Today it’s my pleasure to share another segment of the Beat The GMAT Exit Interview Series. Today I spoke with Arnab Ray, who has been recently admitted and will be attending the Indian School of Business (ISB).
In the video below, Arnab shares some excellent advice on how he studied for the GMAT with his demanding job; how he leveraged his friends to help edit his essays; and much more!
Here are some notes from this Beat The GMAT Exit Interview:
Who are you? Tell us about your background?
- Originally from Calcutta, India
- Did my Bachelors of Engineering in Information Technology at Jadavpu University, Calcutta
- Worked as a Consultant/Senior Consultant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers for about 2.5 years on diverse consulting assignments like healthcare, governance risk and compliance, insurance, audit, etc
- After that joined DE Shaw and worked as a Senior Member for another 2.5 years and worked in portfolio management and accounting for a Hedge fund
- In my spare time, I serve as the coordinator of a local non-profit firm called Bhumi in Hyderabad that works to empower marginalized children through education
- I have also co-founded an alumni site (http://jualumni.com) aimed at mentoring and helping current students of Jadavpur University, as well as providing a platform for alumni connection
Why an MBA?
- I want to pursue my career in strategy consulting and in the long run I want to start my own consulting and technology solution firm
- An MBA education will provide me the required skill set and opportunity to pursue my career goal
- Excellent faculty and curriculum
- Indian growth story
- One-year MBA course
- Great reputation
What do you think of Hyderabad?
- Hyderabad is known as the city of pearls and ISB is definitely the brightest pearl of Hyderabad
- The city is actually nice. The weather (except for the month of April-May) remains pleasant
- It is one the fastest growing city in India in terms of development
- Also Hyderabad cuisine is amazing!
Walk us through your GMAT prep strategy.
- Well I was not able to spend much time for GMAT preparation as my work is very demanding. And after being out of college for 5 years the biggest challenge was to get into the habit of studying in a stretch of 1 hour+
- I first figured out my weak areas for the GMAT. It turned out to be the verbal section. And I put more focus on that area
- Once I gained confidence, I started taking practice GMAT tests to get used to the exam format and also to get an understanding of how to pace my exam within the stipulated time
- The GMAT/MBA forums have also been hugely helpful
- Overall I spend around 2-3 months for GMAT preparation
How did you go about crafting your essays?
- The essays were the toughest part in the whole MBA application process and ISB essays were even tougher since you have to express what has been asked within 300 words (word limit for each essay). Each word counts and is very precious
- I first created a list of all achievements, both personal and professional, and ordered them according to their importance and impact
- Then I did my extensive research on ISB. Talking with current and former students was immensely helpful here
- Finally when I wrote the first draft of my essay I ignored the word limit but went on refining the essays in the later versions. When the essays were in pretty good shape I gave the essays for a review to two friends to solicit their opinion and feedback. Both of them have gone through the same application process and so they provided concrete and insightful feedback
What was your ISB interview experience like?
- My interview went extremely well. The interviewer mostly asked question based on my professional and personal achievements
- There were some follow-up questions based on my responses
- The interviewer also threw some tricky questions to judge how I handled stress
- My suggestion for the ISB interview would be to know your own application, inside out!
What do you plan to do after your MBA?
Post MBA, I want to pursue my career in strategy consulting.
Any final thoughts or advice for other MBA applicants?
- First and foremost, I would advise every MBA applicant to be honest in your application. The most hated thing from a b-school’s perspective is dishonesty
- The whole application process is very stressful and it will be an emotional roller coaster. So be prepared and keep your confidence high. Take any set backs sportingly
- Finally and most importantly, try to find out the essence of the whole process – how it forces you to think about yourself like never before. You have to invest lot of time and it’s always good to invest time on yourself. There is no shortcut to success!