Sankalp Damani

Can you introduce about yourself?

Hi, I’m Sankalp. I gave my GMAT in September 2016 and I scored 730, post which I applied to a few business schools – the top tier and middle tier business schools. I have got an admit in Michigan Ross.

 

Can you tell us about your work profile?

I graduated from IIT Bombay in 2013 and started my career in consulting with EY, post which I moved to Boston Consulting Group (BCG). I worked there for a year, took a break and worked with a FinTech startup based in Bangalore over a year and moved back to BCG. So, I have a cumulative experience of five years and will be joining Michigan Ross this year.

 

What advice would you offer to aspirants planning for MBA?

GMAT was not in my plan initially. I thought of doing MBA very late. That’s probably one advice I would like to give MBA aspirants: plan your career in advance. Plan for your MBA and start working towards it right when you are in college. I planned to do MBA only a couple of years ago when I was with a startup. There were things I did to make my profile more attractive – I wanted to pursue consulting at a better firm, I did some social work on the side, I’d written the GMAT once before, so I rewrote the GMAT to get a better score. So there were a few twists that I had to sort out for my MBA profile. From an MBA standpoint, you should be doing this well in advance so that you’re doing these things for a consistent amount of time so that when you show your story to an MBA board, you can say that you are passionate about something and you have been doing it for a long time.

 

What do you think the B-schools will be expecting from a candidate?

From the talent standpoint, I think it was very difficult to understand what these business schools want. You want to tailor your profile to suit their requirements, but there’s only so much you can do. Eventually, you have to present what you want to do in life and do the best in whatever you are doing because if you try and tailor your profile towards every business school, you are not going to end up doing something you like.

The biggest challenge I faced was not being able to understand what the business schools wanted. Only when I started researching about them and talking to people did I understand the level of preparation that is required, which I realized that I hadn’t done beforehand, so I started working towards it in a short period of time. Another challenge I faced is that it is a long and tedious process – preparing for GMAT, thinking about the essay story that works best for you, and bringing all your personal and professional elements in order for that particular story. Bringing everything in one tune is a challenging aspect, but if you have your story in place in advance, you can weave your career to fit the story.

 

Tell us about your overall Application experience.

Last year, I only applied to the business schools like Wharton, Kellogg and MIT Sloan, keeping rankings in mind. Unfortunately, I did not make it to these schools, primarily for two reasons – I hadn’t done much research about these schools and my story was not coherent. So, in the next year, I applied to a mix of middle- and top-tier schools. I realized as long as I can get to my intended goals, a middle-tier school is also good enough, and my story became much more understandable. My initial storyline was centred around entrepreneurship, which is very difficult to do in the US – but I hadn’t given that a lot of thought. So the second time around, I looked at the logical storyline that I can come up with and I built my story around that. My story was around coming back to consulting, and more B-Schools have 30-40% placements in that so I guess it rung well with them.

 

What prompted you to come to CrackVerbal?

When I started planning to do MBA and essays that were required, I was completely blank. I did not know what to write, no matter how much I discussed it with my friends. That is when I thought of taking help from a consultancy. I spoke to a lot of consultancies from India and the US. I consciously chose an Indian consultant as they can deal with you much better than international consultants. Since I was in Bangalore and CrackVerbal was also in Bangalore, I approached them. They sounded good and had a good history of placing students in top-tier business schools. So, CrackVerbal was a natural choice for me. I also took help from my friends outside of CrackVerbal. CrackVerval helped me come up with a sensible storyline.

 

What did you like about the team at CrackVerbal?

Arun Jagannathan is very comfortable and easy to deal with. He understands your context really well and understands what you want. He helps to bring out your best and does not try and change your story and bring out something that is not natural. That’s something I liked about him and working with him.

 

How are you planning to manage your finances?

There are multiple options, but the most common practice is to take a loan from Prodigy finance.

 

What is your suggestion to MBA aspirants regarding interviews?

