As someone rightly mentioned here, you cannot have a predictable rule for succeeding or failing in a visa interview.

I had my F1 visa interview yesterday morning – I am going to a top 30 B-School, and am married.

The VO didn’t even ask me much – just that he had also got admitted to the same school when he was a student, but there are much cheaper alternatives. I told him that I’ve got a 100% tuition waiver and he goes “Wow, thats cool!”.

I added (without his asking) – I feel that mid-career professionals should avoid traveling to the US with a lot of debt and he says “Absolutely sir, makes sense”

…he then trained his questions on my wife “So ma’m, what do you plan to do when your husband is studying?”.

She smiles and says, “Oh I would just go out for walks, explore the city, etc”.

He smiled and said “Sir, ma’m, your visas are approved. Enjoy your stay in the US”.
Therefore, some extra smalltalk may or may not hurt. What perhaps worked for me was that I had traveled to the US on work (not sure whether that worked, because even when I applied for my first visa – an L1B, I was not asked anything. Just a question to my wife – what do you do, ma’m?)…could be luck, could be anything.

My GMAT: 740, TOEFL: 104, Schools admitted to for MBA: Duke, Tulane, Rice, Kenan-Flagler, Johns Hopkins..

Shared by Pallav.

  • Rachel

    hey Pallav
    I’m also planning to go for MBA although i still have to give my GMAT & all. I wanted to know on what basis did u get a 100% tuition waiver ? Can u please share your profile ? It would really help me in planning n selecting universities.

    Thanks !! :)

  • Mona

    exactly. Small talk as much as u want when u have such amazing admits!

  • smq115

    When you get admission into Duke and Johns Hopkins and the like, it would be a crime to not issue you a visa. I’m curious, which one did you pick? Good luck with your studies bro!

    • HSB

      Good statement. BW Ranking Duke – 6; UNC 16

    • Pallav

      Hi, I finally chose Tulane…as I said, I did not want to take debt and they are offering me 100% tuition waiver, TA and a designation of an International Fellow. Duke is not offering any schol, Johns Hopkins was offering $35,000 of Dean’s Scholarship but my total expenses would have been upwards of $150,000 for 2 years..Rice was offering about 50% schol. So…the best thing was to opt for a no-debt offer from a mid-tier school. Tulane is not bad. 35th ranked in the US per Businessweek rankings of 2011. And one of my friends had a harrowing time while at Kenan-Flagler in 2009 (sadly he passed out in the middle of the financial crisis) – did not get employment for about 10 months, and had taken a loan of Rs 50 lakhs..shook me. Kenan-Flagler too was not offering me any schol. So, an obvious choice – AB Freeman School @ Tulane Univ.

      • sunil

        hey pallav, i would be grateful if you can advice me about the schools i stand a good chance of getting admission with complete tuition waiver.

        My profile in short.

        1) Engineering graduate with 79.2%. dont know how much it would be in GPA.
        extra curricular: organzied freshers and farewell party.
        won second prize in sophomore public speaking contest.
        2) worked with CTS (Cognizant Technology Solutions) for 1.5 years as programmer analyst.
        Worked with the client PHC (Pacific Health Care)
        Transferred knowledge from client SMEs to the offshore team.
        Created base documents on two Applications based on client interaction.

        2) Studied M.A political science with a long term goal of doing PH.D in organizational effectiveness.
        Stood first in the first semester and second in second semester. Received achiever’s award of 5000 rupees and donated the entire amount to Loksatta Party committed to reforms in present political system.

        Regularly taught all subjects of political science outside the classroom for my classmates. This helped me consolidate my understanding of the subject.

        4) Presently working with Vizag Steel Plant as Junior Manager.
        a) Worked as field in charge of the project commissioning of EOT cranes. Lead 3 teams and coordinated their work to complete the project on time.
        b) Researched on the condition of 30 locomotives in operation for more than 20 years by studying a fundamental parameter and catagorized locos based on it. This research served as the base document for selection of locos for capital repairs worth 80 lakh rupees each amounting to 1.6 crore.