Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll Go! - One Student's MBA Journey So Far

Bharathwaj Natarajan, MBA '13

I decided to come back to graduate school and get my MBA degree for 2 reasons: First, I wanted to further my career opportunities towards a management position in a large corporation. Second, I wanted to make the transition from being a technology consultant (I was previously working as a software developer and technology consultant at Oracle Corporation) to a business consultant and realized that getting a business degree would be the way to go.

As an international student, I started my preparation for the GMAT well in advance. I was targeting a Fall 2011 admission and was also doing my research on business schools. I wanted to get into a program with a small class size, great alumni network, and one that offered good opportunities for both personal and professional development. I had applied to a couple of schools and when I got a letter of acceptance from Terry (along with a Graduate Assistantship) I jumped at the opportunity.

As an international student in the US, I was excited at the prospect of not only interacting with American students but also with students from other parts of the world. Initial challenges were related to cultural differences, food preferences and climatic changes (I come from a city where the average year-round temperature is well in excess of 90 degrees Fahrenheit). But my classmates and the staff at UGA (and Terry) made me feel welcome and I quickly acclimatized to the different environment.

The first semester in the MBA program was both challenging and exciting. Coming from a non-business background, I had to put in extra effort to get up to speed on Accounting and Marketing; I was extremely comfortable with quantitative courses like Finance and Business Statistics. But I also managed to find time for other activities including club events and our weekly Happy Hour. Within the first month in the US, I had already visited 4 different states and completed a rafting trip in the Great Smoky Mountains.

I completed a summer internship in Atlanta with a startup healthcare consulting firm – Jvion - and the interesting part was I did not have any exposure to healthcare prior to that. I was looking at a general consulting internship and networked with a lot of individuals from different consulting firms. During the spring of 2012, I was part of a Terry ‘Innovate For Healthcare’ business challenge team that competed against other top business schools to use technology to improve healthcare outcomes. We competed against the likes of Harvard, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon and finished 2nd among 26 teams competing from all around the country. We traveled to Washington, D.C. to deliver our final presentation and also managed to go around town and visit the various national monuments and other tourist places.

My participation in this Healthcare Business challenge caught the eye of one of the recruiters at Jvion and I interviewed with them, subsequently getting an offer. During my internship, I had an opportunity to work with a multitude of healthcare providers around the country and assisted them with a financial risk impact analysis associated with upcoming federal compliance regulations. I worked closely with senior executives at my firm and that of my clients and also got a chance to apply some of the concepts I learnt during the course of my MBA Program at my workplace. There was a mini-SEC conference in our workplace with people from Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia and we often argued over which the best SEC team was. I did miss Athens in the summer and managed to come back to Athens every fortnight.

The last 16 months have passed by pretty quickly and I can’t believe that I just have 7 more months until graduation. I intend to make the best use of my remaining time at Terry. It has been one exciting ride so far.

1 comment:

Robert Holland said...

Great post... thanks for sharing your experience at Terry so far.