How I prepared for Marketing Job Interviews at ISB

As I have quoted Mr. Ankur Warikoo multiple times, “Life at ISB can’t be described. It can only be experienced”. And Life at ISB is actually about so many things- the campus, the quads, the quaddies, the study groups, never ending assignments and the list goes on. But one undeniable truth remains- the placement season is one of the most nerve wracking experience for most of us and the relief that one experiences after getting out of it can’t be put into words.

Before I write further, I must declare that you will find MUCH MORE ACCOMPLISHED ISB Alums to give you the much talked about ‘Alum Gyaan’ about Marketing Placement Preparation. Hence, what I am going to write should be read as just my ‘experience’ rather than an ‘advice’ per se.

Even before I had joined ISB, I was assured of the fact that my profile is a bit conflicting. I came from Healthcare background, but I never practiced and went to Digital Marketing (that too for a small bootstrapped startup from non-healthcare domain) straight after graduating. Also, I was pretty sure that I want a Marketing job profile post MBA. I already had Marketing Experience (though Digital) prior to ISB but I tried my best to add more Marketing related stuff to my resume once the course commenced.

Here’s a list of some live/consulting projects that I did :-

  1. MyBataz – A Live Project to launch the MyBataz App was introduced by one of the alums in the campus in Term 1. Many people joined enthusiastically but most of them left in between. The few of us who survived did a myriad of activities for this project- Content Writing, Content Management, Influencer Identification & Marketing, Social Media Marketing etc. This project gave me a good kickstart.
  2. NanoHealth (ELP) :- Getting a Marketing Project for a Healthcare startup as ELP was like a perfect fit for me (and my resume). Though I must say, completing this project amidst endless assignments, lectures & placement preparation was a herculean task but it indeed helped me- both as a confidence booster by the time placement season arrived and as a strong talking point during Marketing Interviews
  3. Unacademy – I got a Paid Digital Marketing project for Unacademy with the help of a friend.

Apart from these, I also did a project that was a part of the Kraftshala course.

Placement Group

I cannot stress enough about the importance of a good & ‘selfless’ placement group. Most of the people in my Placement Group (we were a group of 5) were mere acquaintances but we supported each other selflessly throughout the placement season. Whenever we used to meet, we used to take up 1 or 2 companies and discuss it in and out- The industry to which the company belongs to, its major trends, the entire product portfolio of the company, its major marketing campaigns, deep dive into Core Values and Vision & Mission of the company (very important for AbInBev, JnJ etc). For example, this is what all we covered for AbInBev (One person from our group got a Marketing role in AbInBev eventually) :-

  1. Overview of Beer Industry in India
  2. Market Share of AbinBev in India
  3. All Products of AbinBev with their details
  4. Recent Acquisition by ABInBev
  5. Craft Beer (one of the Alums suggested it and it actually was a GD Topic)
  6. Proposed Marketing Strategy to grow the brand share in India
  7. Major competitors

Similarly, we discussed about Star, HuL, PnG, PhonePe, Samsung, Media.net and so on. Whatever we used to discuss, we used to put it on a Google Doc which was shared among all 5 of us (for future reference). I would like to repeat, ours was actually a selfless group- only 2 of us had Google Shortlists (and 1 of us finally cracked Google Campaign Management job) but we all tried to help them with Mock Interviews a night before their interview at Google Office.

Resources Used

For the group preparation, we majorly used the documents downloaded from the KMP Portal, HR Questions list sent by an alus and Google Search. I personally used some additional resources which are as follows :-

  1. Crack the Marketing Case & Interview like a CMO– I had a free copy of this book since long ago but finally decided to go through a part of it during few weeks before placements. The book introduced me to some good frameworks and helped me to have a perspective and possible answers of typical questions asked during the interviews. This book discussed 18 different Marketing Cases with solutions
  2. Marketing 4.0 : Moving from Traditional to Digital by Kotler : I didn’t buy this book for Placement Preparation but did give it a read before Placements. I didn’t find it much useful and later handed it to a friend who was supposed to sit for Placements in January season. She described the book as ‘magical’ and told me that she discussed the new metrics introduced by Kotler in this book in one of the interviews and the interviewers were quite impressed. The book is worth a read if you have time.
  3. Marketing Whitebook– I bought this book only to realize that it is already present in the LRC. It’s a good source to list down the major trends, market share, new product launch etc of all industries.
  4. Kraftshala- I bought the course that Kraftshala was offering. Though it wasn’t much useful from Placement point of view, it actually helped me to understand the intent & objective of different popular Marketing Campaigns by the popular brands

