From Dentistry to MBA- My Journey

DISCLAIMER : My journey is neither extraordinary, nor one of its kind. The only reason for writing down this post is many people ask me how did I manage the transition from BDS to MBA so early in my career. And it’s not possible to answer this question succinctly, without narrating the entire story-because what looks like an abrupt career shift was actually a smooth transition over the years.

“I’m convinced that the only way to get ahead in this world is to live and sell dangerously. You’ve got to live beyond your means. You’ve got to commit yourself to an act or vision that pulls you further than you want to go and forces you to use your hidden strengths.” – John H. Johnson

It was during the mid of October 2011, during a very tiring day after Prosthodontics Pre-clinics, when I came across the notification about AIUGC (All India Undergraduate Conference) by IDA, Chennai. My first year in the dental school was over by then and it had left me completely perplexed. I wasn’t doing bad but I was convinced that I was just another face in the crowd. The notification of the conference fueled a hope in me that it’s a way to come out of the well and connect with the outer world of Dentistry, to know how exactly the Indian Dental scene is. But the issue was I really had no idea how and what to present.

At that time my online ventures – A dental blog “Dental Dominion” (it still exists, though I haven’t updated it since many years- http://dentaldominion.blogspot.in/) and the Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/bachelorofdentalsurgery/), both of which were created out of randomness, were doing good and getting great response from students across the globe. I had even got two advertisement offers for my blog- one from AIM MDS (Online Coaching Centre for MDS Entrances Exam) and the second one by Dr. Gowri Shankar (Author of Dental Bytes and TextBook of Orthodontics) for his private coaching center. I had even started social media marketing through my facebook page, working for a few dental clients, helping them in their businesses while earning a few bucks for myself (my first experience with ‘Entrepreneurship’)
I thought of making a report on everything and came with this really lengthy title for my presentation “Use of Dental Informatics in general and internet and social networking sites in particular in gathering the dental students on a single platform and disseminating information among them – A report”.

Since it was HUES (annual fest of my college MCODS, Manipal) time, I had to go all alone and the time spent in Chennai was memorable and very informative. It was a feeling of immense joy coming back to college with the Best Paper Award (Later the same presentation won me 2nd prize and a cash prize of 200 Euros in Virtual World Congress of Dental Students in May 2012).

Next reason to smile was to end up 3rd in the world among 2000 applicants from all around the world in the Campus Ambassador competition organised by iversity in January 2012, a German academic website. It was yet another wonderful experience I was blessed with. Iversity is a German higher education course management platform which merges an online workplace and a social network. I started a dental study group in the website which soon attracted attention and thus I ended up being 3rd in the competition. Along with the prize money of 250 Euros, I was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation as well as a Recommendation letter from the CEOs of iversity.

In February 2012, I came to know about ESA (Elsevier Student Ambassador) Competition by the renowned publisher Elsevier. After clearing 3 round of a competitive online quiz (Based on Human Anatomy, Physiology and biochemistry), an essay and a 25 min interview over the phone, I was finally selected for the post. I even won the 1st Prize (Apple iPAD 2) in JUDGE THE BOOK contest for ESAs where my book review on “Pharmacology for Dental Students’ by Shanbhag, Shenoy and Nayak was adjudged the best reviews among the reviews submitted by 55 ESAs (Medical and Dental UGs and PGs from 5 countries).

I went ahead with presenting papers at conferences and winning most of them (3rd Prize in the 1st International Students’ Dental Conference, Sharjah, UAE and 2nd Prize in Dentistry 2012 conference organized by IDRR (Indian Dentist Research and Review).

But the phenomenon which will keep my undergraduate life etched forever in my life is the launch of IDJSR (International Dental Journal of Students’ Research). I realized I can leverage my strong web presence and traffic to do something substantial and hence with 2 other dental students from Delhi & Karachi (Pakistan), I launched International Dental Journal of Students’ Research (http://idjsr.com/), world’s first peer- reviewed medical research journal started by undergraduate students, in 2012.

The 1st issue of IDJSR  (online and peer reviewed) published articles from 5 countries and hence we launched with a bang!  During that time the journal was completely free and was under the aegis of Indian Medical Students’ Association (now Indian Medical Association- Student Wing). In December 2014, I (along with my co-founder and executive editor Dr. Harsh Rajvanshi) registered my startup with the name of Cephorb Medline International Pvt Ltd and brought the journal under this registered company.
Today IDJSR has seen 18 issues with articles published from more than 30 countries, making it an international journal in a true sense. It has an exhaustive Reviewers Panel comprising of more than 40 reviewers from around 10 countries and it is indexed in more than 10 databases and online libraries of various universities across the world. We have also started publishing the journal in print with around 10 Dental Schools subscribing for the print version.

