Former Client Speaks on admissions in Canada - MBA Sauder Business School UBC
Updated: Sep 17
Undergrad –H.R.College-University of Mumbai, Bachelor of Management Studies
Postgrad – University of British Columbia Canada, MBA
Current role –Financial Analyst –
Consulting in Colliers International
Khushnum is a former client.
Check out her experience in working with Nirali Advisory.
"Nirali helped me with my essays and letters of recommendation and she was amazing. I had spoken to numerous other study abroad consultants and was not impressed with them. Nirali's approach was a breath of fresh air. She was amazing at helping me draft my ideas.
Her personal touch and the time she dedicated to helping me is something i believe everyone should experience.
Trust me, you will not be disappointed."
The interview begins here :
" The main thing is that you show a very well-rounded personality. One big thing these universities want to see is how you can give back to the university. "
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your Educational and Professional Background? Which college, company, and role did you work in to get you where you are today?
I did my undergraduate at H.R. College and I studied BMS. After that, I started working at Jones Lang LaSalle, one of the biggest property consulting firms, one of the biggest in the world. Then I started working in commercial leasing for a while and then I realized that I wanted a bit of a change. I worked across the commercial leasing and capital markets teams, getting great exposure to the market and clients.
2. What was your undergraduate Major? What prompted you towards it?
I majored in Finance during my bachelor’s in management studies. The reason I picked this course is because I wasn’t very sure what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew that I wanted to do something in the corporate world but I didn’t exactly know what and BMS gave me exposure to a lot of different areas.
3. When and why did you decide to study abroad?
I think that I always knew that I wanted to move abroad and study there to get a different perspective in my studies.
4. Did you receive a scholarship? Do you recommend any good organization/institution that provide for scholarships or financial aid?
There are a bunch of organizations that give scholarships/zero-interest loans to students going abroad. Some of them are JN Tata Endowment Fund, Narotam Sekhsaria, RD Sethna, Zoroastrian Hong Kong Trust, Godrej Trust, Bombay Parsi Panchayat.
5. Is it worth taking a loan to study abroad? How does one measure one’s ROI?
That really depends on each person. Studying abroad is very expensive and not everyone can afford to pay for it out of pocket. However, it is important to understand the interest rates charged, which are high in India. One option that I can think of is to get your Permanent Residence before going to Canada. This enables you to pay local fees, which are much lower than international student fees. Once you are a PR, you are also eligible to apply for a line of credit at many major banks in Canada, with a much lower interest rate.
6. Why did you choose that particular course in this particular university/college for your studies abroad? What was the process you went through while choosing the university/college?
For me, I always knew that I wanted to go to Canada. I had evaluated the U.S. but with a quick study, I realized that applying for work permits after graduating would be a problem, especially as I would not come under the STEM category. Since my aim was to live abroad as well, I picked Canada and got my PR before moving.
I picked UBC for a couple of reasons: low cost, presence of extended family in the city. I also spoke to numerous students across universities in Canada and felt that the smaller classroom size, collaborative atmosphere, and shorter-term of UBC were a better fit for me.
7. Any particular advice you would like to give for the application process from SOP Writing to Academic GPA to other things which you thought were important that helped you get into that course at that university?
The main thing is that you show a very well-rounded personality. One big thing these universities want to see is how you can give back to the university. This includes contributing in classroom discussions to help other students learn from your specific experiences. Also, have a very clear goal in mind about what you want to achieve with your studies.
8. Were you satisfied with your choice of university? What is your most and least favorite thing about the university experience?
I was definitely satisfied with my university. The most favorite thing was the GIE, Global Immersion Experience. It is basically where students get to pick one out of four countries they get to visit for a 2-week program, where you meet with local companies there, understand how they do business. Your group is linked up with a certain company and you're made to solve a particular business problem that they have. It is a live consulting project for their company. So that was a really good experience. I went to Japan, it’s a totally different country, and getting a different perspective on the way and aspects of doing business was just a big eye-opener. So that was my favorite aspect.
My least favorite experience about the university is that I think that it was a little fast-paced. MBA at UBC was for 16 months including a 4-month internship break. So, it was a bit too fast-paced as you were made to cover a whole lot of subject areas in a very short time.
