Article Updated: May 2022

My story could become your secret strategy to get into the Graduate School of your dreams with the Scholarship and stipend you have wanted.

You will see that in addition to the conventional steps, my secret technique provided me the success in getting my Graduate School Scholarship and Admission.

Getting an admission to a good, not just any, grad school itself is a big task; getting a stipend and scholarship is a bigger task. Just competing on grades and scores on standardized tests does not give you the additional edge needed; you are simply competing with thousands of students. But you will see in this free flowing story the secret to getting both Graduate School Scholarship and Admission.


Growing up in a lower middle class household, going to high school, I used to read the help wanted section of the newspaper every day. There used to be a lot of advertisements from companies looking to hire mechanical engineers and promised a good salary.

I wanted to be well established in life and wanted to enjoy the good things it had to offer; a well paying job was the route to my dreams and so I decided to study mechanical engineering and get a good paying job. Being a teenager, I had no clue about aptitude, passion, etc. My decision was simply based on the demands in the market place.

To that end, I first got admitted into a good engineering college, post high school. But just like me, the other students who got admitted, were also keen on studying mechanical engineering, surprisingly for the same reason; namely, good paying jobs.

The first two years were common studies; in other words the curriculum was the same for everyone. It makes sense, because every engineer needs to have a solid physics, chemistry and mathematics foundation. Of course, writing and technical drawing skills are important because an engineer who cannot explain ideas and concepts to others clearly ends up at a disadvantaged position in the real world.

At the end of two years, based upon ranking in the class, the top students could choose whatever they wanted and the lower ranking students had to choose their field of specialization in engineering based upon what was left behind.

So everyone worked hard the first two years; most students wanting to get into the prized mechanical engineering department, which had only 40 slots open. It was a fiercely competitive environment, with just one point separating five or six students in every test or exam.

I felt that in addition to grades and ranking, one must get practical education too. And so, every summer, I applied for and got unpaid internships at local companies that manufactured something, anything. So there was a machine shop, a fastener making company, a cutting tools manufacturer, a steel plant, a boiler manufacturing company and a railroad car maintenance company.

When I interned at the cutting tools manufacturing company, I was blown away by their heat treatment department and I fell in love with metallurgy. This was the department where cutting tools after being given the shape were treated by high and low temperatures in order that they may get hard, tough and possess characteristics for functioning well in their task of cutting materials. To learn more, hit the books on metallurgy during spare times.

The Tough Choice:

Well, at the end of the first two years, the rankings came in. My rank was 27th amongst 200 students. The choice of specialization was mine; felt very happy. But was torn apart because of my deep love for metallurgy. People struggled hard to get into mechanical engineering because it led to good paying jobs. Only the smart ones could get in.

The last ranking students had no choice but to get into metallurgical engineering; but that was my field of interest. At the same time, the perceived notion of being a last ranking student and hence ending up in metallurgy was squeezing the life out of me.

Finally, the choice was made. I decided to take up mechanical engineering from an economics stand point, but continue to study a lot and learn a lot in the field of metallurgy. I took internships, unpaid of course, in various companies as noted above. Diligently taking down notes, paying close attention to processes, parameters, problems and solutions, a solid foundation was getting built.

I thought I will take up a graduate school program in metallurgical engineering, so that I would have done some justice in pacifying my burning passion for metallurgy. And with formal degree in mechanical engineering, I would become an invaluable asset to any manufacturing company or research outfit.

And that’s when the rude awakening dawned on me. Switching fields was not welcome in the Indian Graduate School circles. If you did an undergraduate program in civil engineering, you couldn’t switch to any other field for graduate school, back in those days. The rigid system was not welcoming to me.

This put a damper on my vision.

But giving up was not in my vocabulary.

The Plan:

I looked around quite a bit and found that graduate schools in the United States were more receptive to students switching fields of specialization. This discovery was Godsend for me! The professors in the US welcomed “lane changes”, especially between synergistic fields like mechanical and metallurgy, electrical and electronics, etc. Hence I decided to pursue a Master’s program in America.

