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Kellogg Admit: Pursuing a Second MBA Abroad

Updated: Apr 24

Pursuing a second MBA can be a smart move, but it's important to carefully consider the pros and cons. It can offer specialized knowledge and access to cutting-edge courses. Attending prestigious business schools can help you build a better profile and provide access to a wider network of professionals, which can open up better leadership opportunities. Additionally, building a diverse professional network through a second MBA can play a key role in achieving your career goals, breaking into new industries, or even starting a business.

Top business schools have rigorous admissions criteria that typically include high GMAT scores, strong professional achievements, and leadership experience. The Kellogg School of Management is one of the premier M7 business schools in the US and is globally renowned for its distinctive educational approach, emphasis on collaborative and team-based learning, and strong alumni network. Known for cultivating leaders who are equipped to navigate the complexities of the global market, Kellogg offers a range of programs that cater to various stages of a professional's career.

Disha Gurnani's journey to secure a coveted seat at the Kellogg School of Management despite having an MBA from NMIMS is a story of determination, strategic planning, and personal growth. Like many ambitious professionals, Disha knew that an MBA would catapult her career to new heights.

While applying for her second MBA, Disha received admits from two Top 10 MBA programs in the world - Kellogg School of Management and HEC Paris. We caught up with Disha to learn more about her application journey. Read her story below.

Pursuing Second MBA Abroad: Introduction & Why 2nd MBA?

I graduated from MIT Manipal and then pursued an MBA from NMIMS immediately. After my first MBA, I started working in Investment Banking with JP Morgan in an analyst role. During my four-year tenure, I gained a lot of experience and was quickly promoted. I even got an opportunity to work in Toronto for about three months, which was a really interesting experience for me. Working in a different geography was quite exciting. As I took up additional roles and responsibilities, I started enjoying the leadership aspect of the industry and developed a passion for corporate strategy.

While looking for opportunities that would suit me, I came across Leadership Development Programs offered by various companies. The chance to work in rotational shifts in different domains intrigued me. However, I realized that to get into such programs, I would need to secure admission to a top-10 business school. I had also decided that I wanted to move abroad permanently. Thus, I concluded that a second MBA would be the perfect way to achieve my goals.

My intention with the second MBA was to learn, observe, and absorb. I was keen on working with a new diverse cohort, interacting with people from different backgrounds, and working in a foreign country.


Apprehensions About Second MBA

When I first started considering a second MBA, I had a few concerns. I didn't know many people who had gone for a second MBA, and the cost of investing in a foreign MBA was significant. However, I was determined to pursue this opportunity with a clear understanding of my objectives and vision. I had strategically planned my goals to ensure that I could make the most of this experience once again.

GMAT Preparation: Struggles, Overcoming Them & Advice

Preparing for the GMAT was challenging. I started preparation almost a year before, worked hard for around 6 months, and made my first attempt. Unfortunately, I did not get the score I was looking for, which disheartened me. It is tough to manage studies with work and other commitments. After talking to some friends, I opted for the Manhatten material which comprised 9 books for my second attempt.

One tip I would like to share with anyone preparing for standardized tests is to maintain an error log. It worked wonders for me, as I was able to analyze all the areas I needed to improve on. During my second attempt, I faced a technical glitch and ended up with a score of 710. Although this brought down my confidence a bit, I was determined to achieve a higher score. I re-took the exam again in a few weeks and finally landed a score of 740, which was my best attempt.

My biggest advice to fellow students is to not feel like an outlier. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious, frustrated, angry, or disappointed. The reality is that exams are not straightforward and require intense preparation. So, it is important not to underestimate the exam but at the same time, don't be disheartened if you are stuck somewhere. Remember that it is okay to take as many attempts as you need. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep moving forward.

School Selection Process

As this was my second MBA, there was a lot of pressure to find my perfect match. I targeted schools that had options such as marketing and corporate strategy. I also made realistic choices that were neither too far above my reach nor too low in the ranking. I was able to find an optimum spectrum with your help which helped me navigate this process easily.

Application Building Process

Initially, when I talked to Piyush, I had just come in with a vague idea of what I wanted to include in my essays. I think what worked the best for me was the 8-Step Process. The initial workshops allowed me to dig deep into what my story is, what my goals need to be, and how they tied into each other.

But this process is a little uncomfortable because you have to really look at yourself and identify your strengths as well as limitations - and not just with yourself, but also with your consultant. Piyush was so friendly and non-judgemental that I felt like he could be a confidant for me. I could tell him any of my weaknesses and not feel embarrassed about them, and that level of trust really helped me open up and discuss everything.

This combined with the structured, systematic approach made it easier for us to approach the essays. We build a clear timeline for each school, and Piyush's incredibly quick responses to my essays were impressive.

One thing I want to highlight is that working with Piyush on the end-to-end process was incredibly helpful as he knew the context behind each of the essays we worked on. So there was no time while working on the essays that I had to explain my perspective and POV to him separately. He already knew my point of view, and that made the overall process much simpler!

I ended up applying to Kellogg, Yale and Duke Fuqua in the US, and LBS and HEC Paris in Europe. I received interview invites from all except Yale, and final admits to HEC Paris and Kellogg.

Feedback for Management Masters

I had a lot of friends who were in top MBA programs and who had worked with many different consultants. Some with US consultants, some with Indian consultants. For US consultants, their charges were extremely high. But apart from that, I wanted to go with an Indian consultant because I believed they would understand my Indian context better, regarding my choices, both personally and professionally.

I had talked to 8-9 consultants based in India. The issue I found with big firms was often that the main consultant, the face of the firm, would not directly work with you. Another important factor was the sense of comfort I felt while talking to the consultants.

I was referred to Management Masters by a friend who had a great experience and spoke highly of them. From my very first conversation with Piyush, I knew that I had found the right consultant for my application process. What really stood out during our call was the level of comfort I felt while talking to him. That sense of ease and connection continued throughout all our interactions. Finally, Piyush's patience and willingness to understand my point of view boosted my confidence multi-fold and made me feel like I could succeed.

Advice For Future Candidates

People either undersell or oversell themselves. They might be underconfident and apply only to safe schools. Or they might be overestimating themselves and end up applying only to dream programs. It’s important to find a balance and understand your strengths and weaknesses to put forth a good application.

Watch The Video Interview

You can also watch the complete video interview below.


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