Updated: May 19, 2020
لقراءة النسخة العربية اضغط هنا.
Hometown: Alexandria, Egypt
Undergraduate: Arab Academy for Science and Technology
Masters: Boston University
Field: Business, Finance
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? My name is Yossr, I moved to the US after my graduation from Business School in Egypt. I didn't think of having a masters as I thought it would be hard and not achievable, then in 2017, I decided to give it a try :)
Reflecting back on your experience, what do you think are the main advantages of studying in the US?
When I moved to the U.S and started to work, I realized that in order to advance in your career and achieve higher goals you have to get a degree that is more than just a bachelor’s. In the job market, one will be privileged if he/ she has a higher degree, and will likely get accepted in more jobs and become more knowledgeable in the chosen field.
Let’s go back in time a little. When did you first consider applying to universities abroad? When I first considered applying for the Masters, I learned that I have to pass the GMAT/GRE and the TOEFL exams with specific grades if I aim to get accepted into some of the good universities in the U.S.
The TOEFL is mainly an English exam divided into; speaking, writing, reading and listening.
GMAT is more math and less English ( grammar, and critical reasoning) and it measures how you think. It took me some time to study and pass the tests with the desired scores then I was ready to apply.
When did you first start preparing for the application process? How did you prepare for the application process?
Once I passed the exams with the desired scores, I started to do the following:
First, I started to work on my resume and make it better,
Second, I got my undergrad certificate sealed from Egypt
Third, I worked on my statement of purpose
Finally, I reached out to my network; my old professors, old work and current work managers to prepare to ask them for recommendation letters.
How did funding fit in the picture? Tell us more about this process and any advice you may have for others? I planned to take a loan for the first year, and I worked 2 jobs to save for the years after.
Is there anything that you wish someone had told you to consider when applying to universities abroad? I just wished someone told me that it's not that hard to get accepted and to study in a different country!
What was your experience at Boston University like? Amazing, I love the university. Advisors are so helpful in working with you to decide what major you want to take, the resources are great and useful, and networking events are held all the time. They help you advance your resume, and how to be interviewed. The professors are great and really are willing to help.
Did you receive any mentorship/support as you were applying?
It was casual. I had friends who helped me a lot.
What do you think students often get “wrong” about the US application process? That it is hard and takes a long time, It is NOT. You just need to start and then things will go easy and smooth.
What tips do you have about how to write a compelling recommendation letter? Choose the person who writes the recommendation letter carefully. He/ She has to be someone who dealt with you directly (taught you during your college or worked with you). The recommendation letter has to show something you are very good at.
How can a candidate assess whether they are a “strong” candidate?
Every candidate is a strong candidate. You need is to think of what you are good at, write a good statement of purpose, prepare well, and trust yourself during the interview.
What advice do you have for writing a strong personal statement? DO NOT get bored of writing it many times. It took me at least 10 drafts to reach the final version of the statement of purpose. In your statement you need to address the following aspects:
first, write about yourself and what made you choose the undergrad school
Second, how your work experience enhances your knowledge and increases your passion to continue in the field.
Third, what makes you want to expand your knowledge and get the master.
Fourth, why you think this specific university is a good fit for you and why you are a good fit for it.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in applying?
Do Not hesitate to go for it! Apply to more than one university so you have a backup. I applied to Boston College, Northeastern, and Boston University at the same time. It is the same process and the same techniques. I didn't think I would get accepted in any, but I got accepted into all of them, so I chose which one to go with.
Any other pieces of advice?
For the funding, if you know you want to continue and get higher degrees then plan early. Work hard and save money so you can fund yourself. Explore possible scholarship opportunities, and also explore loan options.