iMahal Interview Series:
Jayshree Ranka
October 14, 2000

iMahal:  How would one decide whether to pursue a part-time or full-time MBA program?
Jayshree:  Again, it is a personal decision that ought to be based on personal constraints (both financial and time-wise), ambitions and desires. You have already seen how I went about making that decision, but for myself. The part-time program at GSIA takes 3 years (year-round) while the full-time program is a 2 year program.
iMahal:  Does it make any difference if one pursues the MBA on a part-time or full-time basis?
Jayshree:  There are a few differences. At GSIA, academically, the program is identical for both the part-time and full-time programs. In terms of jobs and career, I believe that it doesn't matter. The biggest difference is the involvement in the program. When you are a full-time student you become more involved in clubs and other activities that go on. As a part-timer your time is quite constrained since work is a big time factor. The biggest time you see a difference comes when recruiting season starts. It is harder for the part-timer to do this, since they are working during the day and company presentations and on campus interviews are usually also during the day. Many people switch to the full-time program during this time since it makes it easier. If I was still working full-time I really don't think I could take advantage of the opportunities I would have from recruiting.
iMahal:  Can you tell us about financial aid that might be available to MBA students?
Jayshree:  From what I understand, it depends both on the prior academic performance and financial needs. The aid itself is in the form of financial awards and loans. Unlike some other programs, such as engineering, financial awards are rather small and scarce. Loans are the primary form of financial aid. Sometimes, MBA students can find part-time teaching assistantships. This is a school specific issue, that you would have to check with the school you are interested in going to.
iMahal:  Any comments that apply specifically to prospective international students for an MBA in the US?
Jayshree:  My knowledge is rather limited in that arena, but my understanding is that financial aid is generally not available for international students in MBA programs. Also, international students can enroll only in the full-time MBA program. International students would benefit tremendously from talking to the alumni of their target schools who reside in their respective countries and also from contacting the admissions department of the school.
iMahal:  What about MBA student associations at CMU? Any international students associations?
Jayshree:  There are many student MBA associations at CMU, ranging from the Marketing Club to the Consulting Club to the Wine Club. Any MBA student can become a member of one or many of these clubs. These clubs typically arrange social and professional activities. They also sponsor activities such as case study workshops and guest speakers. The clubs for international topics are focused on learning about business issues in different markets: Asia Pacific, European, Latin American, and International.
iMahal:  You mentioned that you have recently taken up skiing. What other activities you pursue for fun?
Jayshree:  For fun ... hmm ... I guess I do what most people do, I spend time with my family and friends. I'm involved in local organizations such as our Hindu-Jain Temple, where I'm helped organize a clothing drive to send used clothes to India. I'm also an officer in our local NETIP (Network of Indian Professions) chapter. I like to travel, but it's hard to do with a very tight work and school schedule.
iMahal:  Any last comments or thoughts for prospective MBA students?
Jayshree:  I think we have covered a lot. The only additional thing I would say is to make your own decisions and make them carefully.



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