Mechanical Engineer (1.5 years Work-Exp) goes to Columbia Business Analytics program

Mechanical Engineering is an evergreen field, so we have been told.

However, with the exponential growth of Data Analytics and it being hailed as the ‘sexiest job of the 20th century’, more and more engineers tend to veer away from their undergraduate degree in ‘evergreen’ branches such as Mechanical, Chemical, and Civil engineering towards a more rewarding field of Business Analytics.

One such case came to us when Shivam called to discuss his profile.


Shivam had completed his undergrad degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology.

During our call, he said “After completing my engineering, all that I wanted to do was stay away from Mechanical Engineering. I knew for sure I did not want to settle for core job in firms like ONGC or L&T.”

True to his statement, he ventured into the world of Business Analytics, by taking up an internship role in a Big Data Analytics firm.

Shivam worked with diverse teams from European and American markets on cases like research intensity of technology, the major players involved in specific technology maturity, technology penetration in different markets, so that they can make decisions on whether to enter/ or not enter a specific market, invest in R&D for a specific technology etc.

After having gained significant exposure to the technological aspects of Business Analytics, Shivam was looking out for a graduate degree that would complement his work experience, and add significant value to this domain knowledge.

His long term goal was to focus on learning the modeling techniques and data science tools that help businesses use data to make better decisions.

Application Strategy

Shivam’s application had a caveat. He was looking out for shorter duration coursework, and not the traditional 2-years Masters program. According to him, this would cut down his living cost, and he could re-enter the professional world again. We carefully scrutinized Shivam’s profile and zeroed in on the following choices for his colleges

  • MS in Business Analytics – Jointly offered by Columbia Business School and Columbia Engineering
  • MS in Business Analytics – Boston University
  • Business Analytics | Robert H. Smith School of Business
  • W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University

Application Success

Shivam called us ecstatically when every time he received an admission letter in his inbox. In the end, we hit a HOME RUN! He got calls from all the four universities he had applied to. We couldn’t be happier!

Then came the time to decide on the final choice. With such strong programs and each having their own uniqueness, it was a difficult decision to take.

After having a round of discussion with Gradsmith’s experts, Shivam decided to go ahead with Columbia’s MSBA program.

Some of the reasons behind this decision was:

  • It’s a three semester program. Students entering in the Fall term and can finish as soon as the following August, or engage in a summer internship to complete the program by the end of the following Fall.  
  • One distinguishing feature of the MS in Business Analytics in Columbia is the capstone project. From their first semester, students in the program work on consulting projects with companies using their own data.
  • Another key element of the MS in Business Analytics is access to career placement services. As a first step, students complete a required Professional Development and Leadership course and have access to dedicated career services.

Read Shivam’s Statement of Purpose that got him to Columbia.

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Does SOP writing seem daunting to you?

Read what we blogged about it in ‘Statement of Purpose done right!’

Learn about Shristi Shrivastava’s application strategies and how she got into MS program in University of Southern California with her strong NGO experience.

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