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

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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.

KA1
Receiving the ‘Budding Dentist Award’ by IDRR (Indian Dentist Research & Review) by Dr. Sibi Xavier- August 2014
KA2
The Group Picture at IDRR Awards, August 2014

 

KA3
Receiving the Student of the Year (UG) Award by Orofacial Chronicle at Indore, August 2014
KA4
At Famdent Excellence in Dentistry Awards, Mumbai, December 2014
KA5
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.

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Indian School of Business- Interview Experience

Interview

It had already been a month of submitting the application when I finally got a call for interview on 14th March 2016 and my interview was scheduled after 6 days, ie on 20th February 2016.

After some initial debacle (when the rustic auto driver didn’t understand what is “ITC Windsor”, still pretended to know where it is and authoritatively decided to take me somewhere else, before I actually realized he is taking me on the wrong roads), I finally reached the venue 1 hour in advance, visibly grimacing in the business suit (I hate wearing so many clothes).

The security guard outside the hotel promptly guided me towards the interview area and I was made to sit in a small room with 7-8 other applicants. I had read other interview debriefs where everyone had advised to talk to other candidates present to calm yourself down but somehow all I did was to sit down silently and stare around the beautifully furnished room.

After a while, a somewhat senior guy entered the room with a small travel bag. Someone asked him, “Are you coming from some other city?”

“No”, he replied, “I own a company at Bangalore, I want to show the interview panel some products of my company”

Needless to say, whatever hopes I had to make the cut sank. I had an idea of how impressive are the profiles of ISB applicants but here there was someone in front of me, enough for me to lose hope (I am a bit on the pessimistic side)

In hindsight, that feeling actually calmed me down and I started talking to other EEO (Early Entry Option) applicants. EEO applicants (I myself was one) have less than the mandatory 2 years of Work Experience required by ISB. If selected, they are given a deferred admission but they can join only when  they complete 2 years at work.

After around 1.5 hours of waiting, my turn came. One of the interviewer himself came to call me and asked me to follow him. Before we reached the interview room, he shook hands with me and introduced himself, “Hello, I am_______, from Co2012.

There were two interviewers in the panel (both alumni, no one from the AdCom). One (Let’s call him P1) had my application print out in his hands while the other (P2) just sat there most of the time and nodded.

P1- So, you are a Dentist. Why are you making this career shift?

This question was more than expected so I started with the answer that I had mugged up.

Me- Sir, if you would closely look to my CV and profile, you will realize that it has been always skewed towards entrepreneurship and management. (Don’t know why, I got tongue-tied at this point)

P2- (Nodding and after waiting for a few seconds).Please elaborate.

I gathered myself again started the answer that I had mugged up, this time with decent confidence. Both P1 and P2 seemed convinced.

P1 (Flipping through my application)- So you have shown your internship at hospital as work experience? Was it full time?

Me- Yes sir, it was full time and paid.

P1- Can you tell us one incident during that one year at internship where you had to show leadership or management skills?

Me- Sir I cannot think of any moment like that. All I can say is that I completed all my patient quotas in time, was the only person in my batch to finish internship without any extensions (infact 3 leaves were left when I finished) and in mid of all this, I got my startup registered.

P1- (Didn’t look convinced at all)- We will come to your startup story later (I realized that he has read my application essays, atleast superficially). Tell me how come you landed up at Oliveboard? How come you, being a dentist, having no relevant education  or degree got a marketing profile?

Me (again I had expected this question)- I will quote my offer letter here, “You are being offered this job because of your attitude and previous startup experience”

P1- So what exactly you do there?

Me- If you don’t mind, can I answer this question by explain the difference that I have made to the organization after I joined and also by citing a difficult situation that I managed?

P1- Please go ahead.

I explained it decently and both look convinced.

P1- Now let’s come to your journal. What made you start it?

Me (another expected question)- Explained

P1- Who all are the members in your journal and how exactly do you work?

Me- Can I get a pen and paper to explain?

P1 handed me a pen and paper. I explained with the help of flowcharts that how “Double blind peer review” review process of a scientific journal works.

P1- How did you get so many reviewers from abroad?

Me- Through Facebook

P1- And how much do you pay them?

