Advice for International Students

I have graduated and haven’t started working yet. Needless to say, I am spending a lot of time pondering deeper questions of life and thinking about things I would do differently if given a chance. My MBA was one the bigger decisions I have taken in recent times. If given a chance to do it all over again, I will start with shortlisting the goals I want to accomplish through the MBA. Then I will shortlist the schools that will be the best fits for me to accomplish those goals. In the world of MBA, there are some broad classifications of jobs by function. As seen in the way professional clubs are named and career counselors are appointed, I would say that the broad categories are – Finance, Consulting, Marketing, Operations,Technology and miscellaneous. As an international student it;s important to really find out the jobs that you won’t be eligible for just because of work authorization limitations. I am sharing my perspective on this. This is not complete and exhaustive list but just the perception I built after spending two years in business school.

Finance is usually divided in Corporate Finance jobs and the core Finance jobs in New York. I don’t have much idea about this sector but from my perception, the international students have a difficult time getting the Wall Street finance jobs specially if you go to a school which is not deemed a finance school. Next comes Consulting. When I say consulting, I mean management consulting firms that further have a lot of divisions along the lines of functions and industries they serve. Consulting industry is among the more welcoming industry for international students with the exception of a few firms. It goes without saying that most of the consulting firms have  very stringent criteria for hiring anyone, international or not. Then there is Marketing. Now, this is one area where most FMCG firms have a clear policy of not hiring international students. It’s better to know this before you come to business school with high hopes of building a career marketing FMCG. However, there are marketing jobs with technology industry that are usually open for international students as well. The same is true for most roles in the technology industry such as product management and operations.

So, before you apply, figure out what do you want to do after your MBA and how will your current experience and the MBA help you achieve the goal. Then contact some current students to find out whether your target role at your target firm is an option for international students and try to get in touch with some alumni who have already done what you aspire to do. This process will make your first essay (usually about future career aspirations) sound very much informed. More importantly, you will start your MBA with a clear road map and a head start in your arduous journey to get through b-school to that dream job.


In the networks blackhole

I have moved to this beautiful city and am finally done with all the furniture shopping. I spent the past three days assembling all the furniture and boy is it tough. These things are heavy and they need high precision. Good news is that I am done with my couch and my bed and I can now focus on the fabrics and cushions.

The other thing is that my apartment is a networks black hole. I get no phone network or internet inside which kind of sucks but it has also made me super aware of my internet addiction. I caught myself checking my phone for no particular reason so many times. After two days of furniture assembling sans internet, I am kind of in the Zen and the Art of Assembling Ikea Furniture Mode. Internet is like and addiction and removing it from your life gives a great deal of peace.

Planning my apartment


I have spent some time researching furniture this week. Till now, I have only ordered the mattress and the mattress shield. I am still debating over my bedroom and living room furniture. I was browsing through pinterest and one decor has really stuck a cord with me. I like the whole horse picture and the color theme. This has also made me more inclined towards a fabric sofa. Let’s see how it works out.



Moi at Primanti’s

I completed my MBA and received the diploma yesterday. For some reason, it hasn’t really sunk in and I feel like it’s one of the after-mini breaks and we will all start again in the halls of Posner after the summer. I guess I need to start packing to finally “feel it”. Packing stuff always breaks my heart. There are so many tough definitions to be made in terms of what to take with you and what to leave behind. I just get lost and entangled in memories because after all, all this stuff was my life for two years. I was a different person two years ago. I was the person who went to Primanti’s for the first time on someone’s recommendation, couldn’t finish the humongous sandwich and hated it. Yesterday, I went back to the same Primanti’s (second time in two years), ordered the same sandwich and loved it. It’s amazing what two years in Pittsburgh and Tepper can do to you.

Last week before graduation

I got up with a splitting headache after last night’s party and cruise dinner by the school. Th good thing is that I had just the right fix for this problem – good old cup of Indian spicy tea. I love problems I can solve like a boss….other more messy ones….ummm…..I take sometime with them.

