August 4th, 2018
I love this question! Irrespective of whatever function I suggest here, your true calling will show up when your life takes a natural course.
My Background- Graduated from one of the Top 10 business schools in the US after working in the manufacturing sector in India.
My Story: I did not have a CLUE of why I was exploring an MBA in my life, and had the Rollercoaster experience in the FIRST Year. If given an option to change anything about WHAT I did then- Would I do it differently? NO! Why? I had an amazing happy ending and it could not have been better. I reached a STAGE where I LOVE MY LIFE ! Seriously !
I tell you what- When I started the MBA exploration Journey, I realised that I did not have a clue about – WHY I NEED an MBA! All I knew was- I had to go to a TOP TIER B-School. I think I wanted to go as I thought it would add value to the perception of Friends/Family, credibility, and I will also earn more money.
10 Years Later- I have helped thousands of Applicants learn and explore their Journey to TOP Tier MBA Programs. Think about it- I had to write a very sharp story when I was finding my way into a TOP MBA in the US, but internally, I knew that I would not cling to that story. I knew that I was not sure why WOULD I work in a Private equity firm. A year before I wrote my essays, a friend told me that INVESTMENT Bankers are a COOL Breed, and they earn a lot of money as well- and I decided “I will graduate from a TOP School, and be the next Gordon Gecko on the Wall Street( Gordon Gecko- Michael Douglas in the Movie wall Street). “
First year of MBA, I was exposed to networking in a business school community. The Investment banks used to visit campuses, throw cocktails, meet for coffee chats. The investment banks started visiting campus somewhere in September- I remember the day- September 11, 2008- we had 20 Lehman Brothers Investment bankers Dandily dressed up in the largest auditoriums of Darden School of Business. They met for drinks in the evening, and these drinking sessions continued for almost two MONTHS with all the banks on the Wall Street.
After Extensive NETWORKING SESSIONS for TWO MONTHS- and 3 to 4 interview invites- You know HOW MANY INTERNSHIPS I Cracked? ?
That was an opportunity for Introspection, a LOT OF INTROSPECTION- HOW TO RUN AWAY from WORKING in Pizza HUT 🙁
I would meet people in the Hallways( the ones who had an internship), and they would empathise with me as if I been diagnosed of Cancer( YES! When you are in a B-School, and are running around for internships, that is how the GAME Becomes- WHO EVER GETS the Right Internship with lightening speed WINS!
That was MY MOMENT OF GROWTH – I grew up to realise that I was in a DIFFERENT Country, away from Family, in a NOT SO FRIENDLY Weather. I also realised that THINGS CAN GO WRONG EVEN IF YOU ARE IN A TOP 10 MBA Program! ( See this article- IS getting an MBA Worth it? ) I had to cook myself, I would often call my cousins India while they were partying across the clubs in Delhi- and I thought- What had I DONE TO MYSELF !! Why Was I here in the US? The boss I used to Hate- I even called him just because I wanted to SPEAK With People in DELHI, and get a feel of my PAST LIFE! 🙂
I grew up a LOT In those days. How I trained myself in the NEXT 3 to 4 months in networking, and SELLING myself to Strangers- helped me pick skill sets that became a very precious asset for me. I run an organisation, PythaGURUS Education, which helps people crack TOP Global programs, and I took a PLEDGE that the way I would train my people- NO ONE WOULD Ever go to business school Unprepared!
After the Series of REJECTIONS- I really GREW UP! I had a new respect for- WORKING HARD Again- and this time-working hard had nothing to do with STUDYING. I had to SELL MYSELF. I casted a wider net, and reached out to All the CONSULTING FIRMS, Fortune 500 companies, start ups, and companied funded by the Incubator at Darden School( One of the top 10 US Programs now).
Within 2 to 3 months, I had three internships( General Electric was my top choice out of those). but that was not the turning point. It was not General Electric that made me excited- It was a new found respect I had for myself , and for the way I had started exploring careers, and I knew that the 2nd Year Of MBA would be amazing- All the Companies that had gone past me would visit again- the entire meteor chain would strike again.
In the 2nd year of My MBA, I cracked a TOP Tier consulting firm, and it was a great moment of satisfaction for me. I realised that I had ARRIVED!
8 Months in that firm, I realized that I WAS Dead Internally. That was a very tough time of my life. I realised that I loved the work but DID NOT LIKE THE Corporate Culture at all. The was my BOSS would SUCK UP To his boss- I realised that I would never want to be that person. If I continued, the best possible outcome I would have is- I would be a consulting firm Partner with a LOT LOT of MONEY- And that did not inspire me.
That was the MOMENT OF TRUTH- That was the TIME I started PythaGURUS Education. My Mom thought- NO BODY would dare to give me their Daughter because – HEY- Raise your hands if you would like to marry Your Daughter to a Brand NEW Entrepreneur.
It has been 10 years of RUNNING PythaGURUS. My work does not FEEL LIKE WORK. I live the people I work with, I really enjoy the time I spend with my teams, and I really like the FEELING when Applicants call me to tell me- How they have GOTTEN Crores of Scholarships.
I shared my story with you to tell you- I can write great details about specialisations, industries, and functions, and how you should pick them as I do that for a living- However, I want you to know that – It would be very theoretical for you. You would find your TRUE calling only when you are there in the business school.
I can make some suggestions
1. Go for a two year MBA Program instead of 1 Year- It will give you opportunities to Experiment. Had I not gotten the opportunity in the second year of the MBA, I would have not grown in MY LIFE. One year MBA is meant for people who KNOW and REALLY KNOW what is it that they WANT FROM THEIR MBA.
2. Explore Business Schools that specialise in General Management. These schools would allow you the flexibility to Experiment with different industries, and functions and you will be more employable.
3. Learn Excel before you start your MBA Journey( Take this seriously)
4. Don’t mortgage your parent’s property. I did not and neither should you. Imagine going through whatever I was, with an Angry Father sitting in India trying to find out if they still have the HOUSE or NOT 🙂 It will terribly increase the pressure.
An MBA is truly worth the EXPERIENCE! I grew a LOT! You will too. Go DO IT.