MBA Interviews – Everything you need to know!

MBA Interviews
Reading Time: 19 minutes

So you’ve received that MBA interview shortlist you were eagerly awaiting for? Congratulations! 

If you’ve come this far, it means that the B-school is considering you very seriously indeed for admission.
In the words of Wharton Admissions Director JJ Cutler – “We’re not looking for reasons to deny someone; we’re looking for reasons to admit someone.”
The biggest question on your mind right now should be- ‘How can I ensure that I give the best interview of my life?’
We’ve compiled this guide to MBA interviews from many years of working with diverse interview candidates applying to top B-schools all over the world.
This article is categorized into six chapters, for easy reading.
(I) Interview Format
(II) What B-School Interviewers look for
(III) Cardinal Sins of an Interview
(IV) Preparing for your Interview
(V) What to do on Interview Day
(VI) Commonly asked MBA Interview Questions
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(I) Interview Format

B-school interviews come in all shapes and sizes. Let us discuss the various types of interviews you may face. With respect to the amount of prior information the interviewer/ interview panel has about you, there are two kinds of interviews:

(a) Blind Interviews

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In a blind interview, such as those conducted at Kellogg, Duke and Tuck, the interviewer does not have access to your essays. This makes the interview very  open-ended. This can be either an advantage or a  limitation, depending on how you look at it.
a. The advantage is that you have greater control  over the direction of your interview, if you word  your answers carefully. In a blind interview, the  interviewer is trying to figure out who you are, and  is likely to ask open-ended questions such as ‘tell me  about yourself’. This kind of question makes it easier to speak about the things you want to.
b .The flipside is that, with very little context, the interviewer comes with no preconceived notion about you. You start from square one, so to speak. All the accomplishments and opinions that you carefully worded in the essays cease to matter, because your interviewer hasn’t read them. You have to be on your toes to portray a comprehensive and impressive picture of yourself.

(b) Comprehensive interviews

Girl looking at a plant through a magnifying glass

In a comprehensive interview, such as those conducted at Harvard, ISB and LBS, your interviewer has access to your application. Again, this comes with its pros and cons.
a. What is good about this kind of interview is that a strong application means that the interviewer is likely to have an unconscious positive bias towards you, even if to a small degree. One more positive is that at least some questions are likely to come from what you have already written about yourself- which is your comfort zone.
b. The other side of the coin is that you are likely to be probed much further about what you have written, which means that you have to be very prepared indeed! You need to add further value to what you have already said in your essays and resume- this will require deeper introspection on your part. With this understanding of blind and comprehensive interviews in mind, let us look at the common interview formats B-school aspirant’s face.

(1) In-person Interview  with  the AdCom

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This is an interview with the AdCom member, either on the B-school campus, on in your city/ country. Some schools that follow this approach are Harvard and MIT Sloan. The advantage of this format is that you get to present yourself directly to the person with the most influence in the decision process. These interviews are likely to be comprehensive interviews, where the interviewer has prior knowledge of your application.

(2) In-person Interview with Alumnus or Student

Manager shaking the hand of a customer
This is a one-on-one interview with an alumnus (at any place – could even be a coffee shop) or student (on campus). Some schools that follow this approach are INSEAD, Oxford and Kellogg. This could work to your advantage since the interview is likely to be more informal and relaxed, especially if you can strike an interpersonal connect with your interviewer.
The limitation is that there is an additional link in the communication between you and the AdCom, which may cause a gap in understanding. However, do not worry unduly about this because AdComs choose students and alumni they trust will give an accurate representation of the interview.

(3) Phone or Skype Interview with Adcom, Alumnus or Student

Hispanic woman working in home office

Most schools follow this approach in cases where an in-person interview is not feasible. It may be more difficult to showcase your personality in a skype interview- however, if you are able to strike a connection over this medium, it can make a huge positive impression! This is because most corporate teams of this age are cross-cultural, and being comfortable with such media is a very necessary skill to possess in the business world of today.

(4) Panel Interviews

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This is an in-person interview where you will face multiple interviewers. Your interview panel can comprise a mix of Adcom members, students, faculty and alumni. The advantage to this mode of interview is that your success does not hinge on the connect you strike with one individual, and that the decision is likely to be more holistic. The difficulty is that you need to prepare yourself to engage with all panelists and to be quick on your feet and answer questions from two or three people instead of one. Indian schools such as the ISB and the IIMs follow this interview format.


(II) What B-School Interviewers look for in you


(1) Authenticity

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Until you walk into the interview room, the only thing the AdCom knows about your personality is what you conveyed through your essays. Now, they are trying to figure out the person behind the essays. Do you really mean what you said? Are you for real?
»What can you do?
Soak up your essays! Internalize them. Get your story right. Also, allow the AdCom to see you as a person, not a cardboard cut-out of the ideal B-school candidate. Be frank about your strengths as well as your failings. However, a word of caution here. There are weaknesses it is best not to bring up in an interview- for example, if you’re actually confused about what you want to do after an MBA, it might be best not to bring that up in conversation 🙂

(2) Communication Skills

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You may have aced the essays with impactful sentences and a heartfelt tone, but can you speak well too? One of the primary skills of a B-school graduate and leader is excellent articulation. So if you can speak clearly and with confidence, you are going to earn yourself a lot of brownie points.
»What can you do?
Speaking well is an art developed over many years, so don’t worry if you do not feel like a communication guru yet. However, there are simple, actionable tips you can work on. For one, pace your conversation well. Do not be too rushed. If you find yourself fumbling for words, just slow down, appear thoughtful and take a sip of water or tell your interviewer that you need a minute to think. Plan your opening line and your finishing line. Even following a few such tips will reap rich benefits with respect to the quality of your interview.

(3) Creative Thinking

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Can you think under stress? If you do not know the answer to a question, how do you think and what do you say? As you know, professional life is full of sticky situations where you may not have the answers and still have to plough your way through a situation or a conversation. This is the reason why your interviewers might ask you tricky questions that require creative thinking (or curveballs, in interview lingo).
»What can you do?
Practice! Have your friends conduct mock interviews with difficult interview questions. Just exercise your thinking muscles regularly in the weeks or days leading up to the interview, and you would definitely have done yourself a favor!

(4) Clarity of Goals

Human brain function grunge with gears

To a panelist, one of the most attractive things about a candidate is his/her goal clarity.
Can you articulate your goals in specific detail, and back it with data when required?
Can you give a realistic plan of how you are going to achieve your goals?
Do you know your target industry/ function well enough to answer basic questions about it?
The answers to these questions are crucial.Answering these questions in a half-baked way, without adequate conviction, could kill your interview. ‘I don’t know what management consultants do, but I’m sure I can figure it out at B-school’, is not an acceptable answer.
»What can you do?
Be prepared to answer detailed questions about your post-MBA goals. Research on the web, connect with people on LinkedIn- do whatever it takes to gain more clarity about your post-MBA goals.

(5) Leadership and Team Orientation

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‘This is almost too obvious- but probably the two most important qualities that you will need as a professional climbing up the ladder, are how you lead and how you function in a team. Hence, these are definitely traits that the AdCom is evaluating you on.
»What can you do?
Prepare extensively for questions about leadership and teamwork. Also, while you prepare for other questions, reflect on what your answers are indirectly saying about your ability to lead and work in a team.

