After completing my MBA in India, I started working in the talent management function of one of the consulting firms and I completely enjoyed my work. My fiancé at that point in time was working in the US. Having completed his Masters from one of the top universities in the US, his preference was to continue to work in the US. Thus I was faced with the question of what I was going to do when I join him after marriage. Although it appeared there were several opportunities at the work front within my company, things weren’t that easy to come by. There were complications with respect to not having the required number of years of experience, visa sponsorship and the like. As the next step I tried directly applying for openings in other US based companies. Despite having the qualifications required, the major challenge I faced was getting an interview call. I tried several avenues – direct application in a company’s website, employee referral, Linkedin but there was no positive response. This is when I took a step back and tried to ascertain the reason for not getting recognized in the applicant pool. I spoke with several people and a common theme that emerged was – having a US degree facilitates the job search process. As a general rule, companies preferred students graduating from US universities vis-à-vis someone with an equivalent non-US degree.
Subsequently, I looked into programs that matched my background and that were relevant to my career goals. I also geared up for the application process – acing GMAT, getting recommendations and writing a convincing statement of purpose. I reached out to students across different B-schools and got a thorough idea about the expectations of the admissions committee, student life in the US and opportunities that open up at graduate school. This entire information gathering excited me and made me want to pursue an advanced degree. After an exhausting two months of essay writing followed by interviewing, I made into the MS in Management Studies program at MIT Sloan School of Management. The announcement of the admission results coincided closely with my wedding dates and it was the best wedding gift I received!
From my experience, I would say, there is no one simple formula that works for everyone. There are several opportunities both in industry and academia in the US. It is important that one exercises sufficient due diligence and identifies the path that works best to accomplish his/her goals.