My efforts  eventually didn’t go unnoticed. I was awarded with ‘The Budding Dentist Award’ by IDRR (Indian Dentist Research and Review) and ‘ Best UG Student of the Year Award’ by Orofacial Chronicle in August 2014, just before I started with my internship.

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Receiving the ‘Budding Dentist Award’ by IDRR (Indian Dentist Research & Review) by Dr. Sibi Xavier- August 2014
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The Group Picture at IDRR Awards, August 2014

 

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Receiving the Student of the Year (UG) Award by Orofacial Chronicle at Indore, August 2014
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At Famdent Excellence in Dentistry Awards, Mumbai, December 2014
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Student Of The Year (Undergraduate) Award by Famdent- December 2015

Because of the various initiatives that I undertook in the digital media space, I got the job of Marketing Manager at Oliveboard, an Ed-tech startup, where I joined immediately after finishing internship in August 2015.  Transitioning from dental clinical practice to digital marketing & business development was smoother than I had thought and within 2 month I was able to get results. Oliveboard, at that time, was bootstrapped and hence the allocated marketing budget was limited. I had to strategize & plan each marketing and ad-campaign in a cost- effective way and hence I learnt a strategic and structured way of solving problems and identifying unmet market needs. I relied heavily on consumer insights and customers’ data to continuously tweak my marketing campaigns and product offerings to optimize the same.

After joining Oliveboard, I started preparing for GMAT and appeared for it in January 2016 and then applied to ISB after scoring a 730 in GMAT. I got through ISB via the EEO (Early Entry Option), which meant I was supposed to join after one year, ie April 2017. I continued working at Oliveboard for that one year and finally joined the flagship MBA course (called as the PGP- Post Graduate Program in Management) at the Hyderabad Campus of Indian School of Business.

ISB Pic
My First Lecture at ISB

I hope this post helps dental students/Dentists to take an informed decision while making career choices post graduation.

I will be writing more about career options post BDS. Just hit the FOLLOW button (right side of the screen if you are reading on desktop/laptop and on the bottom of the screen if you are reading on mobile phone) and subscribe to the blog. It will help you get notified whenever I post in future.

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Pandeymonium by Piyush Pandey [Book Review]

Pandeymonium: Piyush Pandey On AdvertisingPandeymonium: Piyush Pandey On Advertising by Piyush Pandey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading this book was a journey down the memory lane. We all have grown up watching and admiring Oglivy’s ads- “Har ghar kuch kehta hai” by Asian Paints, “Hila ke Rakh De” by Center Shock and “Paas Aao Na” by Closeup are indelibly etched in our memories. In this short memoir, Piyush Pandey, the god of Indian advertising opens up with what went behind while brainstorming and scripting these groundbreaking TVCs

The best part of this book is where the author discusses his humble background, his days of growing up in Jaipur and how multiple anecdotes experienced during his childhood eventually became the sources of ideas of many Ads that he worked for. This book reaffirmed my believe that the more diverse experiences you have and the more kind of people you interact with, the more creative you end up being. The author also advises on multiple aspects of work ethics that are useful not only in the field of advertising but for all streams per se. He also discusses some of the common myths associated with the field of advertising and busts them with examples of his experiences.

Another favorite part of my book has been the pictures. Looking at the screenshots of those Ads of bygone days was nothing sort of nostalgic. If only, the publishers wouldn’t have saved money and printed the high definition version of those pictures on plastic pages!

The book is a quick read and an engaging one, apart from the last few chapters where Piyush Pandey discusses his colleagues and Oglivy’s leadership in India.

For more reviews, follow my blog- https://kumaranshul.com/category/book…

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Diwali in Muzaffarnagar by Tanuj Solanki [Book Review]

Diwali in MuzaffarnagarDiwali in Muzaffarnagar by Tanuj Solanki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got my hands on ‘Neon Noon’ (the debut book of Tanuj Solanki) accidentally (the review copy was sent by the publisher), but by the time I completed it (which was within a few hours), all my friends knew (because I told them vociferously) how much I loved the melancholic tale of love, longing & heartbreak.

Needless to say, when I came to know that the author is releasing his second book (which would be a collection of short stories), I knew I had to prebook my copy.

