Update from Indian School of Business

The results are in – and I’M IN.

This officially makes it 4/4. I got into all the schools I applied to. It’s a wonderful feeling! 🙂

Interview Debrief:

I’ve heard a lot of ISB interview horror stories, and I expected an interview that was a complete departure from my US bschool interviews. But it was a surprisingly candid and chilled out interview. I had 2 interviewers – one alum and an adcom and it was a Skype interview. I was asked fairly standard questions most of which centered around what I’d written in my resume. I think the interview would be very stressful indeed for people who exaggerate their achievements as they specifically asked how I arrived at the numbers I listed (in terms of revenue profits) and exactly how I achieved particular things that I’d listed.

I had my interview at 11.15AM. I got an admit email at 7PM. I must say, that’s quite the turnaround time!

Thoughts:

While I know that Kellogg and UCLA are leaps and bounds ahead of ISB in terms of rankings as well as the MBA experience, I can’t help but give it a serious thought. I intend to return to India post-MBA (in a few years) to pursue my long term goal of entrepreneurship, and ISB has a great brand name and network in India. It would also be much easier on me and my partner if I pursue a degree in India (my spouse does not intend to move to the US with me while I study) and since ISB is a 1Y program, it means that I’ll be returning to the workforce sooner. The only thing I’m not excited about when it comes to ISB is the dearth of international opportunities post-MBA and the experience of studying abroad that I’ve always craved.

While a lot of people were surprised by my decision to even attend the last-minute interview, I believe I would be remiss to dismiss the many merits of the school and not consider the above factors while making a decision about my future.

I’ll make a final decision by tomorrow and share it with y’all. Until then, Ciao! 🙂

The weirdest thing just happened…

….I received an interview call from ISB! And why is that weird? I applied in November, and decisions are due in 2 days.

I’m not sure what to make of it yet. This definitely is a (welcome?) twist – and just when I thought I’d finally made a decision!! Huh. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ll be back with another update tomorrow after my interview.

Decisions, Decisions

decisions

It’s been a while since I’ve received offers of admission to the 3 schools that I applied to. I’ve had a lot of time to consider which school I want to attend this year, and it was really tough choosing between schools that I was excited about while applying. But it’s a good place to be in and after a lot of thought (and a lot of “What if”s and back-and-forth) I’ve finally made my decision. But I don’t think I’m ready to share it with the world yet.

These are some things I considered while making my decision:

  • Brand Value of the school
  • Kellogg’s MMM program vs regular MBA
  • Scholarship money & Financial Aid
  • Strength of the school’s alumni network in India and SE Asia
  • Alumni presence and recruiting opportunities in locations and organizations of my interest
  • Fit with other accepted students, current students and alumni

I’ll expand on the above points further once I share my decision. Meanwhile, for those who are still deciding – Stacy Blackman has recently published an article on USNews about the factors to evaluate while choosing between business schools. [Caveat: This is not just a shameless plug-in since I was quoted in the article – it is genuinely a good read.]

While I’m keeping my cards close, it isn’t any less exciting for me to hear what TopDogMBA, NaijaMBAgal, Hugoness and FinanceFurry  have decided. I’m looking forward to seeing where we all end up, and I really hope we will all get a chance to meet up before joining business school.

For the others who still have their fingers crossed with R2 applications – I genuinely hope y’all hear some good news soon! 🙂

Kellogg Video Essay Questions

Most Kellogg applicants I know are intimidated and stressed out by the Video Essay component of the application that has been in play since 2013. This year, there are some changes in the video essay section as compared to last year.

1. The applicant is expected to answer 2 questions – 1 behavioural (ice-breaker) question and 1 Kellogg-specific question.

2. Less time to prepare: Last year, applicants had 1 minute to formulate an answer to the question that was asked. This year, we get 20 seconds.

3. No option to redo the essay: Once you record an answer to your video essay question, that’s it. Irrespective of it went, there is just that one chance to record your answer.

Video Essay Questions List

I have listed real video essay questions that applicants have encountered in the 2014-2015 admissions cycle.

Behavioural Questions

What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten?

What is your favorite TV show?

Tell us about your first job.

If you could teach any course, what would it be?