Takeaways

  1. Make a good placement group and stick to it. Be around for each other till the end. Try to meet as much as possible.
  2. Talk to the recently graduated alums who are working in your target companies. They can give you a clear picture of what the company is actually looking for
  3. Core Values, Mission, Vision etc of the company is extremely important. Do discuss them with your placement group
  4.  Attending all the PPTs (Pre Placement Talk) might be a difficult task but attending the PPTs of the companies you are damn serious about is definitely a good idea
  5. Resume reviews, Mock Interviews etc are useful, but don’t let anyone demotivate you. The alum who reviewed my resume during Alum One-To-One session told me I don’t have any chances in big brands and I mostly will get recruited by a startup. She also told me to focus on Healthcare rather than Marketing. As evident now, everything she suggested didn’t come true.
  6. You never know what will happen on the D-day. All advises and ‘gyans’ must be filtered and taken with a pinch of salt.

Use the comment section if you have any queries (or message me on Facebook). I would try my best to answer them.

-KA

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10 Important Tips for ISB Application Writing

Hello ISB Aspirant. This year’s both Round 1 & Round 2 deadlines are scheduled 1 month earlier than the norm. Assuming you are applying for Round 1 (September 15th), you just have 45 days left to submit the application. It becomes extremely necessary to put your best foot forward for ISB Application at this stage because whatever you put down in your application will be discussed and questioned during the interview. Hence the message is loud & clear- a well-written application is half the work done!

When you actually sit down to write the application, you realize that it is not as easy as it looks- there is a character limit for everything which makes it extremely necessary to know how to pitch perfect your sentences, what to leave and what to include and most importantly how to articulate your thoughts into well-meaning sentences.

There are a few things that you must take care while drafting your application and I have listed them down in the following bullet points :-