(6) Confidence

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Your confidence is a parameter that is going to permeate and influence your entire interview and the rest of your career, for that matter. Actually, make that confidence and self-belief- because the interviewer is on the lookout for not just how you portray yourself in front of other people, but how you competent you feel on the inside (a very smart interviewer can get a sense of this).
»What can you do?
If you have a naturally confident persona, great! Just be wary of not appearing over-confident. If your confidence could do with some extra help, you can read the following sections for hacks to present the most confident version of yourself.
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(III) Cardinal sins of an Interview


(1) Trying too hard or too little

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While it is good to think through your answers and evaluate the potential impact they will have on the panel, there is such a thing as taking it too far. If you are trying to give ‘ideal’ answers to every question, rest assured that the interview panel will see through you. After all, they’ve done this more times that you can count. Show your unique personality, your strengths and weaknesses- do not be a cookie-cutter MBA applicant, saying only what you perceive as the ‘right’ things.
On the other end of the spectrum lies the mistake of appearing as though you don’t care if you get in or not. B-schools are looking for people who are genuinely committed to getting in. If the message you’re communicating is that you can take it or leave it. You may find yourself in a situation where you don’t have that choice!

(2) Appearing over-confident or under-confident

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You have to display a confidence level that is in the right range. Don’t go overboard and brag too much- it is difficult to work with, or even like somebody, who has too high an opinion of themselves. On the other hand, a B-school interview is not the place for unnecessary humility either. If you do not showcase what you have done and what you plan to do, nobody else can. What you have to aim for is a quiet confidence that speaks for itself!

(3) Not doing your research enough


This is a crucial point. You cannot go in with half-baked information about your goals, post-MBA industry or the B-school itself. You can cause a lot of damage to an otherwise great interview with your ignorance on crucial points about your goals and career., over-prepare! The aura of confidence and assurance that comes from really knowing your intent and subject thoroughly is unbeatable.


(IV) Preparing for your Interview


(1) Decide what to wear

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They say that it takes only 7 seconds for somebody to arrive at a first impression about you. Think about it- just 7 brief seconds! How much you communicate to the interview panel in these 7 seconds is crucial- and the clothes you wear speak very loudly in these initial few moments. Make your wardrobe selection as early as possible- preferably, as soon as you have the interview letter in your inbox.
For men, whether you’re applying to an Indian School or a US School, the attire remains the same- Suit up! And make sure your suit is dry-cleaned and wrinkle free, well ahead of time. For women, if it’s an Indian school you are applying to, either Indian formals (such as a crisp cotton salwar) or western formals ( a formal skirt/pant, shirt and jacket) should do. For international B-schools, do as they do and stick to western formals.

(2) Practice with Diverse Questions and Interviewers

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Prepare from a wide breadth of interview questions. To start with, you can refer our common interview questions section at the end of this e-book. Also, try and get more than one interviewer to conduct mock interviews for you, so that you can get a holistic perspective. If feasible, video-tape your interview so that you can observe your body language and make necessary corrections.

(3) Sort out the Logistics

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Make sure that you anticipate and sort out any logistical issue you may face on interview day. For a Skype interview, this could mean ensuring that your internet connection is fine and ensuring that you have a backup laptop/phone and a backup internet connection (such as a data card).
For a coffee-chat interview with an alumnus, this could mean acquainting yourself with the location of the coffee-place, and maybe even trying a dry-run with a mock interviewer at the same location. For an in-person interview with the AdCom, this could mean visiting the school a day in advance and familiarizing yourself with the topography of the school.

(4) Decide how you are going to open and close the interview

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Know that every interview is likely to have atleast a few curveballs that are thrown at you – especially if you have performed reasonably well, and the panel is looking to decide if you’re a ‘good’ fit or a ‘great’ fit for their college. How do you prepare for these tricky questions? For starters, conduct an interview in your head. Ask yourself tough questions and write down the answers.
Ask your friends to each come up with one very tricky interview question, and try to answer those.It may not be very likely that you will get the same questions on the actual interview, but your mind will be better able to confront a difficult question, with all this practice. You can read our section on tricky questions here.

(5) Prepare for the tricky ones

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Know that every interview is likely to have atleast a few curveballs that are thrown at you – especially if you have performed reasonably well, and the panel is looking to decide if you’re a ‘good’ fit or a ‘great’ fit for their college. How do you prepare for these tricky questions? For starters, conduct an interview in your head. Ask yourself tough questions and write down the answers.
Ask your friends to each come up with one very tricky interview question, and try to answer those. It may not be very likely that you will get the same questions on the actual interview, but your mind will be better able to confront a difficult question, with all this practice. You can read our section on tricky questions here.
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(V) What to do on Interview Day


(1) Visualize Success

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On the day of the interview, wake up early, eat well and keep yourself hydrated. Get to the venue early and try this exercise in visualization.
1. Think of an incident in your life that you are very proud of.
2. Picture yourself in that moment, with all the joyous, powerful sensations coursing through you.
3. Do this a few times before you enter the interview room, so that you are in the best frame of mind to tackle your interview challenge!

(2) Smile a lot

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A pleasant demeanor and a smiling face will have a powerful effect on the tone of your interview. This is because of the ‘mirroring effect’- during a conversation, we unconsciously mirror the expressions of the other person. As difficult as it seems, do this even if you are in the middle of a stress interview, with an interviewer who looks uninterested, bored or irritated. If you maintain a positive presence throughout the interview, you can actually ‘de-stress’ a stress interview.

(3) Stay Calm

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You do not have to be the Buddha, or Master Shifu, while attending an interview. Some amount of stress is ok, and even good for your interview, since it will help you be alert and on your toes. If you feel yourself freaking out in the middle of an interview, the best advice we can give you, at the risk of sounding obvious, is to take a few (not-very-obvious) deep breaths, and sip some water.
If you have been asked a question and have temporarily blanked out, it is perfectly ok to tell the interviewer that you need a minute to think about the answer. Recite your favorite calming-down mantra, and give the question your best shot.

(4) Ask the Right Questions

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A special note here- when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, please refrain from asking when you will be notified of the results, though that may be uppermost on your mind 🙂 Ask thoughtful questions, for which you cannot find the answers elsewhere.
For example, you can ask the alumnus what he/ she enjoyed the most about B-school, or in what area his/her learning curve improved dramatically.

(5) Strike a Conversational tone

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Think of a B-school interview not as a quiz, but as a conversation with your interviewers. This means paying attention to all of the below points –
1. During the early minutes of the interview, try to establish a rapport with a little small talk.
2. Make eye contact consistently during the interview.
3. If you’re not clear about what the interviewer is asking, ask for a clarification.
4. If you are not clear about what of atmosphere you need to create, imagine the entire interview as though it were a conversation with a friendly manager at work ( in other words, be friendly, but not too informal).

(6) Write a Thank-you Note

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Well, you’ve given your interview your best shot! What can you do now to improve your chances? The last arrow in your quiver is the thank you note. Write a simple, heartfelt note to your interviewer, expressing your thanks. You can briefly touch upon something memorable from the interview that you appreciated. Close the note with a statement to the purpose of how excited you are at the prospect of joining their MBA program. Keep your note brief- a few paragraphs at most. Now, sit back and wait for your results! 🙂


(VI) Commonly asked MBA Interview Questions


(1) The Basic Questions

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The below questions are what we would call the fundamental, ground-level questions you can expect in a B-School interview. In other words, it would be madness to enter an interview unprepared for any of these questions 🙂 We recommend that you start your interview preparation with this bunch of questions.
1. Could you walk me through your resume?
2. Why MBA?
3. Why do the MBA now?
4. Why our school?
5. What are your short term/ long term post-MBA career goals?
6. What are your 3 greatest strengths?
7. What are your 2 greatest weaknesses?
8. What do you think will be the biggest concern of the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application?
9. Do you have any questions for me?

