Wharton | Mr. Digi-Transformer
GMAT 680, GPA 4
Stanford GSB | Ms. 2+2 Tech Girl
GRE 333, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthcare Operations To General Management
GRE 700, GPA 7.3
Chicago Booth | Ms. CS Engineer To Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.31
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Engineer In The Military
GRE 310, GPA 3.9
Ross | Mr. Automotive Compliance Professional
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Oil & Gas Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 6.85/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seeking Fellow Program
GMAT 760, GPA 3
Wharton | Mr. Real Estate Investor
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Chef Instructor
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Climate
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. New England Hopeful
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Bangladeshi Data Scientist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.33
Harvard | Mr. Military Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 3.9
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Chicago Booth | Mr. Private Equity To Ed-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Gay Singaporean Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Electric Vehicles Product Strategist
GRE 331, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. BB Trading M/O To Hedge Fund
GMAT 710, GPA 3.23
Columbia | Mr. Old Indian Engineer
GRE 333, GPA 67%
Harvard | Mr. Athlete Turned MBB Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. Civil Rights Lawyer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.62
Stanford GSB | Mr. Co-Founder & Analytics Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.4 out of 10.0 - 4th in Class
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Environmental Sustainability
GMAT N/A, GPA 7.08
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Trucking
GMAT 640, GPA 3.82
Ross | Mr. Low GRE Not-For-Profit
GRE 316, GPA 74.04% First Division (No GPA)
Harvard | Mr. Marine Pilot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.98

Coming To America For An MBA: The Journey From India

Indiana Kelley MBA student Sagar Basantani with his parents in India’s Golden City


Some students take a somewhat less traditional path. Pankaj Jethwani, 28, was a primary care physician in India before becoming a 2018 Wharton candidate. As a doctor, he would sometimes see up to 60 patients a day. After some time, Jethwani wanted to see if he could make a greater impact by solving the issues in the health care industry itself. After getting a consulting gig with the Boston Consulting Group, he realized that he wanted to merge both his interests in business and healthcare.

Pankaj Jethwani is getting his MBA at Wharton

“I was working in the healthcare system in India, and the system was clearly broken. So I wanted to work in health care, but I wanted to look at the health system from a broader lens and to try to address some of these system issues,” explains Jethwani.

The pedagogies between India and the U.S. are vastly different, which is appealing for many Indian students. Lectures and tests drive the education system in India, while the American education system focuses more on collaboration and discussion and how to get to the right answer.


“When I was in India, it was all about the academics and the exams and even when I was in my undergrad, it was a huge class and it was a very technical degree,” recalls Bajaj. “The classroom interaction was not that strong. After coming here, my favorite part was coming to class. You learn from everyone’s views and perspectives, and that’s something very different than what I’ve experienced before.”

The skills these students learn in U.S business schools are also a reason for many to take the long journey to America to gain an MBA degree. “I think those skill sets help students be good leaders and the academic life at Wharton — academics and extracurricular activities and recruiting — teaches students how to hustle more,” says Manisha Jain, Wharton MBA Career Management advisor and formerly an MBA student herself. “All of this combines together to make the education so much more personal and valuable. When they’re out in the real world, they are just not good workers but also good leaders and managers.”

Basantani agrees. “It helped me get to know myself better, project myself better, to be able to create a personal brand from myself,” he said.


In addition, business schools often have specific programs for international students to help ease the transition, and, in general, are committed to creating an inclusive communities for their students. Programs may include one-on-one coaching, events, cultural groups, and speaker series. One of the biggest cultural events at Cornell is Diwali, a traditional Indian event, that always draws a huge turnout of both students and faculty. Indian students at Cornell say they didn’t have much trouble getting integrated into the community.

Since most programs are shorter than a typical undergraduate education, it’s necessary for students to quickly adjust to the new setting. “If you think of undergrad as a marathon, the MBA is like a sprint because you’re on campus and three weeks in, recruiting is starting,” says Amanda Shaw, assistant dean of student services at the Johnson College of Business. “It isn’t different challenges [from undergraduate students], but it is on an accelerated timeline.”

B-school training gives Indian students the ability to pursue ambitious pursuits. Some will stay in the U.S. for a couple of years and then head home to help improve India’s business. Others hope to work in the U.S. for the long-term. Bajaj hopes to land a business leadership role in the lucrative tech industry. Due to innovation in the health care industry in the U.S. as well as having a lot of family members in the U.S., Panjar plans on staying and wants to start something entrepreneurial.

Basantani also plans on remaining in the U.S. for some time and then eventually making his way back home. After having a positive experience at Deloitte, Basantani would be interested in working again at their offices in India and being placed in the strategy and operations practice. “I want to gain the experience and learn business in the U.S. and take the best practices back to India,” he says.


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