Tag: Placements at ISB

How to write Essay 1 of ISB PGP Application

How to write Essay 1 of ISB PGP Application

Indian School of Business (ISB) Round 1 Application is open and you need to submit your application by September 20, 2020.

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This year ISB has reduced the discomfiture that the applicants used to experience while writing the admission and has made its expectations loud & clear- The Admission Committee wants to know what leadership qualities you possess and expects you to enumerate some examples from your personal & professional life that corroborate the leadership quality that you have declared to possess.

 “Describe with examples the most important personal quality that you possess, which significantly enhances your prospects of being successful as a leader?”

According to the Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy and Governance,

“Positive leadership behavior is a set of actions, taken by individuals in a position of power and influence, to motivate and cultivate others through mechanisms of empowerment, engagement, and collaborative assignment to meaningful work”

Needless to say ‘Leadership’ is more of a sense of being and a collection of actionable qualities that you possess, rather than a single or a couple of traits.

The essay asks for ‘the most important personal quality’ and hence it is imperative you choose a quality of which you have multiple examples to elaborate. You must keep it in your mind that if shortlisted, your interview will revolve around the quality that you had mentioned in the essay and the examples that you had provided.

I am enumerating a few qualities, of which you can choose one and then elaborate it with enough examples. Please go through each of the points carefully and then ponder if you have significant examples from your personal life & professional career to choose a particular leadership quality :-

  1. Resilience

A popular Japanese proverb says- “Nana korobi, ya oki” which means “Fall down seven timesstand up eight.” Ever found life hurling multiple setbacks at you and you ended up rising against the wave every single time? Ever lost all hopes because of continuous headwinds but you ended up emerging victorious?  If you think you have done so a couple of times, then Resilience is the personal quality that you can mention. You can mention about a huge financial loss which you recovered from because of your smart (and hard work), personal loss which broke you on all fronts but you were still able to overcome the trauma or talk about a professional setback which you you didn’t allow to linger for long. Please note , you should choose Resilience as your quality not only if you have faced multiple setbacks, but also when you have overcome them successfully.

2. Empowerment 

A good leader empowers his/her colleagues, employees and subordinates. He/she is inclusive during decision making, induces participation from everyone in the team so that each team member gets a fair chance to exercise their expertise, skill and judgement and hence ends up fostering a work environment which is built on trust, team work and equal opportunities for professional growth.

Have you played an important role and have taken a keen interest in coaching, mentoring and advising your team members to help them grow professionally? Have you driven innovation and critical thinking in your team solely by helping everyone to put their best foot forward? Do you think you are trusted by your employees/colleagues/sub ordinates because you have helped them in achieving what they wanted to?

If answers to these questions are in affirmative, then Empowerment is the leadership trait that you should mention in the essay.

3. Taking Initiatives

A successful leader is proactive (rather than reactive), can sense the needs of the target customers, the changes in market dynamics and the steps he/she needs to take to empower his/her team much ahead of time. Successful leaders aren’t afraid to take calculated risks and don’t wait for others to tell them what to do and how to do. They are forward thinkers who plan for future, and at the end they take full ownership and responsibility of their actions, be the outcome a failure or a success.

Have you taken a well-informed risk at your workplace that has reaped dividends (financial or otherwise) for your organization? Were you a part of the founding team of a new society/club/organization that taught you multiple nuances of management & leadership? Have you dirtied your hands while undertaking a functionally pristine project? Have you successfully driven adoption of a completely new product among your customers?

If all the above-mentioned points rings a bell, please go ahead and use this trait in your essay.

4. Integrity

In simple words, Integrity can be defined as “Doing the right thing even when no one is watching”. 

Every large MNC (Multi-national company) has a very strict Legal & Compliance team which lays down the code of conduct & compliance and keeps a strict watch on the employees- the more high you are in the corporate ladder, the more strict will be your punishment if you are found guilty of violating any code of ethics & conduct.