My suggestion is, plan your profile well ahead of your application. Your application may be a one-year process, but preparing for your application is a 4-5 year process. Start preparing it in advance, building your profile, bringing out the leadership aspect in you. Do not hesitate to take help because MBA is a big investment in terms of money as well as time. Build your profile in such a way that you can go to Harvard or Stanford, but do not be disheartened if you do not end up there because all other schools in the top 50 are also good.

  • November, 6th, 2018
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Saurabh Gupta

  • November, 6th, 2018
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Vivek Saurabh

Can you tell us something about yourself?

Hi! My name is Vivek Saurav. I took my GMAT in 2015 in the month of August and scored 630. I was in a dilemma whether to apply for it again or not. I worked in Bosch for six years and currently I’m working in Harman International as a senior software engineer supervising a team of twelve engineers.
 
 

What made your take up the GMAT?

When we were in college, we saw our seniors do MBA after their engineering, which inspired us. I even joined a GMAT coaching institute in my third year, but when I got a job, the idea fell back and I decided to continue with my job. When I met Arun Jagannathan of CrackVerbal through a free webinar session, the way he spoke was very inspiring for me. So, I took the course for GMAT and I scored 630. I was hesitating to apply to colleges but I did it anyway. Currently, I have admit from three colleges – University of Pittsburgh, Purdue University, and William and Mary School of Business.
 
The first issue is the time gap between when I took the exam and when I applied to colleges, and it’s not even a great GMAT score. The perception among students is that if your score is not over 700, whatever you are going to invest may not give you returns. That was the fear in me, but after exploring a lot online and discussing with many people, I came to know that GMAT is not the only deciding factor. It also depends on your application and how you have portrayed your real story. There were small achievements while I was in college or at work that I was not sure of including in my story. After I visited CrackVerbal and met Shivaranjani, I had a brainstorming session, which was the best part. She asked me about each and every small achievement that I did not find great, but she put them across and made a beautiful essay out of it. I wrote an essay for around 2000 words and she edited it, shrunk it to around 250 words, retaining whatever I told her. That was the reason I got calls from five colleges out of six applications.
 
 

What advice would you like to give to the aspirants during the interview?

You can’t know what the person is going to ask you. My only advice is during the interview be true to yourself and be honest with the interviewer. Also, do some research about the schools. Interviewers want to know how interested you are in the program and they want to see how useful you will be to them as an alumnus. So it’s important to explore about the school, too.
 
 

How are you going to manage paying the fees?

The savings I have done from my earnings for the last few years will not be enough to manage the fees and other expenses. So, I’m getting support from my dad. In addition, I’m going for education loan that covers a major chunk of it. Also, the college I am going to join, Katz Business School, has offered me a scholarship of 50%. So, I have to arrange the other 50% by my savings and education loan.
 
 

How did CrackVerbal help you?

I can clearly say that CrackVerbal is not money-oriented. I have been to multiple institutions before so I can say this: many institutes have a set pattern that they want you to think according to. But hats off to Arun’s teaching and communication skills. I haven’t scored a lot but I did learn a lot. It has exceptional faculty members and other staff who are always ready to help you. Initially, I had doubts about paying such a huge amount only to apply to three colleges but when I was going through the process, I realised you get your money’s worth. They know things about what to put in, in ways you would never think about on your own. Srilekha took the mock interviews and gave me real-time feedback, the interviews were very similar to the real interviews I went through.
 
 

What advice would you like to give to the aspirants taking the GMAT test?

Arun always used to say follow only the official material while practicing questions. With CrackVerbal, you already have thousands of practice questions that are official questions. They have a very good collection of official questions that train your mind on how to sole on the actual exam day. People think that if we solve the difficult questions, then the easier questions will be like a piece of cake, but GMAT is not like that because when you are solving a question, the system knows how your behavior will be for the next question. Just solve the official questions, it will help.
 
 

What made you choose to do MBA?

