With background in Arts and Philosophy, a concept I love most is serendipity. And serendipity is exactly how I would describe my stint at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.
The first time I heard about the university was from my favorite show “Grey’s Anatomy” in which Alex, one of the main characters, gets a fellowship from Hopkins. I researched the university and realized that it specializes in the field of medical research. So I was surprised when I saw a Johns Hopkins booth at a QS MBA fair in Bangalore, India. When I walked to it, I was greeted by a gentleman in a red tie, Micheal Cuneo, who was beaming. My friend and I introduced ourselves and received valuable information. Michael later introduced us to Monica Moore. Even with Cornell and BU at the MBA fair, our interaction with Michael and Monica was what left the biggest impact.
Come January, when we were sending out applications, I reached out to Michael and much to my surprise, he remembered me. He inquired about my GMAT exam and how my preparations were shaping up. He also informed me that my application fee would be waived since I visited him in the QS MBA fair.
While doing my research, I asked Michael if he could give me some data on student employment. As an international student, employment was one of my biggest criteria. Michael connected me with Kathleen Bovard, Director of Coaching & Education at the Career Development Office and Russel Rogers, Director of Employer Relations. I had Skype sessions with both of them and they answered all my questions, further confirming my interest in the school.
Later in February, I was invited for the interview. It was happy news.
In March, one of my films was short listed at the Dallas Fort-Worth South Asian Film Festival, so I was scheduled to travel to Dallas. I decided to visit Carey and interview in person. It would also give me a chance to visit the school and know the place.
I arrived in Baltimore on March 1st. At dinner, I told a barista I was in Baltimore for an interview, and she asked me if it was for Hopkins? I said yes and asked her how she knew. She just smiled. I realized Hopkins is a big deal here. The next day, as I walked over to Harbor East, I saw the magnificent harbor and Legg Mason building. It was quite a sight. Michael Cuneo came to the reception to greet me and introduced me to a first year GMBA, Srishthi Sarathy, who took me around the school. I also attended a lecture Discovery to Market.
Later, another second year GMBA student, Abhijeet Baruah, took me for coffee and answered all my questions. He was friendly and very informative. He warmly extended an invitation to dinner the same evening which I accepted. Abhijeet came to pick me up in my hostel and drove me to his house where I met other GMBA students. We all went out for dinner to Little Italy. Although it had just been 24 hours since I arrived in Baltimore, I felt Hopkins was home.
After my visit, I could not wait to hear back from Hopkins. And I eventually did. I was happy, but there were still quite a few challenges to overcome. An issue with my transcript evaluation by the World Education Services [WES] and the biggest passport failure at the US Embassy in India certainly turned up the drama, but also showed me how much I wanted to attend Carey.
I was barely able to make it for the first day of Summer Intensive, and I was officially a part of GMBA, batch of 2017.
What helped me choose Carey was my experience with the admissions team, especially Michael Cuneo, who stood by me and tried all that he could to reach out to WES on my behalf and the interaction I had with the seniors, especially Abhijeet. I realized that if I wanted to spend two years away from family, I must choose an environment such as this.
When I landed at the BWI airport, I remembered my first visit and realized that what started as a check-in at a QS MBA fair turned out to a wonderful serendipity for me.
Check out my Baltimore / JHU Carey Photo Gallery: