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. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application. And now for an interview with Rohini Vaze…
Accepted: First, can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Can you share 3 fun facts about yourself?
Rohini: Sure! I am from Mumbai in India. I did my undergrad in electrical engineering from Pune and then worked at Tata Motors for three years. It was an amazing job where I got a 360 degree view of the business by working in sales, manufacturing and customer support and could take many initiatives and see them implemented. However, I always felt that I needed to learn frameworks that I could apply in my career, and so I came to business school to gain those skills. I also funded my friend’s startup during my time at Tata Motors and that got me interested in this space. So I am using these two years at business school to gain exposure to start-ups in California.
3 fun facts about me are:
1. I have travelled to 10 countries outside my country of birth.
2. I am a trustee at a non-profit organization in India to help underprivileged children learn English and computers.
3. I have been dancing since the age of five.
Accepted: Where are you in business school? What year?
Rohini: I am in my first year of Business School at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Accepted: What is your favorite thing about Anderson so far? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
Rohini: My favorite thing about Anderson has been the people and the exposure that it has given to me. Many schools are good at a single discipline but not so great at other industries, but Anderson is great for a variety of careers. This gives a lot of exposure to people who have very diverse backgrounds and I am sure it will be very helpful in the future. If I could change one thing, I would change the time at which the school starts. The quarter system makes recruiting harder since all other schools tend to have an advantage of starting a month earlier than Anderson, and thus those students have more time to gain valuable skills that will help them in seeking internships and full time positions.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your current internship? What role did UCLA play in helping you secure that position?
Rohini: I am currently pursuing a part-time internship at a Venture Capital Firm in Santa Monica and the opportunity came to me through UCLA itself. We have a website through our career center where companies that are in need of interns post about their opportunities. I applied to this internship after seeing the posting on the website and went through a company analysis and interview process before being offered this position. The part-time internship involves doing market research for companies that are being considered for funding through the Venture Capital Firm. What I really like about the internship is that the firm has good deal flow and provides real support to the entrepreneurs that they fund.
For the summer, I will be going to Amazon, and the Anderson career center was very helpful in giving me tips for preparation for the same. Moreover, my classmates as well as 2nd year students helped a lot with the preparation for the interviews!
Accepted: Which other business schools had you considered attending? How was UCLA the best fit for you?
Rohini: I always wanted a business school on the West Coast. I have a heard a lot about the cultural difference between the West and the East Coast schools and knew that I am a West Coast person. The other two criteria I had in mind were that I wanted a school in a city so that I could pursue part-time internships in parallel to school, as well as I wanted a school where there was a high concentration of people going into Hi-Tech. Thus, I had only considered attending UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford. I believe Anderson is a great fit for me since along with the above factors, Anderson has a very diverse crowd. The business school is really good for Finance and Consulting too, and I am confident that this exposure by being in an ‘all-rounder’ school will be very helpful in my career in the future.
Accepted: I see that you did fantastic on your GMAT – can you share a few tips with our readers?
Rohini: Thanks. There are a few things that I think helped me a lot with my GMAT score:
• Start with the simplest books and then move on to the harder ones. The simpler books help to re-learn the concepts from high school that most of us have forgotten. I started preparing with Princeton books and then went on to Manhattan and Kaplan. I also advise my friends to study from the official GMAT book the last. The official book tends to have the simpler questions in the 400-600 range and are not the best questions to practice when you are aiming for a great GMAT score. However, being able to easily solve these questions in the last couple of days when you need something to reduce your anxiousness is the best way to use the Official GMAT book.
• Check your mistakes to find patterns that will help you to focus your further preparation on a particular topic that is common for GMAT exams.
• Spend adequate time on the first 10 questions. I took the older format GMAT where the first 10 questions can really make or break your final score. Thus checking for silly mistakes in reading the question or a calculation error in not calculating answers till the end helps in getting a good score.
• Most importantly, practice a LOT! This is probably the most important tip since one of my biggest hurdles with GMAT was managing to concentrate for the whole 4 hours. During practice exams, I observed that I would make a lot of silly mistakes in the last hour and get lower scores. Thus, I made it a point to get used to the long hours and took one practice exam every three days. I believe this can really make the difference between a 700 and a 750 score.
Accepted: Do you have any other advice for our b-school applicants?
Rohini: Start the application early and enjoy the process! Hopefully, there will be many things that you will learn about yourself through the application process. Also, focus on a few schools that you really want to get into and gather as much information about the school from as many sources as possible – you might have the best application but you won’t get any admit unless you can articulate “why this school” well.
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school applications, please see our MBA Application Packages.
To read more a bout Rohini, you can check out her blog at Rohini’s Blog. Thank you Rohini for sharing your story with us – we wish you much success!