width=184Hult International Business School MBA graduate Kevin Colas not only gained an MBA during his year-long course, he took networking to the next level and met his wife. The French-born graduate talks to TopMBA.com about his experiences at Hult's US campus, how he dealt with the financial burden of an MBA, and his hopes for the future.

I had the desire to increase my international exposure and refresh my education background in economics, management and finance, Colas says, explaining the reasons why he chose to embark upon an MBA program.

Before applying, he chose to attend one of the popular MBA fairs, like the QS World MBA Tour, which he says enabled him to create a shortlist of five business schools to apply to. I started the ball rolling by going to an MBA fair to get more information. Focusing on short term MBAs, up to one and a half years in order to get back to work quickly, and very diverse student and alumni bodies, I made a short list of five institutions and applied.

I was accepted in three of my picks and took the one with the most diverse student and alumni body. A real international focus, small class sizes and [availability of] scholarships were also big factors, he explains.

As for the practicalities of taking an MBA program, Colas notes the huge costs of studying on a reputable course, and explains how he overcame these costs in part through scholarships, such as the ones QS offer.

I financed my MBA through a combination of student loans, family help and personal savings. Using scholarships and loans, my recommendation would be to prepare well in advance and apply to relevant private scholarships, then assess if the school will provide you with some of its own scholarships.

Study vs. social life

Crucially, Colas succeeded in juggling the pressures of a heavy workload, and a healthy social life. Actually, my personal life mixed with my student life, as I met my wife on my MBA course, Colas points out. However, while on the whole the focus is more on study, the ambiance created by students and professors allowed for many occasions to discover new cultures and enjoy life.

At Hult, weekends, holidays and vacations are short since the program is concentrated in one year. For me, this meant not much time to rest, except two weeks during Spring break for a trip to Costa Rica!

When asked about the downsides of his MBA, Colas explains that, unfortunately, at times a lot of ambitions in the same place can be bugging, and the competiveness of MBA students can bring you back to a high school atmosphere sometimes. However, overall my MBA at Hult was demanding but rewarding. Going back into a school environment after a few years of work can be challenging at first, but it does not take too long to adapt and enjoy student life again.

Post-MBA life

After graduating in 2006, Colas admits his post-MBA life hasn't gone exactly as planned. I was expecting to continue my career in asset management in the US and land in an alternative investment management firm. I finally ended up in strategy consulting but I did not regret the experience and I can now build on it to go back into finance, after the crises and the scandals of 2008-2009.

And for the future? Colas is clear on how his MBA has helped him. In the future, I hope to create my own business. I now have some ideas, an entrepreneurial wife, a network of good friends, a supporting family and a solid background, so I think I'm well set up for it.