First Attempt: Yes
Can you tell us a little about your professional and educational background?
I completed my Mechanical Engineering from Government Engineering College, Jabalpur. Post my undergraduate, I began working with TCS where I was trained and then deputed to Japan on a project with an Investment Banking firm, within 8 months of joining the company.
I returned to India and joined Netscout Systems where I have been working since the past 3 years. I have been a part of the core development team and worked with the R&D teams as well. I have excellent technical experience.
How many years of work experience do you have in total?
Around 6.6 years.
What made you opt for an MBA?
An MBA was always on the cards. When I passed out of college and began working, I wanted to attempt the CAT but since I was working in Japan for a couple of years, that plan was dropped.
I enjoy my line of work and wanted to extend the experience. An MBA was something that would give me career progression, as I didn’t want to transition from my current nature of work. The idea evolved into pursuing an Executive MBA, which lead me to take the GMAT.
To me the focus was in taking a big leap in my career as I was happy with my role. I wasn’t someone who wanted to shift from IT to say Finance. That goal set the rest of my plans in motion.
Being in India, you have several options to choose from. You have each college offering their own entrance exams in addition to the common entrance exams, so it opens up a lot of opportunities.
How did you go about your GMAT prep?
I’m usually a firm believer of self study and went about preparing on my own initially. GMAT Quant was good for me, but I was having trouble with the verbal section. In India we tend to learn English with a sense of what sounds correct rather than from a grammatically correct perspective. During my preparation, I found that despite being able to learn the rules for verbal, I found it extremely difficult to apply them; this made solving it pretty challenging.
I did some research online and came across Arun’s profile and what I like about Arun is that he too is from a similar background as me. He too is from a strong technical background and his aim is to help students better their verbal skills – he struck a chord with me as I felt he would understand my issues completely.
The nature of CrackVerbal’s course too suited me very well, I wanted to enhance my verbal abilities as quant was manageable and I could opt for a Verbal-focused course. It was also a well organized program to suit working professionals such as myself, who want to do some amount of self study as well as better their GMAT skills. The support at CrackVerbal too was brilliant, after my short interactions with the team, I immediately felt it was just what I was looking for.
How did you manage your schedule for the GMAT preparation?
I’m a night person, so I manage to study well then. I would devote an hour, in the morning, each day to Quant and two hours in the evening for Verbal. Quant I would handle as self study and Verbal I would do the homework given during class. I would also practice every section every day.
Once I was done with the official questions, I worked on CV’s advanced documents. I would also take mock tests every week. If you don’t feel too sure of your performance then take a break.
Interact with the support team as well so you can make the most of your prep.
CrackVerbal’s regular updates on the forum helped me solve the GMAT questions quite well too. I would get an e-mail notification and immediately try and solve the questions. Though I don’t reply, it still keeps me motivated and helps me stay in the right frame of mind for the GMAT. Following the CrackVerbal blog too helps a great deal.
How did you go about the application process post your GMAT?
My primary concern was applying to Indian B-schools and I noticed a lot of the top schools like the IIMs accepted GMAT scores for their programs. Their programs are widely accepted in the industry as well. To my luck there were a couple of schools that had their deadlines around the time and I would be ready with my score card like IIM L.
I again worked with the CrackVerbal team for my essays and statements of purpose. The best part about CrackVerbal is that they tell you what the AdCom expects of you. They teach you what you need to put into your S.O.P. and help you understand how you want to represent yourself to the panel. The entire experience helps you introspect and fine tune your reasons for passionately pursuing an MBA.
The other major challenge with most Indian B-schools is the word limit. For instance IIM L had a word limit of around 200 words, it’s too short to explain all of my 6 years of work! You need to have a well thought out structure to your S.O.P.
I got my interview call from IIM L and I returned to CrackVerbal for my interview prep as well. I had a couple of great discussions with the team and I gained proper understanding of what to expect, what are the points I need to highlight, and where I should stop my answer so I can get asked the next question. So in a way it was made a bit predictable for me so I don’t land in an adverse situation. The Adcom panel’s job is to bring you down and your job is to make sure you don’t let them!
Which B-schools did you apply to?
I had applied to IIM L, IIM B & XLRI. IIM B was a part time course so I wasn’t too keen on the course. IIM L worked fast in terms of their deadlines, interviews and results. The other advantage of IIM L was it gave importance to the GMAT so that worked in my favor.
