An International Alum’s Patient Quest to Landing a Job in the U.S.
Srihari Balasubramanian is an alum of the two year MBA class of 2016. Originally from India with a background in engineering, Srihari has experience as a project manager in Europe and in corporate development for a manufacturing firm in India. Currently, Srihari works in Corporate Development for a Medical Device company in Pennsylvania. Srihari shares more about how his global experience, Babson MBA, and patient persistence led him towards two job offers after graduation.
(This blog is part of Grad CCD’s International Alumni Blog Series on International Student Job Search Strategy)
Tell us a little bit about what you did prior to coming to Babson? After my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering, I did not want to pursue a career in engineering. I was more interested in the business side of things and so I moved to the UK to pursue a Master’s in Business Management. Upon graduation, I started working at a local chamber of commerce as a Project Manager, managing a number of European Union and UK-government funded business support projects for the small and medium size enterprises. After three years, I went back to India and led Corporate Development activities for a garment manufacturing firm. This was my last job before I came to Babson.
Why did you decide to do your MBA at Babson College? I have always wanted to start my own business and Babson is known for entrepreneurship. Apart from that, the diversity, small school size, collaborative environment, strong alumni network and the staff at Babson were the main factors that influenced my decision. I believed these factors will help me build lasting relationships. I’m glad I made the right choice in choosing Babson.
How did Babson help get you to where you are today? When I joined Babson, I was very open about exploring various career options. Over the course of the two years, I figured out my interests and what I wanted to do with my career. I currently work as a Corporate Development Manager exploring acquisition opportunities for the firm. The courses at Babson, on-campus events, internships, club activities, alumni, professors and Graduate CCD played a key role in getting me here. Right now, the two courses at Babson, ‘Corporate Finance II’ with Prof. Kathy Hevert and ‘Investment Banking’ with Prof. Jaime D’Almeida are at the heart of everything I do.
Following an internship at Boston Scientific in the summer between my first and second year, I decided to focus on landing a fall semester internship as I knew I would have more spare time during my second year. I applied to a job posting on Babson’s Career Connections and eventually landed the internship at Tully & Holland. This opportunity added a lot of value to my resume. As my internship progressed, I knew that I wanted to have a career in this field and decided to pursue opportunities within the finance space. For someone without an investment banking background, this placement opened up an array of possibilities in investment banking, private equity and corporate finance roles in several large firms.
During my time at Babson, I used to attend all the CCD employer info sessions, whether it was a company that I was truly interested in or not. I learnt a great deal from those sessions. More often than not, Babson alumni come back to meet potential hires and it is an excellent opportunity that one cannot afford to miss! Throughout my job search process, I worked closely withMargaret Jones at CCD, who was extremely helpful. She was a source of true inspiration for me. Initially, I would meet with her to discuss my interests, goals and potential opportunities. In the end, Margaret helped me with negotiations when I was considering two possible options. I also attended the case prep sessions by Susan Lemke and had mock behavioral and case interviews with Grad CCD’s expert interview team, who offered valuable insights and feedback that aided my preparation for the interviews. Everyone at CCD is amazing and I am always grateful to them for helping me when I needed them most.
If you were to go back in time and start your MBA all over again, what would you have done differently as a Babson student, if anything? In hindsight, I would have networked more and spent more time on my job search than the course work.
What would you attribute to your career success? I have a long way to go and I am just getting started! I would attribute the job search success to my perseverance and determination. I never lost faith in myself and always felt confident that I would get a job that I truly love.
What were some of the most challenging aspects of the job search and how did you deal with them? The most challenging part was to keep going in spite of the rejections. Again, Margaret was always there for me when I needed to hear some positive words of encouragement. I have had situations where I have been in successful interviews after which the topic of sponsorship would come up and close the case. It was hard to accept but anyway, through the whole process, I met so many people and spoke to many more whom I am sure I can reach out to in the future.
Do you have any last words of wisdom for our current international graduate students? I would say make the most out of the resources at Babson. Keep in constant touch with your career advisor at Grad CCD. Provide them an update on your progress and they’ll make sure that you are on the right path. Attend as many career related events as possible. Especially for international students, the international alumni panel discussion and networking events are a must.
Work on your LinkedIn profile and reach out to alumni, and professionals on LinkedIn for informational interviews. Also apply for jobs through LinkedIn. I landed interviews through Babson’s alumni network and by applying for jobs posted on LinkedIn.