DTU Times interviewed Srishti Verma, PSCT, Class of 2019, who got admission in HEC Paris as an MIM candidate.
What role would you say your branch played in making you choose to pursue your current course for post graduation?
Well, to be honest, my branch didn't have that much of an effect in choosing my PG course, but the extra curricular activities I participated in did help me in choosing a career path. Throughout college life, I have been associated with various societies in which I took on managerial roles. PSCT was never my first choice. for that matter, even engineering wasn't a preference because after 12th I wasn't really sure what i wanted to pursue. But through these 4 years, having participated and managed events, I realised that i wanted to do something related to management, and hence MIM. One positive aspect I would say the branch had was that there was not much pressure of studies as compared to other branches, so I had more time at hand to explore outside my field as well as devote proper time for GRE preparation.
How do you think DTU helped you in choosing your current career?
DTU has helped me immensely in choosing my career, as I was exposed to a multitude of activities here. DTU has many societies to choose from and the scale at which the events are organised is huge. Not just that, it is a brand name in itself. I had myself chosen DTU for the sake of its brand name, and the same has helped me secure admission in HEC as well. The colleges abroad place a major importance on the college you are from and its image.
What is the procedure to apply for a B-School abroad and what are the major differences in B-Schools in our country and abroad?
To apply for B-school abroad, you need to start really early as it is a very time consuming process. After writing GMAT/GRE, you need to start with your application which is mostly Essays/SOP and LoRs in addition to IELTS/TOEFL. You also need to make sure that your scores have been received by the school in time before the deadline. The first round generally starts in September, so you need to be ready with your applications for the schools you are applying to by the deadline. Though there are many admission rounds that go on till around April, but it’s better to apply in the 1st round itself, since it gives you the best chance due to lesser competition. Also, you would have to work on your essays/SOPs repeatedly to make them perfect, and each school has different requirements. The whole process takes up a lot of time, so it’s best to start as early as possible to give it your best shot.
As far as the difference in B-schools here and abroad is concerned, it mostly depends on what your aim is. If you aim to settle in India itself, then B-school here would be the way to go since it would give you a much better insight into Indian market. It the aim is to settle abroad and have a global career, then B-school abroad is the way to go since it would give you insight into the international markets. According to me, the practical exposure that I’d get, in addition to studying with people from all over the world and understanding their mindsets, is something very important. Here in DTU, even though we have so many resources at hand, there are not enough practical applications of what we study in classroom, which according to me is a major drawback. I feel practical knowledge is the main aspect of what we learn. In this aspect, B-schools abroad fare very very well.
How should one plan his engineering days and prepare for GMAT?
Since I took GRE (I was keen on applying for masters only, not MBA), I can help there. To start with the preparation, you first need to know what all areas you need to work on. For that, I suggest to take a diagnostic test first. It’ll help you to know what your weak areas are. For me, Vocabulary was the lagging point. I started working on it by October of my 3rd year. I worked on it daily (even if 20-30 min) till summer break after 3rd year, and then in July I took the exam. In GRE, Quant is pretty decent-10th level. You just need to practice a bit to avoid silly mistakes. For the exam preparation, keeping the vocabulary aside, according to me 1.5-2 months are enough to get familiar with the exam pattern, sections, question types, answering methods, etc.
GMAT is more grammar based than vocabulary, but the Quant there is a bit difficult than GRE. So, If Maths is your strong area, I suggest to take GMAT. (MIM accepts both GRE/GMAT).
Which other schools did you apply to and what led you to choose HEC?
I applied to LBS and HEC Paris only, both in the first round of admissions. I couldn't give in much time for LBS application since I was focusing more on HEC’s and the LBS deadline was much before. (This is why, start early!) The plan was to apply to LSE too as they have rolling admissions, but I got an offer from HEC first, so I did not apply to any other school.
HEC’s MIM course curriculum was perfect for me, as it has an optional gap year in between the 2 years of studies for internship purposes. Not only that, France’s post-study visa regulations are quite lenient in comparison to UK (LBS, LSE). It allows us Indians to stay for over 2 years after studies, whereas in UK it is just 4 months. This was a major factor in my preference of school.
And of course, it’s in Paris! What more could one want? :P
What all challenges did you overcome during your journey to get into HEC and what message would you like to give future aspirants?
Firstly, the GRE prep was a major challenge for me, as I needed to score as much as I could since my college GPA wasn't that great. So, to cope up, I had to give it my all for GRE. After that, the next hurdle was the applications. When you are applying in multiple schools, you need to prepare different applications for each. All have different requirements. Some would require a long SOP, some 2-3 long essays and here in HEC’s case - 8 short essays. So drafting them all accordingly by around the same deadlines, sending LORs to each university through multiple professors, sending scores etc, it’s quite a task! And you will not just work on them once, you would have to edit them again and again for perfection, and for that you need a lot of time. So my advice is “Start Early”. Take the exam as early as possible so that you have ample of time to decide on the schools and prepare the applications accordingly.
Another thing I would suggest is that don’t compare your profile to others. There is no point since everybody is different. As for me, every senior I talked to regarding admissions said that I needed a stellar GPA to get the best school. But I did not pay much attention to that. Rather, I tried to cope up in GRE and got admission in one of the world’s best schools for MIM with an average 7.6 GPA! So, it does not matter- each profile is different. I believe that if you are truly passionate about something and you work equally hard, you will achieve it. All the best! :)