Sriram, a software engineer from India, applied for part-time MBA programs of both Booth and Kellogg. He received admit offers from both. Sriram made his decision in favor of Kellogg.
In this interview, Sriram, now a first-year student at the evening MBA program at Kellogg, talks about:
- His Background
- Reasons to do an MBA
- Career goals
- His preference for Kellogg over Booth
- Challenges of the application process
- Work-school-life balance
- Admission tips for prospective applicants
- His favorite thing about Kellogg
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?
Sriram: I was born and raised in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India. I did my Bachelor's in Computer Science and Engineering at Bharathiar University, Coimbatore. I have a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, I’m the Product Manager at Mediaocean, an advertising technology company.
Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now? What are your career goals?
Sriram: I wanted to do an MBA to make the career transition from technology to product management, which is more aligned with the company’s core business. I managed to transition before my MBA, so the goal has now shifted to leverage the MBA to move up into a senior management role. Ultimately, I would like to become an entrepreneur.
Poonam: You applied to both Kellogg and Booth, and you were accepted by both. You finally chose Kellogg. How is Kellogg the best school for you?
Sriram: Choosing between Kellogg and Booth was one of the toughest decisions I have made in my life. Ultimately, it came down to fit. Booth is ranked higher and has a great curriculum. Kellogg had a more diverse and outgoing student community (building a network was key) and is one of the best marketing schools; it aligned better with the industry I work in (advertising/marketing).
Poonam: How challenging is it to manage school, full-time job, and family at the same time? Do you have any time management tips for prospective students?
Sriram: To manage all these is daunting at first. It comes down to more efficient time management. After the first quarter, school becomes a part of life.
Poonam: 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?
Sriram: The most challenging part was to convince yourself that you are good enough to get admitted to a top school. Once you are past that and get the process started, you need hard work to get everything else to fall in place.
Poonam: Do you have any admissions tips for Kellogg part-time program (essays, résumé, recommendation letters, interviews, etc.)?
Sriram: It might sound preachy, but the one thing that applicants should do is truthful about who they are. Each person is different, and all of us have done great things. It’s important to bring out their individuality in the essays, resume, and interview. It’s easy to stand out when you are yourself because you are unique. For essays, Poonam, your service suited me well because you truly stuck to the task of editing the essays and not rewriting them, which many of the other competing essay editing services do. Your suggestions and comments played a vital role in shaping my essays.
Poonam: What is your favorite thing about Kellogg so far? And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
Sriram: The students at Kellogg are the best, and I have made so many friends. It’s impossible not to make friends at Kellogg. Kellogg should increase the number of social events; we have 1 or 2 big events a year, one a quarter will be better. The social events are not just for fun, but these are also places where you will probably meet your next friend.
Poonam: What are your favorite non-school books? What are your hobbies?
Sriram: It’s sad, but I don’t have a reading habit. When I do pick a book, it's mostly a tech magazine, like Popular mechanics. I play racquetball and love running. In the summer, I like to go on long rides on my motorcycle.
Poonam: Thank you, Sriram, for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your Kellogg experience and your future career.
Note: You can connect with Sriram via www.linkedin.com/in/sriramramanujam