Siddhant Bansal, graduate of Northeastern’s Full-Time MBA Program, shares how Northeastern’s curriculum and co-op gave him the experience he needed to secure a full-time job upon graduating. Specializing in Corporate Finance, he joined Parexel International to complete his co-op. Read on to explore his journey as an alumnus of the institution.
How Northeastern Differs from Other Universities
According to Siddhant, the percentage of international students enrolled at Northeastern seems much higher compared to other American universities. On campus, he’s heard at least a half-dozen Indian languages spoken, among others. He believes this exemplifies the cultural diversity at the university and makes it attractive to students from outside the U.S.
He says that when compared to Indian universities, the method of teaching is different at Northeastern. For example, there is a lot of interaction between the students and professors, and discussions are encouraged in class. Siddhant points out that Northeastern’s D’Amore Mc-Kim School of Business program has a smaller cohort of around 30 to 35 students in each class—as opposed to India’s 70 to 100 students—which increases the opportunity to contribute to the discussions.
Siddhant participated in a corporate residency (the experiential learning component of the MBA program) for a year during his studies. He highlights how it helped him gain relevant experience that he could list on his resumé, which helped to differentiate him among other job candidates and gave him a competitive advantage. He also impresses the importance of networking in graduate school, which can be instrumental in finding a job and advancing your career.
The Northeastern Curriculum: Providing Resources and Creative Space for Learning
In the first year of business school, he says, the courses are predefined and cover a little bit of each core business subject including marketing, accounting, strategy, HR, and supply chain. This is helpful, Siddhant says, as whichever specialization you want to pursue, you’ll have had an opportunity to discuss the topic in the classes. Participating in co-op further adds depth to this learning and prepares students better for roles post-graduation. The curriculum makes students challenge the traditional practices and enables one to think from different perspectives, he adds.
“You ask more questions, dig deeper, ask how and why. Overall, the first year was important in creating more awareness and the second year was more about the co-op. Overall, it was an amazing learning experience.”
Future Plans and Opportunities After Northeastern
As a graduate, Siddhant’s next goal is to look for better opportunities ahead. He says that Northeastern has helped (and is helping) him pave the way for a better career. He notes that Northeastern is very successful in partnering with prestigious employers and companies to provide co-op opportunities, and the business school guarantees the provision of a co-op through these partners. All students get the opportunity to do paid work for at least six months.
“I think the career department does a really good job. I mean, they really leverage their connections, and they have so many networking events where we meet employers from the same company, or different ones, some on multiple occasions. So, at the least, it helps build up your network.”
Overall, the career department offers many tools and resources for students to use while searching for jobs either for co-op or full-time.
“In comparison, a full-time job search basically depends on the candidate, and that’s where the ownership lies. The career department will help you out in ways that you reach out to them, and they are very flexible in helping students find work. A lot of the postings on the career website can be found on other job portals as well.”
Talking about his future plans, he says, “Given that I am an international [student] and the current political climate around that, every decision that I make, there is a practicality factor to it that I have to think about. Such as, if I’m going to get a job or not, will they sponsor a work visa? I can make no long-term future plans because everything is dependent on the visa. Even while making the decision to come to the U.S. for the MBA, I never thought beyond the three years that I would probably get in the country, two years of school, and then one year of post-graduation Optional Practical Training (OPT) because beyond that everything is uncertain.”
Challenges at Northeastern
Moving somewhere new always comes with challenges—even more so when moving to another country or continent. Siddhant shares his experience with the challenges he faced after moving to an entirely different place.
“During the initial days, it was strange for me to not find streets crowded with people, like in India. In comparison, there were barely any hoardings, billboards. Small things like these take some time getting used to.”
Cooking food was also something that he had never done previously, and learning how to do that, along with managing a busy schedule, was both challenging and fulfilling.
“The first semester was so busy that we didn’t even have time for three meals a day,” he recalls.
Learning the culture of a new place also takes time. However, he says it was very interesting to learn about the festivals and associated traditions that one normally isn’t familiar with.
Regarding the social life at Northeastern, Siddhant says the university is absolutely fantastic. Northeastern constantly adapts its curricula and works to make it better, with the science department at Northeastern being particularly famous. The Artificial Intelligence department is also doing pretty amazing and overall, he says, it’s a pretty good place to be.
“Boston, in general, is very welcoming. I’ve never faced any unpleasant situation in my two years over here. The people are really nice. The place has abundant international students. And it’s really easy to find people with similar interests and cultural practices. For instance, all Indian festivals are celebrated authentically. So, there’s nothing that will make you feel that you’re missing out. And it’s a very good school. You get to connect with people who are diverse and in multiple ways.”
Quick-Fire Questions with Siddhant
Q. What’s your favorite pastime?
A. To hang out with people & expand my connections.
Q. What are your favorite sports?
A. Ice hockey and soccer. I like to play soccer, and ice hockey is something that I enjoy watching
Q. Your two favorite spots on campus?
A. Krentzman Quad in front of Dodge Hall and the Bloomberg lab for me. I spent a lot of time there.
Q. What comes to mind when you hear “Northeastern”?
A. A lot of new things: new country, new school, new friends, new experiences!