(2) Academic Experience

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1. What was the most rewarding aspect of your undergraduate experience?
2. What are you most proud of about your undergraduate period?
3. Why did you select this undergraduate major? Would you have changed your decision today?
4. To what do you attribute your strong academic performance?
5. In which campus activities did you participate? What did you learn or gain from this involvement?
6. Have you ever dropped a class? Why?
7. Which college classes did you like the best/ least? Why?
8. Do you think you received a good education?
9. Do your grades accurately reflect your ability?
10. Were you financially responsible for part or all of your college education?

(3) Work Experience

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1. Describe your work experience (in general or with specific employers).
2. What did you find most frustrating at work?
3. What kinds of changes would you make at your work if you could?
4. Do you have any opportunity for innovative thinking?
5. Could you describe an incident where you disagreed with a superior? How was this settled?
6. What aspect of your job do you most enjoy? Why?
7. Of what accomplishment at work are you most proud?
8. If I ask your manager what he/ she values in you, what will he/ she say?
9. What problems have you solved in your previous positions?
10. What have you disliked in your job with employer X?
11. What are some recent responsibilities you have taken on?
12. What do you think it is about yourself that enabled you to earn achievement?
13. Describe a typical workday.

(4) Career Path

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1. Why did you leave job A for job B?
2. What will you do if you are not accepted to any of the MBA programs you applied to?
3. What will you do if you are not accepted to our MBA program?
4. Why did you choose to do X?
5. Describe your ideal job after completing the MBA.
6. How does your education or work experience relate to your career goals?
7. Don’t you think that your career path has been a little disjoint?
8. If you do not bag a job in the area you like, what would you do next?

(5) Leadership and Teamwork

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1. Give me two examples where you demonstrated leadership.
2. How would others describe your leadership style?
3. What do you think is the right way to get things done through others?
4. What would you do if a team member wasn’t pulling his own weight?
5. What qualities should a successful manager possess?
6. Could you name someone you view as a strong leader? Why?
7. Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own?
8. Give me an example of your teamwork experience.
9. Do you prefer large or small companies? Why?
10. What kinds of people do you enjoy working with?
11. What kinds of people frustrate you?
12. What kind of people struggle to work with you?

(6) Introspective/ Personal

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1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Have you ever done any volunteer work? What was it?
3. Were your extracurricular activities worth the time you put into them? What have they taught you?
4. What do you like doing outside of work?
5. Tell me about something in your life you would have done differently if you had the opportunity.
6. What 3 adjectives would others use to describe you?
7. Can you recall a creative/ innovative activity of yours outside work?
8. Tell me about a time you took a risk and what the experience was like.
9. If you were to establish a set of values and beliefs on which to build a business, what would they be?
10. What do success and failure mean to you?
11. Tell me about a time in which you failed.
12 How do you make big decisions?
13. What would you like to change about yourself?
14. Discuss any experience you have had abroad.
15. Describe a life experience that had a strong impact on you?
16. What do you get passionate about?
17. Do you get bored or feel stagnated? How do you resolve boredom?
18. What is one thing you want to convey as your interview comes to an end?

(7) Behavioral/ Situational

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1. In dealing with a customer, think of your most difficult situation and tell me how you handled it.
2. Give an example of a case when you felt your boss made a bad decision and explain how you would have handled it differently.
3. Describe a time when you had to bend the rules a little in order to accomplish a goal.
4. Describe a situation where many different things had to get done at once and how you handled it.
5. Describe a disagreement you had with your boss. What did he say? What did you say?
6. Describe a major problem you have faced on the job and how you handled it.

(8) The MBA Progam

Opus College of Business

1. What are you looking for in our program?
2. What can you contribute to your class?
3. Why do you think you would enjoy your chosen area of study?
4. What clubs are you considering joining?
5. It’s two years after graduation, what three words would your MBA team members use to describe you?
6. Which other B-schools are you applying to?
7. If you got into our B-school and B-school ‘X’, which one would you go to and why?

(9) Curve Balls

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1. What is the most interesting conversation you have had this week?
2. Explain something to me as if I were an eight-year-old.
3. Tell me something you want to start doing, something you want to do more of, and something you want to do less of.
4. What is the one thing I would have never guessed about you, even after reading your application?
5. Assume you’re a cell phone salesman and I’m a goat herder in Spain. How would you convince me I need to buy one of your cell phones?
6. See that paperclip on the table? Sell it to me.
7. What is the worst thing you’ve heard about joining our B-school
8. How many truck tires are there in the United States?
9. How would you evaluate me as an interviewer?
10. Why are manhole covers round?

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The Do’s and Dont’s of Financing your MBA

Reading Time: 4 minutes


If you’re reading this, you’ve either got an admit to a B-school or you’re considering applying to one. Either way, good for you. This post is to help you on financing your MBA.
An MBA will, most probably, be the costliest acquisition you will make in the next ten years. Hence, it pays to do your homework and get things right.

Things to budget:


1. Tuition

The average tuition for a two-year MBA program exceeds $60,000. If you attend one of the top business schools in the U.S., you can expect to pay as much as $100,000 or more in tuition and fees. Obviously, this number will be lower for one-year programs.

2. Books and Supplies

Includes course material, laptops (some schools such as NUS, mention configurations), and stationery.

3. Food

If you can cook, good for you; but budget for cost of supplies and time constraints, which might force you to dine out.

4. Personal and Health

Personal items, including your clothing and other necessary supplies, such as toiletries and utensils. Health Insurance is mandatory. Check with the schools on their policies.

5. Housing

Depending on location and type of accommodation, this could be a significant cost.

6. Transportation

Budget for daily transport and necessary overseas tours or trips.

7. Entertainment

B-school can be grueling and a timely break will prevent burnouts. Also, considering you will be living in that country for some years, it is a good idea to immerse yourself in the culture and experience life as a native.

8. Cushion

Always wise to budget about 5-10% of the overall budget for unexpected costs.
Websites like Numbeo and Living Wage can give you a fair indication about the cost of living.
We would advise you to connect with alumni of the respective schools to get a more pragmatic picture of the same.

Reducing your costs:


1. Scholarships / Fellowships

Most schools offer scholarships based on need and merit. Do check out your eligibility for these opportunities. The chances of availing fee-waivers are indirectly proportional to the ranking of the B-school. For instance, if you have a GMAT of 690 and the average GMAT at your target school is 650, you stand a higher chance to get an admit and a scholarship at this school.. Duke Fuqua is one of the rare top 10 B-schools that regularly gives 100% fee-waivers to international students.
Chicago Booth and Stanford GSB also offer substantial India-centric scholarships. But, the number of such scholarships doled out is very small and the bar to land them is quite high. So have realistic expectations from B-school scholarships when you plan your MBA finances.
Watch out for:
– Government initiatives
– Private Endowments (For instance, the ArcelorMittal Scholarship awarded to Kellogg students who show a potential and interest in working in emerging economies.)
– Research Organizations’scholarships
– India Centric Scholarships: For example, the Reliance Scholarship, which offers 5 full scholarships for Indian students going to Stanford on condition that they return to India after two years of working abroad to contribute to the development of the country; The scholarships offered by the Tobaccowala Foundation of India to Indian students at Chicago Booth etc.

