Hometown: New Delhi, India
Undergraduate University: Delhi University
Class Year: 2012
Major/Minor: English Language and Literature/Letters
Specialization: Marketing, Business Analytics
Internship: Allianz Partners
Nearly 7,600 miles separate Sandhya Bhatia from her husband, parents, and sisters in New Delhi, India. Her choice to come to William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business for the Full-Time MBA program was not made lightly. But with much support and encouragement, she flew to the United States in pursuit of a degree she spent years working towards.
"My husband is in business and he cannot leave his entire business. But he said this is the one thing that you wanted so badly so go ahead and do it. We will figure out eventually how, we will figure out a way," she says. "The best part about my family is they always believed in us. We are three sisters but we never felt like as girls we are liabilities to our family."
After graduating with a diploma in Multimedia and earning a degree in English Honors from Delhi University, Sandhya spent seven years working in the digital marketing space. Her focus was on the online processing role of digital marketing campaigns for North American clients like Walmart, Best Buy, Spotify, Heineken, and more. Over time, she shifted into a role that was more operational, a move which prompted her to look into full-time MBA programs.
"It made me really excited to come to William & Mary to brush up my skills," she says. "I really liked the Executive Partners program because I knew coming into an area that was new to me it was one positive thing I could look forward to. It was the first time I was living without my family and I knew with the Executive Partners there was going to be someone who will understand my entire path and growth. It is very unique to have a school specifically assign to you a mentor who will help you through every decision you want to make."
Sandhya has appreciated the broad scope of topics the full-time program teaches to, especially when she's able to draw connections between them and understand how they synergistically interact in an organization.
"Some subjects I don't like or want to spend time on, but every one is contributing. If it's on the syllabus, it's for a purpose. Every time you sit in class, you learn something," she explains. "The great part was I had no background in accounting, finance - many of the subjects we are taking. Now I am able to connect the dots. I can confidently sit with anyone, in any department, and speak their language. If you want to be a big part of a company, you have to understand the company as a whole, not just your individual position."
Sandhya is defying the perception that it's difficult for international students to secure internships. Though initially she had a self-admittedly rock start to her internship search, she's learned networking is the key to success.
"When we came here, the [Graduate Career Management Center staff] really stressed 'increase your network, build your network.' And I thought, 'I know I am an extrovert, I love talking to people, I already have accounted for that, I am good at that.' But I came to know and realize what the loopholes of networking actually means. I am good at talking to people and I am good at making networks, but I am learning how to leverage that more," she says.
Her advice for other international students looking at William & Mary's Full-Time MBA program?
"Be head-straight, be clear about what you want, do not hesitate to reach out to people," she advises.