  1. Avoid repetition :- There are multiple sections in the application portal- Job Responsibilities, Achievements at Jobs, Awards & Achievements (5 points), Extra Curricular Activities ( 5 points), Hobbies (3 points) and so on. Apart from these, there are essays which ofcourse are the most pivotal part of the entire application. It might happen that while penning down, you include the same achievement under “Achievements at job” as well as “Awards & Achievements” (which is for your entire academic & professional life. It might also happen that you repeat the same instance for extra-curricular & hobbies. Doing so can give an indication to the one from Adcom (who is reading your essays) that either you haven’t given enough time and attention to the application or you aren’t able to highlight different instances from your academic & professional life under these different sections of the application portal. It’s best if you avoid this and include unique instances/initiatives/awards/achievements/hobbies/extra-curriculars under each section.
  2. Don’t ignore ‘non-essay’ part of the application :- Most often applicants give their best to put down the best essays, but ignore the other parts of the application- Job Responsibilities, Achievements at Jobs, Awards & Achievements, Extra Curricular Activities and Hobbies. You never know in which direction your interview will go to and hence ignoring any of these sections can prove detrimental. For example, in my own case, once the discussion on my essays got over, around 20 minutes were spent discussing each point that I had mentioned under Job Responsibilities.
  3.  Ask for help :- Please keep in mind that there are thousands of applicants eyeing that coveted seat at ISB and it does no harm to ask help from people who have gone through the process in the past, so that you can give your best. Find out ISB alumni from your office and ask if they can review your application. You can also try to connect to alumni on Linkedin. We, at The Bootcamp with an exclusive group of mentors who are ISB Alumsni/Admits are also trying our best to help applicants since 2016 (Read reviews of many selected candidates here) and you can get in touch with us too if you want to.
  4. Always cross question yourself :– While you are writing the essays, please ask yourself if you can handle any kind of cross-questions for each particular sentence that you have written. Let’s say you mentioned an initiative that you took at your workplace. What motivated you to take that initiative? What did you do differently than others? What was the end result of that initiative? How did it benefit your company in the short or long run? Give a chance again, what would you have done different for a better outcome?- Be ready with answers to all these questions because there are high chances that you will face these in the interview.
  5. Avoid unnecessary advices & gimmicks :- There is a plethora of admission consultancies mushrooming these days and its normal to feel clueless about whom to consult and whom to not. Please do proper background check before signing up with any consultancy- What are the credentials of the mentors who will help you in application & interviews? Are these mentors ISB Alumnus/Admits themselves? How many applicants have made it through ISB with the help of the consultancy? What is the success rate? Take an informed decision before investing your money anywhere
  6. Don’t try to randomly copy someone’s else essays– Please keep it in mind that ISB is looking for diversity and uniqueness and by copying someone’s else essays (even if he/she has made it through ISB) can only do more harm than good. Find out your own unique story and highlight it in the best way possible. If you can’t, read Point no 3 again.
  7. Don’t use flowery language :- Trying to accessorize your essays with random poetic phrases or artistry prose isn’t always a good idea. Be succinct, profound and stick to the point.
  8. Don’t wait till the last moment:- “Right now I am preparing for GMAT. I will see to the application, once I get free from GMAT”– This is one of the most common comment that I get from applicants every year and no matter how much I try to deter people away from it, they still indulge in the practice. Please note that writing an ill-prepared application is as good as not applying at all. Please start writing rough drafts of application as soon as possible. Don’t leave it for the last 5 or 10 days.
  9. Don’t ignore Letter of Recommendation (it takes time to convince your boss or to even find someone who will write the LOR for you) :- Please decide before handedly who do you want to choose to write the LOR- your current manager/your ex-manager/your colleague/your mentor etc. Communicate to that person regarding your decision to apply to ISB so that he/she is well prepared when the time comes. Be in constant touch with the concerned person till it is made sure that the LOR has been submitted well within the deadline
  10. Revise, revise and revise :- Last but not the least, make sure to get the entire application read by atleast two people before you submit- It would be foolish to submit an application that is strong in substance but has typos!

I hope this article written at this wee hour of night will add some value to your application. Some other articles that you might find useful are :-

  1. Most common myths about ISB
  2. Applying to ISB- Everything that you want to know 
  3. My GMAT Debrief (730 in 1st attempt)
  4. 5 Reasons to choose The Bootcamp for ISB

We, at The Bootcamp , have helped more than 200 aspirants fulfil their ‘ISB Dream’ (Read reviews of many selected candidates here).

Join our facebook group for much more insights and use the comment section of this blog for any query. Cheers!

I will KEEP writing many posts to help aspirants. Make sure you FOLLOW the blog (FOLLOW button is on the right side of the screen if reading on laptop/desktop) or at the bottom of the screen if reading on mobile) so that you get an email whenever I post.

Placements at ISB- My Story Part 2

This is a continuation of my previous post- Placements at ISB- My Story Part 1

So I had decimated my number of shortlists from 8 to 2 for the 1st day of Day 1, i.e. 23rd November 2017. Since Directi has shortlisted almost everyone who had applied, my only hope was Danaher.

After getting the shortlist at 2.45 am, I started messaging all my close Dentist friends to have an idea about Kavo Kerr (the Danaher company I was going to interview for) as a brand. I started getting their replies when they woke up at around 8 AM. I also talked to an alum over the phone who had got through Danaher last year. Hence, by the time I sat for interview I had a decent idea about Kavo Kerr’s product, sales, distribution and marketing strategies.

I had woken up in the morning with a sore throat, runny nose and slight fever. I made coffee and somehow burned my tongue while sipping it. So, I was all set for the interview with 100+ degree fever, runny nose, sore throat and a burned tongue. I reached the interview venue (Executive Housing) at the designated time (10.30 am) and as expected the interview was running late. Finally I went in at 12.30 PM. Expecting a technical interview (since I already had had a behavioral interview last night), I was a bit surprised when this interview went on behavioral line as well. After a short conversation of 15-20 min, they asked me to leave and said they will inform me if I am selected for the next round.