An unknown, unpublished author commits suicide while his friend ponders on the probable reasons behind it. An uncanny friendship between two teenagers which ends up with a feeling of guilt, remorse & regret. A fresh architecture graduate has bitten the ‘wanderlust’ bug, only to realize the realities of much talked about ‘Solo trip’. The title story- ‘Diwali in Muzzafarnagar’ which is a meditation on the lives of ‘small town middle class ambitiousness’, which manifests in multiple ways as the time passes. ‘Reasonable Limits’, which is a single sentence story, spreading across a few pages, nothing but a chaotic ramblings of mind. A girl had been sexually abused during childhood, but when she should try to forget those scars and just ‘let it be’ so that her present life isn’t affected? ‘The Mechanics of Silence’ where the protagonist learns about the ambiguities of life & the unavoidable existential crisis when she watches an old silent movie. A girl in her late twenties finds herself in the middle of corrupt bureaucracy and never ending paperwork, when she suddenly had to return back to her hometown and take the responsibility following the untimely death of her father.

Most of the 7 stories in this book are set up in the small town of Muzzafarnagar in UP (the home town of author himself). While stories such as ‘Diwali in Muzzafarnagar’ and ‘B’s first solo trip’ has distinct undertone & prose strongly reminding of ‘Neon Noon’, other stories such as ‘My Friend Daanish’ are written in extremely simple, straightforward way. What makes this book rich & worth a read that the stories are versatile, their central theme varies so does the prose & plot.
A word of caution- all these stories have already been published in various magazines & journals. So it might be repetitive if you have been following the author’s column.

A short read, nostalgic in most of the stories, while thought provoking in almost all of them.
Find more reviews on my blog- https://kumaranshul.com/category/book…

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Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami [Book Review]

Men Without WomenMen Without Women by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I always say, “When in Doubt, Read Murakami” and this book is no exception. As clear from the title, the book is a set of short stories (7 in total) that revolve around a common theme- life of men who have been devoid of presence of women in their lives due to different reasons. All stories have plots, characters and setups common to a typical Murakami tale- lonely men who love to read, mysterious women, disappearing cats, quaint bars with weird frequenters, overthinking characters and endless rumbling about life, loss, death & sense of being.

While the first four stories actually follow plot and seems normal, you experience the real Murakami in last three stories- mindless rumblings, chaotic thoughts, and random brainstorming overpower the central plot and you are reminded what it is to read a story which is very typical of Murakami.

It’s the 6th book of Murakami that I have picked up. I didn’t regret.

Find more reviews on my blog- https://kumaranshul.com/category/book…

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Crack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMO by Nitish Rai Gupta [Book Review]

Crack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMOCrack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMO by Nitish Rai Gupta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marketing is a stream where ‘nothing is wrong or right’- it’s all about the perspective. ‘Crack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMO’ takes this idea forward to build up a perspective for extremely varied sets of Marketing cases through well-defined and clear frameworks. The book starts with introduction to generic behavioral questions that an MBA student might encounter during placement interviews for a marketing role and then finally move to the technical questions.

All the frameworks introduced by the author are explained well, before finally moving to the cases. There are 18 Marketing cases in total and each case is solved by the author using the frameworks in extremely detailed way.
The reason I have given the book only 4 stars (instead of 5) is that the author doesn’t mention anything about how to do industry knowledge preparation. Also guesstimate based Market sizing, Market Entry etc questions are not discusses at all.
This book needs a second edition and better marketing (oh! the irony) so that more and more B-School Students get to know about it.
Once again, thanks to Bloomsbury India for sending a review copy.
For more reviews, follow my blog- www.kumaranshul.com

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Applying to ISB- Everything you want to know

CAT 2017 results are out (and so are some of the IIM calls). While those having calls must be preparing for GDPI, others need to ponder what to do next.

This article has been exclusively written for ardent (and eventually disappointed) CAT aspirants, who are completely clueless about ISB and GMAT/GRE (and hence, be prepared for a lengthy article).

Before you go ahead, you must know who is the author (i.e. who am I). I am a student of the current flagship MBA program (called as PGP- Post Graduate Program in Management ) at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad Campus.

For more, please visit my LinkedIn Profile-Kumar Anshul

What is Indian School of Business?

ISB is a B-School with campuses at Hyderabad & Mohali, which is currently ranked 27th in the world by Financial Times for its flagship full time 1-year MBA course, called as the PGP (Post Graduate Program in Management.

Who is eligible for PGP from ISB?

Anyone with full time, paid work experience of more than 2 years is eligible to join the PGP course.

What is the total intake every year?

The class of 2018 is a strong batch of 879 students (Hyderabad + Mohali) and the annual intake generally revolves around the same number.

What do I need to apply to ISB?

You either need  GMAT or GRE score and then you need to apply online. The online application consists of 2-3 essays, details about your work experience, 10th, 12th & Graduation score, your awards & achievements, extra-curricular & hobbies.

What is an ideal/cut-off score in GMAT & GRE to get selected?

