools such as Anderson stand out for job readiness, leadership, exposure, diversity and experience.
It also boils down to where you want to work immediately post-MBA. The schools have the biggest value in their respective regions. Having studied and worked in India, I was looking for a new and diverse experience.
Accepted: What are you most looking forward to with starting b-school in the fall?
Piyush: I am most looking forward to being a student again. The excitement to learn new things, ask questions and at the same time have fun. I am also very excited to meet my classmates at Anderson.
Accepted: Can you talk about your waitlist experience at UNC? What did you do in between getting the news that you were on the waitlist and then getting the acceptance letter? Did you take steps to improve your profile, write a waitlist letter, etc.?
Piyush: I think the term waitlist should be renamed to some actionable term such as reach-out or something. A lot of candidates simply choose to wait, which really does not help their application. I understand that some business schools (such as Ross), only allow you to send one update but most schools are happy to host you on-campus and learn about your progress.
I was waitlisted at a few schools, and the first thing I did was seek feedback. You will be surprised how the admissions team views your application. Since I was not able to improve my profile drastically, I visited the school, networked with current students, and reached out to admissions team frequently.
Patience and persistence is generally rewarded at this stage of application.
Accepted: An MBA is not cheap – do you have any tips for our readers on paying for b-school?
Piyush: There are number of ways to finance an MBA, ranging from company sponsorship to private loans. I believe a strong GMAT score and application certainly helps you land a scholarship.
Apart from customized loan programs for international students, students can ease their financial burden during studies with academic internships and teaching assistant positions.
Accepted: How do you plan on spending the time between now and when you start school in the fall? Are you doing anything to prepare for b-school?
Piyush: I am taking some time off from work and travelling in India. Anderson has kept us busy with weekly emails, which ensure that we are ready with everything. The UCLA Anderson Parker Career Management Center has started working with us closely.
I am also doing a small pre-MBA course at mbamath.com to get ready for the academic rigor of business school.
Accepted: What would you say are your top three MBA admissions tips?
1. Start early – This is very important. I used a number of resources from Accepted.com and Admissionado to kick-start my applications.
2. GMAT score matters, at least for Indian applicants – A couple of business schools asked me to increase my GMAT to 740 during the waitlist period because I was competing with fellow Indian citizens many of whom also presented stellar applications. My GMAT score was already 720.
3. Take the medicine – Spend the time and resource to learn about the business school you are interested it. Your research and interest directly reflect in your essays and interview.
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.