I left for the interview venue of Directi. I had already missed my designated slot and they asked me to wait. After waiting for around half an hour, they told me that my interview will be taken in the evening. I left the venue to grab a bite as it was already 1 PM. I bumped into a friend from Mohali and we ordered a sandwich. As soon as we sat together to eat, I got a call from Danaher saying I should report ‘immediately’.

I ran again like a ninja, panting & sweating like crazy, only to be asked to ‘wait’. I kept waiting for another hour and they called me in.

I was again facing the same two HR Leaders (who took the pre-process interview) and they again started with a couple of behavioral questions.

What is you other option apart from Danaher? Will you accept the offer if we give it to you now? How much salary are you expecting? Are you just saying that salary isn’t your major criteria to impress us?

I guess I answered all these questions to their satisfaction, but I was again asked to wait. After a while, I was called and they said they will put me on call with some business leaders from Singapore. I said, “OK” and again a period of waiting ensued. I was called in after another 30-35 minutes and they said “We would like you to talk to another business leader who is taking interview in the next room. Please wait till he is done”

I finally got to meet the concerned person after another half hour. The interaction  started with a lot of WHYs- Why Dentistry? Why Digital Marketing? Why Dentistry if you wanted to do Digital Marketing? Why MBA and why ISB? How can you help Kavo Kerr (the dental product company under Danaher) brand to grow?

The questions also spanned across the details of my ELP. Then the interviewer said, “I understand you have taken many initiatives in Oliveboard (the startup where I worked prior to ISB) but Danaher would be different. You need to keep everyone in loop before taking any major decision. You just can’t do things at your whim. In next 5 minutes, I tried my best to explain that how I have also undertaken many projects in a ‘planned & systematic way’. “Fantastic” was the word with which he ended the interview.

I was called in immediately after 2 minutes and they said the business leader at the Singapore office has asked them to take the final call and hence I don’t need to talk to him directly.  After 5 minutes, I was called in for the salary negotiation & final offer. Once I signed the offer letter, I was led to another room to meet other business leaders.

I went back to my room, slept for a while and then left for Directi interview (even when I had no intention of joining them) because according to the rule, we needed to attend all the scheduled interviews for the day even after signing an offer.

It’s weird that I am writing this post just the night before my Day 1 at Danaher. With a bit of cold feet (as it will be first stint at Corporate Life), I am excited, humbled as well as grateful to ISB. I will keep you all updated with my future experiences.

Attraversiamo!

Life at ISB in 51 Facebook Updates

My mind was a mumbo-jumbo of self-deprecating thoughts while entering the gates of this school. I had dreamed of it right since 2013, my 3rd year of Dental School when I actually decided to pursue an MBA post graduation. From letting go of all the revelry of my internship year (called as the ‘honeymoon’ period of Dentistry) to registering my startup, and finally dumping clinical dentistry for Digital Marketing as my choice of job immediately after graduating, most of my career steps were aimed to strengthen my candidature for ISB. I was grateful enough to soon bag a seat through the EEO (Early Entry Option), but when the time finally arrived (after one year of waiting) to join, I got cold feet. I had absolutely no clue if the big risk that I had taken was worth it or if I would be able to even survive the one year with my sanity at its place.

Now, when the time is almost ripe to leave this ‘temple of transformation’, all I have to say is that this place has completely changed me who I was, has changed my perspective of everything I had believed in, made me test the deep waters and then gave me enough strength to pull myself out of it!

The aim of this post is simple- to keep the memories of this remarkable and ‘status-quo-changing’ year in a quirky way, that is ‘just a bookmark’ away. All of the facebook posts here are mine and hence from my personal perspective (Duh!), but I am sure everyone who has experienced #LifeAtISB will be able to relate to 90% of them.