2. Research and Teaching Assistantships

Paid teaching and/or research assistantships are available each academic year in most B-schools. This is a unique opportunity to make some extra money while also getting the opportunity to work with some of the school’s pioneering faculty members as they develop cutting-edge research and breakthrough industry innovations.
However, most courses are rigorous and may not leave much time for part-time work on campus.

3. Company Sponsorships

Some companies, especially Fortune 100 corporations, assume partial or the entire cost of an MBA program (assuming one earns satisfactory grades). This is an ideal situation for many professionals. But, of course, it might entail working for the company for a stipulated period of time post-MBA. So if your goal is to continue working for the same organization after your MBA, try to get your employers to sponsor you. 🙂

Student Loans

The bulk of your MBA costs would be financed through student loans. Although RBI has directed banks to facilitate financial assistance for students pursuing studies abroad the eligibility for these loans varies depending on the bank.
Some parameters on which to evaluate a bank loan are:

1. Interest rates

Interest rates vary depending on the bank’s benchmark prime lending rate (PLR).
Some B-schools have affiliations with international banks, which might offer cheaper interest rates.

2. Collateral required

Most banks will ask you for some kind of a collateral. If you are joining a top B-school, this requirement might be waived. Credila, a subsidiary of HDFC, is a specialist in educational loans and is open to funding up to 80% of your cost.
For US-based B-schools, the popular option is to go for co-signor backed loans. i.e. a guardian in the US will guarantee that if you can’t pay the loan back, he will. So now would be a good time to get back in touch with your rich relative in the US!

3. Repayment schedule

Generally, repayment is in the form of equated monthly installments (EMIs) and commences one year after completion of course or six months after securing a job, whichever is earlier. The repayment tenure can be from 5 to 7 years.
See FAQ, here
See country specific options here


Although the cost may appear to be staggering, investing in an MBA will serve you well for 20-30 years of your professional life. The key element to bear in mind is ROI.
Start your research today to make an informed decision!
Are you still wondering if you can get into a top B-School this year? Let us help you!
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What Do B-schools Look for When They Interview You? – The 3 C’s

MBA Interviews
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to this week’s edition of Wednesday Wisdom and one question that I’m going to be answering today is – What do B-schools really look for when they are trying to interview you? This is the time when a lot of people who have sent in their applications, would have started receiving their interview calls.

So remember these 3 things whenever you think of an interview :

A. Content 

Does this person know what he is talking about? Make sure you go through each and every thing that you have written in your application. Make sure that you have a good idea – for example if you say that you want to get into Finance, post MBA, then pretty much you should be able to answer questions such as,
“What do you think will happen if the interest rates were to go up?” or,
“Why do you think the Rupee slipped against the Dollar?”.
So these are the things that you need to know. If you say Product Management they could ask you questions, again not very theoretical questions but things like,
“Tell me a product feature that you like in say Google.” or
“Tell me a product company that you think has a very bright future.”
They want to make sure that you know your stuff.

B. Communication

Second thing apart from content is communication. How well are you able to express your ideas. You want to focus on body language, you want to focus on tone, clarity, clarity of speech and ensuring that your answer comes out as clearly, as crisply as possible. One suggestion that I have for this is please go back again to your application and prepare for some standard questions like,
“Why do you want to do an MBA?
“What brings you here?”
“Why this particular school?”
“Tell me an achievement that you are proud of?”
“Tell me what are your weaknesses?”
“What do you want to do post MBA?”
“Tell me something about yourself?”
– Typically many interviews start that way. Make sure you are very clear in your communication.

C. Clarity

When you look at clarity, they are really looking at clarity of vision and specifically looking at what you want to take away from B-school, what is it that you want in life. The tip over here is be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not. For example if they ask you what you want to do post your MBA, be very clear, say you want to get into Consulting, you need to be able to say,
“This is what I want to do.”,
“I’m very clear this is how a school such as ISB is going to help me.”,
Be genuine, don’t try to sound confused. If you don’t know something be open, say,
“I don’t know but I can hazard a guess.”
“I can still try, I can attempt this”,
but don’t try to get caught in your own tangle.
For example there are people who have mentioned adventure sports in their profile which they have attempted once, like bungee jumping. But if you have done it only once, there is only so much you can know. So you kind of start digging your own hole. Be very clear and specific in what you talk.

These are the 3 tips that I had – Content, Communication and Clarity. I hope it was useful & I hope to catch you next week.


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Financing Your MBA

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Welcome to another week of Wednesday Wisdom. Today I’m going to talk about a question that is probably bothering people even before they get started with the whole GMAT preparation. The question is – How do I finance my MBA?

Essentially if you look at it, there are about 5 basic ways in which you can sponsor yourself:

1. Loans

Those that are offered by the college through banks with whom they have exclusive tie-ups. In short if you go to ISB, you probably have a dozen nationalized banks which are waiting to give you a loan. Or if you were to go to a top school in the U.S. such as Harvard or Stanford, you definitely don’t need to worry about getting funding, i.e. getting a loan.
They usually have an exclusive tie-up. Many other schools, especially the ones which are slightly lower down the order, I would say starting rank 10 onwards, many-a-times, they don’t have such a tie-up which means they would probably be able to give you 20-30% but not the 100%. But that is the number one option, especially for a top school.

2. A loan from India

The loans from India are collateral and non-collateral. Non-collateral loans can be offered against your admission to a top B-school, but typically their cap is somewhere less than INR 10 Lakhs, maximum. But typically around 5 to 6 lakhs. If you look at collateral loans then pretty much you know the interest rates that typically work and it is going to be against property that you will mortgage. The upper limit however, could be very high depending on what is it that you have mortgaged.

3. Self Finance

This is something that a lot of people ignore. But when you look at self finance, you’re going to look at every little thing. You don’t look at just the bank account but you also look at mutual funds, provident funds, maybe gratuity. You’re looking at all the money you have invested in other places like bonds or fixed deposits. If you have a bike or a car which you sell, you can get money out of that.
If you are living in a rented house you probably have a deposit so you can get the deposit back. It could be something even as simple as liquidating an asset on OLX, it sounds stupid but really a lot of people sell off electronic stuff they have got and may not use. So you could possibly look at getting money that way.

4. Soft-Loans

Something that a lot of people do not consider. Typically you get a soft loan from friends, family and what is known as “fools”. But really you want to get a loan from someone who can lend you about 5-10 Lakhs for a couple of years and you really have your word of honour. It’s maybe an uncle in London who can give you 10 Lakhs and you can always pay him once you start working.

