Exploit networks with friends and family

By Rajkamal Rao 

Go back to Step 7: Finalize your application

4. Exploit networks with friends and family. If you have a friend or relative that owns a business and you can potentially help partner it with your future school, make a case for it in your application.  

When people think of India, the myth is to label it as the world's IT and back office.  But India is an important player on the world stage and a market for US products and services.  US colleges and universities are eager to sell their services to Indian companies.

Suppose you have a relative who owns a factory that spews dirty CO2 emissions, and you are interested to pursue a MS degree in Chemical Engineering.  If the US school you have selected has a decent energy program and your relative is willing to entertain a consulting contract with the school to help reduce those emissions, you should mention this in your Statement of Purpose.  Every SOP should at least have a paragraph about why you are interested in the specific school you are applying to.  It is in this paragraph that you would make your business case.

Remember our mantra that Higher Education is big business in the United States.  Every US school is always thinking ahead to see how it can benefit long term - not just during the tuition paying years.  The Wall Street Journal said it best in a piece on April 2, 2012 - “US graduate schools hope that international students who stay in academia will connect U.S. schools with new research partners, while those entering the corporate world may become clients of business schools' lucrative executive education programs”. 

If you can exploit your business connections, do so.  It will help differentiate you from everyone else.

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