Why this Chartered Accountant went on to do an MBA?
When we think of Switzerland, our mind gets drawn to the majestic snow-covered Alps, astounding scenery, skiing resorts, placid lakes, chocolates, and cheese - a perfect connotation for the month of love! However, Switzerland has much more to offer than just this. It is one of the best places to work, is the second happiest country in the world, and is a hub for some of the best study programs.
One such program is the St. Gallen MBA program, which is ranked 7th in Europe by the Financial Times. To understand more about the program and Swiss life, we had a tête-à-tête with Shrihari, who completed his MBA from St. Gallen in 2017.
As far as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to do an MBA. However, I pursued Chartered Accountancy and worked with a few firms in their finance and accounting teams. But, I always yearned for something more and hence decided to steer away and pursue an MBA. I ventured out to Switzerland and commenced with my MBA at St. Gallen. I now work as a business controller at the H&M group in Stockholm, Sweden.
I pursued a Bachelors in Business Management during my undergraduate, which helped me gain an initial understanding of the world of business education. Post that, I tried my hand at appearing for the CAT exam, which is usually taken if one wants to pursue an MBA in India, but I did not end up with a good percentile. Fortunately, I had started my CA journey alongside, around the same time. Hence, my plans of pursuing an MBA were put into hibernation mode for around 4-5 years.
When I started working at Intel, interactions with my peers made me realize that I had a lot left to go out and explore. I also realized that I wanted a generalist work profile rather than a specialist profile. And, I realized that an MBA would equip me to work at intersections and provide me with a deeper understanding of running a business.
So, my dreams of an MBA that started in 2007, took shape during my Intel experience and got actualized in 2016!
I initially attended an MBA event and met the admissions committees from various schools. I was very clear of where I wanted to study; it was either in Europe or in Canada. On that basis, I had a set of four questions about the:
Course and the academic structure
Based on the information that I gathered, I shortlisted the schools I wanted to apply to. I was very particular about obtaining financial aid. Hence, I conducted extensive research on the scholarships that I could avail.
With my shortlist ready, I started my GMAT preparation. While I was preparing for GMAT, I came across a competition hosted by St. Gallen for their MBA admissions. I had to submit a three-page essay on the core challenges faced by Switzerland in the medical tech or manufacturing sector. From there, I got shortlisted based on my essay and got the opportunity to appear for two interviews as well; the first with the admissions director and the second one with the dean.
I was elated when I learned that I had been granted a 100% scholarship for their MBA program. This provided me with a great opportunity since I had to now take care of just the living expenses.
Building network and finding opportunities
One of the key components while pursuing any business degree is networking. All the alumni I reached out to had unison advice for me: build a strong network! I, hence, started connecting with people even before school started.