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Aston University graduate talks to Nirali Advisory about his study abroad experience!
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Karan Gandhi Undergrad – R.A Podar College, Commerce Postgrad – Aston University MSc in International Business
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Grab the most of what comes your way. Live your dream, learn and explore and just go with the flow.”- Karan Gandhi.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How was your Educational journey been?
I graduated during the year 2012 with a Bachelors in Management Studies (BMS) from R.A. Podar College in Mumbai. During those 3 years of education, I took 37 subjects in total where I started developing a liking for Finance to pursue in the future.
I always had a dream of studying overseas, specifically in the USA, to mold myself better and come out of the privileged world. But things didn't go as planned. There were myriad speed bumps and my USA plans didn't go as wished. But as they rightly said, ’Where there is a Will there’s a way.'
My dream of studying abroad did come true since I had a backup plan and I perused my MSc. in International Business from Aston University in the UK in 2013.
2. When and why did you decide to study abroad, any particular reason for selecting your degree course?
Coming from a family business background, I had full freedom to decide and follow the choices of my course. Since my dream was to go to the USA where the requirement for a Master's program was 16 years of education, I did an additional 1-year Bachelor's course in Commerce (Bcom.) to compensate for having only 15 years of education.
But then Educational life had a divergence and I landed up doing MSc. in International Business (MSc. IB). This course had a unique benefit which allowed me to go to Nantes, France for a fortnight to study there during one Semester. The options of subjects it provided suited my taste. Also, being an International driven business course, I was bound to interact with many like-minded souls from around the globe who have a history of a family business which would assist me down the line.
3. Did you receive a scholarship? Do you recommend any good orgs/institutions that provide scholarships or financial aid?
The last-minute rush from the USA to the UK had my scholarship window shut. I did not receive any scholarship, but I had a few classmates receive scholarships ranging from 10-25% of the total fees.
4. Were you satisfied with your choice of university? What is your most and least favourite thing about the university experience?
I was extremely delighted by the choice of University. During 2012, Aston Ranked amongst ‘World’s top 50’ Business Schools and My MSc. IB degree course was ranked 5th in the Financial Times Masters Management Rankings.
The vast subject selection was one of a kind. I had applied to a couple of more universities but the choices of subjects and professors' experiences and qualifications far exceeded my expectations compared to other universities.
5. How was the overall campus diversity?
The university as a whole had quite diverse as well as like-minded students. As far as my course was concerned, the majority were Indians and Chinese who have a known history of being Entrepreneurial.
6. Tell us something about the on-campus faculty and resources.
The faculty was indeed well sought after. I had few professors who used to travel from all over Europe for giving us lectures. Then we also had some visiting faculty from the USA for some subjects. By getting global recognition for MSc. IB course, the University kept up its mark in providing the best of professors.
7. 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?
To sum it up, it was indeed a Roller Coaster Ride. Having an Indian Educational background, I wouldn’t deny it was difficult. It was quite a challenge to study and finish all the subjects in 3 months of each semester. I had to let go of the general Indian habit to attend private classes. I had to manage without much assistance and independently find my own path. This was an experience to live for. It was interesting to learn how to teach yourself to prepare for the exam. The approach for examination and assessment is different than our Indian System but manageable.
Campus life was the best life. There were days where you had to go without meals due to time shortage as you had to finish your class studies and projects. There were tons of activities happening around the campus - from sports activities to arts to cultural festivals. Students made sure to enjoy those as hard as they worked for their studies.
8. What did you learn and what were your most dear experiences?
As the saying goes, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”. No words would describe those 360 days of my life. It was an amazing learning experience - from attending early morning classes to burning the midnight oil for presentation deadlines, from managing personal finances to managing household work.
9. How is the quality of education compared to Indian institutes? What were the gaps in both systems? How did you manage to cope?
The quality and in-depth understanding of the subject matter is better abroad compared to our Indian System. You cannot just "Copy-Paste" answers due to plagiarism laws. The Educational System in the UK ensures that you learn to rack your brain and find your own answers.
10. What were the career opportunities available?
Most of the students came from a Business background so they had their set plans to either join their own family businesses or start their own business.
11. Any advice you would wish to give for students planning to study abroad?
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Grab the most of what comes your way. Live your dream, learn and explore and just go with the flow.
We hope that you have found this interview insightful. Do let us know how in the comments section below!
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