Me- Absolutely nothing, sir

P1- Then how come they work for you free?

Me- Most of the reviewers I approached are very senior and extremely successful in their career. They definitely do not need any extra revenue by reviewing scientific articles. When I approached them, they were extremely impressed that a 2nd year UG student is trying to start a scientific journal and they supported me. I received a fair share of mockery and criticism too but mostly the dental fraternity was supportive. Also, Indian Dental Academicians need to maintain a certain number of points according to the guidelines set by the DCI (Dental Council of India) and they get some points for reviewing journals. And hence, they are in my team.

P1 (Smiling)- Makes sense. How many articles have you received after you started charging publication fee from the authors?

Me- Sir, It has been exactly 1 year and we have a revenue of _____

P2 (all of a sudden as if he got back from dead)- Have you brought the hard copies of the journal?

Me- Yes sir. It is in my bag in the other room

P2- Why didn’t you bring whose with you here?

Me- Sir, I didn’t want to look like as if I am trying too hard.

P2- So you are not trying eh?

Me- Sir, don’t get me wrong, ISB is the only college I have applied to and even if I don’t get through, I will only apply to ISB and nowhere else the next year too. There is a thin line between trying and looking like an absolute desperate and hence I decided not to cross that line.

P2 (laughed loudly)- Fair enough. Once the interview is over, show us the hard copies.

Me- Sure sir.

P1- So Dr. Anshul, what do you want to do post MBA?

Me- Sir, being an EEO applicant I think it is too early to decide that (both nodded on this). I have just started my career and I think I have a knack for marketing and entrepreneurship. I am versatile and can manage completely unrelated stuff equally well. I might take up a healthcare management job but I am keeping all my options open.

P1- Hmm..but you do know right that those jobs are generally for doctors with 5-6 years of work experience?

Me- No sir. I have no idea about that.

P1- Please go home and do your research. Also, you can get those jobs without an MBA. Why you want to invest so much of money?

Me (completely clueless where the interview was going)- Sure sir. I will do that tonight itself.

P1- You can leave

P2- Please bring the hard copies of your journal.

I ran towards the other room (it was 45 minutes already), sipped some cold water and returned and handed one copy each to both.

P2 (Flipping the pages)- Oh, so you have advertisement space too? How many advertisements have you got so far?

Me- None. And they are there only because the publisher wanted to, I really don’t want advertisements to be present on a scientific journal. Publication fee is the only major source of revenue and some royalty which we get through subscriptions.

P1- Where is the list of your team?

I showed him that page.

P1- How come you gathered so many people from so many countries?

Me- I have a facebook page on Dentistry with 30k+ Likes that I used to use for social medial marketing during my college days. I used the same page to build my team. Also, I did a webinar in a world virtual conference of dental students which helped me to get some team members initially. Rest all was word of mouth and facebook spamming.

P1- What else you want to do under your startup apart from the journal?

I mumbled something random (Don’t even remember what I said)

P1- Hmm..but how will you manage that? You will be having a full time demanding job post MBA which will take your 15 hours/day.

Me- Sir if I can manage it with medical school, I can manage it with job also. And I have worked for more than 15 hours/day effectively at various points during my UG, Internship and current job.

P1- I am not denying that, but I don’t think it will be possible.

Me (decided not to argue)- Then I will delegate the work sir. I am well networked in Indian Dental fraternity to do that.

P1- That I am sure you are. But you will leave all these so easily that you have build up with so much of hard work over these years?

Me- Sir, I said I will delegate the work. I will still be the owner.

Both P1 and P2 smiled.

P2- Ok last question, can you check my teeth and give some diagnosis?

Me- No sir, I cannot. I cannot break the infection control protocols. Patients must not be examined without gloves.

Both laughed loudly and asked me to leave.

Moral of the story- ISB interview, as per the common belief, is extremely chilled out. They don’t want to check your knowledge of economics, history, geography and finance. All they want to know is YOU. Be thorough with your application and you will sail through.

For any more queries, feel free to drop me a mail at kumaranshul.79@gmail.com. I will be happy to help anyone out.

We, a group of 17 ISB admits, have decided to help all future ISB applicants. Find out more about us on The Bootcamp. Or just drop me a message on facebook.

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