Why I Swapped Consulting In Mumbai For An MBA In New York City

Arati Venkatram takes you through her applicant journey from India to a full-time MBA at NYU Stern. She recommends keeping a work journal for up to two years before applying for an MBA

Arati Venkatram, full-time NYU Stern MBA candidate from the class of 2020, is a business leader on the rise. A strong believer in and promoter of women in business, Arati has a deeply-held desire to "engage in conversations on the topic, and create impact in this space.”

One could quite convincingly argue that Arati has already begun to make such a mark with dual bachelor’s degrees in both commerce and law from the University of Mumbai in 2014.

She has three banner years of experience in investment banking and a year of experience in consulting, having worked most recently as a senior consultant with Deloitte. She is also a member of the Indian institute of Chartered Accountants, India's national professional accounting.

Arati specializes in Strategy, Management, and Leadership at NYU Stern, and aims to continue her career in Management Consulting. 

While NYU Stern is known for its strengths in finance, boasts placement at top consulting firms, and reports on an overlap with students entering into the tech market, Arati offers additional reasons why it was a wise decision to build on her own experience and vision at NYU Stern:

“The first is to obtain a holistic business understanding beyond finance; the second is to build global personal and professional networks; and the third is to understand various leadership styles and develop my own as I elevate my career.”

She says that location was very important in selecting her target schools. “When I say location, I mean New York City!

“I wanted to take advantage of the variety of opportunities the city has to offer, all a stone’s throw away from Stern’s campus.”

Arati employed several strategies during the MBA program selection process. Rather than casting her net too widely, she says she opted to "focus on the schools I was most interested in and went all in."

She advises that prospective students across the board, regardless of their particular career ambitions, "visit schools if possible, as it really gives one a sense of culture fit.”

On the subject of test prep, Arati explains, “I believe the GMAT tests a lot more than our quant and verbal skills.” She advises that applicants make a point of familiarizing themselves with the test format.

Arati also recommends that applicants time themselves in practice tests and be mindful of both their strengths and weaknesses in the GMAT’s various subjects. In terms of a performance day tactic, she adds, “I think going in to take the test with a calm mind is half the battle won.”

The application process taught Arati a lot of things about herself that, she says, were hiding beneath the surface all these years. "The introspection required for my essays in a short period of time was challenging.”

Her recommendations?

“Maintain a journal of your personal and professional achievements way ahead of application deadlines to help formulate your professional goals for the essays. I would recommend at least two years ahead of applying to business school. I didn’t do this, but am certain it would have helped!”

Then, when it comes to the subject of interviews, Arati asserts, “The best interviews are those that don’t feel like interviews!”

She advises that candidates strive to extend themselves by shaping the interview into a conversation, remembering to be friendly yet respectful.

“Most importantly,” she says, “let the honesty of your application shine through.”

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