Thursday, March 23, 2006

Was I Tense or Psyched??

"You look a bit relieved after you got an ISB admit" - This is what I heard from many people. They felt I was a bit pscyhed out off late. Hmmm.. was I really looking that bad??.. :) I was not psyched out or anything but busy speculating my own future. Past 4 years I have spent in a field just because its gives me money. I have never taken up IT related subjects in my life as I hated it from the bottom of my heart. Insptie of being qualified enough to get any stream after HSC, I didnt go for a BE in CS.

Stories apart, below are some questions asked to me by people and I have tried to answer them in a way to help all who might read this blog!!.. :)

Q: What is ISB looking for in the interview? Your experience of the interview?
Ans: They evaluate your complete profile in the interview. They verify all the special things you have mentioned in the application with diffferent questions. A thoroughly professional interview unless you make it unprofessional.. :) If you have written your essays really well and have brought out real life incidents there, they might be interested in asking you questions related to that. They judge your confidence, judge your cerdibility, judge whether you really aspire to make it big. After all this, they find out if they are suitable for you. They would want to make sure they find a right job for you. So if they neglect you, that may be mean two things. One, that you were not suitable for them. Second, they were not suitable for you. If they are apprehensive about placing you well, they wont take you in. It wont be justified.

My interview experience is posted (Aha!!.. ISB Interview experience!!) on this very blog.

Q: What kind of information are they exactly looking for in the essays that we have to submit with our application?
Ans: Essays will be out in a couple of months time for the next batch. Even if you are not going to apply next year, still you can register and start the online application (this doesnt require money). That way you will be able to look at the essay questions. Get a habit of writing frequently. In your essays (for any bschool), make sure you are creative and narrative but professional. If you mention that sense of humor is your strength, make sure it comes out in your essays. Similarly about your other strengths. Bring it out in your essays. Dont target the admission committee of a particular bschool in any of your essays. Make it generic as if you are addressing a crowd with that topic.

Q: Why did you prefer ISB over other B-Schools which provide 1 year MBA?
Ans: If you want to settle in India, if you want to finish your MBA soon and save a year of earnings, if you want to continue in the stream you are currently into, if you want to avail world class infrastructure and faculty, ISB is the place.

Q: Did you look at other B-schools apart from ISB? If yes then which were those ?
Ans: I didnt. That was the biggest mistake. Make sure you have different school options at your disposal. Its always good to have options. I would suggest, prepare well for CAT as well and approach IIMs also. Select good US Bschools and go for them as well. You can reject their offer if they dont give you a scholarship. If you are well off and can sponsor your education, then nothing like it.

Q: What kind of salary can a person expect after successfully completing the one year ISB course?
Ans: Depends on your profile. Depends on how you perform there. Depends on how proactive you are in your involvement with ISB over that one year. The average domestic salary at ISB roams somewhere around Rs. 9Lacs.

Q: Considering my current job profile (IT: 2 years), what kind of job profile can I look for after ISB and how will ISB help me in achieving that?
Ans: Depends on you, what stream you want to get into. ISB will provide you the tools to bag offers you want. Its upto you how you convert them. If you want to continue in IT services, keeping in mind your current position in another year, you might end up with a Project Manager or a Senior Project Manager job.

Hope these answers help all!!.. :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

DOs and DONTs...

... for an ISB re-applicant or an ISB IT applicant!!

  1. Be over confident
  2. Write off your essays in a jiffy.
  3. Argue with the interview panel.
  1. Have back up plans (MOST IMPORTANT). Even if you are hell bent on getting itno ISB, do make sure you dont loose a year if fortune does not favor you.
  2. Spend time on getting your essays reviewed
  3. Apply early
If you are from IT, make sure you have something different in your profile. International exposure is almost a must. I was a model earlier in my life. Also I worked for American Red Cross when in the US and got a normal recommendation letter from them. Played US California county cricket and bagged some awards. What different can you do?

There are a lot of things:
1) Submit some papers, if you are capable.
2) Excel in your current work environment and get some visible difference on paper for your profile
3) Develop some initiatives at your work place

There are lot many other things which you can take up to have a different profile. You would be the best person to find out what you are capable of. :)

As a re-applicant, you definitely need to have considerable improvement in your profile over a year. If you have not shown any change in your profile and have just added one more year of work experience, believe me, it wont work.

The wait that lasted longg....!!

The series goes like this!!

Submitted my online application in Mid September after reviews and reviews and reviews.. :) Sent the hard copies by October first week. Had my fingers, toes and dont know what all things crossed!!.. Eagerly awaiting interview calls!! Damn!! Mumbai was scheduled to be one of the last locations for interview, which meant you have read all those "Interview call received" mails from a whole lot of people and wait for yours.. :) Got one at last on Dec 01, 2005. Interview was scheduled for Dec 10, 2005. Interview experience is mentioend in my previous blog.

