There aren’t too many places in the world where you can walk through a hundred year old castle and into a cobblestone street with modern cafés and luxury stores. The perfect blend of modernity and tradition, Europe is also becoming an increasingly popular destination amongst students to pursue their graduate and postgraduate education.
Steering this popularity is the Masters in Management program and Europe alone offers 100+ MiM programs in the world. Bringing to you straight from the horse’s mouth, we had a small tête-à-tête with Nikhil Jain.
Nikhil is an MiM alumni from ESSEC Business School, who not only received a 100% scholarship from the top-ranked MiM program, but also admits from five other business schools. Read on to find out what Nikhil has to say about his stellar journey!
To begin with, I graduated from IIT-BHU with a B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering, post which, I started working with ZS Associates. At ZS, my profile focused mainly on conducting market research. As I wanted to venture into a different profile focusing more on digital marketing, and felt the need to improve my managerial skills, I started researching about different programs that I could pursue.
I was always inclined towards a role focusing on digital implementation. While I had the option of taking up a full-time role at the likes of an e-commerce startup in India, I felt that I lacked the appropriate knowledge and expertise about digital marketing which would help me kickstart a successful career. This primary need necessitated the need for me to pursue further education.
The question I actually get asked most often is why not wait out for a few years and pursue an MBA? Honestly, I was not entirely willing to gain more experience in my current profile, which was mostly operational. So, thanks to what most of us look out to for almost everything (read google), and gaining guidance from some helpful seniors, I felt confident that an MiM program is a good step ahead for me.
The first step in my application journey was to take the GMAT, which I wanted to take well in advance so I had more clarity about the colleges that I could apply to. Another thing that definitely helped me was some clarity about my post-MiM goals, which really helped me narrow down my schools and other research. The part I found most challenging was actually presenting my story in a succinct and impactful manner, which not only involved immense introspection into my past trajectory but also how it merged with my aspirations.
In addition to ESSEC, I also applied through SAI Admissions, which enabled me to apply to five business schools in France. A few factors that I considered in making this choice were definitely the rankings, brand name and the opportunity to focus on the digital and data analytics domains. Fortunately, I managed to secure an admit from all the schools that I had applied to, which was definitely the highlight of my entire journey.
Currently, I am based in Paris, working at Adot as a product manager for the last 3.5 years. At my time at ESSEC, I was completely unfamiliar with French. I knew nothing about it. Factors that helped me secure a good placement offer were definitely the courses that I took, which were more focused on data analytics, and my constant strive to apply for as many internships as I could.
Although the process was rigorous and involved rejections, I focused on pushing forward and continuing applying. I got my first internship after six months into the program and at every step, I became more cognisant of the things I wished to improve to eventually pivot to my ideal role. Another highlight was definitely the opportunity that I got for an exchange program at the Kellogg School of Management. Nearing the end of my program, I continued to apply and interview for different opportunities and although my current manager was reluctant to hire me sans any knowledge of French, I still ended up getting that job.
I think it is very important to be aware of yourself and your surroundings and to make the best use of all possible resources - especially the career centre and alumni of your institute. Even though I got the ideal job I was looking for, it was not easy and I would not recommend anyone to stay in Paris without learning French. Moreover, I am finally learning French now!
My biggest takeaways from the entire journey till now have been how to identify and put forth my most relevant learnings, to always continue learning because there will always be something new out there, and to not underestimate the language and cultural differences. To anyone thinking of applying or already applying to any MiM program, my two cents of advice would be to be aware of exactly why you want to take this path and do your homework earnestly because that will reflect in your application.
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