What is the one thing you have always wanted to try?

When did you realize you were good at your job?

What interesting or fun fact would you want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you?

[I found this blog by Piyush Jain immensely helpful while preparing for the behavioural question section – he’s listed out a ton of questions from last year as well.]

Kellogg-specific questions

Why are you applying to Kellogg?

What do you anticipate will be your contribution to the Kellogg community?

What makes you a great fit for Kellogg?

What is your favourite club at Kellogg?

Advice for applicants attempting the Video Essay section: Be yourself. Do not try and give scripted responses to the questions that are asked. It is good to be prepared so that you know what you want to talk about in the answer to each question listed above – so make sure you introspect to really know yourself. But apart from that, just be casual and confident. The adcom is not looking at the strength of your vocabulary or your oratory skills – they just want to know that you can speak in a clear, concise manner and that you can articulate your thoughts and communicate them to your classmates effectively.

It’s okay to be nervous, but remember that this is just one part of the application. It is an important part, as you get to show the admissions committee a side of you that they don’t get to see on paper. But it is just one piece of the puzzle, so relax and give it your best shot.

All the Best, and let me know how your video essays went!

My Interview with Accepted.com

It got published a few days ago, but I hadn’t gotten around to checking it out until today.

Take a look and let me know what you think! 🙂

An Indian MBA Applicant Story: Accepted to Top 3 Choices with $$$

Tepper School of Business – Interview Debrief

Aloha, amigos! And congratulations to all those people who got interview invites from Tepper! A few people wrote to me asking about my interview experience with Tepper, so I thought I should do a short debrief here.

I scheduled my Skype interview online with the Tepper adcom – MJ Wrobleski. The interview started just a few minutes late. I was freaking out when I did not get a Skype invite on the dot, so I searched for my interviewer on Skype and added her to my contact list and sent her a reminder that we have an interview scheduled. DUH.
For those with invites, I’d recommend you wait if your interview has not yet started. It could be that the previous interview ran long or the adcom might be busy with something else for a few minutes. Unless it’s WAY past interview time (15 minutes past), and you have still not received word from the adcom, you can then reach out. But otherwise, I’d say give them the benefit of doubt and keep calm. 🙂

Anyway, my interviewer was chirpy and friendly and I was at ease a few minutes into the interview. The questions I got asked were fairly standard, so you should have no surprises as long as you are prepared with the standard list of interview questions.

These are the questions that I got asked:

What are your career goals?

Why MBA?

Talk about a time you had to take an unpopular decision at work. How did it affect you and your team?

Talk about a time you motivated your team to work towards a common goal.

Talk about a time you didn’t have the skills required to do a particular job so you had to ask for help.
[I took about 30 seconds or so to think about an answer to this question, as I wasn’t prepared for this.]

Talk about a time you had to work with someone you had cultural differences with. How did you resolve these
differences?

Talk about a time you had a disagreement at work (maybe you gave an idea that was not implemented) and you had to compromise.

Why Tepper?

That was pretty much it. Overall it took just about 20 minutes to answer all the above questions.

Then we had about 5 minutes for Q&A where I asked:

  • Are there any facts you feel like prospective applicants should know about Tepper but don’t?
  • What’s it like living in Pittsburg?
  • Here are additional R1 interview experiences from candidates:

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-100.html#p1428166

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-100.html#p1429210

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-100.html#p1430780

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-100.html#p1430983

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-140.html#p1434085

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-220.html#p1449752

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-240.html#p1450609

    http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-tepper-cmu-applicants-2015-intake-class-of-173847-260.html#p1455297

    (Courtesy: AnkurGupta03)

    These links and questions were useful when I was preparing for my interview. If you have a Tepper interview coming up, I’d suggest you prepare yourself for all the questions that were asked to other applicants.

    Good luck for your interview! 🙂

    And then there was one.

    UCLA Anderson was the only other school I was waiting to hear from, and I really wanted to know if I got in before making a decision on where to attend school. I got the call last night- I’M IN!

    They were very generous with a scholarship as well! I haven’t received the official update via email yet, so I’ll wait for that before I post anything out here.

    But it’s time for me to CELEBRATE!! 😀 😀