5. Scholarships

What happens in scholarships is that a lot schools offer scholarships but just that you cannot bank on your MBA just by scholarships. You have to be a little careful with that one. Having said that, a lot of schools which especially after the rank of 15, 20, if you have a very high GMAT score and if your profile is very good, offer substantial scholarships.
We have had students at CrackVerbal, and I’m happy if you contact us, we can share some profiles where they have got as much as 70-80% of their tuition expense waived off. Which meant that their MBA was done in maybe around 20 Lakhs. So there are scholarships, for example there is a Reliance-Stanford scholarship which offers 100% of your Stanford MBA in return of you coming back to India and working here. There are some clauses you might want to look at, but scholarships are definitely an option that you could consider.
In a nutshell, 5 things – You either get a loan from a bank that the college is tied up with. You get an Indian loan against collateral, or no collateral. Third, look at self finance. Fourth, look at soft-loans from friends and family and fifth scholarships.
Thank you and if you have any questions, feel free to comment we’ll be glad to help you. Thank you! 🙂
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Post-MBA Careers: Operations

Operations Management
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Any discussion about operations or supply chain management is incomplete without a mention of the Apple iPhone – so let’s begin with this. 🙂


An iPhone is a truly global product – its parts are manufactured in China. Its apps are designed in North America and India, and it retails in 14 countries across the globe. The secret behind this is Apple’s vast and well-managed supply chain. In fact, Apple has topped Gartner’s Supply Chain Top 25 rankings for the 6th consecutive year. The other companies that have topped this list – McDonald’s, Amazon, Unilever and Intel – belong to very different industries.


Thus, operations is one of the core functions and success pillars of any business, be it manufacturing or services. This function deals with the production and delivery of the product or service that the organization offers. The gamut of operations covers everything from the acquisition of raw materials or resources to the design and optimization of systems and processes.


Career tracks in Operations Management

This field has many interesting career tracks, where upward movement can be quite rapid if you are a strong performer. After majoring in operations, you can work either as a consultant or with the operations team of individual companies.


Operations Consulting:

As a consultant, you would work in an operations consulting firm in any of their verticals such as retail, pharma & healthcare, hi-tech or automotives. You would work with different clients, advising them on operations strategy and supply chain management. We have already discussed the scope and options in this field in our previous blog on consulting.

Operations Management

In the operations function of a particular company, you would typically start out as a manager in Purchase, Logistics or Warehouse Operations. You may work at either a single plant, or multiple plants in a single region. A starting designation could be, for instance, ‘Purchase Manager at Godrej & Boyce’ or ‘Logistics Manager at LG


Let’s take a look at each of these functions:





As a Purchase Manager you would need to gather requirements from various divisions in the company, identify and evaluate vendors, negotiate terms with them on the basis of technical and commercial considerations, procure the necessary licenses, coordinate with the finance department for payments and ensure that purchase orders are processed on time.


This involves managing the inbound and outbound movement of materials and finished goods. For instance, the transportation of raw material from suppliers to the manufacturing plant, the movement of intermediate products to the next level of processing, the transportation of finished goods to warehouses for storage and the distribution of these goods from the warehouses to the retailers. Thus, logistics managers would need to coordinate with transporters/carriers, negotiate contracts, manage costs, and ensure that transport across borders happens smoothly.

Warehouse Operations:

Involves forecasting demand & supply, managing inventory levels and flow, optimizing the utilization of space within a warehouse and managing the warehouse personnel.

Operations Management is a field where job rotation is quite frequent – so you may find yourself moving between these functions for a few years. At a mid-management level, your responsibilities may expand to include multiple plants and/or larger regions. You would also be involved in optimizing processes, improving productivity and even some process re-engineering. At a senior leadership level, you would get the opportunity to design and set up supply chain functions from scratch, formulate standards and operating procedures, and be responsible for an entire supply chain.


Operations is a good area in which to start your career if you want to enter consulting or general management at a later stage. A fine example of this is Apple CEO Tim Cook. An alumnus of Duke, he has a strong operations background and is credited with the streamlining of Apple’s supply chain.


Career Progression in Operations Management:



What Does It Take To Build A Career In Operations?

A strong understanding of different business functions and systems, and their dependencies
A flair for problem solving
An interest in technology
An aptitude for quantitative analysis.
Excellent communication and negotiation skills, since you would need to coordinate with people across functions and possibly even geographies (vendors, business partners, manufacturers, internal sales & delivery teams etc.)
Top Industries for Operations Management: High tech, pharmaceuticals, retail, automotives, manufacturing
B-schools Renowned for Operations Management: MIT Sloan, Ross, Tepper, Krannert, McCombs, UNC Kenan-Flagler
Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Finance

Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Technology

Post-MBA Careers : Finance

MBA finance
Reading Time: 6 minutes


Ayn Rand’s writings reflect Objectivist thinking, and her views on money, as expressed in her book Atlas Shrugged, are very interesting. According to Rand (and possibly other Objectivists), money is the essence of morality – in a free world, money is made only through the conduct of business, and thus, is a symbol of human achievement and progress.


Okay, so the world is not exactly riding the crest of an economic boom right now 🙂 – but this makes money management for businesses all the more important! Therefore, those of you who want to be in this business of managing money have plenty of opportunities.


So let’s look at various career tracks in finance:


1. Corporate Finance


In this role, you will be involved in making long-term and short-term monetary decisions for a business – when and what to invest in, how to finance investments (debt or equity?), how much dividend to pay to shareholders (if at all!), manage company budget, cash flow and credit etc.


Corporate finance has many divisions: financial planning & analysis (FP&A, the financial strategy department that is responsible for forecasting and managing P&L), controllership (the hardcore accounting guys), treasury (the department that manages cash flow), tax, pricing, internal audits etc.


Typical Career Progression:


Contrary to popular notions that corporate finance is a ‘back end’ role where the stars go to die, there are many interesting opportunities for growth available in this line. With a graduate degree in finance, one can join the corporate finance team as an Analyst. But to progress to higher levels, one requires either an MBA or other higher qualifications (MS in finance, CFA, CA, ICWA etc.) Finance MBAs typically angle for the CFO post in the long run by starting out in FP&A.




What Does It Take To Build A Career In Corporate Finance?

Number-crunching skills
Analytical mindset
Attention to detail
Knowledge of tools and software (especially Excel!)
Team player attitude


The Pros And Cons Of Corporate Finance


Pros: Mostly good work-life balance, little associated risk/uncertainty


Cons: The money you make in corporate finance depends, to a large extent, on the health of the company you work with.


2. Investment Banking


This is possibly the most glamorous of finance careers – and for good reason! Investment banks perform a number of functions: underwriting, raising capital for client organizations through debt and equity, facilitating mergers & acquisitions, offering financial advisory services etc. In most of these cases, the investment bank plays the role of middleman.

Investment banks are broadly categorized as bulge bracket banks and boutique banks. Bulge bracket banks are highly profitable, multinational full-service banks that serve most industries. JP Morgan, Goldmann Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays etc. are often categorized in this band. Boutique banks, on the other hand, either specialize in certain services, industries or markets.
For example, Lazard, Evercore, Gleacher etc. specialize in M&As and restructuring; Allen & Co. (media), Cowen & Co. (healthcare), Berkery Noyes (education) focus on specific industries; William Blair, Piper Jaffray, Houlihan Lokey etc. specialize in mid-sized deals and mid-sized clients.

Investment banks usually have two internal divisions, based on product and on industry. Product bankers are experts in their product (M&A, restructuring, financial advisory etc) and aid the client in executing transactions related to these products. Industry bankers work with clients from specific industries such as retail, oil & gas, automobiles, healthcare etc., and need to do more marketing activities by making pitches to prospective clients.


Typical Career Progression:


As in most finance career tracks, one can start out as an Analyst in investment banking with an undergraduate degree in finance. With an MBA from a top school and a few years of industry experience, one can reach the Associate level.