While that was easily envisioned, the path was not that easy. I started studying for the GRE examination, well ahead of others. I worked hard in my regular class and maintained a very good standing in class. The local student chapter of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was headed by me. Participation in statewide technical meetings, presentations, etc., followed.

All this led to the development of a POWERFUL resume that highlighted excellent academics, leadership abilities, technical oral presentations, technical participations, hands-on practical training, etc.

Applications were sent to twenty universities in the US.

As a backup, I received two job offers as a junior engineer, one in an electrical appliance company and one in a electricity generating boiler company. The former was a privately held firm and the latter was a quasi- governmental outfit.

An innovative approach tried out with one university that had been applied to was contacting a leading research professor in their department of metallurgical engineering and keeping in constant communication with him on a technical level.

I would read journal papers and articles he had written in the field of fatigue and fracture mechanics, digest it as best as I could, and write to him with comments and questions. This led to a professional connection much stronger than was ever expected. But that’s where it “seemed” to have ended. It appeared that past a bunch of letters going back and forth, nothing more would ever come out of all that effort.

The economics of my family was such that there was no way my parents could afford to pay for my sustenance past undergraduate schooling, let alone tuition for graduate school education! They wanted me to stand on my own legs, get a good job and settle down in life, rising on the corporate ladder every once in a while.

This meant that getting tuition waiver by way of a scholarship and a stipend for sustenance was imperative for the greater mission to take place. I had to get both a Graduate School Scholarship And Admission; period. A simple acceptance at a graduate school was not sufficient. This was a tall call.

Peer Pressure:

In the meantime, Lady Luck was favoring college mates that were far below in class rankings, had done nothing by way of Professional Extra Curricular Activities, had but one summer company internship and were generally goofing off their time away watching movies and listening to music!

Many were accepted by prestigious U.S. universities, some with full scholarship and a reasonable stipend, and some were from independently wealthy families who could afford on their own. But little old me was like a hungry dog staring at an empty bowl! Nothing; Nada! And the side glances from fellow college mates were silent arrows at the tender ego.

It was now August and most schools started their fall semesters in September. It felt like the choice had to be between the electrical appliance maker or the boiler plant and that was depressing. Settling down to an average career on a beaten path was far from the challenge expected from a twenty-two year old!

Tides Turn:

You know night doesn’t last forever; winter doesn’t; storms don’t; and neither do tough times. Lady luck may not favor us for a long time; but times do change and sooner or later, things do work out. Started sounding quite philosophical, especially at that young age.

It was an unusual Tuesday Morning in the second week in August. It was a blazing summer morning. The postman stopped by the house and delivered a reply pre-paid telegram from my professor contact at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. The telegram stated that he wanted me to join them for graduate studies in metallurgical engineering with FULL Scholarship and a PHENOMENAL Stipend if I was interested. The reply was urgent and hence the reply pre-paid message!

Of course, the reply was an enthusiastic affirmative sent back that very same day! A couple more telegrams went back and forth and within nine days my secret sauce to receive a Graduate School Scholarship And Admission worked successfully I joined the Program!

My networking had helped. All those letters that were written, all those articles and papers that were studied, all that time that was spent at the engineering library: all those culminated in the dream coming true!

I loved every minute of my stay at the University. It was an extremely satisfying professional experience, rubbing shoulders with phenomenal scientists and researchers, all with the goal of understanding Mother Nature from a scientific stand point.

Your Story:

So what is your story? Share your journey through the process of ending up at your favorite college or institution through short two minute bite sized audio clips at

May be you have some advice regarding preparing for the GRE or GMAT or LSAT, may be you have some experience in choosing the right career, may be a pointer or two in writing the right essay for a Business School admission and what not.

What’s the point holding on to it within yourself? By sharing, some other aspiring student could benefit. And to top it off, you don’t have to sit and write for hours and neither does the audience need to sit in front of a laptop or stare at a mobile device putting their other activities on hold.

They listen on the go!

And if you are a Professor or Admissions counselor, you could talk about why your institution SHOULD be the place of choice for Graduate School Programs for the young engineers, businessmen, scientists and lawyers of the future!

I know I have some clips at That’s my contribution to society!

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