The reason I chose to do MBA is to bridge the gap between what I am right now and what I want to become.

  • November, 6th, 2018
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Akshat Khanna

Can you tell us about your background please?

I graduated in 2013 from the College of Engineering, Pune, with a degree in electrical engineering. I got a job at Oracle in Bangalore. My parents were also in Bangalore at that point; they are still are in Bangalore. For me, it was a no-brainer, I thought “This is a fantastic job for me, I get to stay home. I’m going to take this job.” I looked at the financial benefits and decided this is the job I’m going to do. Within a year, in the middle of 2014, my parents said, “Why don’t you get an MBA?” They said they’d pay for my GMAT classes so why don’t I just go attend the classes, so I enrolled for the CrackVerbal classroom program at the Infantry Road center. I attended four classes and ended up quitting because I didn’t have that inherent motivation. Arun talked about having a strong “why” and I didn’t have that “why”. Whatever my parents said, it didn’t work. In the end, I fell into the drudgery of an IT job. I put on a lot of weight, became unfit, unhealthy. I used to play a lot of football in college, so one day, it just hit me. So, I bought a cycle and decided to use that to commute to work, which was 3km away. In the beginning, I stopped twice on the way, because I was not able to breathe, just covering that 3km on that cycle. This is something that is worrying for me, so I said, forget MBA, forget everything else, let me just get my health in order first.
 
What started as an exercise, just for the sake of getting fit, eventually grew into a passion. In 2016, I ended up in racing at the nationals. The entire journey I went through in these two years was fantastic. Not only did it help me get my life back on track but also gave me a lot of direction in terms of what I wanted to do with my career. After Oracle, by the end of 2014, I joined a cycling startup. I was the head of ecommerce there. It became India’s largest online cycling company. Then, I established my own startup in the performance apparel and wearable tech space, which was in place for two years and recently, the IP part and the entire supply chain got acquired by a business in Mumbai. So, that has been my professional journey.
 
 

What made you decide on taking up the GMAT?

Sometime in the beginning of 2017, when my company finished one year of operation, I started having difficulties scaling it up. Upto one point it is fine when you learn from mistakes. As people say, when you start a company, you learn from mistakes and keep growing, but after you enter the big league, those mistakes are just not allowed. That is when I felt I needed an MBA and that became my “why”. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to attend classes because work was pretty hectic, so, I enrolled for the online course at CrackVerbal. Because I had such a strong why, this time I was able to stick to the study plan which they prescribed to the T. Over a period of two months, I got done with my preparation and appeared for my GMAT for the first time. I got a pretty decent score.
 
When it comes to the GMAT, if you ask me what worked for me, I can say I just stuck to the study plan they had prescribed. A lot of times, you have that inclination to go and refer to the external study material or go and enroll for another four or five tests because all your friends are doing it, but I didn’t do it. I thought of just adhering to this study plan and it worked out well.
 
 

Any comments for students preparing to take the GMAT?

During the GMAT, I would say, don’t get too flustered when you get a question or two wrong. I’ll give you a personal example. I entered the test center and my AWA was fine and IR was okay, but I had done better in the mock tests. This started playing in my mind. So, I went outside, just washed my face and when I got back to the test for quant, I realized that I was two minutes late. When I started the test, I think the first question was a simple profit and loss question, but I still ended up struggling with it. And then you get into the trap of trying to predict: is this a 650-level question or 680 or 700-level question? Before that could become a catastrophe for me, I decided to focus on the question and take one question at a time and gave the GMAT. It worked well and I got a decent score in the first attempt.
 
 

What are the challenges you faced in the application processes?

