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ISB Round 3 deadline chances: MBA after PSU

ISB Round 3 deadline chances: MBA after PSU

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.

Tackling ISB Round 3 deadline with low chances

MBA after PSU for BITS and IIT grad

by Darpagiri Mondal

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.

Why ISB Round 3?

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!

Application Tips

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 🙂

Also read:
ISB with full (100%) scholarship
I got into ISB with scholarship after BCom
ISB after government job
ISB admit despite poor academic grades

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Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

8 thoughts on “ISB Round 3 deadline chances: MBA after PSU”

  1. Hi
    My name is Neha.
    10- 88%
    12- 81.4%
    undergrad- vit vellore, it, 7.6/10
    I graduated n 2014, worked till 2014 end and quit my job as I wanted to get into a better company. However after 2-3 interviews didn’t work out, i gave up and now have 2 years of work gap(2015-2016). I pulled myself up and started working as a data analyst in a startup in pune from 2017-july 2018. changed my job to work as a data analyst in another us based fintech startup in hyderabad from aug2018-nov2019. quit my job in nov 2019 and started working as a business analyst with an upcoming e-commerce company in blore from jan 2020.
    I do not have big brand names, I have work gap, average grades, but i want go for mba now, as i feel i am ready to give my 100% to it. but, with an average profile, I am confused whether to go for 2 year pgdm or 1 year mba from isb, after writing gmat.
    It is already may and I am kind of late, for any prep, but what would you suggest me to do. mba or gmat? are iims and isb still possible? even good b-schools other than iims or isb?
    also its been 6 years since my graduation but only 3-4 years as work exp. where is my profile more suited? Kindly help!

    • Neha, the issues would certainly take a toll on your overall candidature. While the gap is one thing, the too many job changes will make it tough to present a coherent story.

      A better strategy might be to first develop a stable career trajectory for a few years, and then go for MBA.

  2. Hello. I’m a B-tech, CSE undergraduate from SRM Institute of Science & Technology, class of 2020. My percentages are :
    UG – 90.54% / 8.7 CGPA
    XII – 76.46%
    X – 9.4 CGPA / 88.8%

    I’m confused in deciding whether to pursue an MBA from India or Abroad.
    I am planning to pursue either of them after 4-5 years. Meanwhile, I want to mould myself and plan out my career. The thing is, even though I have read a lot of articles, and read various perspectives, I’m unable to decide how to proceed further. How hard is it to get a job after completing an MBA outside India, in the UK, USA or Europe in general? I gave GMAT practice test off the cuff and I got a scaled score of 650, without preparation. So I’m confident of securing a 730 or so, with adequate study and practice. I am also aware of building my resume, volunteering experiences, social work, hobby etc. I have read and understood that within the next 4-5 years, I’ve to mould myself in the best way possible. But after all that is it worth spending 1.5 cr and studying abroad, and having to search for jobs? What all one must do or remember while searching for jobs? I always thought that being a GEM, giving CAT and getting a 99%ile is still not worth the effort because getting into IIM A, B, C or ISB, etc is nearly impossible. Is the effort+cost coefficient better for CAT and MBA in India or GMAT and a top 20-40 MBA school?

    I hope these questions weren’t unclear or just amateur, hope to see a reply soon.

  3. helo sir am soumya.
    working as a electrical eng.on merchant navy.frm last 4 years.
    i have done my 10th(55%) diploma in electronics and communication eng(65%) and btech60%) in ece.
    am 28 yrs old.
    am looking for mba frm abroad with a good school.
    how can i start and frm where.i want a change on my carrer.can you please help me.

  4. Good morning sir,
    Sir actually I am pursuing right now and I am planning to go to Usa for my Phd. Since it is a 3 year course rather than a 4 year one hence some universities don’t accept it. Is it possible to get admission if I do a one year Pg diploma course in clinical research instead of a Masters degree. The diploma course in research will not only give me a in depth understanding of researches but will also save my year. I therefore request you to resolve my query. It would be very helpful. And also since I will have ample of time during my final year of graduation and I am thinking of doing the diploma course side my side will it be valid in USA.

    • Bhawna, this varies from school to school. The best way to asses this is to directly check with your target PhD programs, as to whether they accept such a diploma. Always get an official word on it, before taking a decision.


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