Typical Masters (MS) programs are meant for candidates with no or little work experience. But, in the last few years, the class profiles for top MS Business Analytics programs have become very diverse. In fact, we came across several candidates with 4 – 10 years of work experience applying for MS Business/Data Analytics programs at the top schools in the US, Canada, and Europe. In this article, we will look at how Siddhant Sharma managed four admits at top-15 MS business analytics programs and 3 admits in Top-10 MS Business Analytics programs in USA (as per QS rankings) despite being a fresh non-CS graduate.
Unlike MBA programs, MS programs do not ask for work experience as a mandatory requirement. The majority of the weightage goes to GPA, relevant degree & internship/project experience, GRE score, SoP/essays, and recommendation letters. But, relevant work experience becomes quite critical for the applicants who are not from CS or IT background, especially for the MS programs in data science, business analytics, and AI/ML at top universities.
Siddhant (Sharma) finished his Bachelors’s in Electronics & Communication in the year 2019 and was keen to apply for the fall 2020 intake. He had a competitive GPA and a high GRE score and has been working in a business operations associate role.
Since Siddhant had less than 6-months of experience at the time of applying, he was a bit lost with a few critical questions – why MS Business Analytics at this stage, professional accomplishments, post-MS and long-term career goals, etc. Moreover, since it was less than 6 months, it was also tricky for him to get strong letters of recommendation from his workplace.
The good part – Siddhant had undergone quite a few internships (DRDO, Accenture, Oracle, etc.), academic projects, and online certifications in data analytics. He had a decent skill portfolio that included Python, C++, Tableau, Alteryx, SQL, MS Excel, MATLAB, Teradata, and VBA.
Siddhant had started doing his research about universities and programs quite early. It was the SoP/Essays stage that got a little bit stuck. Fortunately (for us), he approached us in November (2019). So, we had around 3 – 5 weeks in hand for all the applications.
We have seen many applicants approaching us for SoP/essay services 3 – 7 days before the application deadlines. More often than not, we have to refuse such requests as those kinds of assignments are not good for the blood pressure of admissions consultants.
Siddhant initially signed up for the online counseling session with me for profile evaluation and to check if we are on the same page, which is very important for the consultant-client relationship. After the session, he signed up for the customized package for a 3-university application review.
Over to Siddhant…
MS Business Analytics in USA Admits for ECE Graduate with Less than 1-Year Work-Ex
My GRE Preparation Process
Most of my GRE preparation took place in the summer vacations of my final year in my college when I had free time.
In my opinion, the best mantra would be to get acquainted with the types and patterns of questions as soon as possible. For the verbal section, I maintained a list of each new word I encountered and tried to memorize them as much as I can. For quant, regular practice is a must.
In terms of study material, I would recommend Manhattan’s 5Lb book and Magoosh. Lastly, some days before the main exam try to solve the 2 ETS online mock exams replicating the exam environment as much as you can.
Bonus advice would be to always start well; since GRE is a sectional adaptive exam, you get the most advantage when you do the first section (Quant + Verbal each) exceptionally well.
Initial Research and University Shortlisting
I was very clear from the start that I wanted to choose universities myself and not enroll in any services for University selection/shortlist. My process framework was similar to what many recommend i.e. maintain a healthy balance of Safe, Moderate, and Ambitious universities.
I relied on QS/US News rankings to get an initial list and then networked with students from Yocket and seniors from Linkedin to get a fair assessment and feedback of my chances.
There were a couple of things that drew me towards Stoodnt and Tanmoy Ray in particular: The first one was having experience and knowledge in dealing with courses similar to mine. The second advantage, in my opinion, was an option of a professional SOP service instead of a traditional full package.
The 1:1 online counseling session was great in terms of getting acquainted and knowing how the process works. A rough profile evaluation was also useful for me in getting to know where I stand/what I lack.
My Rationale to Sign Up for Customized Admissions Consulting Services
Being a recent graduate in the first year of my job, I felt that I couldn’t sacrifice working hours in my job for MS preparation. However, I also felt that I couldn’t deal with everything (University Shortlist, SoP/Essays, LORs, and University Application Forms) on my own and require a professional service for the same.
Moreover, since Business Analytics requires a variety of diverse essays ranging from a traditional SOP to multiple 250/300/500-words essays and video essays in some cases. I felt that a “one SOP fits all” approach would be counter-productive and professional guidance would be helpful.
My Feedback on the SoP/Essay Review & Editing Services
The whole SoP and Essay Services were very beneficial as it was done in a methodical approach. The initial profile assessment was a good starting step for getting a fair idea of the student’s skills and talent. The brainstorming process then focused on highlighting important achievements. Multiple reviews and edits were done at a later stage to shape the essays according to the specific university requirement.
Focus on Bringing the Best Out of An Applicant
Quite often candidates treat admissions consulting as a way to outsource the application process. Admissions consultants at Stoodnt work in a pretty professional and ethical manner.
The initial draft for each essay/SoP was written by me and the further reviews/editing only consisting of polishing and fine-tuning them to get the desired result. This ensured that the essays maintained a healthy balance in terms of originality and professionalism. I found this whole process extremely useful.
In fact, I also found the approach of editing a draft written by me better than someone else writing the whole essay for me.
Overall Review on Stoodnt’s MS Admission Counselling Services
My experience with Team Stoodnt was extremely professional and adequate consideration was given to my work timings and schedule. You could also schedule a connect/call with the consultant at your leisure which was helpful. Moreover, he was also mindful of the university deadlines and adhered to them whenever requested.
I found the package and service I took to be exactly what I had in mind and as a result a good value for money.
Traditional Study Abroad Agency vs Independent Admission Counsellors
In a traditional consultant/agency setup, I felt that a supervisor typically handles many students pursuing a variety of courses/areas. Since each course/field of study requires a different skill set, having a specialist would ensure I am in tune with the relevant skills and demands for that particular course.
Moreover, some consultancies have tie-ups with some universities, and they may encourage you to apply there for their benefit.
It might not be true for all consultancies but I had heard of a couple of cases so was keen of not taking help from a traditional overseas education consultancy.
Thoughts on Remote/Online Admissions Counselling Process
Many applicants have concerns about the online/remote counseling process. For me, the whole process went smoothly and there were no problems faced. Tanmoy was readily available on mail/WhatsApp. You could also schedule a call with any career counselor or admissions consultant at your leisure which was helpful.
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My Advice for the Future MS Applicants
My sincere advice would be to enroll for any professional counseling service only if you feel it can add any value to your profile. A lot of things are accessible on the Internet at a low cost. If you absolutely feel necessary, then properly see reviews before confirming.
Editor’s Note: If you need professional assistance with your applications – either for the end-to-end process or the specific components (university shortlisting, SoP/Essay review, or a custom package), please feel free to have a look at our MS Admission Counselling Services.
Original Source of Featured Image: Towards Data Science