Have you ever noticed something grossly unethical going on in your organization and have raised an alarm? Have you ever faced a situation where you were lured by an exciting offer/choice/chance to help you achieve what you wanted to, but you decided to avoid because those chances fell in the ‘grey/dark zone of ethics & compliance’ ?

Integrity, as a trait, is often associated with kindness, and having good intentions instead of selfish motives. A leader who demonstrates high levels of integrity is well-respected and trusted across the organization.

If you have examples that highlight integrity as your inherent trait, please use it in the essay.

5. Problem Solving

The Covid-19 pandemic has put unprecedented challenges in front of business leaders and they are expected to solve problems that they have never encountered before.  A successful leader is able to anticipate any obstacle, assess the challenge, find possible solutions for mitigation, assess those solutions in terms of their viability, and thereby select the best possible solution.

If you have responded successfully to changing market dynamics, if you have overcome major obstacles in the modus-operandi of your organization with the help of technology/data/effective communication/otherwise, if your manager often relies on you whenever he/she hits a roadblock, then you have a problem-solving mindset and you should mention this trait in your essay.

6. Empathy

Empathy is understanding others’ feelings, perspectives & opinions as if they are your own. More often than not, Empathy is declared as an extremely crucial leadership trait because to put it out simply- you can’t lead someone whom you don’t understand. An empathetic leader is well aware of the fact that listening intently to his team members/employees/subordinates is extremely vital to generate insights which help in achieving well-being of everyone. An empathetic leader often puts himself/herself in the shoes of his/her employees before taking any major decisions that might affect the employees. He/she is responsible for maintaining a healthy and non-toxic work culture and hence has the ability for the long-term success of the organization.

Have you been in any situation where you strove hard to be inclusive and fair to most of your team mates/subordinates? Have you taken initiatives to ensure that your colleagues/subordinates/reportees feel safe, secure in the organization and their justifiable needs are taken care of ? Have you gone beyond your call of duty to help others? If your answer is in affirmative, you must write about Empathy as your leadership trait in the essay.

7. Passion

A passionate leader believes in the core values, mission & vision of the company, inspire & drive others to believe in the mission & vision and is madly involved in ‘making a difference’. The more enthroned you are in pushing your organization towards success, the more passionate you are considered to be. Passionate leaders create zest & enthusiasm in the team, and are vocal and expressive about what the organization aims to achieve.

If you have believed strongly for a cause (social, financial or otherwise) and have taken initiative/responsibility/accountability to address it, you come in the category of ‘passionate leaders’. If you always wanted to achieve something and have put considerable amount of time & efforts behind it, then also you can put ‘Passion’ as your personal trait in the essay.

8. Network & Influence

Do you think you have made a name for yourself as a ‘Thought Leader’ in a particular domain? Do you think your opinion on a particular stream/domain/industry is valued & acknowledged by a large number of people? Do you regularly produce & disseminate content related to your area of expertise and hence are considered ‘well known’ personality. Have you developed a rich network over the years and consider yourself as someone ‘who can get the work done’ just with the help of your network? If the answer is yes, you can consider writing about it in the essay.

I will write more blogposts on Essay 2, filling non-essay part of application and also on tips to crack the interview. To get notified about my future posts,

  1. Follow this blog so that you get an email whenever I post (no spamming otherwise)- BLACK colored FOLLOW button on right side of the screen (if you are reading on Laptop) and on the bottom of the screen (if you are reading on your mobile phone)
  2. Like my page on Facebook – so that you can attend all live sessions
  3. Follow me on Instagram– that’s where I reply to your queries immediately!

I have helped more than 200 applicants realize their dream of getting a Top B-School. Find their reviews here- https://www.facebook.com/DrKumarAnshul06/reviews/

Some of my other blogs that you will like are as follows :-

  1. 10 Important Tips for ISB Application writing
  2. Most common myths about ISB
  3. Applying to ISB- Everything that you want to know 
  4. My GMAT Debrief (730 in 1st attempt) 
  5. Life at ISB

 

 

 

How I prepared for Marketing Job Interviews at ISB

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

Placements at ISB- My Story Part 2

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!