After a point, you know you just won’t find your answers on the Internet. Wisdom emerges from lived experience. That’s why we talk our hearts out with alumni from coveted foreign universities. Why? So they can distill their learnings from real experiences, for you.
Our latest conversation was with Manisha Tandon, who’s done her Master of Science in Finance from Miami Herbert Business School.
During this conversation, we learned some fascinating tidbits about the university, the course, life as a student, the route to a coveted job, and more.
In this blog, we share 5 takeaways from our conversation – mostly – in Manisha’s own words.
1. The road from the classroom to the dream office isn’t long. But it’s peppered with pits and boulders.
Manisha’s journey is a lesson in resilience. And it’s most evident from what she told us about her undergraduate. Here’s what she said, in her words.
“I did my BBA from Karnataka State Open University. Like many Indian students, I looked up to my father, who is a business owner. I wished to approach business via the academic route and thought a BBA degree would help me.”
“Let alone create a pathway for me into business, my BBA degree ceased to exist, because the government de-recognized the university! I was staring at the unappetizing prospect of repeating my BBA, this time with students 6 years younger than me.”
“My plan B was to turn over the page and re-do my undergraduate but from a foreign university. I found an opportunity at the Singapore campus of a UK-based university (Bangor University). I completed all my credits in 2 years, came back to India, got a job as a financial analyst, worked for a bit, and then moved to Herber Business School.”
99% of the students won’t face the kind of ordeal Manisha faced. If you do, remember her experience. Worry is the tax you pay today, on tomorrow’s problems. Summon your courage, because you’re bigger than your problems.
2. The juiciest fruit you’ll find in the garden of foreign education is…
That of truly living life like a citizen of the world. In Manisha’s words:
“My classmates were from China, Mauritius, Africa, Columbia, South America, and India. My definition of the unknown changed overnight, literally. This is the grandest treasure you’ll find in the USA.”
“The world literally shrinks after a year of losing sleep over the same assignments, with folks from countries that only used to mean ‘somewhere there on the globe’. Don’t build a cocoon around yourself; don’t miss out on the opportunity to truly be a classmate to your international colleagues. And don’t deprive them of the opportunity of knowing you.”
3. South Florida is a red-hot dot on the study-abroad radar of international students.
Why? Manisha explains:
“When COVID happened, several large companies including big banks moved their offices to South Florida. That’s because they could claim fat tax rebates. Plus, hundreds of high net-worth individuals (HNIs) moved here.”
“For a student, this is a lottery win.“All of a sudden you have such amazing job prospects concentrated in a part of a state. Washington and New York are easily reachable from here. So essentially you get access to 60-80% of the jobs market on the East Coast when you’re in South Florida. This is much better than picking up a competition with Ivy League students, which frankly is a losing battle.”
“Miami ranks right up there among USA’s study destinations. The surprise for many is that even on a global level, it does well, ranked at 88. Miami Herbert Business School – the words shine on your resume. You’ll tick many boxes only by the force of the university’s reputation.”
4. Think of your time at Miami Herbert Business School as a challenge. Forget ‘Miami’, remember ‘business school’.
We’ll say this: Manisha doesn’t mince her words, and that’s what we like in our student mentors. Shallow, fuzzy, feel-good advice will leave you with a mediocre job, and insurmountable student debt.
Here’s what Manisha recommends.
“Your American batchmates will always be hunting for the next weekend getaway, the next underground concert, the next hike, the next whatever. That’s because they don’t have so much on the line.”
“For you, it’s different. Think of your 1-year Master in Finance at Miami Herbert as a challenge that lasts 10 months. In these 10 months, you will barely get the time to explore Miami, let alone USA.”
“This isn’t an engineering undergraduate you’re talking about. This is a business program. You’ll do stuff like trade with real money (university-sponsored), for instance. And there certainly won’t be 200 companies marching in on placement day, willing to sponsor your H1B.”
“You could steal time from your studies, but that won’t be smart. Think of exploration as a means to freshen yourself up, nothing else. Of your waking hours, 80% need to go towards your course. Once you’re more settled, with a decent job, you’ll have all the time to explore the country. This might sound like stark advice, but you know what, that’s what real-life is all about.”
5. If you take away one piece of advice from this page, it’s this: Network.
We’re glad Manisha really broke this down into actionable steps.
“It’s alright if you’re highly introverted. Networking isn’t about walking bare-chested on the streets. It’s not even about back-slapping and high-fiving strangers. Work on your language, work on your thoughts and work on your presentation. You can network via email, provided you have something original and relevant to say.”
“During your course, industry professionals will walk into your classrooms and teach you. They’ll be open to continuing their conversations beyond the classroom. Being confident enough to talk to them after class won’t work if you don’t have anything meaningful to say. So, work on your basics, read a lot, learn how to express yourself clearly, and use these skills to network as much as you can.”
“Just throw yourself into situations where it’s only natural to participate in open conversations. Eventually, that’s how you’ll cut your own path. CitiBank is the big recruiter for Miami Herbert Business School. But it’s not the only option. I eventually got an offer from Goldman Sachs. And meaningful networking helped.”
Did this help? Got any specific queries? Don’t hesitate to email or call us (details below).