One thing that I had done was, I overestimated the amount of effort that it takes to take the GMAT and underestimated the amount of effort that the applications would actually require. I got in touch with Arun and took his help to get done with my application for all the B-schools that I wanted to apply to and the first school that we decided was Kellogg. I happily looked at the leadership essay question I got and I wrote the essay. I felt quite confident about it, so I gave it to my dad. He did not give any immediate response, but I could gauge from his reaction that my essay was not working. When I got on a call with Arun to discuss the essay, there were a lot of changes. He literally changed the essay; he changed the story. My story was wrong, forget the grammar or adherence to word limit. It was evident that I was not focusing on the topic and that is when I realized that the entire process of filling the application is much more taxing than the GMAT preparation. I would suggest not to leave it for later. Start thinking about your “why” right now. It might help you later on when you are filling out the application.
 
 

Which business school did you finally choose and why?

I ended up applying to four US schools and one Canadian school. In the process of applying to different schools one by one, I became confident, especially since my GMAT score was good. One of the most difficult parts was the waiting I had to do to hear from the schools. After a long wait, I got an admit from Rotman and then I did not bother about applying for any other schools in round 2 because when I researched about Rotman as an MBA program, my “why” actually helped me decide that this school will be the right fit for me. What I like about Rotman is they have a creative destruction lab and an in-house incubator, which is one of Canada’s biggest tech incubators right now. As an entrepreneur, this got me excited. They also have a self development lab that focuses on developing its students’ soft skills. That’s not just a single semester course that you do, it goes on throughout the two years of your MBA program. I have been interacting with my peers since a while about how life is going to be in Toronto and I feel like I’ll get to learn a lot from my peers, which makes me even more confident about my choice.

  • November, 6th, 2018
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Sudeepta Sahu

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Mansha Sharma

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Akshay Phadke

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Samvit Roy

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Adithya Pandanda

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Rituparna Srinivas

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Swetha Vasu

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Anudeep Pandem

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Kaushal Vyas

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Subhankar Das

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Vishnu Nair

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Swati Kathuriya

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Aditya Shibrady

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Shaivya Singh Rathore

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Sriram Vepuri

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Tavleen Kaur

When did you take your GRE?

I took my GRE in September 2017 and I scored 320 – 165 in quant and 155 in verbal.
 
 

Can you tell us something about your background?

I did my engineering from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 2014 with a CG of 8.6. After that, I worked at Infosys for one year and three months in a TAC project with Juniper Network Security. My profile was that of a Technical Assistance Centre Engineer; I used to help customers in fixing their networks which Juniper firewalls deployed. Then, I joined Cisco as a TAC engineer and I am currently working on their firewall and firepower self-defence devices. Around July, I joined CrackVerbal to prepare for my GRE. I had a great experience with them. I took my GRE on 18th September and on 25th September, I took my TOEFL exam. I scored 104 in TOEFL and 320 in my GRE. I have a total work experience of 3.5 years and my CG is 8.06. I don’t have any published work as of now but I will, soon.
 
 

What made you take up the GRE?

I always wanted to pursue my masters. Initially I thought of doing it in India, but after I started working in Infosys and speaking to my friends in India and the USA, I figured out that an M. Tech from India will not give way for great opportunities. Also, when I was working in Cisco, I realized that there are a lot of things that I’d want to get into more depth in, like doing research. It’s always great to work in a company like Cisco, networking geniuses work in Cisco. But to get into research, it’s important to pursue Master’s. That’s when I decided to take up GRE. Initially, I thought of preparing by myself, but while I was preparing, I always had a time issue because, after coming back from work, I used to be tired and say let me postpone it for tomorrow and I was not focused much. That is when I decided to join an institute because I’ll have a fixed syllabus and I thought somebody with sufficient experience will be able to guide me through and I joined CrackVerbal. Since I’m an engineering student, I always thought Quant will not be that difficult – not a cakewalk, but relatively easier. I thought verbal would be a little difficult, because I do read, but not that much. GRE English is not something that you come across in everyday usage. I attended the demo class by Manoj at CrackVerbal. He is an amazing teacher.
 
 

How did CrackVerbal help you?

