It is unusual for executive MBA programs in India and abroad to offer scholarships. This is primarily because Executive MBA programs are targetted at working professionals, and in many cases the MBA is sponsored by their employers.
For these reasons, a self-funded EMBA can become very expensive for the student. This is what makes this blog unique.
Nilanjan Ghosh decided to self-fund his EMBA and had his eyes set on PGPpro at ISB, counted among the best executive MBA programs in India.
I have never written a blog before, or for that matter anything that involves story-telling – before I worked on my executive MBA application.
Professionally I have 11+ years of experience in the IT industry and I have worked as technology lead in Cloud Data Integration and Analytics.
From an MBA application viewpoint, it would be considered an average profile. Since so many applicants have similar experiences, standing out from the crowd becomes difficult.
(I wanted to mention all this at the start, so you’ll appreciate what I was able to achieve in the end!)
I have mainly worked based out of the United States for major banking and pharmaceutical clients. I always felt that I lacked the formal management education that would help me blend technology with business.
I want to work as a program manager in Cloud Data Integration and Analytics and eventually to move to a senior leadership role of an organization.
I mainly worked on technical solutions. But to lead a service line of an organization and add value to clients, an entrepreneurship mindset is very important in setting a proper strategic action plan.
I checked out the curriculum of MBA programs and I was convinced that the degree will help me build the skills I needed.
These thoughts drove me to pursue MBA programs. Based on several factors I finalized ISB PGPPro.
I opted for an executive (EMBA) instead of a regular MBA because I don’t have to leave my job to pursue my dream of attending a top-ranked B-School.
I wanted to complete my study within 1.5 years and focus on my work after that.
When I found ISB runs the kind of program I wanted, I was pretty sure this was the one for me.
I wanted to study in India because of the cost factor. I also wanted to work in India for some time before going back to the US.
I have worked on multiple initiatives for different clients and I was pretty confident about what I have been doing and what I want to do in future.
But my big concern was that I needed to find a way to narrate my story in the best possible manner, which would showcase my leadership skills to handle teams of diverse cultures.
ISB PGPpro mainly looks at the applicant’s leadership quality and professional achievement.
I knew a lot of strong professionals will be applying to ISB EMBA programs, with similar kind of experience.
To compete with such applicants and get an admission offer, I needed to demonstrate my achievements and highlight how I was different and better than my competition.
I returned from the US just a month back before the deadlines. That left me with very less time to prepare for the application.
I still wanted to give my best shot and doing it alone sounded very risky, given my lack of experience with such applications.
So I wanted to work with a reputed admissions consultant who could guide me through this journey.
During my market research, I talked to multiple consultants.
But most of them were pushing me to sign up for their services. I found their aggressive marketing annoying and I dropped them from my list.
I wanted to work with a consultant who has the industry exposure to understand my international experience and the consulting finesse to help me turn it into an interesting story.
I found MBA Crystal Ball way different from the rest, because of their professionalism. They never tried to push their services.
The other key factor to go with MCB was my consultant, Vibhav, who is an ISB alumnus himself and possesses a lot of industry experience.
I connected with Manish Gupta over LinkedIn and discussed with him about my experience and my future goals.
Manish then connected me with Vibhav. It was wonderful to experience working with him.
I opted for entire MBA application review package starting from brainstorming call to multiple reviews.
I would’ve been happy to simultaneously sign up for the interview package too.
But Manish told me to defer it and sign up only if my application gets selected, and not before that.
Full marks to MCB for being honest and working in the interest of applicants!
My interactions with Vibhav were very enriching. He gave me an idea on how to draft the initial version of my story and how to showcase the business value I added to the clients by leading several technical designs.
He helped me to discover many positive points that I wouldn’t have thought about. This brought my executive MBA essays to life.
We discussed and set up a road map to complete everything before the deadline. As there was very little time, focusing on the key points was crucial .
I have a lot of technical experience in handling data and generating valuable insight from it through Analytics.
But to highlight the business impact in the application essay was something I couldn’t have done without Vibhav’s help.
He was very flexible whenever I needed his assistance, even at the last minute.
I considered only 2 programs in India – INSEAD ILPSE and ISB PGPpro. I also shortlisted a few schools in the US like UMD Smith and UVA Darden.
But my first choice was a top EMBA from India because of the cost factor and immigration scenarios in the US.
To further narrow my search I focused on ISB PGPpro considering the fact it is an EMBA program from a top tier B-School and more importantly I could afford my education rather than depending on my employer.
I connected with few alumni over LinkedIn to get more insights about the program and I spoke to Manish from MCB to further clear my doubts.
I read all of the blogs on the MCB website, which I continue to do now as well.
All this helped me pinpoint the b-schools which would meet all my parameters.
After I submitted my executive MBA application to ISB, I got an interview call exactly after 3 weeks.
I was given 4 days to plan my logistics before the interview date. So I had 2 days to prepare for it and I wanted to give my best.
I signed up for the interview prep service. Vibhav helped me frame all the points.
We had 2 mock interviews and after the second interview, I felt totally confident to tell my stories to the ISB interviewers.
Executive MBA interviews at ISB are mostly taken by alumni. I was asked questions from past experience, especially about leading teams with diversities.
I was happy after the interview as I was able to clarify the objective for attending an executive MBA at ISB.
After 2 weeks I was informed about the admission offer with 20% scholarship.
I was so happy when I received an admission offer from top tier B-Schools like ISB.
I will finance my own education and getting a scholarship was an additional reward.
I am excited and looking forward to a great learning experience from July 2019. I think an MBA would definitely accelerate my career to move up to a senior leadership role.
I believe my international experience over 7 years, working for big clients, multiple business domains like banking and pharmaceuticals might have helped me to get through.
I’d like to highlight once again how important it is to showcase your story well and keep it interesting till the last word – even more if you think you have an over-represented and average profile.