First Attempt: No
What was your background like before pursuing an MBA?
I graduated from PESIT after pursuing an undergraduate in Engineering, post which I spent 4 years working for Capgemini. I started off in a coding role, then progressed to a more sales oriented one. Finally, I spent 2 years working in Competitive Intelligence. This department functioned on a global level and facilitated strategy and bid related decisions. If we were to enter a new market for instance, we would need to provide information on the competitors and their respective competencies, so that was where my role contributed to the decision making process.
How was your progression from work towards your MBA goal?
It was during my last couple of years at Capgemini that I came to CrackVerbal and began preparing for my GMAT and MBA. I attended the classes at CrackVerbal and went on to obtain a GMAT of 690 in Feb of 2011. I eventually got an admit to SP Jain, Dubai.
Can you tell us a little about the program at SP Jain?
This is a global MBA which was a two city program at the time. The one year program at SP Jain was split between Dubai and Singapore, which for me, was a wonderful experience. The new, 3 city model allows students to spend their one year in Dubai, Singapore and Sydney.
What was the application process like at SP Jain, Dubai?
The application form is a fairly simple one. It’s unlike the other B-schools which ask for lengthy essays. It has different sections which ask you about your work experience, extra-curriculars and your profile in general, but it’s not an exhaustive one.
Once you submit your online application, it is reviewed. If you are short-listed, you are invited for the one day interview process. These interviews usually have around 3-4 slots.
The interview process has about 4 rounds. The first one was a case-based interview; the second one was an interview session with the Professors of SP Jain. The next round for me was with the President of the school. Every round was treated as an elimination round. After you get past all the rounds, you are notified of your result a few weeks after.
Being a multi-city program, where are the interviews carried out?
For people out of India, such as me, the interview was held at SPJIMR, Mumbai. Some of my classmates were from Dubai as well as Singapore, and for them it was held at the respective campuses.
What was your initial experience like with the program?
Being a one year program, the initial months were challenging. The course requires that you have a minimum of 3 years of work experience, so for 3 years you’re most likely out of touch with studies. Once you get used to it though it gets easier and more enjoyable.
What was the classroom demographic like during your course?
I think the course attracts a lot of Indian candidates, my batch was pre-dominantly Indian and our alumni were too. In other terms, the demographics are good – we had a very good male to female ratio as well as large diversity in terms of backgrounds, for instance we had many from the Jewellery Design, Consulting, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Marine, Public Relations and Media backgrounds. Of course there were plenty of Engineers as well!
Does the program need you to take any pre-requisite courses?
Not entirely, for some subjects like micro-economics and macro-economics, the school provides you with the study material just to ensure everyone is on the same page when the course begins.
What was the nature of the course? Was it mainly case-study based or theoretical?
The course was largely based on case studies. We had about 5 case studies for each subject which is really helpful as it puts you in the shoes of the manager at the time. It also depends on the faculty taking the course and how they want to go about it.
What markets were focused on in the case studies?
They were mainly global markets with companies like Apple, Zara, Walmart, etc. There was no one market, but yes we didn’t have too much on India. The focus was on the larger companies.
What are the specializations offered at SP Jain?
Marketing, Finance, IT and Global Logistics & Supply Chain.
When do you get to choose your major?
You have to choose your major before the course commences, I had chosen Marketing. You have two semesters of 6 months each, the first semester, you learn various subjects which might be common to all the majors. The second semester is spent learning things related to your specialization.
Does the program provide collaborative opportunities in terms of projects?
Yes it does, we have 2 projects. One is a research project and the other is an internship. The internship is usually carried out at a company and isn’t like your regular internship. It’s pretty much like a regular job and you’re presented with a real world problem. You get to ask your faculty for help, contribute to the problem-solving process, and you get marks for it.
What was the placement process like?
We have Corporate Relations teams in India, Dubai, Singapore and Sydney. They basically work towards getting the students openings, and matching up positions to skill sets. The entire process is initiated by them. Once a database of roles has been created, we then get to apply to the suitable roles, post which we have interviews. That’s the basic gist of the placement process.
You mentioned the class diversity and how you had classmates coming from say media backgrounds, are placements carried with that in mind?
Companies definitely come to us looking for relevant experience. For instance an Engineer wouldn’t be the best person for a more media driven role. The roles are very specific to certain functions. It’s usually a lateral form of hiring where companies come looking for people from relevant backgrounds.
But yes, if one finds that they don’t have the relevant experience, they have an option to apply for Management Trainee roles too.
How do you feel the program contributed to your growth?
Coming from an Engineering background, it was definitely a very good learning experience for me. The major take-away was the classroom experience. Apart from this, the faculty is absolutely top notch. We have faculty from Kellogg, Schulich Business School, etc., and the best part is the course is also based on the faculty and what they decide. That gives us the best of both worlds and really enhances the entire learning process. The placements too were very good, this added to my experience during the global MBA program.
What do you feel gives SP Jain an edge over other B-schools?
Getting to study in different cities like Dubai and Singapore allows you to experience how the international markets function. We also have some of the best faculty in world coming to teach us. There aren’t too many places which allow you to learn from a Kellogg or Wharton faculty, so this really enhances the learning process. It also adds to your growth in a holistic way, my classmates and I are so much better now than we were one year ago – the course really helped us better our skills. It also allows you to interact with students from various backgrounds so that teaches you something new each time. Of course, the placements are excellent; this helps you break into the international market too.
Any words of advice for the aspirants of SP Jain?
Firstly, I feel that if you’re choosing a major, you should be able to validate your choice. There needs to be a clear cut reason that connects you to that particular course. It’s also important to know what you would like to get out of the course and the type of companies you would like to get into post your course. During the interview process, they essentially look for clarity.
It also helps to have a good overall profile and pursue the creative arts as well apart from your regular work. For instance I had a lot of classmates who were singers, into quizzes etc.
I would also say it’s definitely challenging to get into the SP Jain fraternity, but once you do, you should make the most of it. There are many wonderful business minds with who you can interact with and learn so much from. Networking is crucial and I would say one should focus on that aspect as well. It’s one of the few platforms which allows you to work with accomplished individuals of the business field.
How was your experience with CrackVerbal?
I had taken the GMAT once before and wanted to improve my score. I came to CrackVerbal for my GMAT prep with a focus on the verbal sections. They were very helpful in terms of providing practice and teaching you the tactical things you need to do for each section. This really gave me an advantage. I think most of us are good in Quant but probably lose out on Verbal, so CrackVerbal helped me a lot in terms of improving my GMAT score to a 690.