15 April

15th April 2017 was the day when we all entered ISB- the chaotic but well-planned registration process, lots of Hi-hellos with people whom we had met at those city meetups was followed by the welcome dinner. We all had a peaceful sleep in our beautifully done quad, before the hell broke loose. . .

22 April

From ‘hell’. I didn’t mean those outdoors of O-Week, but that Simulation Competition in LEAD, followed by the Math Bootcamp. I, who hadn’t seen numbers in ages, got a fair share of idea of what I had signed up for, how challenging the next year is going to be for me (I am sure, non-maths, non-commerce cohort of ISB will understand).

3 May

Who would have imagined that our 1st Group Assignment will be such a deadly one. While we broke our head overnight on launching the feasible brand of detergent in Brazil, we got to know our 1st ever study group more closely (for the better or worse). I remember meeting some drunk people on the bench near SV1 at 5 AM on my way back to my quad after submitting the assignment. They forced me to accompany them to the dam, where we had two pints of beer each. I returned at around 10 AM, only to bunk all the afternoon lectures- Life at ISB had begun!

6 May

Meanwhile life went on with SMMD in-class quizzes, FADM off-class quizzes, MGEC hard-copy homeworks and faffing our way to Marketing Management.

7 may

We were still getting used to the deadlines when I already had the live horror experience (sounds too exaggerated now, but things were different back then). I slept off in the mid of the assignment and had to pull off a ninja attack to submit it in time- 8 seconds early is still the best record of mine!

11 may

Describing #LifeAtISB would be incomplete without giving proper worth to the reptiles. I remember someone spotted a live scorpion in the commode (No Kidding!) in SV4. We realized snakes and the impending mid-term results were not the only stuff we were supposed to be afraid of, there were scorpions too.

21 May

I don’t remember what was this night about, except a couple of friends and alums had gathered in my room over scotch.

24 May

Well, you can ignore this one. There are a few stupidities only I am entitled to be involved with. . .

 

30 May

I still remember the relief after finishing that Marketing Management paper, full of essays & what not! Neither had I any clue what the big bad DMOP has in store for me, nor I knew that this would be the one of the best term breaks for a long long time (because the next term breaks were nothing but farce)

30 May 1

It was a weird feeling when I realized I had actually started liking the curriculum and the course, at a point when both were screwing me the most!

7 June

Term 2 started with my Birthday and as they say Birthdays at ISB are always special. With aching bums, broken slippers and mixture of cake and soda smashed on my face, I started the so-called ‘Hell Term’

8 June

I don’t know why I wrote this? End Term results weren’t out and Term 2 had hardly started. Looks like another post under the influence of holy spirits.

12 June

DMOP Quiz, never ending cases of Comp Strat, weekly submissions of GLEC Country Reports (I know more about the Chilean Economy than the Indian one, thank you GLEC), MarkStrat discussions stretching beyond 6 hours- still get goosebumps on thinking about those sleep-deprived days.

13 June

Meanwhile, number of people in the campus who threw a ‘Dentists are not Doctors’ on my face kept increasing. I don’t know if we the Dentists are Doctors or not, but it was always a gratifying feeling to provide consultation at those wee hours.

15 June

Term 2 also introduced us to ‘random’ lectures and sessions. There were lectures by alums, leadership talks by ‘more successful’ alums, peer-to-peer sessions by ‘more intelligent’ classmates and so on. While FOMO tightened its grip, I am sure we all eventually learnt what to attend, what to resist and what to attend for a few minutes before walking off.

20 June

The campus turned rainbow for the Pride Month with the LGBT flag flying high. Pictures on Facebook informed me about a colorful Pride March across the campus, which I missed because I was sleeping (no comments)

22 June

I take these words back. I couldn’t have been happier, and definitely not while doing RCTs.

 

5 July

‘The Kale’ arrived for the second part of Comp Strat and left the mortals of Sections EFGH bewildered, amused and mystified. Even apparently non-active users of Facebook were seen updating their status, expressing joys, jubilation and AHA moments over Professor Prashant Kale‘s lectures. Sadly, it ended too soon.

6 July

One of my major regrets at ISB would be that I still have no clue what the hell happened in the 2nd half of DMOP.

