ISB Round 1 Deadline just got over on 12th September 2021 and now starts the tumultuous time of waiting for the shortlists! Though it’s quite natural to feel anxious/restless during this period, ideally it should be spent reflecting on everything that you have put down in your application and make yourself ready for the D-day.
I have been mentoring ISB Applicants to help them put their best foot forward with respect to Application writing and Interview preparation since last 5 years and I have realised that this time (between application submission and interview), if utilised well, can be a game changer for your final admit.
I am enlisting a few action items that you must partake in to ensure an optimal use of your time with respect to your readiness for the final interview :-
1. Get rid of all distracting thoughts.
Time and again I have noticed applicants wasting their time pondering on trivial things- most of which they can’t change:-
Is my GMAT/GRE score good enough?
ISB masks your GMAT/GRE score while evaluating your application. Weightage for the interview is added after your interview is over to make the final decision (Admit/No Admit/Waitlisted). Moreover, you can’t improve your GMAT/GRE score now, so thinking about it will do no good.
What if I get to face a stress interview?
Typically ISB interviews are not stressful and interviewers do not try to put you in a spot. It’s more of a conversation with the objective of knowing you better.
Have I correctly mentioned my short-term and long-term goals?
There is no right and wrong ways to answer the question that asks for short-term and long-term goals in your application. Moreover, there is no way you can change what you have written down once the application is submitted. All you need to do is to justify your goals and explain them (when prompted to) during the interview with confidence and conviction.
Please do not waste a moment by getting overwhelmed with these thoughts. Try to consciously repulse them and convince yourself that you will only use your time in things that you can change and won’t freak out for things you can’t. This is the first step to use this time wisely.
2. Collate and brush up on your Industry and Domain knowledge
You need to deep-dive into the industry ( such as IT, Oil & Gas, Ed-Tech, E-Commerce etc) and domain (such as Marketing, Finance, Software Development, Sales etc) where you work in currently and the industry and domain where you want to work in post-MBA (as mentioned in your 2nd essay). Some of the information that you should collate and brush up on are :-
A) Market size and Market cap of the industries
B) Competitive landscape of the industries
C) All the recent Press Releases by your current and target companies
D) Key trends affecting/driving the growth of the industries/domains
E) Effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the industry/domain
F) Your key learnings from working in a particular industry and domain
3. WHY-HOW-WHAT for each initiative/achievements mentioned in the application
You must have mentioned about initiatives taken at/outside of work and your major personal/professional/extra-curricular achievements in different parts of your application- in Essay 1, in Awards & Achievements section, in Job Achievements section etc. Make a list of all the initiatives and achievements and make yourself ready for the following questions (the questions aren’t exhaustive) for each initiative/achievements:
A) WHY :- Why did you take this initiative? What was your motivation behind starting something new/taking responsibility ? Why did you think your approach was the best?
Through questions like these, interviewers try to understand your thought process and your approach towards problem solving.
B) HOW :- What steps/methods did you take/use to take the initiative. What challenges did you face? Who were the key stakeholders you engaged with? What did you do differently from others?
C) WHAT :- What did you learn from the initiative/achievement/project? Given a chance again, how would you do it differently?
In a nutshell, you need to tear down into each significant initiative/project/achievement that you have mentioned in your ISB Application and be ready for all kind of cross questions around them
4. Case Questions Preparation
In all probability, case questions (where you will be given a business challenge scenario and would be asked what would you do or how would you approach the problem) will be related to your industry/domain. Search for ”Consulting Case Interview” on Youtube and you will find multiple videos to help on this. It’s even more important for applicants who have mentioned ”Management Consulting” as their post-MBA goal in their ISB Application
Likewise, Product Management aspirants should read about typical PM Interview questions available easily on the internet. Though these questions are aimed at someone preparing for a PM job interview, they will give you a fair idea of what is expected out of a Product Manager in his/her full time job
5. Practice to improve your Verbal Communication
During my mock interview sessions with ISB Applicants, I have come across many individuals who have been exemplary achievers in their academic and professional life, but are completely tongue-tied/anxious when it comes to speaking up in an interview setting. Most of the B-Schools consider good communication skills as a pre-requisite for an admit, so please do not take this lightly. Practice speaking in front of a mirror. If you think you are struggling on this front, hire a mentor/consultant who can help you with not only guessing the probable questions that you might get asked during your interview, but would analyse your communication skill and advise you to improve it accordingly.
If you want to get in touch with me to prepare well for your interview or to prepare a holistic application for Round 2 of ISB/IIMs (1 year MBA)/US & European B-Schools, please follow me and drop a message on Instagram
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