Study Abroad

6 Reasons Why I Decided to Study MGIM at NCSU


My classes will start on Monday. This is my third week in France.

So far, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my experience studying abroad. This is my second blog post on this wonderful topic.

Here’s the link to my first article – My Journey to France for my Master’s in Global Innovation Management (MGIM) Program.

Happy Schools had been a big proponent for people studying abroad. We have shared hundreds of experiences from readers. It feels wonderful to be sharing my experience. Thanks to the MGIM program from NC State.

I have lived in the U.S. for over 7 years, and traveled to 25 States across America. But there’s really something different about studying overseas.

So why did I chose to study MGIM?

I’ve always wanted to study something that appeals to my core values and beliefs, which MGIM offers. It’s a program that would give me exposure to social entrepreneurship as well as provides an option to learn about product management and project management.

When I started studying for my bachelor’s degree in information technology, I didn’t have much choice, just like the thousands of students who study engineering back in India.

I was asked to study Information Technology and so I did.

But now, I wanted to do something I’m passionate about. I questioned myself and had a discussion with Raghu. Here’s some questions we discussed:

  • What should I study?
  • What sort of career do I want to have?
  • What sort of social impact would I like to create through this blog?
  • What is my personality?

Before I decided on which degree program to take, we did an analysis of my personality, learning style, and strengths and weakness. It took well over a few months to decide what I really wanted to do with my life and career.

Once we are able to figure out some key factors and equations at play in my life, it was easy to find out the graduate program that fits my needs.

I’ve always aspired to earn a management degree. At the same time, I’m inspired by what we have done here in HSB so far.

Specifically, to create social awareness about the value of higher education and key information about studying abroad.

When I started my research into graduate programs, I came across the master’s in global innovation management (MGIM) program at NCSU.

Why Master’s in Global Innovation Management?

I loved the way MGIM program was structured and designed. It involves:

  1. The opportunity to study in two countries (U.S.A and France).
  2. Work with company sponsored projects.
  3. Attend workshops on design thinking, creativity and innovation.
  4. Above all, earning two degrees in 1 Year.
  5. A curriculum designed to give engineering, science and other technology/non-technology- oriented students a strong exposure to core business management skills while providing in-depth exposure to a host of global innovation management issues.
  6. A best fit program that matched my career needs and wants.

If you live in or near NCSU, you should attend the information session, where you can meet with the Director and the Assistant Director of the program.

They were wonderful in answering all the questions I had about this program. Plus, you get to meet and mingle with the current students.

They shared their experiences in France (in the first semester) and how things were working out for them in the second semester. I got good reviews from the students under the MGIM.

If we get a chance, either Raghu or I can record a video interview with the directors about the program.

My experience with the admission process. 

  • Applicants from North/South/Central America apply at NCSU
  • Applicants from Europe/Asia/Middle East should apply at IAE 


I applied through NCSU in Round 3.

I took TOEFL and submitted my TOEFL Scores. After living in America for over 7 years, TOEFL was an easy test to take. I scored 105/120.

Read Raghu’s IELTS Experience and he took it as a challenge to outscore me: IELTS Test Experience: Panic Attack at a Test Center. Bad Day.

GMAT or GRE scores are not required for the MGIM program, but I took GRE when applying for the master’s in engineering management program at Duke University. So I also submitted my GRE scores for the MGIM program for good measure.


Two weeks after submitting my application documents, I got an email reply from the Assistant Director of the program to schedule an in-person interview.

I had an interview date with the Director, Leigh Shamblin, and the Assistant Director, Derek Keller.

The interview was pretty cool, both of them had interesting sets of behavioral questions. The other questions were mostly from my SOP. They were trying to determine if I was a good fit for the program.

It took another week or two for me to get my acceptance letter. Once I got my full admission, it was like a roller coaster ride, which I would write in detail in the next blog post.

Student Life in France

I have never been in a classroom and a college setting since I graduated from my undergraduate degree in India.

A graduate degree from any U.S. university would have an everlasting impact in my life and career. However, I just didn’t want yet another master’s degree in computer science degree.

I wanted a new experience: a life-changing and enriching experience.

I wanted to have an experience that would help me change my life, your lives, our families’ and the lives of everyone around us (especially those of HSB readers).

Can you imagine what it would be like if you leave your country, your son and husband? This captures everything that I’ve been through.

I’m in my early 30s, a wife and a mother of a 4-year-old boy. I can’t imagine going back to school in India at this stage in my life.

You wouldn’t believe the questions I was asked when I decided that I’m going to France to study for a semester. I had wide range of emotions and questions, like:

  • France? Really?
  • Why France? You are already in the U.S.A.
  • What will Raghu and your son do?
  • Wow. That’s awesome. Have fun in France.

