As per the initial data from GMAC, the US schools are facing a little dip in applications from the international students. But, the applications for MS Data/Business Analytics for Fall 2019 have seen an increase of 32% than the last year. Each and every sector leverage analytics to gain a competitive edge over the competitors. According to the 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report by GMAC, 71% of employers plan to hire recent business school graduates for data analytics roles in 2018, including 52% holding Masters degrees in Data/Business Analytics. So, no wonder, more and more study abroad aspirants are applying for MS Data/Business Analytics in the US. In this article, we will look at the admission journey of Kautilya Madhav who received MS Business Analytics admits at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) and the University of Connecticut (UConn) with NGO experience.
MS Business Analytics Admit Story and Feedback on Stoodnt’s Admission Consulting Services
When Kautilya Madhav approached me (via LinkedIn) to help him with University Shortlisting and SoP Services for MS Analytics in the US for Spring intake, we had the following challenges:
Kautilya was targeting the Spring intake. So, we had limited options and only 3 – 5 weeks to finalize the schools and wrap up all the applications.
He had a not-so-impressive GRE score (311).
There was no out of the world hobby or extensive list of extracurriculars to show.
He was at a complete loss with his SoP strategy and how to put forward his story; especially with his professional background in the social sector (NGO experience).
He didn’t have extensive knowledge and experience with programming and/or big data analytics tools.
However, Kautilya also had the following advantages to make him stand out in the crowd
He had done his Undergrad (Industrial Engineering) from Purdue University with an impressive GPA
He has been honest to himself (and us) throughout the admission consulting process.
He was undergoing certificate courses on R, SAS, and Tableau.
He was from an under-represented background – the social sector.
There are more than many (as many as 45) top-notch programs for MS Business/Data Analytics in the US. However, the Spring intake provides limited options for MS Data Science and Analytics in the US. But, at the same time, it also leaves little room for getting confused with several options. Kautilya had applied to six schools and had received offers from UT Dallas, UConn, DePaul University, and George Mason University. He is still waiting to hear from Michigan State and Chicago (at the time of writing).
Key Takeaways from Kautilya’s Story on How to Get MS from India
Choose an Under-Represented Industry
Yes, NGO work experience does help, provided you have done it with the objective of finding happiness by making a real difference in the lives of others; rather than using it as a tool to impress the admission officers.
Kautilya had more than 2 years of full-time NGO work experience under his belt. Below is an excerpt from his personal statement (SoP) to demonstrate his motivation for pursuing Masters in Data Analytics.
I was working on a project (in a remote place of North-East India) to identify local women and present to them on how they could avail the mushroom cultivation training program to have a reliable source of income. I used tools like VBA, dashboards to analyze the dataset that included household incomes, number of earning members, women members etc.
While working, I realized that I could have achieved even more if he had more technical knowledge of analytics tools like SAS, R etc. Nevertheless, analyzing and then presenting that data by using Excel VBA to accurately identify the women from the community who would benefit most from our program, was a very heartening experience for me.
That phase of my life made me realize that he could make a significant difference to the people’s lives through analytics. Helping those rural women become self-sufficient through data analytics made me a firm believer of the quote: “If Data is the New Oil of the 21st Century, Analytics is the Engine”.
Tell Your True Story
Choose job or sector that you really love and feel motivated by all means. I know it’s not always possible. After finishing Bachelors, Kautilya was working with Pharmaceutical MNC in India. He was doing reasonably well. But, he was not feeling 100% satisfied. He realized there is limited scope to learn and grow there.
So, he decided to quit the corporate life and work with non-governmental organizations in my home state of Assam, India. He felt it was a great opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of people who have not had enough opportunities.
Besides, he also wanted some time away from the corporate world to evaluate his future options.
Demonstrate Your Potential and Motivation
Kautilya didn’t have a software or IT background. He also didn’t have much knowledge of tools like R, Python, SAS etc. But, he picked up few basic skills and applied them to make an impact. Later, he also opted for online courses on Data Science & Analytics.
Being Clear with Program Objectives and Career Goals
Very often the folks who approach us are not clear with what they want. They seem very confused with data science, data analytics, machine learning, AI etc. Sometimes, they want to master everything.
Kautilya wanted to specialize in Financial or Healthcare Analytics. His long-term goal was to leverage data analytics in the vertical of rural banking or rural healthcare. His knowledge and skills in analytics were limited. That is why he wanted to do a Masters in Data or Business Analytics. Of course, no one knows how life will be five or ten years from now. But, some kind of plan or roadmap always helps.
Kautilya had opted for our standrad 5-School MS Admission Consulting Package (US). It’s true we helped Kautilya with school selection and SoP and Personal Statement. But, it’s Kautilya who put in more effort in his career planning and profile building.
At the end of the day, the admission officers and universities are looking for maturity, professionalism, modesty and other attributes in you that separate the good human beings from the rest.
What we did was just helping him to put in his applications in a more competitive manner. Below is his detailed feedback on our admission consulting services.
Feedback on Stoodnt’s MS Admission Consulting Services
By Kautilya Madhav
1. How did you find me?
I came across Tanmoy Ray on LinkedIn. I also came across his posts on foreign admissions on Quora quite a few times.
2. How was the overall experience of Admission Consulting?
Very smooth and organized. I exactly knew what to expect and what is required from my side. Mr. Ray was very patient and helpful.
3. How did you find the List of Shortlisted Universities?
Very good and well-researched. He gave me a solid list with good reasoning. He was also flexible enough to let me add a few universities of my choice.
4. Feedback on the Guidance on SoP/Essays.
Excellent. Initially, I did not know where to start with the SoP but after the 60-minute initial SoP session I had with him, it really cleared my doubts and gave me a great outline to work with. Also, he made sure I was the one writing the SoP and telling my story, he just guided me along the way.
5. Quite often MS candidates are working professionals. So, they need flexibility (from the consultant) to work on their applications. Your thoughts?
Yes, you need flexibility. So, it was very helpful that there were no firm deadlines and I was given ample time to finish my work.
6. Obviously, I was there to support you with your admission journey. But, I didn’t write your essays, SoP or CV. Did you find the process useful?
Absolutely, that is the best part about the whole process. Otherwise, the SoPs would have been generic.
7. Our consulting fee is not among the most expensive ones in the market, but not too cheap as well. Did you find it reasonable given all the services and support you receive?
Compared to other consultants, I believe Mr. Ray’s (or Stoodnt’s) consulting fee to be very reasonable.
8. According to you, what’s the advantage of working with independent admission consultants (like me or Other Stoodnt Counselors) over study abroad agencies (companies/representatives that work with foreign universities)?
I believe study abroad agencies have tie-ups with certain universities and try to push you towards those universities which are not the case with independent consultants. Also, the flexibility and personalized feedback from independent consultants is much more helpful for applicants like us.
9. Any advice that you would like to share with future applicants?
Start early, do your own research and take as much help and feedback as you can from others.
Kautilya is currently busy with his pre-departure process and will be heading to the US soon. We wish him great success with all his future endeavors.
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