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On-the-spot MBA admit after 3 minute interview for Oil & Gas applicant

Oil & Gas MBA applicant India

It’s not very often that you hear of an MBA application and profile crafted by the applicant so effectively, that the interview ends up being a formality. Even if the Admissions committee is convinced about an applicant, they normally follow the protocol and communicate the decision after a few days.

Harsimrandeep Singh, an oil and gas professional, had a different experience. Three minutes into the interview, he got a ‘Welcome to ISB‘ greeting from the interviewer who then spent the rest of the time talking about more interesting things in life – like what makes Punjabi NRIs so successful across the globe.

Oil and Gas Applicant heads to business school

by Harsimrandeep Singh

Oil and Gas Applicant IndiaIn 2008, I finished my engineering degree from NIT Jalandhar and started my career in rough world of oil and gas exploration. I joined as a wireline logging engineer for Halliburton Logging Services Asia.

The job description involved searching for hydrocarbons in oil rigs and drilling ships. Someone who might have seen the movie “Armageddon” might get a feel of what we do.

The job had many attractions like independent location management role, team leadership, meeting new people every day, travelling and working in exotic locations and literally arming and defusing bombs. But the most satisfying attraction was the fat paycheck I got at the end of each month 🙂

Though my career progression was going smoothly, after some years it all seemed to be a routine. Handling same kinds of projects everyday had made my work dull. To get a new experience, I switched country and got a similar role in a Kuwaiti Company.

But I did not feel any challenge here as well. The only saving grace was fatter pay check. I could not imagine myself working in same industry till I get old.

To cut long story short, I was looking to change my career sector. A senior of mine, who had faced the same dilemma, acted as a mentor for me and guided me in this phase. Just like him, I decided to pursue MBA and enter into strategy consultancy.

In 2013, I gave GMAT on an impulse and got a decent score of 730 without any preparation. For an Indian engineer with a good academic background, GMAT quant is not a challenge at all.

The big hurdle for Indian applicants, especially from small towns with little exposure to English, is the verbal part of GMAT. But since reading books by English authors had been my hobby since childhood, I was able to satisfactory handle this section also.

After my GMAT result came out, the next thing to choose was the college. I was overwhelmed by the number of colleges to choose from. I decided to work with a consultant to guide me in this.

After searching on net, I chose MBACrystalBall, basically because of the testimonials on the site.

First of all I decided to take MAP strategy to have an independent view on my current standing and narrow down my college choice. After that I choose three colleges and decided to take an essay package for three colleges from MCB.

Working with Stanford MBA grad – Ankur on essays was an extremely satisfying experience. His feedback inputs were quite thought provoking and they made my essays more wholesome and coherent. I was ready to apply to colleges by end of 2014.

But I unexpectedly faced a setback in professional life. Oil prices crashed and I lost my job. Since I did not think it wise to apply while I was out of the work, I decided to first get another job and then go for MBA applications.

I got a job back in March 2015. I also gave GMAT again with a little bit of preparation and was able to improve my score to 750. I again started my essays in August 2015.

The most beneficial aspect of my interactions with MBA Crystal Ball was that it helped me to understand the viewpoint of a MBA admission officer and what they were looking for. This enabled me write my essays again without need of any consultants.

I applied to four colleges: ISB, Oxford, McCombs and ESADE. I got interview admit from all of them. Understanding viewpoint of admissions officer also helped me greatly in interview.

Finally I have got admit from ISB, McCombs and Oxford while the result of ESADE is pending.

But I have decided that I would be going only for Oxford. It is a dream come true for a person like me who had only heard of people from famous universities of Oxbridge. Finally this has been a tiring but a rewarding journey and I know it will give wings to my globe tottering future career plan.

Regarding applications, I can only say to be honest in whatever you write. I had mentioned reading alternate history as my hobby. In my McCombs interview, hardly 5 minutes were spent on traditional MBA interview questions.

Rest of the 25 minutes was a discussion on various alternate history writers and what could have happened if there had be no British rule over India (the interviewer himself was an alternate history fan). Also be perfectly clear, reasonable and logical about your future career plan.

