Many of you must have been aspiring to study abroad at a dream university. However, some of you might be unsure if your profile is right enough to make it. If you are one such student, we ask you not to despair. With the right planning, preparation, and strategy, you can make to your dream school even with a less-than-an-appropriate profile. Here we describe briefly how one of our students, Surendhar Radhakrishnan, pursued his dream of attending a Master’s in Management Program at one of the top public university systems in the US.
Surendhar earned a prized admit as a graduate student in the Master of Science in Management at the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas for the Spring 2020 Intake. He is focused on gaining a vital understanding of Supply Chain Management, Operations Management, Logistics, and Data Analytics in Supply Chain through this program.
He is currently looking forward to the Spring 2021 internship either as an Operations Analyst, Supply Chain Analyst, Process Improvement Analyst or in an Operations Management role. He had also applied to Arizona State University and New Jersey Institute of Technology in the US and the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University in Australia.
Surendhar had approached me in December 2018 – high on aspiration, but with an average academic profile. He had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Loyola College of the University of Madras in May 2018 with a CGPA of 8.5, and he wanted to pursue an MS in Management (MiM) at a top US university. I could immediately identify the mismatch between his aspiration and his profile. Normally MiM aspirants have an engineering or technological background with 16 years of education in their home country. Surendhar had none.
He had a GRE score of 303 and an IELTS score of 7.0, both nothing outstanding. Surendhar was briefed extensively about his aspiration vis-a-vis his profile. Yet we decided on strategizing on how to build a more positive profile for him. Firstly, we tried to shortlist universities that accepted 15 years of education for pursuing a MiM program. And we succeeded in finding a few. Secondly, we deep thought of bringing out Surendhar’s USP. And this is when Surendhar brought out an ace up his sleeve that could add muscle to his profile.
Building the Profile: Surendhar’s USP
Although Surendhar did not have an engineering or technological background, in June 2017, he had joined his father’s business of a Printing Press and was overseeing its operations, accounts, and logistics – part-time for one and a half years. This had helped him to gain invaluable insights and lessons in timely payment processing, operations, and supply chain in a family-run business. Also, he had a brief internship experience of two months at the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre that helped hone his organisational skills. Organizational skill is one trait that graduate schools look for in students aspiring for a MiM degree.
“As a Graduate School applicant, you need to understand one thing. Graduate School Admissions Committee is more interested to know what you are capable of becoming rather than what you are,” I have often heard me say to my students. I told Surendhar as well. Surendhar aspired to undertake graduate study in Management. His average academic profile was made up by his strong hands-on experience in a family-owned business. We were confident that it could ace our case if we could spotlight in his Personal Statement. He did this with the help of his editor and could justify the switch of his program convincingly and appreciably. Also, his technical skills C++, R, and programming were a definite plus to push for his goals.
Any mission works towards achieving its goal and so was Surendhar. He worked hard to achieve his. He was focused and resolute in his purpose. So when in 2019, the University of Texas at Dallas informed him that they were happy to offer him a place in the Master in Management program for the Spring 2020 intake and in late October 2019 was granted a US student visa, it was a dream-come-true for him. His first mission was accomplished, and he was on the verge of starting the next one: undertaking the program successfully.
For me, as his Advisor, I too felt it was another goal fulfilled—days and time well-spent with another of a long list of my accomplished study-abroad aspirants. It was a huge success story as his student visa was rejected twice for Fall 2019. Nevertheless, Surendhar was prepped and pepped with a positive vibe that he should just prepare well, work on his weakness and financial statements, and face the visa interview with confidence. Also, he was pushed through a mock visa interview drill more than ten times. So it was a great challenge for me personally to make Surendhar get an admit to MiM in one of the highly-ranked universities, and he finally got his visa approved for Spring 2020. Throughout, Surendhar was very supportive and responsive with a lot of patience. Also, I feel his Essay played a major role in justifying the change of the program. I am still in touch with Surendhar – he calls me to update the program he has enrolled for advice on a part-time job opportunity.
Surendhar’s Experience of working with our experienced counselors:
Here is how Surendhar describes his engagement with us. Let us hear in his words.
1. What made you contact me in the first place?
Surendhar: I heard about Stoodnt’s Admission Counselling Services (ACS) while I was taking prep courses at the Stoodnt centre.
2. How was the overall experience of MS Admission Consulting?
Surendhar: ACS helped me through the various stages of the application process to the universities I was applying in the US. Throughout the process, I had my Advisor to count on for further steps and clarification on processes. My Advisor was very supportive who cleared all the doubts that I had and guided me from the start to end until visa processing.
3. What’s your feedback on the personalized university shortlisting?
Surendhar: Initially, I felt the university shortlisting could’ve been better; however, later my advisor helped me finalise the list of universities.
4. Your feedback on the SoP/Essay/LoRs/Resume Editing Services?
Surendhar: The essay editing service was also one of the best parts of ACS in refining, fine-tuning my essays and my resume. The SoP/Resume editing services were worth it.
5. Obviously, I was there to support you with your admission journey. But, the editor did not write your essays, SoP or CV, only helped you write them and then edited them. Did you find the process useful?
Surendhar: I wrote all the essays myself which were then fine-tuned by the editor to neutralise errors and customise it to each university and program.
6. My (or Stoodnt’s) consulting fee is not among the most expensive ones in the market, but not too cheap as well. Did you find it reasonable?
Surendhar: I felt that the consulting fee was reasonable. But I also feel that Stoodnt can offer document shipping services too for the students along with consulting.
7. According to you, what’s the advantage of working with an expert advising company?
Surendhar: One advantage of working with an expert company is that they have experienced advisors and connections with other university agents to make informed decisions on university shortlisting.
8. The whole process has been carried out remotely (phone and e-mail). Did you face any problem with it?
Surendhar: Everything was smooth
9. Any advice that you would like to share with future applicants? Especially the folks who might be confused about whether to work with an admission consultant?
Surendhar: In my opinion, it is better to work with reputed admission consultants because they are aware of the various steps in the admissions process and can help students with what to do next.
Sashti carries 9 years of extensive experience in the industry. Apart from pursuing her Master’s in the US, she also worked in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for one year. She has extensive knowledge of university shortlisting, and visa. She is a specialist in converting visa rejects into success stories.
Her placement record encompasses top universities (including the Ivy League) such as Columbia University, UCLA, University of Southern California, Carnegie Mellon University, UPenn, University of Michigan, Cornell University, Georgia Tech, University of Waterloo and University of Alberta.