What Does It Take To Build A Career In Investment Banking?

Solid foundation in finance
Analytical skills
Problem-solving aptitude
Sales & people skills


The Pros And Cons Of Investment Banking


Pros: The money (LOTS of it!), the status & ‘I-Banker’ tag, the opportunity to work on challenging assignments with very bright colleagues


Cons: 80+ hour work weeks, work pressure, general risk/uncertainty (after 2008, I’m sure you know why!)


3. Equity Research


Equity researchers’ job is to advise investors on what stocks to invest in, by tracking monitoring companies and industries and generating reports on hold/buy/sell recommendations. Much of the work is researching information and analysing & modelling data to create these reports and make these recommendations. Senior analysts do more client and investor interaction, and less of the grunt work.


Typical Career Progression In Equity Research:




What Does It Take To Build A Career In Equity Research?

Passion for the stock markets
Strong industry knowledge
Number crunching skills
Solid research skills & attention to detail
Strong grasp of financial modelling tools


The Pros And Cons Of Equity Research


Pros: Scope for autonomy and creativity even at Associate levels, opportunities to become an expert on particular industries, chance to meet/interact with investors and senior management (at Analyst levels and above)


Cons: Long working hours; cubicle-bound work; and the analysis/modelling can become somewhat tedious at times


4. Retail & Commercial Banking

Retail and commercial banks employ the maximum number of people working in the finance sector. They offer banking services to individuals and organizations.
In a nutshell, they take deposits from one set of customers and use these to lend money to borrowers. The banks’ income comes from the difference in the interests they charge and offer. Multinational biggies in this domain include Bank of America and JP Morgan. As a retail or commercial banker, one can work in loans processing, credit analysis, branch operations management, mortgage banking, commercial cards etc.

Typical Career Path In Retail /Commercial Banking


There is no linear, clearly defined career path in retail and commercial banking. Your progression depends on where you begin and which bank you join. An MBA is not mandatory for career progression in this domain, though of course, it does help.


What Does It Take To Build A Career In Retail /Commercial Banking?

Good people skills
Communication & selling skills
Fundamentally sound in finance


The Pros And Cons Of Retail/Commercial Banking


Pros: Relatively stress-free as compared to other finance jobs, plenty of opportunities for customer interaction


Cons: The money is modest compared to investment banking, limited exit options from the domain


5. Private Equity/Venture Capital:

Both VCs and PEs invest in companies and make money by selling their equity. However, there are some differences between the two: VCs are usually more interested in promising start-ups, while PEs invest in more mature companies; VCs typically focus on technology companies whereas PEs invest in industries across the board; PEs usually hold a bigger stake in the companies they invest in, than do VCs.
This could range from very small to sizeable stakes, depending on the investment styles, policies and amounts of the companies. Typically though, VC funding is less than PE funding. Both VC and PE firms hire finance MBAs with a good bit of investment banking or equity research experience – it is very unlikely that a fresh finance MBA gets to join a VC or PE firm.

What Does It Take To Build A Career With PE/VC Firms?

Solid core finance knowledge
Specific industry expertise
Independent decision-making skills
Analytical skills


The Pros And Cons Of Working With PE/VC Firms:

The work in PE firms involves a lot of analysis, modelling, due diligence, examining financial statement etc. The work in VC firms is not so focused on numbers – there is a good bit of relationship building involved.
However, the money is much better in PE firms than in VC firms. PE firms mostly employ ex-I-Bankers, and the work atmosphere there would be similar to that in investment banks. In VC firms, you may get to work with people from diverse backgrounds – consultants, marketers, analysts etc.

Caveat Emptor For Finance Aspirants


It all sounds too good to be true, right? So here’s the catch:

Finance is one functional area that is very difficult to break into if you have 4+ years of work experience in a different industry/role, even with an MBA from a top school.
Recruiters may compare you unfavourably with someone who has been crunching numbers and making balance sheets all his life, and pick him/her over you. Even if you do manage to get a foot in the door, you would probably be starting at the bottom, and not leveraging all your years of work experience.

B-schools Renowned For Finance


Wharton, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago Booth, NYU Stern, Cornell Johnson, London Business School, ISB, IIM A



Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Sales and Marketing
Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Operations
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Post-MBA Careers: Sales and Marketing

Reading Time: 4 minutes

“The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it.” Sergio Zyman


Marketing and sales are the lifeblood of any business – no company can do without them. These are two of the most popular post-MBA career tracks and their scope is quite wide:


Sales/Business Development:



These are the ‘hunters’, the folks whose primary responsibility is to generate new business for the organization. They engage in activities ranging from lead generation to cold calls and meetings with prospects to deliver their pitch. Rapport building between the sales person and the prospect is of utmost importance in closing any deal. For the same reason, it is difficult to break into a sales/BD role in a culture or geography you are completely unfamiliar with, even if you are armed with a top MBA degree.

KRA: Business generated

Industries:All organizations, irrespective of industry and domain, have sales/BD teams.

Account Management:


Account Managers are the ‘farmers’, the folks who generate additional business from existing clients. Their key responsibilities include client engagement and identification of new ways to sell the company’s services/products to these clients. They are also responsible for understanding the clients’ requirements and tailoring the company’s offerings to suit the client’s needs.

KRAs: Client satisfaction, retention and the additional business generated from client

Industries: Technology, pharma, automobiles, manufacturing, entertainment etc.

Brand Management:


This is one of the most coveted marketing roles, mostly because of the associated glamour and money. Brand managers are responsible for increasing the brand’s customer mindshare, and for driving the brand equity and recall. Brand managers work collaboratively with people across the board: product developers, market researchers, creative agencies, internal marketing communication teams etc.

Brand managers require a minute understanding of the market their brand operates in, and of trends in customer preferences. Therefore, getting a brand management role in an entirely new geography after your MBA can be tricky unless you have an excellent track record in the area.

KRAs: Brand performance & growth

Industries: Consumer packaged goods (CPG), consumer electronics, automobile and other consumer-oriented industries.

Product Management:

Product Manager

Involves the management of the entire lifecycle of a product from conception to rollout. Therefore, unlike brand managers, product managers are more involved with designing the product features and specifications, in addition to setting deadlines for various stages of completion.

This is an interdisciplinary role that involves coordinating between the business development team and the product development team. The scope of a product manager’s work ranges from market analysis to product feature definition. A product manager is often responsible for the P&L of his/her product.

KRAs: Cost & time of product rollout, product performance & growth, product ROI

Industries: Technology

Product Marketing:

This is a more evolved form of product management. These 2 roles are not often separated in smaller companies. As the name suggests, the key responsibility of a product marketer is to act as an evangelist for the product. He/she is not involved in the product development. The scope of product marketing ranges from product strategy and positioning, pricing, driving awareness, helping buyers with information and post-launch customer interaction.

KRAs: Coverage in press/brand buzz generated, Investors’/partners’ interest/enquiry

Industries: Technology

Market Research:


Is all about finding out more about the customers and the competition, and is one of the first activities conducted before launching a new product, introducing a new channel or entering a new geography. Periodic market research is also required for companies to keep updated about the scenario in which they operate and to determine the direction they need to take.

Market research can be primary or secondary, traditional or digital, quantitative or qualitative. The work of a market researcher involves quite a bit of data analysis, trend spotting, client engagement and recommendations.

