Vamsi's story of 'trusting the process' is one which every study abroad aspirant must read. Faith Career's Co-Founder, Tanmay Singh, tirelessly worked with Vamsi and ensured that his more than average work experience and timing of application do not play against him. The result was him receiving an offer letter from the prestigious and highly-ranked Canadian B-School, Sauder School of Business (University of British Columbia). He would be pursuing the UBC Sauder MBA starting this Fall and has shared unique insights for study abroad aspirants. Read on.
#1) Vamsi, can you please briefly describe your profile?
I am a graduate in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and currently working in the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department of Govt. of Telangana, India reporting to the senior most bureaucrat and Urban Minister of the state. I am responsible for leading complex citizen-centric projects in the urban sector namely sanitation, infrastructure developmemt, lake cleaning, heritage restoration, etc. I oversee the planning and implementation of such projects which have wide impact on over 5 million citizens. Prior to this, I lead Sales and Marketing at a travel start-up and also worked with one of the big four consulting firms as a Software Asset Management Consultant. I have a total of 8 years of work experience.
#2) Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
My five years of working with Govt. of Telangana have been extremely rewarding wherein I reported to the highest bureaucrat of the department and learnt key aspects of leadership, responsibility, problem solving and perseverance. I led projects in the fields of sanitation, city planning, lake cleaning, clean mobility, etc that have high social impact and their execution required meticulous planning.
During my tenure, I collaborated with consulting firms like McKinsey, EY and multilaterals like World Bank, IFC, ADB, etc. and this introduced me to the other side, a career in sustainable consulting. For such a role in consulting, I need to be adept with an in-depth understanding of global businesses and particularly corporate finance and strategy, a perspective missing in my current job. Further, I also wish to understand positioning sustainability and climate resilient frameworks with the existing corporate business challenges that are necessary for my future career goals and an MBA will help me gain that perspective.
#3) Why did you choose Tanmay Singh to be your mentor for your application?
I got in touch with Anshul through a friend and Anshul introduced me to Tanmay. I actually embarked on my MBA journey pretty late in the admission season and by the time I took the GMAT and decide to apply, R1 and R2 were already over. I had the chance of applying only in R3. I spoke to multiple consultants and everyone suggested that I apply in R1 next year. However, I wanted to give it a shot this year.
I spoke to Tanmay at a time when I was unsure what to do and one conversation with him was enough for me to decide that I wanted to go ahead with him. He knows exactly what you want to hear! He was the only one who gave me the belief that we can apply in R3 and do so successfully. Tanmay exuded positivity and belief and that's all I wanted. Without any further delay, I signed up with him.
#4) What 2 tips you would like to share with an aspirant who is working on their UBC Sauder MBA application?
- Start early. Writing UBC Sauder MBA essays doesn't take a of time but building the story does. Introspecting and knowing what to write does. It is a lengthy process and last thing you need is the pressure of a deadline. Starting early also allows you to apply in R1 or R2 which opens up chances of a scholarship.
- Don't fret over your GMAT score. I did that and Tanmay was kind enough to reassure me from time to time that it is just 10% of my entire application. There are a lot of other factors that are considered and he was right.
If you have time, then yes, retake the GMAT and achieve your target score. Else, just believe in the process and build a strong application.
#5) How did you prepare for the interview after submitting the UBC Sauder MBA application? What all steps did you take to prepare yourself for the interview?
After spending so much time on the application, the interview prep was a comparatively easier one I must say. And it was so because of the long list of probable interview questions that Tanmay shared. While it was not an exhaustive list of questions, it was enough to ensure that everything relevant is covered unless the interviewer wants to talk about his own grandmother 😛
I took time to prepare answers to each of the question and frequently referred to my UBC Sauder MBA essays. Once that was done, Tanmay and I reviewed my responses and then we set up two mock interviews which were really helpful and gave me a real interview-like experience.
His feedback about my answers, body language, and tone were really useful. I improved by practicing in front of the mirror and even asked my friends to run a few mock sessions with me. This ensured that by the time the actual interview date arrived, I have well-prepared and confident about what I had to say and how.
#6) What questions were asked to you during the UBC Sauder MBA interview?
The first five questions in the list shared by Tanmay were the ones that I was asked in the interview.
Tell me something about yourself.
Why UBC Sauder?
Describe a situation where you showcased leadership qualities.
Describe a situation where you had to deal with a team-conflict.
Describe one project which had a high social impact.
Which other schools did you apply to?
#7) How do you think you performed in the interview?
I had prepared well for my UBC Sauder MBA interview, so I was confident going into the interview. Additionally, the fact that the first 2-3 questions were exactly the ones that I had prepared for instilled confidence in me. I knew that everything being asked was in my territory and that confidence helped me give good & crisp answers. By the end of it, I was certain that I did a great job in the interview.
#8) How was Tanmay’s mentorship important while working on the UBC Sauder MBA application?
Tanmay’s mentorship was critical particularly while writing the UBC Sauder MBA essays. Essays require a certain type of skill and intelligence to bring out exactly what the b-schools want to read and that comes from experience. Tanmay encouraged me think along those lines and come up with relevant instances for the essay. It was particularly challenging to write the essay and respect the word count at the same time.
Tanmay helped me understand what is important and what the admissions committee wants to see. He also showed a lot of patience with me. Since my job demands 24*7 availability, Tanmay was there throughout encouraging me to take out time to write and write effectively.
I must mention his guidance in my IELTS preparation as well, particularly in the 8 mock speaking tests which helped me secure a good IELTS band in a short amount of time.
#9) What are your final ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for a study abroad aspirant?
- Be very clear of where you want to study and why
- Start early
- Build a strong story and highlight your achievements
- Sell yourself in the essay; if you don't, no one will.
- Don't worry about your profile; what you write in your essays is the key
- Don't fret over GMAT score after a point
- Don't apply to colleges you don't want to join
- Don't doubt the process
Below are few more inspiring success stories from Faith Career ✨
Smriti Dhawan's journey from Ambedkar University to the London School of Economics (LSE) – https://www.faithcareer.org/post/smriti-s-stellar-journey-to-the-london-school-of-economics-and-political-science-lse
Nikhil Bhonsle's story of bagging MBA offers from 5 B-Schools in the UK with scholarship, without a GMAT score - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/5-mba-offer-letters-in-4-months-without-gmat
Yashashwat Srivastava’s MIM journey from IP University to the Schulich School of Business - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/yashashwat-s-mim-journey-to-the-schulich-school-of-business
Mimansha Dublish's MIM journey to ESCP Europe (ranked 5th for MIM in the world) - https://www.faithcareer.org/post/escp-mim-mimansha-s-story-of-perseverance-success
Ambuj Tripathi's story of triumph: From SBI to Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) with Scholarship: https://www.faithcareer.org/post/ambuj-tripathi-s-story-of-triumph-from-sbi-to-rotterdam-school-of-management-rsm-with-scholarship