Health Administration Alumnus Interview

Thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Kaushal!

Karan Kaushal is a VT alumnus who is currently studying as a graduate student at George Mason University.  He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in HNFE with a concentration in the SNFE option.  He began pursuing a Master in Healthcare Administration at George Mason University during the summer of 2020.  Despite having recently begun pursuing his MHA,  he is currently interested in pursuing either finance, IT, or health policy after he graduates.

What led to your interest in graduate school?
I was interested in this graduate program (Master’s in Healthcare Administration) as it elaborates on Healthcare Infrastructure in the United States and touches on some important factors that influence success in the industry such as Finances, Policy, and Administrative leadership.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a graduate degree in healthcare administration?
I was inspired by my father who has been a practicing physician for over 30 years. From an early age, I would sit in his office or in our living room after he would return from work and he would teach me medical terminology. When I began high school, I started volunteering at a local free clinic where I was able to gain experience in their clinics, specifically in the pharmaceutical and dental departments.

What did you major in and what inspired you to choose this/these areas of study?
I was an HNFE major during my undergrad, focusing on the science of nutrition and exercise (SNFE). The SFNE option is great for students that are planning on entering medicine or any health-related field. I was drawn to this program due to the emphasis on biochemistry, anatomy, and exercise science. There was a nice mix of the class types, and some HNFE electives touched upon health policy and administrative roles as a practitioner. 

What activities did you participate in as an undergrad that shaped your preparation for a graduate degree in healthcare administration?
Although I am in the early days of my graduate program, I already understand that Health Administration is most efficient when working with a competent team. I made an effort to be active on campus as an Undergraduate TA, a Hokie camp leader, a committee member for the Big event, relay for life, and Greek life. These opportunities provided me with valuable experiences related to teamwork, time management, and communication skills. 

How did you prepare for the graduate school application process?
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to do a mock interview with Health Professions Advising at Virginia Tech. This gave me an idea of my strengths and weaknesses, and how to become a better applicant. From there, I watched several videos on graduate school interviews and wrote down the most common questions that were asked. I also made sure to read all about the programs I applied to as well as their curriculum and the post-grad synopsis. This provided me with an additional conversation starter in the interview process. Practicing the questions and my responses allowed me to feel more confident for the interview.

How do you balance the demands of graduate school with additional obligations and challenges?
Time management is critical to maintaining balance in my experience. I like to incorporate daily exercise and 1-2 hours to wind down each evening. By consistently spending several hours a day on assignments/schoolwork I tend to have more peace of mind and confidence in my courses.
Is there any advice or feedback that you received regarding personal statements that you would like to share?
This may be one of the most important aspects of any graduate/professional application. This provides the admissions committee one last opportunity to get to know the applicant before making the decision to invite said student for an interview.
My personal statement was far from perfect the first draft, and even the second draft. It took time for me to develop a personal statement that I was both satisfied with and confident in. Be patient, and do not get frustrated. I would encourage each applicant to try to bring something unique to their personal statement and have as many people provide feedback as possible. I also attempted to write each personal statement a bit differently for each school I applied to. 

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