INSEAD MBA and HKUST MBA Programs Admit for Merchant Navy Professional

Home » INSEAD MBA and HKUST MBA Programs Admit for Merchant Navy Professional


Balaji R - INSEAD Admit - GyanOne client

A Merchant Navy MBA tale still isn’t quite that common. Plenty of people from IT, Manufacturing, Banking, and Consulting may go the MBA way, but the Merchant Navy professionals still only trickle in. However, the tide is slowly turning. Some Merchant Navy professionals are now seeking better opportunities on shore. The sailing can get tiresome after a while, and staying away from one’s family for months together each year can make the entire experience taxing. And, above all, Merchant Navy professionals with advanced business education (read: MBA) behind them are in high demand on shore.

Merchant Navy MBA dreams – targeting top B-schools

Balaji Ramaswami is a senior Merchant Navy officer and is the Captain (Master) of large cargo-carrying vessels that ply the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Understanding the post-MBA opportunities available to former Merchant Navy officers, he decided to take the plunge too.

Getting a great GMAT score of 720 was the first step, and Balaji’s excellent academic skills, combined with his voracious reading abilities (sharpened through reading tomes of novels on board) ensured that.

The bigger challenge loomed ahead, though – applying to INSEAD, ranked fifth by FT MBA rankings, and HKUST, Asia’s top MBA program.

GyanOne had worked with Balaji before, helping him with a comprehensive profile evaluation earlier that had helped Balaji understand his strengths and weaknesses, the career opportunities available, and the programs he could target.

Balaji had chosen the peak at the top of the mountain range – INSEAD – and worked with us towards his objectives.

Thinking aloud – what career will a Merchant Navy MBA professional target?

Merchant Navy professionals face a unique post-MBA scenario – their pre-MBA jobs are completely closed to them. They must seek new opportunities in allied but different arenas.

Working with Balaji, and through our extensive understanding of post-MBA scenarios for Merchant Navy graduates, GyanOne helped him identify in detail the right career options available.

In detail, we described the range of jobs and opportunities available. Consulting also his seniors, other Merchant Navy MBA professionals, and industry experts, Balaji zeroed in on the right professional positions for himself.

Establishing relevance – from the Merchant Navy to business

The next challenge lay in establishing relevance – how could Balaji possibly connect sailing to a post-MBA career in business? Sailing, after all, has almost nothing in common with marketing, finance, or HR management.

Working with Balaji over many weeks, we helped him identify the right stories and make the connections. It helped that international exposure – highly valued by INSEAD – was an area where Balaji scored a perfect 10/10.

Helping Balaji scope his goals and determine how INSEAD could help him get there was only part of the extensive exercise around helping him describe his failures, successes, and job responsibilities in the extensive INSEAD application. A similar exercise was repeated for HKUST.

Preparing hard for the INSEAD and HKUST interviews

The interview calls did not take long coming, and Balaji was taking no chances. He engaged with GyanOne extensively for MBA interview preparation

The first mock interview was fairly wide off the mark, but hats off to Balaji’s perseverance in improving substantially in the second mock. We helped Balaji to understand and perfect not just his responses, but also his body language.

By the time the third mock interview took place, Balaji was confident and sure of his responses. Having gone through more than 50 practice questions over the past few days, he knew he was ready for the INSEAD and HKUST interviews. 

We at GyanOne will always remember the unique testimonial that Balaji sent us right after he got his INSEAD admit. Reproduced below – verbatim – from the email he sent are his sentiments.

Balaji was also kind enough to convey his thoughts and his review of our services through this video (this was before he received the HKUST admit). 

Hi Gyanone, 

Received the INSEAD admit today. And how do I thank you for this? Proudest moment of my life…..you being the very foundation of this moment. 

Thanks for everything, 


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One Response to “INSEAD MBA and HKUST MBA Programs Admit for Merchant Navy Professional”

  • Kooladvent / / Reply

    Merchant Navy to MBA to where then? What are the opportunities available to merchant navy officers post MBA? 

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