Talk about modesty. Bodhisattwa Gupta considers himself the black sheep of the family…and he’s got into one of the toughest and most selective MBA programs anywhere in the world – ISB Hyderabad (Indian School of Business). So you can imagine what others in his family have achieved (we know but we can’t tell you!).
Here’s Bodhi’s success story covering his journey from getting closer to the average GMAT score for ISB to cracking the ISB admissions process.
My journey to ISB – GMAT score, application & interview
by Bodhisattwa Gupta
This goes back a year when I had to take a call – whether to go back to school for an MBA or be happily settled in my present job at a managerial level. I am sure that there’ll be folks out there like me who would be thinking as to whether I should give up for an MBA that promotion which is due next year, my salary which pretty much is the same as the prospective B School average salary and spend a year away in seclusion buried among books.
But after a certain point I ended reasoning with myself and found myself believing in what an MBA from a top school stood for. As I got engaged to my girlfriend in the interim only the 1 year programs made sense to me. And the two schools that I decided to apply to were INSEAD and ISB.
When I look back at the ISB application I can think of two distinct phases:
GMAT score for ISB
As I embarked on my MBA application preparation it was evident that it always helps to have a decent GMAT score for ISB and other super competitive schools. Fortunately with some preparation I could muster a 730 in my GMAT in June end.
This average GMAT score for ISB is closer what I got. Which means over half the ISB applicants have higher GMAT scores than mine. So I knew I can’t relax because I got a good GMAT score. My application needed to be strong too.
By the time I got my GMAT score, the application portal for ISB was up and the essays were up there.
The ISB online application
Initially it seemed like 3 ISB essays with a 300 words limit would be a cakewalk by the application deadline of August 30th. But soon I realised that by far the most difficult part in an MBA application is getting the story right in your essays and in packing in the punch in only 300 words.
Finally after I churned out some 18 drafts and getting the final versions reviewed by MG (MBA admissions consultant who helped me for ISB) from the MBA Crystal Ball team, it reached a point which lucidly told who I was & what I wanted to achieve through my MBA.
Seniors from my previous organisations were kind enough to give me recommendations and finally I succeeded in completing my online application on the 28th of August. Thus started the long wait for the interview calls. It was supposed to be announced in mid October for applicants from Kolkata.
The ISB interview call
On October 12th I heaved a sigh of relief when I received a mail from ISB for an interview on the 21st of October. I was a step closer to my goal.
Then and there I started talking to people who have been through the process – ISB alums, and my consultants Sameer & MG (from MBA Crystal Ball) to get an idea of the process and how I should approach the interview. One consistent theme was that ISB conducts stress free interviews.
The actual experience pretty much mirrored that. The interview lasted about 20 minutes and leaving the room I had the feeling wish they asked me something more.
ISB application results
What followed the ISB interview was the most painful wait till the 15th of November. I was a part of the Pagalguy forum for the ISB CO 2012 aspirants and the thread witnessed the wide ranging emotions all of us went through. I remember that on the 15th though I was present in office but I did not get anything done the whole day.
Finally after a nerve wracking wait ISB started announcing the results from 4.30 pm onwards. As I kept on refreshing my inbox the much desired invite popped up on the screen…..wooohooooo!!! And the war cry did attract a fair share of eyeballs from all around in office…….but at that very moment I couldn’t have cared less.
Lessons from my ISB success story
Now when I look back at the entire process there were certain aspects which I did well & some others which I could have done better. Just a few things that I would advise to any of you going through the process in years to come –
• It’s desirable to get done with your GMAT as early as feasible. Preferably 3 months in advance of the application deadline
• Start off with the essays well in advance. In case you are planning well in advance you can start jotting down the points based on previous year’s essay topics (- normally the topics don’t change a lot).
• Work with a good MBA consultant in India if you can find and afford one. It can make a big difference in making the application strong.
• Give ample time while filling up the online form for ISB. It’s a rather lengthy form and make sure that you present your credentials in the best possible light. Frankly speaking I was lax and I did not play this part right.
• Over prepare for interviews – think of all possible questions that can crop up and think of the possible reply. Also be clear of the three / four different aspects of your personality that you would like to highlight & examples from your personal experiences which highlight them. You may not be asked directly but you can always bring these qualities onto the table during the interview. And most importantly be RELAXED !!!
And lastly be passionate and give everything for your dream B School – I am sure you can surprise yourself and many others out there by doing so.
Best of luck everyone.
If you are serious about ISB Hyderabad / Mohali, check out these related blog posts:
– All about ISB Hyderabad MBA
– ISB MBA admission with full scholarship
– How I got into ISB with scholarship in my third attempt
– ISB Hyderabad admission with low GMAT score of 610
– Is ISB still worth the money and time?
– How the ISB admission process works
– International MBA program vs Indian MBA (read ISB Hyderabad)
– ISB Hyderabad Reapplicant’s strategy
– Best ISB Admissions Consultant
Get all your ISB admissions related queries answered on the ISB Hyderabad Discussion Forum.