9 July

11:40 PM : Ran like a ninja from SV1 to LRC for taking the printout

11: 52 PM : Got the printout

11:57 PM : Submitted

I still remember Chile has a huge reserve of Copper and is the fastest growing economy of Latin America. Damn you GLEC!

 

20 July

Term 3 started with case competitions, ELPs and Live Projects. Live Projects were good, the ones which paid me and the manager took us out for drinks were better.

21 July

Well. . . . . .

4 August

Term 3 basically had no chill- Case competitions bombarded us faster than we expected and CFIN case assignments showed us the extreme ends of suffering (applicable for those who didn’t have CAs & CFAs in their study groups)

16 August

Loved the way how my 2 AM rant on CFIN was immediately supported by equally frustrating rants on MADM & OPMG. Phew!

18 August

I do agree that this sounds funny. But there was something in that first bidding along with the crazy cohort of Section G that got me excited enough (which is very often) to put up this status.

22 August

I never understood Operations clearly, till Professor Sarang Deo taught it in the Healthcare Context in Term 8.

7 September

How can we forget those belligerent combats during negotiations. Introduction to NEGA gave us a superficial realization that placements are near and very soon we will be on the table negotiating our own worth with someone who has no clue who we are.

17 September

ELP was the best learning experience at ISB. Designing the conjoint survey, getting the ‘difficult to understand’ survey filled with random strangers in Inorbit and GVK Malls, adhering to deadlines amidst everything that was happening in the campus, making sure that the client & our team were on the same page- I can’t put in words how effectual the entire experience was for me personally. If you are someone who is reading this prior to joining ISB- do take up ELP if you get a chance.

23 September

What a show ILS was! Take a bow Dawda & Team.

 

28 September

A special note for Section G- You guys have been amazing! And it’s not for the crazy time we have had together (infact I couldn’t attend even half the birthday gatherings & parties), but for the fact that ‘almost’ everyone exudes genuine warmth and everyone greets everyone with the kindest smile possible. #SectionGAlways , indeed.

 

14 October

Aaaand..came the resume making season. I wish I could honestly write what all went behind building  those resume points. But let’s not go there. . .

19 October

Amidst all the craziness and the imminent placement week, we celebrated Diwali. Some people chose to wear ethnic and got themselves clicked at the Rec Center (Facebook was spammed once again that day). While I just chose to glorify my clean room (which was actually cleaned by the house keeping), put some fairy lights to make it look Instagram-able, distributed sweets to all the security guards across campus who couldn’t celebrate and finally ended the day with Old Monk (sourced by someone from Bangalore) with a few close friends who made everyone feel awkward with inappropriate questions for Truth & Dare. It was a memorable night.

19 October 1`

You can ignore this one. . . .

7 November

Another week of an ‘overdose of submissions’. What made it worse was the fact that Placements were just 15 days away.

10 November

Term 5, when everyone chose such electives where they don’t have to study much so that placement preparation gets the full attention. Don’t ask me why I took ‘Portfolio Management‘. Even I have no clue.

22 November

I distinctly remember this one- I had posted this just before leaving for the pre-process of Day 1. It was one of the most difficult days at ISB for most of us, both mentally & physically. It will take me a separate blogpost to describe the entire placement season and I would leave that for some other time.

24 November

I consider myself extremely lucky to get out of the placement process without feeling much heat. And I have huge respect & admiration for the people who had to go through it for a little longer without losing their sanity. Nevertheless, the relief after the placement was ‘unearthy’. Life at ISB literally changed beyond this point.

28 November

I saw people breaking down after rejection ,then getting up immediately with full vigor and a wide smile for the next interview. I saw people jumping of joy after signing the offer, and I also saw the disappointed look on the face of people after signing the offer. A friend broke down in front of me after not getting any offer at the end of Day 2.1 and then miraculously got a call from HR at the end of Day 2.2 offering him the job (Later he told me, “You are the worst person to cry in front of”). Another friend asked if she can get a hug after she signed a offer she was not quite happy with. As I said, I need another blogpost to write about the placement season in detail. . .

