Wharton | Mr. Big Four To IB
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Electric Vehicles Product Strategist
GRE 331, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Overrepresented MBB Consultant (2+2)
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Mr. Startup Guy
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Rice Jones | Mr. Tech Firm Product Manager
GRE 320, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Billion Dollar Startup
GRE 309, GPA 6.75/10
Chicago Booth | Mr. Mexican Central Banker
GMAT 730, GPA 95.8/100 (1st in class)
Harvard | Mr. Comeback Kid
GMAT 770, GPA 2.8
Harvard | Mr. Tech Risk
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Ms. Strategy & Marketing Roles
GMAT 750, GPA 9.66/10
Harvard | Mr. Bomb Squad To Business
GMAT 740, GPA 3.36
Harvard | Mr. Big 4 To Healthcare Reformer
GRE 338, GPA 4.0 (1st Class Honours - UK - Deans List)
Foster School of Business | Mr. Corporate Strategy In Tech
GMAT 730, GPA 3.32
IU Kelley | Mr. Advertising Guy
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. IB Back Office To Front Office/Consulting
GMAT 640, GPA 2.8
Yale | Mr. Lawyer Turned Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Whitecoat Businessman
GMAT 740, GPA Equivalent to 3(Wes) and 3.4(scholaro)
MIT Sloan | Ms. Digital Manufacturing To Tech Innovator
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Healthcare Corporate Development
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Columbia | Mr. Developing Social Enterprises
GMAT 750, GPA 3.75
Yale | Mr. Education Management
GMAT 730, GPA 7.797/10
Columbia | Mr. Neptune
GMAT 750, GPA 3.65
Darden | Ms. Education Management
GRE 331, GPA 9.284/10
Columbia | Mr. Confused Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Ms. 2+2 Trader
GMAT 770, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr Big 4 To IB
GRE 317, GPA 4.04/5.00

Meet USC Marshall’s MBA Class of 2017

Manali Khadilkar

Manali Khadilkar

University of Southern California (USC), Marshall School of Business

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Mumbai – Bachelors in Life Sciences

University College London – Masters in Neuroscience

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: UC Irvine Department of Neurology – Research Specialist & Lab Manager

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? I would definitely recommend starting early! I started my GMAT preparation around March and took the test in August. However, post-GMAT, I made the most uphill climb with essays and applications. My advice would be to start preparing for the GMAT/GRE around January and taking it around June or July. That leaves plenty of room for school visits, networking, and essay writing, along with a chance for a re-take should your first test not go as you had hoped. Also, be sure to leverage all the online material and blogs (including Poets&Quants!). It is extremely helpful to read other people’s test day experiences, preparation timelines and study material resources.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Your target business school should definitely fulfill three major aspects. 1. The school should be a target for some of your top companies that you hope to work for post-MBA. 2. The school’s location (and hence the subsequent recruitment that happens there) should match up to the locations that you are willing to stay in or move to post-MBA. 3. The fit with the professors and current students should be evident to you from the get go. Do you see yourself contributing and enjoying with the people who might be your potential professors and peers? This is why a school visit is very important – not just for the school to take notice of you, but for you to really understand what the school spirit stands for.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? As clichéd as it sounds, please be yourself. I am sure admissions personnel can really see through essays that have a cookie-cutter approach or those that are too ‘fake’. Make sure to have made connections with the school beforehand, understand what the essence of the school is, and ensure you incorporate how you would fit in with this school into your essay. Admission interviews are really more of a ‘checkpoint’. If you have been true to yourself throughout the admission touch points and essays, you have nothing to worry about.

Finally, for recommendation letters, only approach those people who can really speak to your strengths and weaknesses and do not only go by the person’s title. You can get a CEO to write a letter and she may know nothing about you, while your immediate manager will have a lot to say about you. Be careful, especially in cases when recommenders ask you to write your own letters. That is definitely unacceptable; you want to find people who will write the letters themselves, which in turn ensures authenticity and honesty.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was very particular about going to a school where people thrived in an environment of collaboration and cooperation. USC Marshall stood out to me in that respect (I visited about 5 other schools in that admissions season). My peers here are extremely hard-working and ambitious, but each person is here to help the other to achieve his or her own goals. It is really about ‘strength in unity’. Aside from that, the school has a high focus on career and networking (especially in consulting), and also has a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. Finally, the school does a lot to pay back to the community around LA as well. Being a non-profit volunteer myself, this was a very attractive facet of the school.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I can honestly say that I did not know I could achieve so much in a day, and learn such varied topics in a matter of months. This experience has already taught me a lot. I prided myself on being an excellent multi-tasker and time-manager but it all goes out of the window in business school. My ultimate goal before I graduate would be to get rid of this ‘feeling of missing out’ that most of us Millennials seem to have and to be able to state that I tried every experience outside of my comfort zone at USC Marshall. When you know you have pushed yourself to the limit is when you know you are really starting to grow and learn!