KRAs: Analytical skills, solid quantitative & qualitative research skills, attention to detail, ability to look at the big picture

Industries: While almost all industries invest in some form of market research, this is especially important for CPG and pharma companies.

B-schools Renowned For Marketing


Kellogg, Harvard, Stanford, Booth, Haas, Duke, Ross, UCLA Anderson, USC Marshall


Each marketing career track is vastly different and requires a different skill set. Even within the individual tracks, what you do would be different in different industries. For example, the work of a Sales Manager at Coal India, a B2B company, is very different from that of a Sales Manager at Coca Cola, a B2C company. So, make sure you understand where your strengths and interests lie before you make a career decision.

Read our previous blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Consulting

Read our next blog post in this 5 part series on Post MBA careers: Finance

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14 Post-MBA Career Questions that ISB Answers!

Reading Time: 9 minutes

ISB steps in again to reach out to young MBA aspirants puzzled by numerous career-related questions!

A rainy afternoon, the A/V Auditorium of St. Joseph Boys High School; A cluster of MBA aspirants and members of ISB Admissions committee.

ISB’s PGP Admissions Director – Mr. A. M. Kannan, along with Associate Director Mr. Deepak Agarwal and an ISB alumnus began with a brief introduction about hot careers in today’s market scenario, why companies prefer MBAs and how an MBA degree bridges the gap between where you are and where you want to reach faster!

Highlights of the Info Session

The typical career-path of an Indian student begins with taking competitive exams such as IIT-JEE and entering the prestigious engineering college. This is followed by joining a company, undergoing 6 months of training and finally starting work as a Java programmer!

But what happens if you feel stagnated after some years of experience and appraisals?

What if you realize that you true calling is in food, travel & hospitality, kindergarten or retail?

What if you want to break out of the cocoon of the secure techie job that you are currently in?

This is where the mad rush behind an MBA degree comes in!

Today, companies are not too bothered about what you have done in your undergraduation. What they are really interested in, is whether you are versatile and ready to try out new things and broaden your horizon to see what lies next! For instance, there are several companies offering phenomenal job opportunities across the world…in Sydney, Jakarta, Middle East, Western Europe and Latin America.

All these companies are looking for:

Youngsters with fire in their belly


Language skills

Promising career opportunities at present are:


Sales and marketing

Financial services



For instance, a new cross-functional career that is emerging is Tech Management Consulting, which is different from pure Tech Consulting. In Technology, e-commerce is a very booming career path. In Sales and Marketing B2B and B2C marketing are gaining a lot of momentum. Similarly there are ample job opportunities in supply chain, retailing, branding, product positioning, logistics and so on

Young Leaders Programme (YLP)

YLP is a Young Leaders Programme for students pursuing undergraduate degrees that are longer than 3 years and are in their pre-final year with at least one year remaining to their undergraduation. For students who have demonstrated certain capabilities, this is a great career opportunity to hone their skills, focus on their career and accelerate their professional growth. YLP provides several advantages such as:

Guaranteed Admission into the one year PGP who have graduated and completed one year and nine months of work experience

Advanced Learning and Mentoring with experienced ISB counselors

Scholarship opportunities

A great opportunity to build a network of high-achievers

To know more about YLP, click here!

Highlights from the Q&A Session!

1. What are the specialization courses at ISB? What about the salary aspect?

Currently ISB has Finance, Consulting, Strategic management, Leadership, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Global Supply Chain specializations and so on. The 4 new specializations that we have introduced recently are:Manufacturing, Healthcare, Public Policy and Education.

As far as salary is concerned, every industry has band-related salary. So, it depends upon which band you fit into. Any day, the best performer already working in that company will get more salary than you even after your MBA. Don’t go after numbers alone – believe in the median salary given in our website or in websites like Glassdoor or even Monster.[/toggle]

2. With due respect to ISB, are there any areas where you think there is scope of improvement?

Yes certainly! Firstly, we strongly believe that we need to work upon the design of the course content such as the case-studies. We generally do a detailed review of our course curriculum every 5 years and individual courses get updated each year. Our curriculum needs to be more research-based.

Secondly, as we realized the need for new specializations, we are working on the 4 new areas as mentioned earlier.

Thirdly, we need to constantly recruit and train faculty that we will be requiring down the line.

3. Is there any specialization in HR available at ISB?

No, at present neither there is any such specialization available at ISB nor we are thinking about it in the near future. The reason behind this is that there are very few applicants that approach ISB with HR background. In fact, I would say that there are better B-schools in India for those who want to pursue a career in HR.

4. Over a couple of years, I have realized that I connect with people. I like to facilitate people and make relationships better. Is there any structure to find my true calling? Shall I choose a career based on my passion (what I like doing) or what I am good at?

This is a very interesting question! Always remember one thing: Career means something that generates an economic value. Your passion cannot become your career if it does not bring in a good return on investment of your time and other resources. You need to plan for your children’s education and marriage down the line. So, choose a career accordingly.

Think for yourself what that particular career means to you? Whether it is music or being a people’s person! If still confused, find a mentor who is in a similar job or role and seek his/her advice.

Thus, my take on choosing a career is that you need to ask yourself what you are good at. Your skill sets will help you to identify a rewarding career. As far as your passion or interests are concerned, they can always become extra-curricular activities for you, so that you don’t regret letting them disappear completely from your lives.

You can refer to this book – ‘Getting Unstuck’ by Dr. Sidney B. Simon for few good exercises!

5. I have just graduated as an engineer. Any reason why should I consider an MBA?

During our admission process, we NEVER ask this question up-font to the applicants – why MBA? We word it differently, such as ‘What are your career goals?’ so that it triggers your brain and heart to think and analyze yourself better! Our only objective during the admission process is to figure out whether you are focused on your career and how well you are aware of where you are heading!

6. I have 9-10 years of experience as a chip maker. Does it make sense to do an MBA?

Once you have a good number of years of experience in a certain industry, it is generally advisable to explore a related industry and enhance your career instead of getting into a totally new one. Thus, to answer your question, an MBA in a related field will definitely widen your job prospects and vertical growth such as managing life cycle of the chip or managing the product itself or moving up to Accounts Management roles, which can be very satisfying!

See, there are three aspects to a person’s career…the Industry, Function and Role. Choose an MBA program that will help you to find a similar role in a related industry. The mantra is to shift across any one of these as a first step and then take small steps to enhance your career growth.

7. I have 3 years of experience in Technology and 4 in Food industry. I would like to know how many entrepreneurs ISB has generated in recent years?

Entrepreneurship is a very personal issue as many factors need to be considered such as finances, family and most importantly – how passionate you are about your business idea! At ISB, the number of entrepreneurs is increasing tremendously. Entrepreneurship does not necessarily happen straight out of the B-school.

It happens only when all the parameters fall into place.And this usually happens after 30s, as at this stage people are more mature, vigilant with some years of work experience. Thus, rate of success as an entrepreneur tends to be higher after 30s than before.

Many ISB alumni have entered entrepreneurship after their 30s, and are doing extremely well!

8. I am an engineer at Infosys. I am very passionate about luxury retail and would like to make a switch from engineering to luxury retail. How will ISB help me out?

