Friday, February 5, 2016

Being an International MBA - Part 1

Hi there. I am writing this post after a really long gap but I thought this might help aspiring MBA candidates to get a better insight into the life of an International MBA, not confined to SMU COX but in general. In my experience through interaction and exposure, I have realized a few aspects which I have put in here. Hope this might help.

1. The cultural differences: I guess this is majorly the first challenge that all internationals have had to face while making a choice of stepping out of their own soil. Just like in cricket, you go to Australia and face the bounce and skid, in England you face the swing and in India, its majorly about exploiting the cracks, it is similar for an MBA student tuning himself up with the culture of the new place. About USA, its very framework is built on people drawn from various parts of the world and Asia today contributing to 40% of its growth. USA accepts you as you are. Well ! It might take some time but just be there, you will be fine. As one of the instructors very well put it down, it follows a curve where there is a crest and then a trough but the wave stabilizes in some time. 

2. Communication barrier: One of the things that will help you overcome this is your allotted study group. A few of my friends in my study group have helped me understand their style of communication better. The words that you write in your thank you notes to professionals, the words that you speak while talking to people around you and how you design your cover letter and resume, it is a very different ball game. The faster you learn that, the better you will be. I am still learning and my friends are helping me in that. Having said that, you can always reach out to your colleagues from the US and be open to learn and rectify the mistakes that you might be making.

3. Put weight on your work experience: Hunting for a job is a tough ask for an international MBA student here, especially with the policies of H1B and STEM degrees. It is a serious factor while considering where to put in your application. Secondly, the companies do put in a lot of importance to the skills that you carry forward. Some of the skills that all of you will carry forward in case you are from an engineering background are- technology, analysis, manpower management, data. It is important to identify what sets you apart. For internationals, numbers and statistics in your resume play a major part in showing the visibility of your work experience. In simple words, a guage to measure performance. Concentrating and putting your efforts early in your job search is important.

4. Networking: One of the jargons you will hear a lot about is "Networking". I am still trying to figure out the fundamentals of this word as many others are. Communication engineers can relate some of it. Just replace the machines with people and probably it will sound much better. Personally, I have seen the ones who are driven by passion for an industry and spending hours behind expressing his passion through effective communication to have not even get to an interview room. On the other hand, there are the ones who have done nothing and failed. I put my thrust behind finding the right people to talk to and an effective communication. Besides, if you are driven by passion, you can't hold your tongue back. So, I guess I am not the right candidate to answer this.

5. Finding the right companies: One, not all companies sponsor for internationals. This will come as a setback to all those who are interested in automobile industry but hardly a few companies do hire internationals. Some of them are Tesla motors and Harley Davidson. But if you are open to explore the financial side of the automobile industry, Toyota Financial Services and Mercedez Benz might be the choices. Speaking to the Techies out there, it might not be the best choice for you to be at Dallas and think of a dream job in the Silicon Valley. First, Silicon Valley doesn't see if you are an MBA or not. They put more weight on your skills to build. Second, Silicon valley puts weight on your relative work experience for international MBAs. Facebook might have been the place where I would have gone to but come the final round and I was facing the chin music against experiences of 7-8 years. For people from Asia, Tech consulting should be interesting but you might prefer to try other fields as well. Honestly, I have not seen many consulting firms hiring for technology consulting roles from Cox.

In this article, I have touched over a few points and I will continue this thread with highlights on Marketing and Finance which is a major concentration in SMU COX and you have a lot many companies in the campus recruiting for these roles. Talking about Happy Hours and social life, I may not be the right person to write anything on that but I will try finding the write person to talk to you over it. Cya then until the next article !

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