I think one of the biggest problems for GRE students in the verbal section, probably, is reading comprehension. Manoj was so clear and concise about the way he taught us to deal with this, he explained how it is not necessary to read the entire passage. He showed us which parts to focus on. That was massively helpful. One thing I really liked is that CrackVerbal is very structured. I joined a weekday batch because I thought I’d come back from office and do it. But CrackVerbal is very flexible. The classes were from 2 to 5, so I informed Prateek that I wouldn’t be able to make it at 2 – so he shifted the entire batch by half an hour! I think that was a very sweet gesture. And yes, the classes are very structured. For example, for one week, we only do RC. On the first day, Manoj gives us the context, second day we do questions, and on the third day, you can discuss and come up with your own questions and solve the workbook. If you miss a class, you can book a session and watch the video for that class and catch up with the others in the class. That’s a great added option. Plus, you can attend the same class at another centre according to my convenience. They have amazing faculty for both verbal and quant. I have friends who joined other coaching centres, they have a class strength of 100-odd people and they can barely interact with the faculty. Our CrackVerbal batch had around 20-25 candidates. We had Aditya for Quant and Manoj for Verbal. Both the tutors gave individual attention and made sure that you are sure about something before moving on to the next concept. I think it is very important to get personal attention. If you concentrate properly, you don’t even have to go back home and revise it.
 
 

What advice would you like to give for the aspirants?

You should practice as many questions as possible. I think you should keep in mind that time is a very important factor. It’s not important that you get two hundred questions, but what is important is how much time you are taking for those two hundred questions. Similarly, it is not important that you are able to solve all the five questions in your RC, but how much time you take for each reading comprehension. So, initially, you should practice just for accuracy, but when you think your accuracy is good, you should focus more on time because GRE is more of a time game. You have to solve 20 very difficult questions in 35 minutes. Always time your preparation. Take a lot of practice tests and don’t pause your practice test, ever. Sit through the test exactly like a 3 hour GRE test would be. Then you will have a fair idea of what you will be going through on the actual exam day. After the tests, make sure you go through every question where you went wrong. Definitely take the two ETS practice tests by GRE because they are very similar to the final test. Also, do practice the first writing section (AWA) that a lot of students miss. I did not score well in that test, I got 3.5. I applied to a university that had a cut off of 4. So, I did regret for that and thought I should have practiced more on that. At CrackVerbal, Manoj took time for that as well, we had two classes on AWA. So yeah, that is important.

  • October, 31st, 2018
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Lakshya Sharma

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Aarabi Madhavan

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Raghavan Ravi

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Priyanka Sondur

When did you give your GRE?

I gave my GRE in 2017 in the month of September and scored 324. I got an admit in Schulich School of Business, which is a part of York University in Toronto.
 
 

Can you tell us about your background?

My background is in economics. I did my bachelor in economics, mathematics, and statistics and in 2011, I did my masters in econometrics, post which I joined TCS BaNCS as a market researcher and strategist for their pre-sales team. With CrackVerbal’s worksheets, study plans and forums and all of that, I was able to put in the hours, be dedicated about it, do the homework that was given and really motivate and push myself to study for it.
 
 

How did CrackVerbal help you?

Regardless of your educational background and how confident you feel, a place like CrackVerbal will instil dedication and focus. You can be smart but honestly, dedication and focus is all you need. The nice thing about CrackVerbal is that they gave a lot of tips and tricks to crack the exam, which I may not have realized if I was studying on my own. I would have probably solved a particular question without, say, eliminating choices, because it is hardwired in my mind to do a particular question in a particular way. It’s not about learning how to do time and distance problems or anything like that, it’s about really knowing how to crack it in the most efficient way possible. CrackVerbal helps you do that.
 
 

What advice would you give other aspirants?

I’d say whether you score 720 in your GMAT practice tests or 310 in your GRE, I think a course like CrackVerbal’s will be very helpful.

  • October, 31st, 2018
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Mohnish Prasanna

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Nikhil Raina

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Shilpa Shenoy

Can you introduce yourself please?

