Last year, Tanay had applied to 4 schools and received a rejection from all. This year, he worked with MER and applied again to his target programs. He earned 3 admits with scholarships -Boston Questrom, Maryland, and Carlson. Tanay is heading to Maryland, Smith.
In this interview with Poonam, Tanay talks about:
- His background
- Application strategy, planning, and preparation
- His preference for Maryland over Boston Questrom and Carlson
- Challenges during the application process
- His advice to re-applicants
- 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?
Tanay: I am Tanay, 25 years old, originally from Bhopal, which is located in the heart of India. Growing up in Bangalore, which is the silicon valley of India, I became interested in technology which prompted me to complete my Engineering in Bangalore in the field of telecommunications. Since the completion of my degree in July 2012, I have been working in the telecommunication Industry with Nokia Networks Division as an R&D Engineer. In my close to four years at Nokia, apart from working on software development, I have served various roles such as Team Lead for a team of eight, Code Guardian for an Automation Suite, trainer to new joiners, mentor to interns, and presenter in various customer demonstrations. I also host and organize various social functions/events at the company.
Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now? What are your career goals?
Tanay: Honestly, the idea of an MBA was always in my head because of the infinite opportunities it presents. But during my time at Nokia, I became more aware as to why I needed the MBA to get to the next stage in my career.
I think now is a perfect time for me to do an MBA because I have had the opportunity to pursue my passion for technology at Nokia and achieved what I wanted to. Having worked on developing software for products, I now want to work in a position of influencing the customer to buy these products. My short-term goal is to work in Product Management at a technology-based company, a role that will allow me to combine and leverage my existing technical skills with the skills I pick up at B-school. Working through different products, continuously innovating as a product manager for 5-6 years, I plan to be a Leader of Innovation at a Fortune 100 company in the long term.
Poonam: You applied to some schools last year as well, but your applications were rejected. Please let us know in what way your application this time was different from last time? Could you please identify key areas of improvement this time? (essays, résumés, recommendation letters, etc.) When did you start preparing for your application this year?
Tanay: I think I underestimated how much an application mattered when I applied for fall 2015. I submitted below par essays and résumé. In fact, my résumé wasn’t even in the right format. I also applied late in the season. After getting rejected, I spent the next six months introspecting and figuring out exactly what I wanted to put in my application to make it stand out. But, I still needed guidance from a seasoned, experienced consultant, who would help me enhance my application and that’s exactly what I got this year with myEssayReview. I signed up with Poonam in August 2015 and we started working immediately on the essays. From the get-go, your guidelines helped me introspect. I definitely had to put more effort into thinking creatively to come up with a story-like approach for my essay. I bookmarked your essay analysis on the GMAT club and read it over and over again until I could come up with a creative answer for the question asked. For every part of the question asked, I got an idea of how many words should be used and what examples should be given which helped me construct my essay, and this was polished and refined with the help of her guidelines. She gave me the sort of strict feedback I required in my first essay, and I think because of that, the other essays went smoothly.
Thus, this year I was able to best present myself on my essays and résumés and this was the key difference in my getting accepted into schools this year. Here is my detailed feedback on MER's services on the GMAT Club.
Poonam: You applied to 5 schools and were accepted into three (Boston Questrom, Smith- Maryland, Carlson- Minnesota) with scholarships? You finally decided in favor of Maryland. Why?
Tanay: I had $30,000 each year at Questrom, a half-tuition scholarship each year at Carlson, and a first-year waiver and GA at Smith. While making my decision, I didn’t look at rankings. I based it on my interactions with alumni, the location of the school, and my post-MBA goal. And in these three aspects, Smith stood out for me and felt like the best fit. From a financial point of view also it made sense. Even though the other offers were equally good or even better, I valued being completely free from a financial burden in the first year more than having a scholarship split across two years, as I would be getting used to living in a new country. I also know I can convert a GA in the 2nd year easier with a GA in the first year. Also, an internship in the summer would further ease the financial burden for the 2nd year.
Poonam: Looking back, what was the most challenging aspect of the school admissions process? How did you approach that challenge and overcome it? How would you advise other MBA applicants, especially re-applicants, who are facing similar challenges?
Tanay: I had three attempts at the GMAT (580, 600, & 710) and two attempts at the application process. I faced challenges throughout and felt like giving up many times during the times of failure. But the thought of going to business school kept driving me. I always had high expectations of myself and kept working hard towards my goal. From the GMAT point of view, I found e-gmat’s online course the best out there for working professionals. The video format of learning really suited me as I found it really difficult to attend classroom coaching. But e-gmat’s verbal–especially their sentence correction techniques are incredible and really helped me push my verbal score (V40). From the application point of view, as I’ve said above, I really underestimated the importance of essays in the application. But even after the application rejections, I was confident of getting it done next time around with another year of work experience because I was able to identify the flaws in my application. I also pushed hard at work to pick up various leadership roles, which would all add to my application. Also, being an Indian IT male, I worked hard to distinguish myself in the personal attributes essays. These changes definitely helped make an improvement in my application. The only advice I have for re-applicants is - keep working hard and keep believing in yourself.
Poonam: What is your favorite non-school books? What are your hobbies?
Tanay: I am not really into reading books. I am a musician and play the guitar. I was in a band earlier called Hybrid Octave. On the weekends, I also help teach kids how to play the instrument. Apart from music, I also play a lot of sports. I like working out at the gym and kind of turned into a fitness freak after losing 15 kgs last year.
Poonam: Thank you, Tanay for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your Maryland experience and your future career.
For more 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. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club
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