I finally made it!!! Yes, I have actually begun my MBA program in Pennsylvania USA, and it has been such an amazing experience so far. I initially thought the whole process of settling in the US would be very hectic and stressful but to my utmost amazement, everything went pretty easy, from the VISA Application, to School Fee Payment, to finally arriving!! Yaay!!
I must say I Thank God and My Wonderful Family (My Dad especially) that has supported me financially and Morally in the pursuit of my lifelong dream of getting my MBA despite the Economic Recession in Nigeria, THANKS DAD!!
It took me 2 years to finally move. Yes, all of these started in 2014 when I intended studying an MSC in Development Economics in the United Kingdom because I heard a lot of folks say it is impossible to get an F1 VISA to the US which is where my heart has always been. I got admitted to University of Essex and Cardiff University in the UK, but had to reject it because I got a banking job offer.
Looking back at this decision I made, I feel blessed to have procrastinated my going back to school because I really did not know what I wanted then. If I had joined all my friends that rushed to United Kingdom to get a Master’s Degree immediately after NYSC, I believe I will be so miserable now. Imagine what I would do with an MSC in Development Economics(LOL). I really thank God I stayed back and worked for almost 3 years, moved from Jobs to Jobs, grew up, discovered myself and finally knowing what I wanted and where I wanted to see myself in 20 years before deciding on going to a Graduate School, and THANK GOD!!! It all worked out, AM FINALLY HERE!! I MADE IT!!!
With all these said I just wanted to use this article to give some meaningful advice and helpful tips to youths out there that want to come to a graduate school in the USA, UK or any foreign country. So, sit back and read all through.
- Discover yourself: Please and Please before going to a graduate school, know what you want out of that degree and where you see yourself with that degree in 10 years. Do not go for masters because you don’t know what to do with your life, or because others are going for masters or because you don’t have a job.
- Gain Work Experience: I think it is worthwhile to actually get into the Labor Market for at least 2 years, knowing what works and then decide on the degree to pursue at Masters or Ph.D. level.
- Do enough research: I must say I still have a little bit of regret as regards my school choices, that’s why I advise you to research your school months before you apply. Know the type of school you want (private or public, small or large, urban or suburban, etc.). Also, know your budget and stick to schools within your budget. This will really save you so much headaches and regrets after you must have been accepted.
- Be Prepared for Standardized Tests and Lots of documentation: To get admitted to a Graduate School in US is pretty hectic I must confess compared to the UK where you just provide Transcripts and IELTS. In the US you must write the Graduate Record Exams(GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Tests (GMAT) and TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language). You will have your transcripts reevaluated from a 5.0 scale we use in Nigeria to a 4.0 scale used in the US by an evaluating company, and you will equally provide Letters of Recommendation from your University Professors and Employers at work. Pretty Hectic right? That’s not all oo…LOL. You will also run immunization tests like the Measles, Mumps & Rubella(MMR), Chicken Pox Varicella, Meningitis, Hepatitis etc. After I did all these, I said no wonder Nigerians Flood to the UK, nobody likes stress. LOL!
- Apply for Scholarship: In the US, you can get a full or partial scholarship depending on your program of study. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Technology) gives a whole lot of scholarship to QUALIFIED International Students all over the world. Business program like Accounting, Economics, Management, etc. rarely get funding from the schools in the US and I really don’t know why.
- Getting a VISA is Easy: Lots of people say getting a US F1 Visa is impossible but I think I know what they are actually do wrong. They let an Agent do the whole process for them from the school search, to the admission, to registering for tests, to even seating for standardized tests (Special Centre), then when they get to the Interviewers cubicle and they are being asked, For e.g. “How many Schools did you apply to?” They don’t know!! I even met a girl that came for F1 Student Visa Interview without paying SEVIS Fee!!!! And her Agent didn’t even know what SEVIS Fee is! What a Shame! Please, especially Graduate Students, go through the admission hustles BY YOURSELF, because that is exactly what they will ask you on the interview day. This is the number one reason why most Graduate Students are being denied VISA at the US Embassy.
- Be ready financially: It costs Hundreds of Thousand Naira to actually do all of these things outlined here so be ready to sacrifice nothing less than N500,000 for all of this process of admission which also include your exam fees, application fees, Transcripts, VISA, SEVIS etc.
I believe I have actually thrown light on the process at least so you could have a clear idea of what you will go through if you want to pursue a Graduate Program in the US. Feel free to contact me for more questions or concerns you may have by dropping your comments below. Cheers!!!