Hi! My name is Shilpa Shenoy and I work for Cisco Systems in the supply chain operations division. I graduated with an engineering degree in 2015 and have been working with Cisco for the past three years. I gave the GRE twice actually, once in October 2017 and the second time in November 2017.
 
 

What made you think of taking up the GRE?

At Cisco, I’m part of the supplier chain operations division and I manage the daily operations for the software that Cisco delivers. I have a vendor management team and I lead the level 1 and level 2 teams that look after the software delivery to make our customer experience hassle-free. This became a catalyst for me to apply and do my masters and I just finished my application processes and I’m back to working now.
 
 

How did you balance your work and GRE course?

So, the entire process of giving the GRE, filling out the applications – I think takes a considerable amount of time and we need to make sure that we devote that time for this application process. My schedule at work was quite busy where in I used to be at work until 6 and then I come back home and have conference calls and meetings in the night but I realized I have to make a few compromises to get what I eventually wanted. So, I made a few changes in my daily schedule. The first two months, studying for GRE itself required a considerable amount of time every day. So, I worked around my meetings and changed my work schedule so that I would devote at least three hours every day for GRE.
 
 

How did CrackVerbal help you?

Another aspect I can think of which I had to change around would be when I signed up for CrackVerbal I think finding the suitable option for me I had only a month between my first and the second attempt. During that month is when CrackVerbal helped me. There were a lot of options like classes, personal tutoring and so on, I think finding the right one that suited my schedule would work and what I was looking for because attending classes everyday between 2-5 is not a feasible option for me. So, personal tutoring kind of helped there.
 
 

How did you know about CrackVerbal?

I heard about CrackVerbal from a friend of mine who I work with. She was also in a similar situation. She had a lot more time, so she went for the classes and I decided to choose personal tutoring and what I liked about CrackVerbal, especially with the personal tutoring, was that they were extremely flexible with what I wanted and they catered it to my needs. Aditya, who was my maths tutor, was also like my academic advisor as well. So, he managed my English and maths sessions in spite of being my maths tutor. I like it quite a bit. Another aspect that helped me prepare well for my GRE was that the tutors made sure they prepared me with harder, GMAT level questions, so that when I’m actually appearing for the GRE exam, I would find the GRE level a little easier in the exam.
 
 

Can you tell us about your experience in the application process?

The GRE is your first step to your application, but I think doesn’t end there. Even after the GRE is done, I spent about a month, writing my statement of purpose. Depending on the college the essays vary. I wrote two essays, three essays… and it went on for quite some time. I think I was writing essays for two months. Getting the letter of recommendation from work or college, all that took some time and after two months I was glad to be done with the entire application process.
 
 

What advice would you like to give for the aspirants?

One advice I would give is that I think there is a lot of application materials and training materials, a lot of advice that people give out – it can get a little overwhelming. So, you need to decide what works best for you, because everyone is different, right? For example, I realized that personal tutoring and in-person classes worked best for me, so, although a lot of people said, “online classes are good, you should be able to do it,” I gave that a shot, but I realized that personal tutoring and in person classes works best for me. So, I decided to go with my instinct. That’s how I succeeded.

  • October, 31st, 2018
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Adithya Pandanda

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Ramprasad Venkataramanan

What was your score for the first time?

I got 720 in the first attempt and then I got 750. For the first time, I prepared on my own, but for the kind of score I was targeting, I thought I could use a better GMAT score and I’m capable of getting a better score.
 
 

Can you tell us something about your background?

I’m basically an engineer, graduated from NIT Suratkal in 2012. Subsequently, I joined EY in the operations consulting role and slowly shifted into strategy consulting. I still work with EY as a management consultant. It has been five years now.
 
 

What motivated you to do MBA via GMAT?

