Posted on March 7, 2017

An Indian Engineer’s Story- 5 Interview Invites and 2 Admit Offers


Sathish, an Indian IT applicant, interviewed with 5 schools (ISB, IIM, Foster, Cornell, and McCombs) and received admit offers from two of the- UW Foster and ISB. Sathish has accepted ISB’s offer.

In this interview with Poonam, Sathish talks about:

  • His background
  • Application strategy, planning, and preparation
  • Career Goals
  • His preference for ISB over UV Foster
  • Reasons to defer admission by one year
  • Challenges during the application process
  • Interests/ Hobbies

Poonam: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What do you do now?

Sathish: I am originally from a small city called Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. I did my Bachelor's in Information Technology from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, India. Later, I moved to the USA to do my Master’s in Computers and Information Systems from the University of Alabama. I am currently working as a Business Intelligence Lead at Pepperidge Farm.

Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now?

Sathish: I always wanted to do an MBA. I had even planned to apply for a few schools right after my Bachelor's, but I dropped that idea, considering that I need more experience before going for an MBA. After working for a few years in the U.S, I realized that in order to make a transition to senior management roles, especially in Product management, I need an MBA.

Poonam:  What are your career goals?

Sathish:  As I mentioned earlier, my post-MBA goal is to become a product manager at a technology company such as Google or Amazon. In the long term, I want to become a tech entrepreneur.

Poonam: You applied to ISB, IIM, Foster, Cornell, and McCombs. You interviewed with all of them and were accepted by Foster and ISB.  I understand that it was a difficult decision for you to whether accept the Foster admit offer and continue to stay in the US or accept ISB admit offer and move back to India. Could you please tell us why you decided in favor of ISB especially because you are already working in the US since 2010?

Sathish: Yes, it was a tough decision because both are equally great schools but after having detailed discussions with my parents and a few alums who have moved from the US to India to join ISB, I made a decision to accept ISB’s admission offer and move back to India. I had both professional and personal reasons to prefer ISB to Foster. On the professional front, there were multiple reasons to opt for ISB. First, ISB’s PGP program is a 1-year program, so I will be able to go back to the workforce after one year.  Second, ISB brings top faculty from the world's best business schools such as Kellogg and Wharton. Also, it has the best career services, team. Lastly, after graduating from ISB, if I decide to switch companies/ roles in my post MBA career, I will have more options in India, whereas in the US, someone will sponsor my Visa, and I will have to stick with that company for a few years whether I like it or not. My personal reason for moving back to India to join ISB is that I will stay close to my family.

Poonam:  You have deferred your admission to ISB. Could you please tell us something about your plans for the next year before you move back to India and begin your PGP program at ISB?

Sathish: Sure. There are two main reasons for deferring my admission. Professionally, I got a new opportunity at my current company through which I will learn more about sales and distribution processes. Personally, I realized that I need more time to wind up stuff here in the US. I have signed a one-year apartment lease recently, so I do not want to break the lease. Also, I have joined the Toastmasters club in order to improve my presentation and communication skills, and this one year will give me an opportunity to be actively involved in the Toastmasters club.

Poonam:  I am aware that you started preparing for your application pretty early in the game. Could you please share your application strategy, planning, and preparation with our readers?

Sathish: I generally plan everything well ahead of time, and this quality has helped me in the Business school application process. After reading various admission blogs, I realized that the application essays are important along with the GMAT score, undergrad GPA, and quality work experience, so I spent close to 6 months on the application essays and school research. The key thing is to write some draft versions for common questions such as ‘why MBA’, ‘short term and long term goals’ and ‘why X school’...etc and then work on each school’s essays separately. Even though the essay prompts various schools to look similar, they are not. Each essay needs to be tailored to that particular school’s requirements. Thanks, Poonam for your guidance on my essays.

Poonam: You are welcome, Sathish. It was indeed a pleasure working with you. Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it? What would you advise other MBA applicants who are facing similar challenges?

Sathish: In every phase of the application process (GMAT- Application Essays – Personal Interviews), there were times when I thought I would not be able to make it to a good business school. But I persevered and decided not to give up. I gave myself a pep talk and stayed focused. It is pretty challenging to prepare for the GMAT with a full-time job. It took me close to a year to get to my desired score. School research and application essays took me another 6 months. As long as you thoroughly do your research about schools and your future goals, the interview process becomes pretty easy and straightforward. Most of the interviews revolve around your career goals and what you plan to do at that particular school to achieve those goals. For some applicants, it might take more than 2 years to get to their dream school, so I would advise the MBA hopeful to stay focused and work hard. Hard work is the key to my success.

Poonam: True. What are your favorite non-school books?  What are your hobbies?

Sathish: My favorite book is ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. It helped me improve as a person. In my free time, I love playing Tennis.

Poonam: I absolutely agree. Dale Carnegie is one of my favorite authors, too. Thank you, Sathish for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your professional career and your ISB experience.

Note: You can connect with Sathish via LinkedIn.

For more video interviews of successful MER students, click here.

Since 2011, Poonam, founder, and president of myEssayReview (MER) has helped applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA, programs, including ISB and Foster. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

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