Poonam, CEO, and founder of myEssayReview, is publishing interviews of her recent successful students. This is the first in the series. Here is a chat with Srinivas, who has recently been accepted into the prestigious Booth's part-time winter program.
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?
Srinivas: I was born and raised in India. I went to school and college in India and did my bachelor's in electrical engineering. Then I moved to the United States to pursue my Master's degree and graduated with a major in electrical and a minor in computers. Currently, I am working as a Technology Architect at Health care Services Corporation, Chicago, IL.
Poonam: When did you start thinking about an MBA? Why now? What are your career goals?
Srinivas: I started thinking of an MBA about a year ago. I have been working in IT throughout my career and am now at a stage in my career where growth is tough if I still want to be in IT (purely technical). I also realized that IT just compliments the business and is all about solving business problems and fulfilling business requirements. So I now want to transition into management and focus on the business side of things. I think having a technical background is always a plus. And if everything goes as planned, I would like to set up my own business in the long run.
Poonam: You applied only to Booth. Why is Booth your dream school? How is it the best school for you?
Srinivas: Living in Chicago and thinking of an evening MBA (or MBA in general), Booth and Kellogg are the first two names that anyone will run into. Based on my research (and the popular belief) my initial take on both the schools was that Booth takes an analytical approach and is very data-driven, and Kellogg is more for managerial skills and strategic management. Given my analytical background, I prefer a data-driven, analytical approach, so I leaned more towards Booth. After attending a few information sessions at Booth, and after talking to a few students and alumni, I learned that Booth is not strictly a data-driven school and that it also caters to people with any preference, whether it be analytical or purely managerial. I learned that I would be equipped with the right tools to challenge ideas, question assumptions, and lead with confidence. Also, I was thrilled to know that the Nobel Prize-winning professors will teach me. So I made up my mind to apply for Booth.
Poonam: Great!! You applied to Booth last year as well. In what ways your application this time was different from last time? Could you please identify key areas of improvement this time? ( essays, resume, recommendation letters, etc.)
Srinivas: I had applied to Booth last year and was not admitted. I was provided some good feedback on what was lacking in my application and was advised to retake GMAT/GRE or take a class through the Graham School. I took a class in Microeconomics through the Graham School and made an ‘A,’ which, I believe, had helped a lot when I applied this time. Also, I was advised to improve my essays. Last time I had run them through some of my friends, but all of them had given me conflicting feedback. So this time around, I decided to take some expert help to get my essays polished. That’s when I stumbled upon GMAT Club and read several reviews. I liked the reviews written for myEssayReview, and also, the pricing was affordable to me. Besides, I also looked up Poonam’s profile on myEssayReview.com and was impressed after reading that you have a teaching background. I made the purchase and was eagerly waiting for an email from you, as I wasn’t sure if you would agree to work with me on my essays because of the tight deadline. I was happy to receive an email from you within hours, after which I sent you my essays. Initially, it was tough to digest the fact that I had to rewrite two of my essays with only two weeks left. But it turned out to be a piece of cake with your incredible advice and valuable inputs. Overall, your help on my essays and resume, and I should mention the last-minute review of one of my recommendations, have played a prominent role in securing admission to Booth this time.
Poonam: Thank you, Srinivas. 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 who are facing similar challenges?
Srinivas: First, I wish I knew about the Graham school when I applied the first time because my GRE was not great. When I applied again, I made sure I covered everything that would add some weight to my application. Secondly, the essays were always a daunting task to me; I never enjoyed writing essays. Sometimes, I did not have an interesting story, and sometimes I was over conscious about what to write. I have to accept, you have helped in this regard. Your critiques were excellent, and I wish to have someone like you next to me reviewing all of my business presentations/ articles and documents before I go live.
If there is any advice I can pass on, it would be to find out all of the available options that would directly impact your application. And finish your essays (the story and 90% of the essay) way in advance and have them reviewed by a dedicated professional. In my case, Poonam, you helped me transform my essays in just nine days, which is incredible.
Poonam: Thanks! Now that you have been accepted into a part-time program of the prestigious Booth, how do you feel about it?
Srinivas: I am excited, and it took me a week to fully digest the news. I think now I have gotten over the celebration phase and am thinking more about how I should utilize this opportunity to shape my future. I look forward to improving my networking skills, making meaningful connections, and see myself transform (intellectually) by the time I graduate.
Poonam: Wonderful! Do you have any admissions tips for applicants for the Booth part-time program?
Srinivas: First, I would strongly encourage the applicants for a part-time program to take the class through Graham School. Even if you have great GRE/GMAT, this will serve as a bonus to your application. (You can transfer the credit to any school). Secondly, try to attend as many events as possible, as it helps when the Admission Committee members can put a face to an application. Lastly, and most importantly, put a significant amount of thought and time into your essays and get them reviewed by an expert.
Poonam: What are your favorite non-school books? What are your hobbies?
Srinivas: I am not a reader (probably that’s why my essays were not great initially). I enjoy working out; I am always ready to work out. I play volleyball at the beach in the summer. I am also a good cook, and I like to try different recipes in my free time.
Poonam: Thank you, Srinivas, for sharing your story with us. Good luck with your Booth experience and your future career.
Note: You can connect with Srinivas via LinkedIn.