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.

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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!

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!

 

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.

Also if you love reading or want to develop a love for reading, join my facebook group for book recommendations, reviews and freak deals on books.

Do FOLLOW my blog (Green colored tab on the left side of the screen) as I will be writing more on GMAT, MBA and Indian School of Business. If you are following the blog, you will get an email whenever I publish a new post.