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Karan Dalal

I started thinking about pursuing a master’s degree after working for one year as a senior software developer. I was sure that I still have to learn a lot to reach where I want to be. The only question was, what should I learn, what am I good at, and how should I pursue it. When I started thinking about these questions, I arrived at my conclusion to pursue a master's in Engineering Management. Learn about the business aspect of any product and skills to take bigger responsibilities. I started preparing for GRE and TOEFL in Aug 2019 with the goal of admission for fall 2020. I Took Sabbatical leave for a month and prepared using all the sources available online. I scored 307(Q 165) in GRE. I knew that I have missed my target to score 315 so, I did consider reappearing for GRE. I approached people for suggestions, contacted students from my dream universities with my queries. All in all, I realized I have a small chance to get in my dream universities and a decent chance for moderate ones. I decided to proceed further with this score. Considering my Master’s program, I knew whom to approach for a letter of recommendation and who can reflect my capabilities in their unique manner. I made sure that all three recommendations have something different to say about me. I verified each document from different people to get an outsider perspective and improved on each document until I felt that it's perfect. Finally, I started applying to different universities. I shortlisted a total of seven universities and I got admit from four of them. It included the University of Southern California, Northeastern University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Penn-State University. Then pandemic hit and forced me to differ my admits to next year. Right now, I still work at my old job as a senior software developer. I have one year in my hand before going for masters and I trying to invest that to improve some of my skills or to learn new skills I come from a small town where no one asked what I want to be. when I landed at Sinhgad college of engineering in Pune, it was a big deal for me. But that feeling lasted only for a month, as I realized, I was just a small fish in a tank and now, I came to probably a bigger tank and there’s a long way to go ahead. I realized that I will have to work extra hard just to survive. By the time I reached my final year, I wasn’t sure about what should I do next and what is my goal in life. It’s been four years since then I worked to learn more about myself or my career goals. While working as a developer, I learned a lot about the industry. I tried to work on different projects with different roles where I learned more about myself. I realized that I have good knowledge in my field and I have been part of the end to end process of a project. I performed various roles. But the most suitable role for me is Leading a project. With the help of my master’s degree and experience as a developer, I want to become a product manager in the field of computer vision. When I started my preparations for my master’s program, I stumbled upon different preparation sources. I Tried to connect with people to get some advice and help. I met lots of people throughout my application process. During this time, I have made some mistakes and some wise choices. Recently one of my colleagues reached out to me for some advice regarding his further studies. So, I realized that I have learned a lot through my journey. If I can help even a bit, I should do that. I saw Gradvine’s post and found a way to help out other applicants and grow my network. How knows even I might learn more from this experience.

University of Southern California


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