30 November

We were so happy after getting placed that we went out to celebrate even before the final ELP presentation to the client.

14 December

Section G has been so cool that our Awards Night was accompanied with a Roast! It was remarkable because we couldn’t have done a roast session without offending people unless we were really close to each other as a section. Whatttta show!

15 December

The dormant foodie in us got unleashed post placement. We all found ourselves visiting and recommending each other fancy places to eat & drink across the city of Nizams. Kabul Darbar deserves a special mention just for this Raan!

22nd December1

Life in ISB is also about Life in Hyderabad. And the midnight ride to the Charminar will always be cherished. We even took the vegetarians to Shadab, though I don’t remember what did those poor souls order to eat there.

22nd December

And there came the Solstice! 3 days of unadulterated alcohol & fun. The highlight of Solstice was the moment when Vishal (Or was it Shekhar?) said “I can smell what’s going up in the air”. #RevelryMax

23 January

Term 7, with the end of Day 3 & 4, witnessed an exponential increase in the number of parties and decrease in amount of collective attention in the lectures.

14 February

But what didn’t slow down were the assignments, submissions and deadlines! We even had strict deadlines (which got extended 97 times) to write testimonials for the yearbook.

Writing Testimonials was another time when we all got creative (it happened for the first time during the resume writing season). Sweet words were exchanged and promises to keep in touch were made. Few people wrote testimonials because they felt like, while others wrote just to ‘return the favor’

27 February

Term 8 started with the ‘Emails about Graduation’ and random trips, outings and more parties. While we reveled and got ourselves drenched in hedonism, the sinking feeling of ‘It’s getting over’ increased with each passing day.

8 march

We really pushed ourselves to ‘extract’ as many number of meetups/parties as possible- UG College Meetup, Club Members meetup, 1st Study Group Meetup, ‘The Best Ever’ study group Meetup, Meetup because someone had ‘stuff’, Meetup because ‘One year at Hyderabad still haven’t seen Charminar yet’, Birthday Meetups because someone’s birthday was post Convocation and the list goes on. . .

 

14 March

Group Assignments became a nightmare when people stopped replying on the Whatsapp Study Groups (because, priorities). “Kuch bhi likh ke submit kar de yaar” became a norm. I really pity the AAs and Professors of Term 8. Reading up those write-ups must have been upsetting.

11 March

HeyDay came with #TakeMeBackToTheStart and the realization finally started to sink in- It was time to get out of the cocoon and face the real world.

29th March

And then, just like that we had our last lecture. Pictures of name-cards flocked Facebook & Instagram (while few thought that they were too cool for that). No matter how each one’s experience had been at ISB, but the realization that the extra-ordinary classroom learning had ended finally, really hit hard.

I started working on this blogpost around 2 months ago (scrolling down to extract meaningful stuff from the garbage I post was difficult) and I had initially thought of putting up 51 updates (signifying the 51 weeks at ISB), ending the last update with our graduation. Tomorrow we all will graduate and cross over to our next phase of life. But in a parallel imaginary world, I would forever want to be a student at the Indian School of Business. Hence, there won’t be the 51th update to this post. ISB is going to stay.

Happy Graduation to one and all. Attraversiamo (Let’s cross over together to the other side).

~KA

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!

 

Placements at ISB- My story Part 1

It was 21st November 2017, when I had my 1st reject. I am not talking about resume rejects (had already faced enough of them already). It was the pre-process of AbInBev where I was rejected after 10 minutes of GD. Before I could understand what exactly was happening, the GD ended, 5 people were selected and rest were asked to leave. I got an indication and sense of what I have to face in rest 3 days. By the time I reached back to my room, I had some new emails- Resume rejects from Max, JnJ and HealthifyMe (I had no clue why) and shortlists from Samsung, Godrej and DHR (again, I had no clue why!)

Mohali people had arrived and were staying at a Hotel. In evening, I packed a few clothes for the night, my laptop and went to the hotel to stay overnight with 2 friends of mine. The idea was to relax myself a bit and get a change from the overtly tense environment of the campus.

