Learn how the MBA program at Ohio State Fisher College of Business positioned Sarang Nampoothiri for success! Sarang shares his experiences, advice, and “dos and don'ts” for prospective students.
Name: Sarang Nampoothiri
Hometown: Kerala, India
School: MBA, Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in Operations and Supply Chain Management. Fisher College of Business was a natural choice that consistently ranked among the top 5 programs for these career options. Fisher is a small intimate program within a huge university and this allows you to get the best of both worlds. Conversations with current students and alums also showed me the diversity of career goals amongst Fisher students, which is relatively rare for a smaller program. If you go to any MBA fair, people talk about the “fit” factor, which is a slightly abstract concept to understand. But through my conversations and research, I could clearly see how Fisher “fit” perfectly between where I was and where I wanted to be.
For prospective students, I would advise you to take every possible opportunity to interact with the admissions team, current students and alumni. This could be fairs like the MBA Tour, class visits, phone conversations etc. Use these touch points to aid your decision making process.
How much are you in touch with the alumni network? Are they helpful in making connections with companies? What did you learn about creating and utilizing networks during your MBA?
Fisher College of Business is part of The Ohio State University and we are one of the largest universities in the United States with alumni spread across the world. One of the best parts about career search at Fisher was our huge alumni base and the support they provide to current students. If I looked up any company on LinkedIn, I am sure to find at least one buckeye there, who is willing to go out of his/her way to help me. I have been in San Francisco for less than 2 months and have already attended one Fisher alumni event and another OSU alumni event in the city. As an International student coming into a new country with limited resources, networking was one of the most dreaded words early into the program. But our career management and student organizations regularly conduct events that help you ease into this process and even had separate sessions specifically for International students that were very helpful. The biggest learning point in networking is to be consistent and genuine. Also, just adding someone on LinkedIn is not networking!
Did you do an internship during your MBA? How did that experience influence your education and career?
I spent the summer after my first year at Fisher with Amazon as a Pathways Operations Manager intern. I had secured this internship within a couple of months after joining Fisher. The Pathways internship is a very well structured program that gives you an opportunity to work on interesting projects within Amazon Fulfillment centers.
Internships help you validate your career interests and also give a better understanding of the work environment at the company. They also aid in strengthening your understanding of concepts learnt in classrooms. For example, I pursued a six sigma green belt certification, during my Fisher MBA, and my internship project helped me gain valuable insights that enhanced my learning.
What inspired you to pursue your MBA abroad and what have been the greatest benefits of doing so?
I had researched MBA programs for a few years and decided very early on that I wanted to pursue a program outside India. My primary reason was diversity within the class – diversity in thought process, work experience, career goals, culture, nationality etc. We had students from all walks of lives in our class at Fisher and I have learnt as much from their experiences as I have from professors. To give you one example, my core team in first year had a dietician who grew up in Singapore, a project manager from Venezuela, a US army veteran who served in South Korea, a marketing manager from Ohio and myself, a mechanical engineer from India. I also wanted to pursue an MBA abroad to open up global career opportunities that are easier to get into from here. Finally, with merit based scholarships, an MBA program in the US was costing me about the same as some top Indian MBA programs.
How did/has pursuing your MBA aboard enhance your understanding of the globalized business world? What was the most important thing you learned?
The most important thing that I learned was to work with people from different parts of the world with unique working cultures. One of the projects that gave me this global exposure was Fisher’s unique Global Applied Projects. It is a mini consulting project where students get to work on real world challenges faced by companies across the world. For my project, I got an opportunity to go to Nairobi, Kenya and work on a supply chain optimization project for a product that could potentially help reduce water borne illnesses. Through this project, we also went to some remote parts of Kenya and help the local government in its quest to improve healthcare. It was definitely enriching to see how the theoretical knowledge gained in class was being put to use to solve practical problems in a completely different part of the world.
Advice for Future Applicants
What are some dos and don’ts in the MBA preparation process?
During your MBA preparation process, it is important to first introspect and truly figure out your reasons for pursuing an MBA program. If possible, definitely visit the school and try to sit in a class as this allows you to get a good grasp of the classroom dynamics and teaching methodologies. As a prospective student, you should treat every communication with the school as an interview and put your best foot forward during these engagements.