Vikas Kaushal

First Attempt

I can say without a doubt that Crackverbal and Arun were a big part of why I was able to succeed on the GMAT and most of what Arun said during class came back to me during the exam to help pick the right choice many times.


Please give us a background on your educational qualifications till now and what your professional background was before you applied to ISB?

I had done a B.E. from Delhi College of Engineering, after that my work experience was largely tech based. I was in Infosys for 1 year and 5 years with Adobe and the last job was with VM ware in Bangalore.

So you had quite a lot of experience before applying then?

Yes almost 7.5 years

How did you return to studying? What was your plan like?

It wasn’t easy I took the GMAT 3 times; the last one was when I took help from CrackVerbal that is when I scored the highest. I gave my GMAT in August last year.

What was the difference between the final time and the previous 2 attempts? How did it get to a 700+?

Verbal was difficult. I chatted with Vijay and Arun and told them verbal was my weak area. I knew I had to work on verbal because quant was not a problem. I knew I had to specifically work on verbal. Verbal prep the last 2 times was good, but at the time of the exam verbal didn’t click. So I thought I will start with verbal prep as I felt the practice exams in my prep is what was lacking.

After your exam, how did you go about preparing the rest of the profile? Because the essays and videos are also important.

I gave it in August 2012. I didn’t apply in Round 1 as I was busy with some office work, so I couldn’t make the Round 1 deadline. Round 2 I took help from CrackVerbal for the essays and was sent the brainstorming sheet, and then I discussed it with my mentor.  It went through a couple of iterations. For the video I made the script and got it reviewed once again. So that was the difference.
The other thing was I didn’t apply to any other college. I only applied to ISB as the US colleges had their Rounds 2 or 3 in process and it was too late. The only other college I applied to was NUS.

After 7.5 years of work ex in the industry and especially in the tech side, what inspired you to do an MBA at this stage of your career?

It is majorly influenced by the next level of opportunities. I wanted to get into Product Management. In my current role it was more of coding and an individual contribution role. I worked as a member but I wanted to lead those things which organically being in the company it would take longer to happen. So I thought it would be good to get into an MBA and get into Product Management.

So you looked at ISB because of it being in the IT hub of India?

Yes, because I wanted to stay in the Indian tech centre. The USA is not as good as ISB, as the companies and profiles I wanted only come to ISB. That is why I targeted ISB.

What was the interview like? Was it a stress interview?

I had a 3 member panel, it was on a Sunday so it was pretty relaxed and being in Bangalore going there wasn’t a problem. The first question was – being an Indian IT male, you’re the most common profile, what can you bring to the class? How your goals are different and what you did to achieve those goals? You have to distinguish yourself so I spoke of the work which I had done with some start-ups in Product Management while at these (employers’) companies. I explained it and they asked for details. Probably they got convinced which is why I’m going there.They also asked me – why an MBA and why now?
When I mentioned Product Management, they asked for details of the profile. They said you are a Product Manager, hypothetically, you have these tasks, and how will you do it? They asked me to come up with some features say for a Gmail or Google search or an Android phone. They asked for 3 new features for 3 new IT products. That was on the spot thinking which they were trying to test.

It is very interesting!

Yes, those were the 2 major questions which took most of the time. Lots of questions on my current Cloud and Virtualization role at VM ware which they asked me to explain in lay man terms. They also asked me – what caused the shift to happen? Why is everyone talking about Cloud?
The lady then asked me what sports I play and what my hobbies are. I said Basket Ball, so they asked what level have I played. I had written about video editing software which was my work at Adobe which I had worked on for 5 years. Film editing, script writing too were mentioned by me. So they asked me to what extent I knew them. It was my interest so I had read about it and I could answer well.
There was one moment when they asked me a certain question and they said not to give obvious reasons. So I gave them other reasons. I thought I got the question wrong. That was one pressure situation where you doubt yourself about whether you got the question wrong. So I summarized it and finally gave them an answer. I was confused and wondered if they were trying to intentionally do this to test me.

Once you’re done with your ISB what do you see yourself doing next?

I would love to get into Google or Microsoft or Amazon in a Product Management role.

I think that clarity of vision helps you somewhere?

Yes it does although in the interview I mentioned how I would like to make a video editing product on Cloud which is still a dream. Yes, one year down the line I’d like to have a job and 2-3 years down the line I would like to try this product.