5

I had to submit a case for PhonePe pre-process interview the next day (22nd November 2017). It was almost 5 AM by the time I finished the case. I decided to wait till 6 AM (that’s the time when the schedule of the entire day is mailed!!). I realized I had 8 pre-process interviews/GDs lined up for the day. I slept for 2 hours and left hotel at 8 AM.

My first GD was for Star scheduled at 11:40 AM. But they were running late and HUL GD was scheduled at 12. I decided to skip Star and join it at some later slot. HUL GD was exactly like AbInBev, except I really think I performed decently this time. But I was again not selected. Next was Samsung. The GD was at some place in the campus where I had not visited before. I had to run to reach on time and was already sweating by the time I reached the venue. The GD had already started and they asked me to come after 2 hours as it was not likely that 8 more people will be gathered immediately for another GD round. Dejected, I returned back to the academic block for PhonePe interview.

PhonePe interview started on a good note (it was more of a case discussion) but by the end, I knew I had messed it. I was tired and was suggesting some really un-scalable ideas as an aspiring Brand Manager. The case discussion went on for 40-45 minutes but somehow I already knew that I won’t be able to make it. I ran to the Samsung venue, where they informed me that all the GD rounds were already over and they can’t accommodate me.

Now I had only Godrej (6 PM) and DHR (11.30 PM) Pre-Process left. Godrej’s was again a GD round. It was an infrastructure based case and I really couldn’t perform well there too. I returned to my room by 7 PM by had no energy or even motivation left to go for DHR Pre-Process. But the only thing that gave me a reason to go ahead was the fact that DHR’s pre-process was a 15 minute interview and not a GD. I had just applied to DHR because it had a Sales & Marketing role and hadn’t even bothered to look at their JD.

I finally opened DHR’s JD Document and to my utter surprise DHR stood for Danaher and the role was Marketing for one of their Dental Product brand- Kavo Kerr. I saw a ray of hope and tried to prepare for interview but literally had no energy to do so. I slept for 1 hour and left for the interview venue at 10.30 PM.

My interview started at 11.30 PM and went for only 10 minutes. At 2.45 AM, I had 3 mails- reject from Samsung & Godrej and selected for Round 2 of Danaher.

The Next day was Day 1.1 (23rd November 2017)- the first day of the placement season. I was left with only two shortlists- Danaher & Directi (who had shortlisted almost everyone).

1
Clicked on the night of 22nd November 2017, while returning from Danaher’s Pre-Process Interview.

Click here for the next part- Placements at ISB- My Story Part 2

Marketing in Practice- 10 Pearls of Wisdom

We just finished a 13 hours workshop on “Marketing in Practice” conducted by Unilever at Indian School of Business. Here are the 10 pearls of wisdom, that are worth noting (in my opinion).

1. The two most important P’s are PRODUCT & PRICE. If you have two dollars as your marketing budget, use one to make your product better and the other to get your pricing right.

2. Luxury Brands put so much emphasis on PRODUCT, PACKAGING & PLACE that other P’s become irrelevant.

3. Brands aren’t read, they are recognized.

4. Changing consumers’ habits is one of the most difficult jobs (For ex, you don’t see much people cleaning their neighborhood under “Swaach Bharat Abhiyaan” anymore)

5. Penetration is more important than loyalty. Larger penetrated brands means large number of buyers. A “niche brand” is just a fancier name for a small brand.

6. But it doesn’t mean that loyalty is not important. Brands with low loyalty eventually die.

7. What you do to attract shoppers should align with the shoppers’ needs and relevance at that point of time. For example, you might try to sell credit cards before a movie screening at a multiplex but you shouldn’t try to sell body lotion at a bar.

8. While making a marketing plan, you should be very particular about JTBD (Job To Be Done) :- Get who, to do what, by doing what?

9. Marketing is nothing but “Sales at Scale”

10. Since Product is the most important P, always do a “Blind Product Test” before launching it.

Thanks a lot Gaurav Jeet Singh and Arun Neelakantan for one of the best sessions at ISB so far.