Tuesday, July 15, 2014

CMR Bangalore's graduate heads to UPenn for Biotechnology

The number of Indian students who opt for higher studies in the US, increase with every passing year. There are a wide array of courses and facilities in most of the universities in the US, which makes it an attractive destination for graduate and post-graduate studies.

Careerindia had a chat with Simran Kaur, one such student, who has recently gained admission to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania. She shared a lot of things about the different specializations available for courses and what made her choose the UPenn as her university for higher studies.

Let us look at what Simran had to share.

Give us a brief idea about your background.

I'm 21 years old and I'm from Bangalore, Karnataka. I did my BE in Biotechnology from CMR Institute of Technology which is affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University. I passed my Bachelor's with an aggregate of 87% and was always the topper at college level. I have also held University ranks in all semesters.

Tell us something about your university and what is the reason for choosing it for your higher education.

University of Pennsylvania is a prestigious Ivy League university in Philadelphia. It is ranked amongst the top 20 universities in the world. The esteemed faculty includes many Nobel laureates and many faculty members, who are also currently a part of ground-breaking research in all fields. There are many reasons why I chose the University of Pennsylvania over other distinguished universities such as John Hopkins University. It has a very high ranking, along with world-class teaching faculty and research opportunities. The course structure is very flexible and students can tailor the curriculum according to their dreams and aspirations. The course offers a unique mix of both biotechnological skills and business understanding, which was just what I was looking for.

What course are you planning to pursue in University of Pennsylvania?

I'm going to be pursuing Professional Science Masters in Biotechnology. Biotechnology has always been my passion. I plan to specialize in Biopharmaceuticals.

If there were any specific motivational factors in selecting Biopharmaceuticals as your specialization, could you please share it with us?

The idea of saving people from diseases, taking inspiration from nature and our own body's immune system has always been interesting to me. University of Pennsylvania offers a wide range of subjects that appealed to me such as Vaccines and Immune Therapeutics, and Engineering Biotechnology.

What really makes this degree at University of Pennsylvania special is that it also offers students management courses that are relevant to their stream. Moreover, I have always loved taking up leadership positions. At college, I was the placement coordinator and also the class representative. These roles gave me confidence and convinced me that I would love working at a managerial position.

This course therefore offered me a perfect concoction of my two passions - Biotechnology and Management, and this is the main reason that I took up this program.

How was your overall experience during the admission process from India to US?

When I first decided to pursue my masters abroad, I was very confused and didn't know much about my options. However, Beyond Boundaries Education Consulting, headed by Ms Binita Parekh, made this ride a smooth one. Ms. Binita gave me personal attention and opened up a world of opportunities for me. Everything from choosing universities according to my profile to simplifying the visa process was explained well and broken down into simple steps.

What are your future plans after the program?

After I finish my masters, I'm planning to take up an administrative job at a pharmaceutical or immune therapeutics company. In the later future, I see myself heading a company which provides life saving drugs to people around the world at nominal rates.

We at Careerindia wish Simran a successful academic journey and a bright career ahead.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Expert guidance to interpret GRE scores

The GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is an exam conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) which aims to measure the candidate's verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills, that have been developed over a long period of time. The scores of this examination are mandatory to gain admission to most graduate schools in many countries around the world, mainly in the USA.

Generally it is said that GRE scores can make or break an application. An engineering student usually begins the application process in the sixth semester while students pursuing a three-year degree programmes like B.A, B.Com, B.Sc start the process after the completion of the degree. In both cases, since there is little or nothing to be done in terms of academic scores, the GRE assumes enormous importance is the only 'flexible' component in the process.

Typically, a student would take about three months to prepare for the GRE test. However, it is recommended that the student should begin preparations for taking the test even earlier if possible and put in every effort to obtain an excellent score in their first attempt itself. Special effort should be given to the Verbal section of the GRE test as Indian students generally fail to score well in this section. If the student feels that the GRE test score is too low, he/she can retake the test. If retaking the test is not possible, then the students can apply to Universities with their first attempt scores itself.

To better understand the category of Universities that a student can target with their GRE scores and good academic background, the GRE scores are divided into three categories/range:

a. 320 - 340: This score falls in the high range and on obtaining such a score, a student automatically has the option of applying to top universities. A student scoring 320 or above will most certainly have an excellent academic track record and this will allow him/her to apply for renowned and prestigious universities worldwide.

b. 300 - 319: Most students tend to score within this range. Students obtaining such a score can apply to several top universities but would have to balance the list with applications to other universities as well. Students who score in this range have an average to above average academic performance. However, there are instances where a top ranked student with a strong academic record may not be able to crack the GRE test.

c. 299 and below: Scores in this range are considered to be on the lower side and may not be adequate for getting an admission in a university abroad. Students are therefore advised to retake the GRE test or apply to those universities where low GRE scores are accepted or those where the GRE score is not mandatory or has been waived.

All queries regarding the GRE test and application process, particularly important questions like, when to take the test, or whether to retake it if the situation demands it or on issues such as guidance with interpreting test scores and selecting the appropriate universities can be sent to info@beyondboundaries.com. 

The author, Binita Parekh, leads a team of dedicated and highly qualified counselors and staff at Beyond Boundaries Education Consulting Services which offers advice and guidance to students for successful applications to prestigious academic institutions, enabling them to achieve and bring their dreams to fruition.