There is NO CUTOFF. Please understand that unlike CAT/XAT, the exam scores are only a small (though significant) part of your application. Your application is holistically evaluated by the admission team with separate weightage given to every part of the application. Though ofcourse, you should aim for a high score. Below is a screenshot for ISB’s website for the Class of 2018’s profile

ISB Class of 2018 profile 

As you can see the accepted GRE scores range from 303-335 and GMAT scores from 600-780.

When should I apply to ISB?

ISB has three modes of application :-

  1. YLP (Young Leaders Program)- This is for pre-final and final year students. If you get selected through YLP, a seat will be reserved for you and you can join when you have atleast 20 months of work experience.
  2. Early Entry Option (EEO) This is for working professionals who have less than 24 months of work experience. If selected through EEO,  a seat will be reserved for you and you can join when you have atleast 24 months of work experience.
  3. PGP- All working professionals with more than 24 months of work experience can apply through the regular PGP route

At this point, please keep in mind the following two facts :-

  1. YLP, EEO, PGP are just 3 different routes of applying to the same 1-year flagship MBA program at ISB. They are not different programs, just different ways of applying (depending on how many months of work experience you have) for the MBA.
  2. While the EEO & PGP applications are exactly similar, the YLP application differ. Since you don’t have any work experience while applying through, the essay topics and few other details in the application are different as compared to that of EEO/PGP

When do  I need to apply?

Every batch starts in mid-April and for that particular batch, there are two application rounds- Round 1 deadline is in October of the previous year and Round 2 deadline is in January of the same year.

For example, for the class that is going to start in April 2018, Round 1 deadline was on October 15th 2017 and Round 2 Deadline is on January 15th 2018.

If you apply to Round 1 and don’t get an admit, you can’t apply to Round 2. You can apply again in Round 1/Round 2 for next batch with the same GMAT/GRE score (as these scores are valid for 5 years).

The application cycle for YLP is different, please check the website for more details.

How can  I prepare for GMAT/GRE?

GMAT/GRE, unlike CAT/XAT takes 4-5 months of preparation (along with your work) and these exams can easily be aced with proper focused preparation. I have already written a series of articles on GMAT Preparation :-

  1. My GMAT Debrief- Kumar Anshul
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GMAT
  3. How to reduce the cost of your GMAT Preparation
  4. How to prepare for AWA section in GMAT

I have personally no clue about GRE but I have heard that it’s comparatively easier than GMAT (Specifically the Quant Section) but the aspirants need to mug a lot of words to ace the vocabulary based questions in Verbal Section.

 How is the interview process?

If your application gets shortlisted, you will be called for interview (3-5 days will be provided). The interview panel consists of 3-4 people from the admission team and alumni. The interview majorly revolves around everything that you have written in your application. So it is extremely important to give enough time & attention to your application.

I have also written in detail about my interview experience.

How can I go ahead with my application now?

If you are thinking of applying to Round 1 deadline (October 2018), you should focus on GMAT or GRE preparation now and then start working on your application by September.

In May 2016, we, a group of 12-15 ISB Admits started The Bootcamp Consultancy Pvt Ltd with an aim of helping students apply to ISB and other B-schools in India & abroad. In less than 2 years we have helped more than 100 aspirants grab their dream seat at ISB (through YLP, EEO and PGP application) and many others at world’s reputed B-Schools such as INSEAD, HKUST, Columbia, Imperial College London, Michigan Broad, IIM A, IIM B, SP Jain among others. Also read- 5 Reasons to choose The Bootcamp for ISB

You can join our facebook group- MBA Aspirants Group- The Bootcamp (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBAaspirantsBootcamp/) and post any queries and we shall be more than happy to help you out.

There is another important article that you must read before applying to ISB- Most common myths about ISB (Indian School of Business)

If you found this article useful, I have two requests:-

  1. Follow this blog (link to follow is in right side of screen if you are reading on laptop/desktop and in the bottom of article if you are reading on smartphone). This will encourage me to write more.
  2. Follow me on Quora, I have written many answers there to help prospective aspirants.

If you have any more queries, please use the comment section below and I would reply as soon as possible.

Thank you!

 

Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory by Aanchal Malhotra [Book Review]

Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material MemoryRemnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory by Aanchal Malhotra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, thanks a lot to Harper Collins India for sending me a review copy of this book. To make things clear, this is not just another book invoking memories of partition. Remnants of a Separation is a unique and honest attempt to revisit the gory days of Partition through ‘materials’- the objects that were carried by the refugees with them when they left their ancestral land and crossed the border. These objects range from jewellery, utensils, clothings and so on, remaining latent & undisturbed for generations. They are now testaments to the struggle, sacrifice, suffering and belonging of their respective owners.

This actually started as an academic project, eventually converted into a book by author Aanchal Malhotra, who is an artist & oral historian and is a must read for history buffs.

For more reviews, follow my blog on- www.thebooktrack.wordpress.com

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