When I first read through Vijay’s profile before our initial meeting I saw strong academic numbers, volunteer involvement, an interesting entrepreneurial venture – and that he already had an MBA. My first question to Vijay was the same question any MBA program would ask him: “Why do you need a second MBA?”
In Vijay’s case he had entered the program at one of the Indian Institutes of Management when he was a University student to supplement his engineering coursework. While he had received an MBA credential, he considered the degree as an addendum to his undergraduate coursework. Vijay explained that his degree did not provide the same professional development and networking opportunities that he envisioned at his target schools. Vijay’s experience thus far was entirely in South Asia, and he was highly focused on moving his career to the international stage and was particularly interested in the networking opportunities available at schools like MIT, Wharton and Michigan.
The first step we had to take was making sure that MIT, Wharton and Michigan were accepting applications from candidates that already had an MBA degree. Policies vary widely on this issue and a polite phone call to the admissions office is the best way to ensure that a particular MBA degree will be acceptable. Luckily Vijay’s international MBA degree did not disqualify him from the admissions pool.
As a next step we crafted a strong career goals essay. We discussed (at length) exactly what this second MBA degree would do for Vijay’s career over time that could not be achieved with his existing MBA alone. After solidifying the details in both of our minds, we worked through several drafts of a career goals, why MBA, and why MIT, Wharton and Michigan statement. This was the basis of a compelling career goals essay that included specific detail about the academic, social, and career opportunities each program uniquely provided.
We made the decision to also use the optional essay as a forum for the looming question of Vijay’s existing MBA degree. In this essay we briefly described the situation and explained that his prior MBA was more of a supplement to his undergraduate education and that a 2-year full time MBA program in the US would offer a significantly different experience and education. Vijay explained his reasons for pursuing this second MBA (classmates/networking, specific entrepreneurship coursework, and international experience) very clearly and specifically.
Vijay’s hard work paid off and he was able to pursue his second MBA at MIT, where he made some great contacts for his future entrepreneurial ventures.
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