What was your interview experience like with IIM L?
To be frank, it was nothing out of the ordinary from my preparation with CrackVerbal. During my discussions with the CV team, I would come up with all the possible scenarios of questions and then would try to understand how I can answer them.
The mock interview preparation made the entire experience a predictable one for me. For instance I knew one of the first questions will be based on my experience in Japan. It turned out that one of the panel members also had some experience in Japan and so there was a common connect.
There was another panelist who asked me some stern, technical questions. I answered some 60% of it and then told him very honestly that I don’t know the rest. There was also a very polite lady who delved into my personality. She asked me about why I’m looking at an MBA though I’m already in a good role. I think they were concerned that I wouldn’t want to come to North India from Bangalore since I was well acquainted with the city at the time. Overall it went pretty well!
What aspects of your profile did you highlight?
My major focus was on why I wanted to do an MBA. One reason being career progression, the other aspect I highlighted was how I was deputed to a prestigious project within the first few months of my work. I have always been in the top 5% of my peers and I felt I had gained enough knowledge and experience to jump to the next level of my career.
I also highlighted the key aspects of the course at IIM L and how it will help me reach my goals. The course I felt, will give me international exposure despite being in India. Especially coming from the IT industry and wanting to stay in it, the course would help me a great deal.
Any specific reason why you chose to apply to Indian B-schools alone?
The main reason for choosing Indian B-schools is the cost of the course. The cost of an Indian MBA is about half of what you would have to pay abroad. The next reason was all the MBA programs which I could apply to would be two years long and I didn’t want to study for that long. I knew exactly what I wanted out of an MBA and I was focused on those aspects.
The third reason being for my profile, it would be easier for me to get an admit to an Executive MBA in India than a program abroad. The Executive MBAs abroad require candidates to have around 8 to 9 years of work experience and already be in a managerial position. Additionally, I think it’s always a dream for any Indian to be a part of the top institutes in the country. Be it an IIT or an IIM, it’s any day more prestigious than any other institute.
What advice would you like to give to future MBA aspirants?
You need to know why exactly you want to do an MBA. Whatever be the reason, it should show your passion for wanting to pursue the program. It shouldn’t be fueled by peer pressure; I believe it’s a purely personal goal which you should base on clarity of thought. It’s only then that it will reflect in your work and your profile. One must also be completely focused with the GMAT. If you are planning on taking up a course, you should devote yourself completely to it. You shouldn’t get distracted.
What was your experience with CrackVerbal like?
It was very good and completely worth the investment. Every GMAT test taker spends a lot on his entire MBA process and with an investment you also expect good returns. With CrackVerbal, they always work with the student in mind, be it anyone on the team. Even if they aren’t able to speak to you, they will make the effort to get back to you at the earliest.
The CrackVerbal team is extremely honest, they don’t give you false promises. They give you all the tools and support you need to gain a good admit. They also give you a reality check and help you understand your actual chances of an admit and not build your hopes up unnecessarily. Whatever Arun mentions in his class too works great! It’s not just with me but my batch mates at CrackVerbal too have experienced the difference his advice makes.
Even the MBA application team is very helpful. They brainstorm with you, this is vital given that you know what you have done but you aren’t sure what to highlight. With the kind of work schedules people have in Bangalore, the system that CrackVerbal has is great.
The other aspect which I love about the CrackVerbal experience is it’s all online. The support and responses are all online and you need not come down to the centre for every little thing. The support system is truly unique and extremely efficient. You can visit the centre if you wish but you can get the online support you need which is just as good. I would like to specifically mention the Crackverbal benefit for aspirants – CV now has a huge base of its students in various B-schools around the globe.
Additionally, Arun has his own contacts in B-schools and is well updated with the current performance of B-schools worldwide. This repository of contacts is something unique to CrackVerbal and not everyone can gain access to it otherwise.
The team is always helpful in reaching out to people at B-schools to answer your queries and help you decide what suites you best. Before making your final decisions for applications, interviews or anything MBA related, it’s always better to get the experts’ opinion, which I did at CrackVerbal.
The entire MBA process is a grueling one and if you lose hope at any point, CrackVerbal will help boost your morale instantly! Though they are task-masters, they mold you with the best intentions in mind. Finally I would like to add that you plan your GMAT exam well in advance if you are in Bangalore as the slots get booked pretty quickly and you might lose out.