First Attempt: No
Tell us a bit about your GMAT journey.
I graduated in 2008 as a mechanical engineer. Soon after that, I joined Forbes Marshall and worked with them on a sales profile for 1.5 years. I dealt with product engineering, project management, and R&D. Later, I applied for an opening in the UK and moved there as part of an internship opportunity the company provided. Soon after that, I moved with them to the Delhi office. I finally moved to Bangalore and worked with another manufacturing company for 2 years where I had client facing roles and decided to apply to ISB while I was working there. I have a total of 6.5 years work experience in the manufacturing sector.
What motivated you to do an MBA after a purely technical background?
I had to attend meetings with senior officials in my office and we often discussed how to deal with customers, how to sell products etc. I never understood the financial part of the conversations we had. When you’re working in a technical role, you’re limited to that role. You don’t understand the bottom line of what the company exactly wants. I knew I was doing my part well. I only needed to understand the business context of my role. I always felt I lacked something in terms of knowledge about elements of marketing or sales. When I’m in the organization, I should be able to contribute more. Especially since I was taking up client servicing roles, I began to understand the importance of an MBA.
How was your GMAT Preparation?
The hardest for me was Verbal. I started preparing on my own the first time and didn’t do that well. A colleague who had taken classes at CrackVerbal suggested it to me. I took Verbal classes and the techniques which they taught were really good. The key is practice obviously. But when you’re working, it’s quite difficult. I normally read books so my reading pace is fast. But even those who don’t read would find the strategies helpful. I gave the test and got a 620.
How did you balance GMAT studies with work?
Like I mentioned earlier, it was quite difficult. I used to try and solve questions during breaks and practice whenever I got time. I made sure I didn’t just follow any site. I stuck to GMAT specific sites like beattheGMAT, GMATClub to practice. Make sure you prepare using these GMAT- specific websites or you could take a wrong turn down the GMAT road! It took me at least a year to complete my GMAT journey, from starting self-prep, to giving my first attempt to enrolling for classes and giving it the second time. It’s a long process, but you’ve got to hold on!
What were the schools you applied to?
Since I had more than 5 years of work experience, I applied to IIM-A PGPX, IIM-C PGPX and ISB. I wasn’t looking at options abroad since I wanted to stay in India.
How did you go about your application process?
I had already penned down my story but I needed help in sending the message across clearly. Limiting it to 200 words was a challenge. It was a gamble between content and conditions. I had a lot of stories to tell in my essays but found it difficult to structure it in such a way that only the key messages stood out. CrackVerbal helped me with that.
What made you stand out in your essay?
I did a lot of research on the B-schools I was applying to and spoke to other students to get a better idea. I feel you must put down your learning from your experience and show how the situation helped you propel forward in life. Just because you have an interesting story to tell, don’t put it down in your essay. Unless you’ve had some learning experience out of it, it doesn’t make sense.
How was your interview experience with ISB?
Given the education system in India, a lot of people aspire for an MBA and you must be able to convince the Adcom as to why you want to do an MBA. You should have your goals lined up- at least for the next 5 years. During the interview, stress situations were created. Whatever I spoke about, was ripped apart. Questions that were asked were ‘out of the box’. You need to keep calm and answer. It’s not always about the right answer. How you think and frame your answer is more important than the answer in itself.
How was your experience with CrackVerbal?
Even though classes were taken on the weekends, I longed to attend them The classes were really good. I loved the way the strategies were taught on CR. I also got advice on MBA options from CrackVerbal which helped me decide better. For applications, CrackVerbal helped me put the key messages for my essay in place to present it in the best possible manner.
What would you like to say to other GMAT Aspirants out there?
A low GMAT score does not guarantee a reject and a high GMAT score doesn’t guarantee an admit either. In your professional career, if you haven’t done anything extraordinary, do something different than your colleagues or there’ll be nothing to put on your application. If you have a 760 on the GMAT but haven’t done anything differently in your professional career, you could still have a problem getting an admit. Your GMAT score has no link to how you perform in life and stand out. Your story can be personal- perhaps a motivation or a passion- it doesn’t necessarily have to be professional. But at the end of the day, you must have a story to tell!