My eyes sparkled with joy and my spine stood erect with pride as I saw yet another positive mention of my college - St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai in the news. I had graduated with a Bachelors or Arts (B.A) in Economics with an Honors Distinction and the world was my oyster. However, Xavier’s deep-rooted holistic growth ideals did not allow me to rush too quickly into the corporate world and I found myself accepting the Teach for India Fellowship Program. After a year of teaching 3rd-grade students in a low-income school, I realized that I had learned a lot more from them. For example, this was the first time in my youth I was held accountable for everything by 62 demanding stares (my kids!). To read more about my experiences you can check out my blogposts here
However, after a year I found myself being pulled towards a business pulse whose allegiance was older thanks to my entrepreneurial family background. It was 2013 and eCommerce was the new industry disruptor. With the foolish and fun idealism of youth, I was determined to help my family business ride this new wave. So, I began setting up our e.Commerce vertical and started representing and marketing our products on major eCommerce platforms. A stint that early in business shows you a lot of things. Especially all that you lack. I knew I had to broaden and widen my knowledge in Business Studies especially in a global context to be relevant.
Once I had made up my mind, the next logical step was drawing a realistic and time-bound roadmap. ‘Research’ and ‘Timely Action’ were the two words I slept and woke up thinking of in Bold, Italic, and Underline. From studying for the GMAT and TOEFL Exams to putting together my Official Graduation Transcripts, I had to start figuring out a lot of things. I was the captain of my ship and I began my sail with color-coded excel sheets of multiple tabs of Minimum Entry Requirement, Deadlines, Class Profile, Financial Aid Availability, Alumni Connect, USP. My favorite part of this preparation journey was the Application part – working on my narrative for my Statement of Purpose (SOP), Essays, Letters of Recommendations (LOR), CV, and for the Interview. It was empowering to know that my story mattered and I had the authority to unveil it in a manner I deemed appropriate. Looking back, I recognize the tremendous value of this reflection and introspection college applications make you do - when your “Why’s become stronger the How’s fall into place.
I splashed water on my face and refreshed my notification. It felt unreal to read the word “accepted” after a year’s worth of work. But then my stomach gave twirling licenses to butterflies and it hit me. This was my new reality and the journey had officially begun. From drafting a Thank You email to getting my I-20 and F-1 Visa Documents in place, from scheduling my embassy interview to booking my flight tickets, from figuring out which bank I wanted to partner with for my ForEx requirements to deciding who would be my flat mates and where I would stay, I found the whole journey extremely fun.
But nothing could prepare me for what was to come once I landed in the BIG Apple -New York City. We were welcomed by a week of informative and innovative orientation activities which rightly helped students bond and feel comfortable. The next 2 years of my MBA zoomed as quickly as most cherished things do. It was full of mind-broadening classroom discussions and impactful teaching by diverse faculty, building strong and powerful global networks involving passionate and high achieving individuals, working in global corporations, and experiencing best practices in an industry.
Looking back I can confidently say, I saw a transformation in every area of my life. The experience added tremendous value to my personal and professional life. I had grown socially, intellectually, and emotionally.
The entire experience was so enriching for me that I found my Ikigai in it. So when I came back from my MBA Studies in 2014, I had multiple people approach me for advice and help related to overseas education. Through this, I realized the whole process doesn’t have to be that cluttered or daunting as it is made out to be. So I decided to start my own practice and have since then found immense joy and fulfillment in it.
My practice mainly involves 2 verticals. One is academic consulting where I help students build a road map. Some of the main themes we touch upon are – is aboard education best for you given your goals? Which university or country or course would be the right fit for you? How do we make your current resume stronger? Essentially knowing what you don’t know and helping you in the information gathering and planning stage.
The 2nd vertical is complete in assisting with the entire application process. From building a powerful narrative to ensuring that it is being reflected in your SOP, LORs, Essays, Resume, and interview. From knowing how to professionally communicate with administrative officers to gathering the right information from alumni - fundamentally understanding your unique profile and helping you position yourself in the best possible light.
This was first written for the Stoodnt Platform