My Career Journey from an International MBA Student to a Career Counsellor & Admissions Consultant
My eyes sparkled with joy and my spine stood erect with pride as I saw yet another positive mention of my college – St.Xavier’s College, Mumbai in the news. I had graduated with a Bachelors of Arts (B.A) in Economics with an Honors Distinction and the world was my oyster. However, Xavier’s deep-rooted holistic growth ideals did not allow me to rush too quickly into the corporate world and I found myself accepting the Teach for India Fellowship Program.
After a year of teaching 3rd-grade students in a low-income school, I realized that I had learned a lot more from them.
For example, this was the first time in my youth I was held accountable for everything by 62 demanding stares (my kids!). To read more about my experiences you can check out my blogposts here.
My Pre-MBA Career Graph
However, after a year I found myself being pulled towards a business pulse whose allegiance was older thanks to my entrepreneurial family background. It was 2013 and eCommerce was the new industry disruptor. With the foolish and fun idealism of youth, I was determined to help my family business ride this new wave. So, I began setting up our e-Commerce vertical and started representing and marketing our products on major eCommerce platforms.
A stint that early in business shows you a lot of things. Especially all that you lack. I knew I had to broaden and widen my knowledge in Business Studies especially in a global context to be relevant.
My GMAT Prep and MBA Application Journey
Once I had made up my mind, the next logical step was drawing a realistic and time-bound roadmap. ‘Research’ and ‘Timely Action’ were the two words I slept and woke up thinking of in Bold, Italic, and Underline.
From studying for the GMAT and TOEFL Exams to putting together my Official Graduation Transcripts, I had to start figuring out a lot of things. I was the captain of my ship and I began my sail with color-coded excel sheets of multiple tabs of Minimum Entry Requirements, Deadlines, Class Profile, Financial Aid Availability, Alumni Connect, USP.
My favorite part of this preparation journey was the Application part – working on my narrative for my Statement of Purpose (SOP), Essays, Letters of Recommendations (LOR), CV, and for the Interview. It was empowering to know that my story mattered and I had the authority to unveil it in a manner I deemed appropriate. Looking back, I recognize the tremendous value of this reflection and introspection college applications make you do – when your “Why’s become stronger the How’s fall into place.
I splashed water on my face and refreshed my notification. It felt unreal to read the word “accepted” after a year’s worth of work. But then my stomach gave twirling licenses to butterflies and it hit me. This was my new reality and the journey had officially begun.
From drafting a Thank You email to getting my I-20 and F-1 Visa Documents in place, from scheduling my embassy interview to booking my flight tickets, from figuring out which bank I wanted to partner with for my ForEx requirements to deciding who would be my flatmates and where I would stay, I found the whole journey extremely daunting, but fun.
My Experience as an International MBA Student in New York
Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come once I landed in the Big Apple – New York City. We were welcomed by a week of informative and innovative orientation activities that rightly helped students bond and feel comfortable.
The next 2 years of my MBA zoomed as quickly as most cherished things do. It was full of mind-broadening classroom discussions and impactful teaching by diverse faculty, building strong and powerful global networks involving passionate and high achieving individuals, working in global corporations and experiencing best practices in an industry.
Looking back I can confidently say, I saw a transformation in every area of my life. The experience added tremendous value to my personal and professional life. I had grown socially, intellectually, and emotionally.
My Experience as an Admissions Consultant (Mumbai/India)
The entire experience was so enriching for me that I found my Ikigai in it. So when I came back from my MBA Studies in 2014, I had multiple people approach me for advice and help related to overseas education. Through this, I realized the whole process doesn’t have to be that cluttered or daunting as it is made out to be. So I decided to start my own practice in college admission counselling and have since then found immense joy and fulfillment in it.
My practice mainly involves 2 verticals. One is academic consulting where I help students build a road map. Some of the main themes we touch upon are – if aboard education best for your goals? Which university or country or course would be the right fit for you? How do we make your current resume stronger? Essentially knowing what you don’t know and helping you in the information gathering and planning stage.
The 2nd vertical is complete assistance with the entire application process. From building a powerful narrative to ensuring that it is being reflected in your SOP, LORs, Essays, Resume, and interview. From knowing how to professionally communicate with administrative officers to gathering the right information from alumni – fundamentally understanding your unique profile and helping you position yourself in the best possible light.
A few UG, MS & MBA Admissions Consulting Testimonials
MBA Admit in Canada (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto)
“Nirali has this amazing ability to understand both the high-level, holistic story and analyze how its deeper sub-components can be brought together to tell a more compelling narrative. She was incredibly helpful in making me understand the gap between the story I wanted to tell and what I had put to paper. She worked so hard to get to know me and bring my voice to the story rather than adding things that weren’t as authentic. I loved working with her and am very impressed by her genuine passion for her work.”
– Anjana D
Undergraduate Admit in USA (University of Texas at Austin)
“The whole package of college applications and essays was a daunting task for me. I didn’t know where to begin or what how to format my essays. Nirali helped me immensely! She really cares about her clients and took the time to understand my needs. She has an uncanny ability to pick up on exactly what made me unique. Her suggestions really made my essays reach their full potential, flow more naturally, and become more powerful. She also helped me emphasize my strengths on my application and helped me clearly format and organize my resume”
– Mahi J
MS Admit in Singapore (National University of Singapore)
“I had Nirali for helping me with my essays to working on recommendations and interview prep. The best part and most unique part was she actually would sit down, understand interests and help with making a personalized essay. The essay is true to the core hence never really faced any fear or had to make up things. From multiple edits to doing multiple rounds of interviews, she made me all ready to face off in my masters applications. I can proudly say I got accepted in top 10 global universities (NUS) She’s an amazing coach and excellent counselor!”
– Pranjal J
MBA Admits in India (IIM-C) & Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong)
“I worked with Nirali on a couple of applications. Her approach is adaptable and tailored made to each individual. She helped me develop a story that balanced my past experiences and future aspirations. Her essay editing skills help highlight the same with precision.”
– Sanchit G
Author: Nirali Mehta
Nirali is an overseas academic consultant who holds an MBA degree from New York’s Fordham University and is an alumnus of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
She is based out of Mumbai and loves working with undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them with their applications for colleges abroad.
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