I was always keen to do an MBA because I felt more inclined towards the business aspect than any of the technical roles that I had encountered through my engineering. I had done some technical internships and I also had a chance to intern with EY. I realized that I’m more inclined to the business aspects of work. I had the idea, then, that I should probably do an MBA. Just generally talking to people, I realized I wanted to get more perspectives because what I have seen is, typically, in Indian MBA programs, you can join IIM as a fresher. That was one of the options I was considering. So, I even gave my CAT, but the reason I decided to wait and look at doing an MBA abroad is the access to perspectives and the diversity you get is unparalleled when you compare it to the Indian MBA programs. Even if you look at the top programs like IIM and ISB, a lot of Indians, unfortunately, have a similar background – engineering – and I’m one of them. I did feel that going outside will give a better perspective in terms of people from other areas and other countries. I also had a long term goal of working for a multinational company and I felt, from that perspective, working abroad for a few years will help develop my profile further and prepare for future jobs in that kind of role much better than an Indian MBA would. And obviously, once that’s decided, GMAT is a mandatory requirement.
 
 

Could you tell us about the challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?

I initially studied on my own and gave the GMAT a shot. The number one challenge is getting back to the studying mode because the first time I gave the GMAT test I had worked for about three and a half years and trust me, getting back to spending time studying really does take something. You basically forget a lot of things and the entire practice of studying goes out of your system. I think that was one big challenge. I think it is very important to get the fundamentals right when it comes to GMAT. The first time around, while I knew the formulae and went through the questions and understood the GMAT format, I think there were a couple of key things missing, which helped me do better the second time. One of the main things is to actually look at GMAT as a pure test of common sense and logic. I think the mentality a lot of Indian students have is they tend to look at formulae and solving specific types of questions, hoping that you’re prepared for similar questions. In GMAT, you have to go back to the first principles and think about common sense and logic more than just formulae. Secondly, I think you need to be mentally and physically prepared for it.
 
 

What kind of research did you do prior to coming to CrackVerbal?

My research might not have been as extensive as others’ research because I knew a couple of people who attended CrackVerbal who gave me some good feedback. I did enquire about two other institutions. I attended a couple of trial classes, one by Aditya and the other by Arun and I was impressed with Aditya’s approach in solving maths. Engineers mostly think that we are good at maths, but I think his whole approach in understanding GMAT was lacking in my approach before and Arun’s method of conducting the verbal classes made my decision simpler.
 
 

How do you think CrackVerbal helped you?

I think it should not be too much of a challenge for people who have a strong academic background to get a score of 680, 700, or 720 if they just put in the work. Getting that 30-40 point increment above that, I think that’s where external coaching can help you. From that perspective – going back to basics and looking at a whole new approach to solving GMAT problems, especially in quant, which I was exposed to through Aditya at CrackVerbal, I think that really made a big difference to my score. At the end of the day, my verbal score improved by two points, but again, from 39 to 41 is a sizeable jump.
 
 

What can you say about the support team, apart from the faculty?

I interacted with Likkesh and Prateek and both were very supportive. They took a lot of effort – I had a special situation where I was retaking the exam after 9-10 months and at 720 I was in two minds. So even though I’d forgotten some things, I was very keen to prep for a month and immediately take the exam again. In terms of customising the classes to crunch everything down to 3-4 weeks and cover all the topics, I got a lot of support from the team to that end. They even scheduled the mocks, gave me access to faculty whenever needed, even followed up with me after my GMAT. They enabled me to take full advantage of the faculty and resources at my disposal.
 
 

What are your future plans and how are you going about preparing for it?

CrackVerbal helped me with my applications as well. I’ve already gotten into ESADE in Barcelona and I’m waitlisted at Johnson Cornell. I have also applied for a couple of more colleges in the second round.
 
 

Could you elaborate on the services as far as the application services are concerned?