There’s a difference between having a dream and speaking about it when your time has come and gone. And having a dream and doing what it takes to make your dream come true.

[content_band style=”color: #333;” bg_color=”#ffddea” border=”all”]I wanted to have a career. I wanted to influence people with my experience. I wanted to solve problems. I wanted to be part of the solution.[/content_band]
For those moms, dads and everyone else, if you have a dream and if you think are too old to follow your dream, then think again. It’s never too late for anything your life.

You only need the desire and motivation to do it. I have to spend 1 semester in France. When, I asked Raghu, should I apply to this program?

He answered, “Yes, even before I blinked my eyes.”

Here’s What I believe in:

When I looked at my dream from a distance, all I could see were obstacles. But I knew deep down inside me, if I set my mind to it, I will find a way to go around, on the sides, under or even above those obstacles.

Despite all those seemingly insurmountable obstacles, I have made it to France.

It was a one hell of a crazy journey until this point — from the visa interview to shopping to packing to booking flight tickets, finding roommates and up to renting a place to stay.

So now you know why I chose to study the MGIM program. This craziness is good. It would help me to become a better person.

This is my story and it’s just like how we have been sharing all the students’ experiences here in the blog. I have all the support from Raghu and my family while I pursue my education here in France.

Here’s the second video by my roommate Alexis:

I want all HSB readers to be part of my journey and I hope this would help you make progress with your own life’s journey as well.

MGIM Series

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  1. Hi I have been residing in USA since 2013. I pursued my B.Tech Information technology in India. I have been in a break for the past 3 years. Now I m interested in pursuing a career for my future. I m completely clueless as to where I should start from. Could you please help me out?

  2. I wanted to know how much did the entire course cost you ? The program website gives information only on the tution fee , kindly let me know how much did it cost you for stay in NC /France , travel to France etc. I am really interested in taking up this course and it would be a great help if you could guide me .

  3. Hi Madhu , the blog is quite informative, however I have one query does this 1 year program have the option to apply for H1b after the program.

    1. H1B is completely different from this program. You need to understand that process.

      F1 > OPT > H1B is traditional route.

      for MGIM:

      J1 > AT > H1B ( will confirm this path)
      AT – Academic Training.

      1. Thank you Madhu and Raghu.
        I would like to share my experience as well. Companies have not been entertaining J1 Visa holders for jobs. The main reason is H1B application process is in April and companies have already shortlisted their candidates two months ahead, i.e. is in Feb or March. The companies may not wish to invest in you without trying you out (as in case of OPT).
        Even if an AT is awarded the individual has to go back to parent country as the H1B application has to wait until next April.
        [For some jobs such as government/ university the cap for H1B is not applicable]
        Some of my friends have had difficulties with J1 Visa as the 2 year rule does apply to them and getting H1B is not possible unless you get exemption from your own country.
        So MGIM may not be for those who want a job in USA but for those who want other great experiences that Madhu has enlisted.
        The only option apart from job is to continue the MBA program.
        The MGIM applicant will however be treated as regular applicant and needs to have good GMAT score [within average range of 649 as per website] or exceptional portfolio.
        If you have a Engineering Background, then I would recommend pursuing masters in engineering if your goal is to secure job in USA. The OPT option increases your probability.

  4. Great Post!!! All the Best to Madhu and Raghu. You guys are doing a phenomenal job in inspiring and educating people.

  5. Super Madhu..wishing you all the best for your studies..Even I am going through the same rough patch of whether or not to continue my studies..but as you know family constraints are always there..getting out of the family clinches and achieving your goal needs a lot of strength..I wish you wholeheartedly to reach your dreams and become a inspiration to many of us..:)

    1. I totally understand arthee, I guess all of us are in the same stage trying to figure out our career. All it needs some courage to follow your dreams and some sacrifice. IF I can do it…anyone can do it 🙂

    1. Dude, if you can’t differentiate advertisement from experience written by my wife who is spending some $30,000 on her education, then you have to question your thinking.

      If you are new to the blog, then get educated about what we advocate and promote. You have over 3000 articles to read, to know who we are and what we do here in the blog.

    2. Sahil – There are so many ways to make money but only few ways to help/inspire others through your experience. I and Raghu are focussing on a social change rather than making money. You have to clean up the way you think and if you cannot be a source of encouragement, don’t discourage us.

    3. MGIM is a good experience. There is a lot to be learnt by the eastern world, which I did from the MGIM program.
      Why will anyone spent money to go through the program just to run advertisement 🙂

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