My ISB interview was of hardly 3 minutes. The only questions asked were to describe my current role and my future plan. After I had answered these questions, I was told “Welcome to ISB” there itself. The rest of discussion was only around success of Punjabi NRIs all over the world.

I wish best of luck to future applicants and also would like to thank MCB for guiding me perfectly. Keep up your good work!

Also read HKUST admit with scholarship despite below average GMAT score, for Oil & Gas professional
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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

6 thoughts on “On-the-spot MBA admit after 3 minute interview for Oil & Gas applicant”

  1. Hi Sameer,

    I have almost 4 years for experience now. I am willing to go for 1 year full time mba program in India. I heard ISB is a very good college. Can you advice if i will be eligible for 1 year PGP program from ISB if my total experience cross 5 years? Or can you suggest which course nd which college should i go for at this stage of career which is benificial for financial and job profile objective. I am not willing to go for 2 year MBA program

  2. Hello Sameer Sir,

    I am Deputy Manager in NTPC limited, (work ex-5 years)
    Xth- 85
    XIIth- 85
    Graduation B Tech- 83
    B tech is not from top college(indraprastha university)
    Do I have a profile suitable to get into ISB?

  3. Sir I have done my engineering from VIT Vellore with GPA of 8.63
    12%: 83.8 10th: 91.4
    State level badminton player and classical singer
    Working in IT company for last 2 years
    My GMAT score is 730
    What is my chance of getting an interview call from isb

  4. Hi Sameer ,

    First Question :

    I am confused between GMAT and CAT , which examination to give . I am 2012 Btech. Passout . I am working in TCS from January 2013 my total work experience till 2016 end will be 4 Years . And i saw mostly the top Private B-Schools and IIM’s have maximum around 80% students with Work Experience 3 years or below .

    Should i aim for CAT or GMAT now , i have never prepared for CAT or GMAT till now . And CAT is in October 2016 so what would you suggest .

    Second Question :

    I have searched a lot on ISB PGP what i found by my search results must selected candidates have :

    1 . Work Experience 5 Years . …………
    2 . They are from IIT’s , NIT’s , BITS Pilani , Top CA Rankers . Top DU graduates .
    3 . Employees from Top Companies : Adobe, Microsoft , Google or other big American MNC’s
    4 They don’t fall under point 2 or 3 but have worked for NGO Teach for India , or any other .

    So how should i build my profile i am an average IT Guy .

    10% – 76%
    12% – 86% total ( with 91% in PCM )
    B.Tech – 70% ( From private college )
    Working with TCS as Network Engineer ( 3.5 Years ) and currently joining new organisation as Senior Network Engineer .
    Please suggest me where to go GMAT or CAT . And ISB requires GMAT score above (700 ) or Score with 650 plus NGO has equal impact .

    Thanks !!!!

  5. Sir,
    I am B.Tech graduate with one year 2015 pass out from ManipalUniversity .I have a CGPA of 7.98 .I am working for very renowned French company .I have taken part in many extracurricular activities at college well as school level(both technical and non-technical).I am highly zealous to pursue my further education in ISB.Please let me know if one year experience is enough. Please help me through the process and what kind of profile is required for applying in ISB.

    Thanks and Regards

  6. @Shikha and Nitesh: Yes, you can apply to ISB with the current profile. 5 years is the average experience in class, but you’ll find others with lesser or more years of experience too.

    @Kriti: For an IT profile, it’s a decent score. Ensure that your essays and interview are also strong. Most IT folks score well on the GMAT but stumble in those 2 phases.

    @Vineet: Go for GMAT. Not everyone who gets into ISB is from IIT, NIT, BITS etc. A profile with 650 score is at a disadvantage whether it’s an IT profile or NGO background. Don’t depend on the industry to stay afloat. Strengthen the other areas that are still within your control.

    @Aditi: ISB requires a minimum of 2 years experience at the time of starting the program. Don’t be impatient. Build your profile over the next 1-2 years and apply only when you are ready.


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