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Case Study: UT Austin & Georgia Tech MS in Operations Research

Getting into UT Austin MS in Operations Research (MS OR) with a GRE score of 316 is usually very hard. But Aastha Chawla did it.

How did Aastha crack Top MS in Operations Research programs?

  1. Coming from Production Engineering branch, Aastha decided to go for MS in Operations Research (OR) instead of MS in CS or MIS
  2. She prepped early and applied as soon as first week of November
  3. With enough time, we created a very very strong SOP and managed to get great LORs
  4. She took her chances and not only cracked UT Austin but also Georgia Tech!

Her detailed journey is covered in the following video on Scholar Strategy TV:

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My advice for people applying to specialized programs:

Earlier we had only MS in CS and MBA kind of programs. Now you see many specialized MS programs such as Data Science, Business Analytics (BA), OR and of course Information Science (IS).

Universities start these programs when a course starts attracting many applicants. For eg Data Science became so popular that many universities started their own MS in DS degrees.

When to go for a specialized degree?

  • If you are sure that you absolutely want to pursue a career in this field
  • If you have a competitive profile (because mostly experienced folks apply to such programs)

When not to go for specialization?

  • If you want to keep your options open (career fairs for MS CS would attract more employers than MS in AI for example)

Remember, picking the right major can make or break your chances. Despite a good profile, Aastha got rejected from a few schools.

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MS Book by Nistha Tripathi


Nistha is really amazing at what she does. Since she’s been through it all herself, her advice and feedback is very practical and we can relate to it. She “gets” us 😉
Akshata Mohan, UT Austin/CMU (Business Analytics)