I have a few errands to run this week and I hope that I will be done by the end of the week. I have already booked an apartment in the new city I am moving to and I am super excited about it. To do list for today-

  1. Check out apartment decors on pinterest.
  2. Workout if I feel like it.

Sundays don’t get much better than that.

It’s raining !!

It’s really coming down and I am trying to decide if we should keep the window open to enjoy the beautiful sound and feel of rain or should I close it to keep my things on the window from getting wet. I am leaning towards keeping it open for now. My window has a direct view of the church on the next block. There is something about the view which is very peaceful. At times, I get up and lie staring at it thinking of nothing and that’s the best part of my day usually. 

Now, that my philosophical rant is over, let’s talk about the MBA. I have two more weeks before I finish mine. I am taking four courses this mini and I have a bunch of slide decks, finals and papers to complete in the next week and then there are the numerous events and lunches and dinners with friends. Honestly, I am enjoying this but can’t wait to be done with the MBA and start working.

MBA: Last quarter

It’s true…time flies. It feels like we had the base camp yesterday and I am half way through mini 3 of my second year already. Full time recruiting worked out well for me and I had my job offers in place fairly early in the year. I completed my capstone project in the first half of the year. Now, all I have to do is go to classes and I don’t even have finals or midterms for all of them.
In a nutshell, life is great.

Happy New Year from Pittsburgh

Another new year……my second one in Pittsburgh. I have given up tea for a month and then I will see if I want to continue or start drinking tea again. I keep making big plans to work out and get all ripped but that never works. So, I stay indoors and read a lot of books. This is the kind of vacation that I always dreamed of. Nothing on my mind and all the time in the world to do whatever I want to do. Although I have some stuff to complete which I hope to complete before school starts again, I am taking my time to enjoy the things that I like doing.

The break is over

Today is the last day of mini1 break. I am back to picking classes and syncing calendars. I loved the nice and relaxed break I had. I am still not in the all-set-for-the-cold-mini mode but I guess I will get there.

Today was a pretty uneventful day. I just went Halloween costume shopping with one of my classmates. I was not really looking for a costume so I just sat back and gave her feedback about the options she was considering. Then we went shoe shopping and I ended up buying just one pair of flats. We had lunch in Chipotle after long and loved it and then came back home. I tried on my new shoes and was devastated to find that they were a size too small. I guess I will return them when I will go shoes shopping again. I wrapped up the evening with a small workout and some intensive cooking. Now, I have to get to cleaning up my room and then I can call it a day.

First Job Offer(s)

Yes! It’s true.
We just completed the first mini and I got three job offers from one company. Yaay! It’s one of my top choices, so now I get to sit back and relax and not worry too much about my post-MBA future.

Let me describe everything in detail now. Last week, I interviewed with the company for two positions. The first round had two interviews per position. So, I talked non-stop for two hours with a very bad throat. I was hoping to get the round 2 for one of the positions but was happily surprised when I got both. I think I have learned to not expect too much and that helped me retain my equanimity. On day 2, I had two interviews of 45 minutes each – one of them very pleasant and the other one not so much. We were supposed to hear back from them on the same day but we got an email instead telling us that we will hear back the next day which was a Friday. So, I just prepared for the four interviews I had on Friday. Again, with my bad throat and fever raging, I went through the four interviews on Friday, went to Tepper Beers and then came back to kill time at our hub – which is one of our classmate’s apartment.
We were just sitting there talking when people stated posting about ‘Thank You for your time’ emails, then the ‘Congratulations!’ emails started coming in. In some time, everyone who had had a round 2 interview had received their status but not me. So, I had my laptop open and everyone was staring at it. I was surprised by how everyone except me seemed so anxious. I really didn’t feel any anxiety. I guess, that after my internship search, I have become a better and more mature person. I hope I am able to maintain this in the future as well. So, finally I got the email and got to know that I had been offered for three positions. I felt relief and happiness but my heart didn’t do a back flip like it always does on such occasions. I was happy with the offers but I was happier for my own reaction to the news. I don’t know if that makes any sense 🙂