Are the ISB Round 3 deadline chances really low?
To answer the question, we’ll turn to a little analysis that we had done years back that reveals a phenomenon that repeats every year. Read this analysis: ISB Admissions Round 1 vs Round 2 deadlines. And ISB didn’t even have a round 3 deadline then.
Extrapolating the trend we’ve seen with international schools, it would be safe to assume that ISB round 3 chances are very low. It would be increasingly more difficult for R3 applicants to get in, compared to the earlier two rounds.
When PSU professional Darpagiri Mondal approached us, he knew that he was going against the current by applying to the toughest GMAT program in India in the last round. But he had reasons to do so. His story shows that the application strategy and profile strength matter as much as timing.
Hi y’all! If you’re reading this, you’re probably contemplating what to do and how to go about your application process. I was doing the same about a year ago – looking up blogs and trying to figure out my strategy.
You probably have a lot of questions, some misconceptions and a considerable amount of frustration at the information overload online. As a fellow frustrated “Indian male engineer”, I would like to step in and share my story with you.
Who am I? – An Indian Male engineer (99.99999% of the MBA applicant population :) ) with a love for street food (typical Delhi-boy) and pathetic jokes.
In my free time, I love to play tunes on my guitar. I am also a sucker for in-swinging yorkers and love playing cricket with my colleagues/friends on the weekends!
On weekdays, you can spot me working as an executive officer with Ircon International Limited (a PSU with the Ministry of Railways), currently working on a National Highway Project. It is my responsibility to execute civil works and guide the senior management on operational issues on a regular basis.
Over the course of my experience (~3 years) I have come to realise that technical ability and operational knowledge themselves are not enough to enable me to create the finished product and drive growth, especially in the Infrastructure industry.
There was so much more to running a project – negotiation, conflict management, managing teams and understanding project financing. I felt the need to upgrade and hence decided to get an MBA.
Coming from a slightly offbeat background, I had my fears on how much I would fit into the typical “MBA” student – and I still do. Primarily, I was concerned about the huge difference in the style of communication and work environments.
I still have slight apprehensions about how I will “gel” with my cohort (PSU folk tend to keep to themselves mostly :P), but I look forward to coming out of my shell.
I look at these differences as an advantage; I would bring something new into a discussion which many of my future batchmates may not; and in turn I get to learn so much more!
Anyway, once I had set the idea firmly in my mind, I began my GMAT prep.
At the cost of sounding like the neighbourhood uncle doling out free advice, I can confidently say that planning is literally everything you need!
And the second most important thing to remember is that everybody takes their own sweet time to get there. It’s not a race!
In the words of master Oogway (Kung-Fu Panda fame) –
You cannot make a peach tree grow faster, nor can you ask it for an apple. You will always get a peach!
Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses. It really pays off to understand them and plan to your own strengths.
On the day of the exam, many people tend to work at less than their actual capability (stage fright or nervousness), so it is essential to practice hard and plug all loopholes in your abilities prior to D-Day.
I managed mine with a considerable amount of nervousness and almonds.
I ended up getting the bare minimum score I had envisioned for myself (a 720).
Going into the MBA application process (also read as essays/resume/stories), I was akin to a wanderer.
I had a reasonable score on GMAT (although CR/SC almost made me give up on English as a subject), but I was lost when it came to finding the right “fit” for my aspirations.
I was looking for guidance on how to go about and plan my entire application journey. I had heard about the MBA MAP process offered by MBA Crystal Ball from a few friends and decided to opt for it.
I worked with Vibhav and he laid bare the entire process in great detail and gave me a framework which I could follow for coming up with my stories. That framework was my map & GPS for the next 4 months.
The best part about the process was figuring out everything on my own and using Vibhav’s pointers as a DIY toolkit. It’s been a thoroughly exhausting yet rewarding journey of self-discovery and MBA essay writing abilities :)
A big thank you to Vibhav for setting my expectations right and coaxing me to explore my aspirations more comprehensively.
Given my long-term aspirations, I used the list provided by Vibhav (which is quite a list!) to single out colleges where I could imagine myself studying. My decisions were based on curriculum, job opportunity and exposure.
There is no short-cut to that part and the “uncle” in me would strongly recommend doing the research on your own!
I was relatively lucky that ways as I had access to alumni from both my alma mater (undergrad at BITS & postgrad at IIT) and could manage to get quite a lot of information easily.
I chose ISB, Schulich School of Business, Rotman School of Management & Manchester Business School. All of these had colleges had curriculums and programs which lined up with my aspirations and goals.
Most importantly, I could visualise myself as a student in all these institutions (again, possible only after talking to a lot of people!).
I managed to secure admits from Schulich (MBA in India program) and ISB. I chose ISB as it will allow me to leverage my industry expertise in a much better way in India.
Coming to my ISB experience, I delayed my application because I wanted to try and improve my GMAT score before applying.
I tried but ended up getting the exact same score on my second attempt too!
I took it as a sign from the heavens that this was it and applied to ISB in Round 3.
I was pleasantly surprised to get the interview call and unfortunately did not have a lot of time to prepare for it either. The day of interview came by in a blur.
I was interviewed by a panel of 3 alums and they focussed on my work, the kind of impact I’ve had so far and the kind of impact I wish to have in the future.
I took care to ensure that my story and aspirations rhymed with the kind of experience ISB offered and was aligned with my long-term goals.
All that said, at the interview stage, my observation was that the panel was looking for reasons to take me in rather than reject me.
So, be confident, be honest, relax, let them know what’s on your mind and the expectations you have.
It was very conversational and a pleasant experience overall.
The best part was that just after the interview, all the interviewees who were in the waiting rooms before the interview, came downstairs for a drink and got discussing their experiences.
Overall, I did not have any qualms about applying in R3 or about the lack of financial aid. I was more focussed on putting my best foot forward and expressing myself to the best of my ability.
I had a really huge smile on my face the day I got my result and could not stop smiling the whole day long.
All of this would not have been possible without the mock application process and the GPS Vibhav gave me. I am extremely grateful for MBA Crystal Ball and the MAP process!
As a word of advice to all fellow MBA aspirants – treat the application process like a journey.
Like in any trip, you will roam around, talk to people, maybe even get lost for a while and have a lot of experiences (good and bad).
Do this and what you take from this exercise will hopefully be a better understanding of who you are as a person, of your aspirations from life and most importantly – how to communicate them.
Treat it like a journey and be open to everything that comes your way – you will have fun along the way and in the end you will cherish all of it!
Thank you MBA Crystal Ball!
To all those people who are looking to do an MBA – Cheers and good luck!
Good things will happen – just remember to ask for a peach not an apple :-)