April 22, 2009

By Shruti Bhat
Reprinted from the Times of India

I grew up in Bangalore and did my PU at MES College and Computer Science Engineering at MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology. I then worked in product development at HP followed by IBM. I am now in Los Angeles, pursuing an MBA (Class of 2010) at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

I chose to study abroad because my experience working in cross-geography teams in multi-national companies broadened my horizons. So doing an MBA was more than just getting a degree -- I wished to develop a truly international perspective in this increasingly global economy and the ability to build and lead world-class organizations.

I wished to be part of a class where students bring years of experience. At UCLA Anderson, the mean work experience is 5 years spread across 52 countries from almost every industry.

At UCLA Anderson ... we are awarded an MBA in General Management and can tailor-make our emphasis through any number of electives. I am focusing on Marketing and Entrepreneurship with an interest in the technology industry.

The learning is absolutely hands-on. The courses are well-structured, current and relevant. The learning from peers is high -- we are encouraged to question and debate. Performance is evaluated based on in-class participation, case analysis, group and individual assignments, and exams. So every student is 100 percent involved in every course.

Professors have industry and research knowledge ... and are skilled at presenting concepts to the class. Their passion translates into a commitment to learning that goes beyond the classroom. They ensure every course is a practical tool-kit we carry with us.

The course is extremely rigorous ... The courses are designed so we are forced to think about issues in different ways; none of the assignments or open-book exams can be done mechanically. We need to understand the subject and concepts in depth and demonstrate our ability to apply them through cases and live consulting projects for companies. The quarter system keeps us on our toes.

The advantage of studying abroad is the melting-pot phenomenon ... a highly dynamic crosscultural environment where everyone is collaborative yet constantly challenging each other and pushing the bar higher.

The drawback is that it is very expensive and for some international students, the culture fit can be challenging. They need to be open-minded.

There is a lot of camaraderie between students and professors. Professors earn the respect of the students and do not take it for granted. They are as eager to learn from us, as we are to learn from them. They view students as influencers and future industry leaders, and hence focus on making an impact on the world by equipping the students well.

Life on campus is brimming with activity ... and alive with opportunities. There are student-run business organizations that conduct excellent events, there are guest speakers, business conferences, groups where we meet CEOs of successful companies, part-time and full-time internships, business plan competitions the list goes on.

I have only completed one third of my MBA education and it has already been a transforming experience. It has changed my view of the world, made me much more self-aware and confident.

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