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.


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 PM, 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).

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

To be continued..


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.

Superhumans of ISB

The section party on SV lawns go on till 3 am. Within 3 hours at 6 AM, the one who was sloshed can be spotted with the trekking group, with all the energy in the world while taking that steep climb.

End terms start on Monday, and SLC is planning to organize a “Zumba Master Class” on Friday. Reason? “Stress bursting”

You sleep for 6 hours only to wake up to realize that someone has already attended a “Toastmaster’s Meetup, a Bhangra Session and is now back at LRC to complete his/her assignment in those 6 hours.

While CAs are in demand for P2P sessions for Financial Accounting, don’t be surprised to find an engineer with no background in Finance teaching a group of guys the nitty-gritty of Accounting.

“Stood for GSB Elections- Didn’t win. Stood again for Professional Club Elections- Didn’t win. Never mind! Will possibly volunteer for Solistice, ILS, Advaita and all”- Overheard

“Yaar, I think I should leave my McKInsey Dreams”

But why, you have nailed all the quizzes, assignments and even Mid Terms!”

But last Stat Quiz me bass 3/5 aaye. I will focus on Accenture Consulting now. They have a better work life balance”

– Conversation with a friend

3 months into the PGP program has made me sure of one fact- this one year is going to kick my ass out of all kinds of comfort zones that I have enveloped myself in.

With 1 quiz and 2 assignments due this weekend, I am chilling with a cup of Mocha while writing this piece- how can I not say that the much talked about “Transformation at ISB” has already begun!