Today, retail is a very promising industry with abundant career options. If you are truly passionate about luxury retail in India, you could do some internships or small projects to gain some relevant experience. There are quite a few companies who hire luxury retailers from ISB based on your skills. Thus, before you decide to get into luxury retailing, you need to think: Do you have the required skill sets for a successful career in luxury retailing? Always remember that the recruiters look at 3 aspects:

Whether you can fit into their organizational culture

Whether you can deliver efficient results every quarter

Do you have future potential?

9. I have 5 years of experience in IT. I am a developer and I am into Analytics at present. I want to get into General Management role. Would an MBA from ISB assist me to realize my dreams

In technology itself there are enough opportunities to get into General Management and manage a large number of people. In fact, IT operations are tremendously increasing in the finance sector. We all know about net banking! After your MBA, you can get into a financial sector enterprise such as ICICI, in which within 2-3 years you can reach a Program Management or Portfolio Management role.

Even a combination of skills like trade finance and analytics will give you a career boost! In a nutshell, an MBA will help you to get the ‘Ownership of a product’ within a short span of 3-4 years, which could otherwise take you as long as 8-10 years! Even retail and supply chain industries are strongly linked with analytics.

The thumb rule to choose and grow in your career is that, you require two essential traits:

Certain skill sets

A certain level of knowledge

So, if you make a shift in your role, your skill sets should match the new role you are looking forward to and gradually you can acquire the necessary knowledge.

An MBA fills this knowledge gap!

So, analytical skills + (finance/retail/marketing/operations knowledge) will help you to get a Product Management role.

10.I have 8 years of Tech experience and 1-2 years in analytics. I want to be a manager – a people’s person. Would an MBA from ISB useful to me and to what extent will I get a boost in my payscale?

Yes, an MBA from ISB will be quite useful to you! In fact, many people end up doing that, if they want to make a shift in their industry, role or function. However, when you make a shift in your role and the industry all together, your payscale after your MBA can be less, equal to or even more than your current payscale.

Because no one is going to offer you more than or even equal to an experienced professional in that particular field already working in their organization. So, whenever you are making a transition in your industry, you have to think about long-term goals, instead of your immediate payscale after graduation.

11.I have 9 years of experience as an engineer in a pure Tech domain. I would like to know how does ISB assist its students to approach the right company? And can I join the YLP programs?

At ISB, the applicants have at least 2 years of work experience in contrast to other B-schools in India. But what about a candidate with 8+ years of experience? For them we have designed a Senior Executive Club. A different panel of companies approach us to recruit people from this segment. You can find a fit with our Senior Executive Club and follow the recruitment process.

We regret to say that you are not eligible to join the YLP program as it is meant for people having far fewer years of experience. There are very few companies that offer YLPs for people having considerable years of experience.

12.I have 3 years of experience in Equity Research. What are the future prospects for me?

In the past few years finance roles have experienced a downfall like VC and Investment Banking. One of the financial areas that is doing well is Corporate Financing. In fact most of our recruitment in finance is taking place in Corporate Financing exclusively. Companies like L&T approach us for corporate financial roles.

Apart from this, there are good opportunities in Internal Strategic Consulting with firms such as Siemens, Philips, etc. Many equity consulting companies approach us for such roles. There is a great demand for professionals who can judge the ‘goodness’ of a particular loan for a financial company or bank.

13. I am into automobiles. I am not sure whether to go into Consulting or Strategic roles. How would ISB help me out with this?

Consulting is interacting with people and getting the relevant information. But Strategic roles are more broad-based. You need very strong analytical and managerial skills, a good understanding of the economic scenario, learning from other industries, and applying it successfully in strategic roles. Usually, a fresher does not get those roles immediately.

For strategic roles, the recruiters are biased towards those who have done well right from their beginning. These are dream jobs as well as very difficult and focused! Thus, you need to match your skill sets and knowledge with the demanding consulting or strategic roles and make a wise decision!

14. What if even after joining ISB, I am not able to crystallize which career to get into?

Each year ISB is blessed with a diverse classroom. So, even after joining ISB, if you aren’t able to figure out exactly which career path to get into, your classmates will be the best people to understand your strengths, weaknesses, passion and aspirations.

Secondly, at ISB, we have a very strong career counseling team of industry experts to show you the best path based on the current market scenario.

Thirdly, ISB info sessions (like this one) are very useful to clear your career-related doubts. However, always remember one thing – ultimately it will be your decision.

Need more clarity? Drop a comment and get it cleared!

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How to fund your MBA Abroad

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One of the most influential factors when you are deliberating the right MBA program for you is the cost of the program. We tend to observe that most of the students, who opt out of an foreign MBA program, tend to do so because of the expenditure involved. So, if you want to go for an MBA overseas and is worried about the costs and the way to pay it, Don’t worry we demystify some myths for you.


The actual cost of the MBA program

From my observation, whenever I have raised the issue of an MBA from an overseas university (Specifically the USA) I have been dismissed by everybody with a singular reason, it is too expensive. Given the current economic scenario and the worsening rupee, even a reasonable sum by the western standards is too expensive for applicants in India.
Let us put it in perspective by comparing the tuition rates of Harvard Business School and the per capita income of the applicant’s country.

What are the costs that we are talking about?

Here is a sample of the costs of an MBA programme from some of the best universities, just to apprise you of the costs that you might have to incur.
The USA, which is the market leader in education today, has two distinct sets of b-schools. There are the private ones and the others are the public b-schools. Public b-schools are those that are funded for and maintained by the government, while private b-schools are self-funded.
As a result, the fees charged by private b-schools tend to be substantially higher than the public b-schools, and so are the living expenses. Here are some the best private b-schools and their public counterparts.

Best Private B-schools around the world


Here is the cost incurred in some top public b-schools in the USA

How can you afford this MBA?
As you can see, the costs to be incurred here are substantial, and there needs to be a firm plan in place for funding of the same. Here we suggest three options
F-F-F (This can have two connotations)
1. Friends, Family and Father-in-law
2. Fully Funded by the Father-In-Law 🙂
2. Personal Fund
3. Bank Loans
4. Scholarships and Fellowships
If you fall in the first two categories, for all we know, you might not even be reading this post. But for categories no 3 and 4, will find this piece of information really useful.

Bank Loan

I will tell you right at the beginning that, if you want to study abroad, depending on an Indian Bank is not recommended. Reasons for it are
•The maximum allowed loan amounts for most of the banks are capped at Rs 20 Lakhs, which going by the above tables will barely suffice to cover your living expenditure, let alone your costs.
•Collateral free loans are not available. The maximum loan sanctioned by any bank, without a collateral is Rs 7.5 Lakhs
•If you get a job abroad, repayment is a big hassle and will involve transactions in foreign currencies.
Funding is not a problem as, most of the top b-schools have lines of credits or partnerships with leading financial institutions. These sanction unsigned loans, which will cover your tuition fees and living expenditure in its entirety. You will be sanctioned the loan, as soon as your admit is finalized and before you go for your visa to ensure you do not have hassles on the financial front.

Scholarships, Fellowships and Loan-Forgiveness programs

All the universities, worth its name have scholarship program. As one Wharton student put it, all the schools do charge high fees but they ensure that no student misses out on education on account of insufficient funds. There are also some external agencies who do fund deserving and meritorious students.
Amongst the Universities, Wharton has started the Loan-forgiveness program, where they pay students who choose to work in non-profit sectors upto $20,000 a year to repay their loans.
Wondering which Top University you can get into? Let us help you!
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