9. How was the Indian fraternity over there? How was the overall campus diversity?
I think anywhere in Canada and assuming in the USA you will find a lot of Indians everywhere. So, don’t worry about that. You will find a lot of Indian food. I think it’s a good mix of people from all over. At least for us, in our batch, I think we were probably 15%-20% Indians. So, there are enough people if you want to find them.
10. Tell us something about the faculty and resources which were there on campus.
The faculty is really good at UBC. Most of them have Ph.D.’s, with relevant industry experience, especially for MBA. That really helps as they can give an example from actual consulting cases that they have had. Resources are pretty good even in connecting us to other industries professionals. There are different mentorship programs that connect you to different people in your line of work. You can learn from them, what they want to do in their career, all of that is pretty well thought of and in place.
11. Tell us about your journey from the first semester to the last both academically and non-academically? What was campus life like? What were the extracurricular activities on campus?
The entire journey was a whirlwind. There was so much going on. The first couple of months were very tough since there was a huge adjustment period. You're just trying to get through your course work and be on top of things. Overall, I think it was really worth it because of the kind of friends you make and the network will stay with you forever. So, I think it was a really good experience. Non academically, it is what you make of it. There are opportunities, it is your choice to take them or not.
One thing that was really good for me, that I participated in was the UBC MBA games. It is basically like an inter-college competition with sporting events/case study competitions etc. Regarding campus life, So, when you go for an MBA, most people do not stay on campus. Especially at UBC, a lot of the housing is reserved for undergraduates. MBA students can join all the clubs, but you probably won't have any time if you join way too many clubs. There are a lot of MBA related clubs that we could join and be a part of. Your cohort will organize innovation and entrepreneurship clubs or finance clubs, marketing clubs, product service development clubs, and those clubs will organize guest speakers and activities for you to get out there into the local market because most of the people are immigrants and international students who do not have any access to local markets. So, these clubs really help you get exposure.
12. What did you learn and what were your most dear experiences? Any suggestions or recommendations for freshers starting out?
This is a lot, but just in brief, just be open to new possibilities. Of course, it is going to be challenging, you have to get out of your comfort zone, meet new people from other cultures, other countries, understand things from their perspective. That is the whole point of going to an international university, to expand your network, learn from people who have had different experiences, and have different perspectives on not only business, cultures, social issues, and things like that. It will open up your mind of possibilities. Don’t just stick to the people you are comfortable with; make friends with people you would never meet otherwise. Studies are important and it is very important to do well and submit your stuff on time, but at the same time, this is a new experience you are paying for. You are paying a lot of money for this and try to take full advantage, take part in different activities and make the most out of this experience.
13. How is the quality of education compared to Indian institutes? What were the gaps in both systems? How did you manage to cope?
It is very different. My experience in Indian universities was very different, not very interactive. For me, when I was in India, I was studying to pass the exam. In UBC this is not the case. The teachers actually want you to learn. Many of the courses don’t even have final exams. It is just about your course work, your assignments, your group projects. It is about how you work in a team, what ideas you come up with, and how well you do in your assignments. So, it is different. There is a lot of inter-personal and class interactions, it is not just the teacher reading out notes and writing it down. It is a bit different when you start but you get used to it and you realize that you are actually learning something and that is pretty exciting.
14. What were the career opportunities available? How does one manage to grab them?
There are a lot of opportunities if you put in the effort. We have career coaches in the university who sit down with you in the beginning, understand your goals, what your background is, where you want to go after you graduate and they try to mold your resume and cover letters accordingly. They introduce you to industry professionals, maybe alumni, or anyone they might know who might be able to help you.
One of the biggest things to understand about starting a career in Canada is networking. You gave to go out, meet people, get out of your comfort zone, ask to talk to people who are relevant to your career, understand their career path. This is how you learn about the different job roles they do and understand if it actually for you. INn this way, the person you have met also knows you and if they feel that you are a good fit for the company, they might recommend that you apply for a particular job. So, relationship building and networking is a big big deal in the Canadian job industry.
15. Any other suggestions or pieces of advice you would like to give students who are starting out the study abroad process?
First, determine your goals. Do you want to study and then come back to India? If that is the case then you have so many more options. If you want to move to that country then there are fewer options depending on the visa process. So, do that research in advance. If you want to move to Canada try to get your PR before you move. It is a fairly simple process and. Lots of people are doing it. It reduces your fees drastically and you won't have to worry about applying for a work permit after that. So just figure out your goals then go from there.
We hope that you have found this interview insightful. Do let us know how in the comments section below!