I worked personally with Arun for three or four colleges. There was great one-on-one support and I got timely access and quality feedback from Arun. Everything was customised to the story that I wanted to pitch and I got support for the specific colleges I wanted to apply to. CrackVerbal helped me narrow down my choice from numerous options to the ones that were best for what I wanted. They really considered all possible aspects from geographical location, class size, to companies known to recruit heavily from certain universities. It was very comprehensive.
 
 

What advice would you like to give for the aspirants planning to do GMAT or wanting to study abroad?

The only advice I would give is think about the right school to take full advantage of the MBA experience. Just speaking to students from colleges I wanted to be in gave me great insights and helped me make my choice. The opportunities provided by top universities abroad are enormous. This is one of the most important decisions of your life. Don’t get caught up only in your GMAT prep, take the time to talk to students and figure out your best fit.

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Ashwin Balivada

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Sushiksha Shetty

How much did you score in your GMAT test?

I scored 770.
 
 

That is an impressive score. Was it the first time you took the test?

No. It was a second attempt. Although I did fairly well the first time, I scored 710 but I felt I could do much better. That made me take the test the second time and it worked out.
 
 

Great! That’s quite an achievement. Can you tell me something about your background?

I actually studied mechanical engineering and after that I started working in a data analytics firm and up until very recently, I was with them. I’ve just started an internship at an asset management company in Mumbai. Besides, I have cleared Level 2 of the CFA Exam.
 

Could you tell me about the preparations you went through and the challenges that you faced?

Yeah, in terms of preparation, I think I stuck to the official guide, that is the OG for Quant and Verbal, and CrackVerbal’s Guides and advanced documents that Crackverbal had given. Even the instructors mentioned that it is better to stick to two-three sources. I agree with that. More than the questions you deal with, I think what you take back from the questions is more important.
 

How did you hear about CrackVerbal?

I had actually gone to CrackVerbal about four years ago. While I was doing my engineering, I was contemplating applying for the 2+2 or YLP, one of those programs. At that time, I had heard about CrackVerbal online, visited CrackVerbal offices and attended a couple of programs but decided not to do that and instead give it a few years. So this time, it was just a matter of calling them back because the experience was really good.
 
 

How do you think CrackVerbal actually helped you?

First of all, the instructors are really good, not just in terms of how they manage to break it down and really understand how a student would approach studying the whole thing, but also in terms of the strategies. I think the time hacks – the more you start doing mock tests and reaching the fag end of your preparation, you start realizing how important the strategies they give are. All the time-saving strategies add up together. That was a major difference point. One more thing is how ready the instructors are to make as much time as you want. No matter how many doubts I’ve had, I’ve always gotten the help I need on email as well as in person. Everyone is really supportive. I’m not the only one, there are so many students – so, the time they make is really appreciated.
 
 

Can you point out one specific feature that interested you or you liked in the entire course?

One thing that I really, really liked – this actually happened after the classes when I was taking all the mock tests. There was literally a phase where I’d take a mock test, I would come out and then whatever I didn’t get right, I would sit and discuss with Aditya, the quant instructor. He would explain to me everything that went wrong. It was a kind of instant feedback that really helped me a lot.
 
 

What would you say about the support provided by the team, apart from the instructors?

I have interacted with Likkesh and Prateek. They helped in mock-test scheduling and arranging classes that I missed. Divya responded to my emails promptly. All of them were approachable.
 
 

What are your future plans?

Firstly, I’m hoping to hear from some college.* Besides that, like I said, I’ve just started this internship which will keep me busy for a few months. This is in the asset management field, so for me, it is a shift into the career path that I always see for myself.
 
 

What advice would you like to give for the aspirants?

I think more important than the number of questions that you do is the takeaways that you get. On the exam day, be calm and confident; don’t try to do a lot of questions before the exam and make sure you’re in a good headspace when you’re walking in. And don’t underestimate your hunger, carry a snack along! Don’t worry if you feel like you’re getting too many easy questions during the exam.
 
 
*Update: Sushiksha is now studying at Saïd Business School of the Oxford University.

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