Once again, it was time to sit back and wait.. which is the worst part but you need to deal with.. you see they say it develops you as an individual, you become a patient person!! Do hell with it.. I dont want to become one, so please let me know as early as possible. Unfortunately things dont work as you want it, so had to wait. Mails started flowing in on the evening of Jan 07, 2006. Those admitted to class of 2007 were ecstatic... and where was I? Still looking for that one mail in the deluge that I received.. courtesy isb-pgp.. :). It seemed as if it had been years the first guy posted his result and I hadnt received mine and then the laughing Yahoo Messenger icon in my last trap blurted out: "From: ISBPGP, Subject: Application Status". From my last years experience, I knew that rejects used to get a mail with "Decision on your application " in the subject and when I saw a different subject, I was thrilled and expected an admit. I never had "waitlist" in mind and BINGO!!! I was waitlisted... it was as if a 10 ton elephant had just sat on my head. All these years of gyming helped.. ;) I was able to get it off and was again crossing all things possible to get the waitlist converted with the R2 results.

Feb 27th, 2006 - R2 admits flowing in on the groups and there I was again, eagerly waiting for the "precious". Unfortunately, the "precious" managed to evade me even then. People started speculating that another list would be out on 17th March, 2006.. so the wait continued. Come 17th March evening, I felt that fate wanted me to wait for one more year and I chalked out some plans for the next year over the weekend after 17th March.

22nd March, 2006, afternoon 3:00PM, casually logged into Yahoo! Mail for sending a personal mail and saw an email lying there with an attachment. With "Kamasutra" floating in our inboxes over the last two months, the "clip" was the first thing that used to hit my eyes, even before the senders name or the subject. Then fortunately I happened to see the subject and I was like staring it with blank thoughts. This mail had come when I least expected it, I was completely indifferent to it even after reading through it completely. My name had almost become synonymous with ISB and I was not getting that feeling of ecstacy. My friends had to give me a good jolt before they could brain wash those plans I had made for the coming year, expecting a reject from ISB.

Then with some friends and some phone calls and some SMSs and some beer at a lounge helped me get that same old feeling of "I LOVE ISB".. :) and Yes I did get that feeling back!!.. :)
So finally "The ISB Buff" is not getting re-buffed by ISB. May be they had done this on purpose.. for me to avail my salary for an extra two months as I would have otherwise resigned long back and enjoyed a longgggg vacation at home.. :) Coming year... two things are for sure... ISB IS GONNA ROCK and ISB IS GONNA ROCK MY LIFE TOO!!!.. :)

Aha!!... ISB Interview Experience

I know its been a long time I gave my ISB interview but it would be hard on my part if I dont share it with the world. Had posted this long back on the groups (isb-pgp) but was a bit apprehensive about sharing it on the blog as I didnt know if the interview was worth enough to get me through to ISB.. :)

So here it goes...

Had butterflies all inside me after reading Yugita's interview experience.. :)

Reached the venue almost 45 minutes early at 1045am. Got an essay on Adventure from the reception. Was called in exactly at 1130am in Conf room 5. Was greeted by Ms. Hema (Ad com), Mr. Ravi (either ad com or academics) and Mr. Vinay (Alumni). I wanted to break the ice myself.. so started off somewhat like this.

Me: Sorry about this but I hope you dont feel as if you have met a pack of incense sticks.
The panel: Why do you say that?
Me: I came in a cab and the driver had a couple of think incense sticks burning ferociously all the way from mulund to gateway and I was fearing that I might have caught the smell.
All of them smiled.. I took my seat.. :) I handed over the essay to Ms. Hema and then she started to go through it, when Mr. Vinay started off.. The series of questions ...

Mr. V: Your address on your resume says California but you are here in Mumbai for the interview.. why so?
Me: I was in Cali till around 10 days back.. This is my new resume with the updated address (handing over the resume, one to each of them).
Mr. V: So tell us something about yourself, your hobbies and your future growth plans.
Me: I am a reapplicant... blah blah blah..
Ms. H: (Is watching me answer) Before I could tell them about my hobbies..

Mr. V asks me about Modeling (which was a small part of my career)
Mr. V: You said you left Modeling. Why didnt you make it your career?
Me: Modelling was not my final goal. I wanted to use my available resources as I was not getting the so called elusive job. Also had some personal reasons for leaving the industry. Casting couch experience with some GUYS.
Ms. H: (Is watching me answer)
Mr. V: You left modeling because of this reason (casting couch). Why didnt you stay in the industry and try to eradicate the problem? What do you think would be the solution?Me: Not all model coordinators and agencies have this casting couch thing. Infact 90% dont have such an attitude.. but these 90% are so busy that they are approachable by the new talent. If they are open to new talent, the debutants need not go to the 10% peolple who have set this casting couch trend.
Ms. H: (Is watching me answer)
Me: You had also asked me about hobbies, can I continue on that?
All of them: Yes pleaseMe: Blah Blah..
Mr. V: You said you were working for Red Cross. What job was it? How did you manage to get in there?
Me: When I had been to the US for the first time, I could not figure out on how to use the free time I had, apart from cricket. In my second trip to the US, I had an idea on how to utilize my time for something humanely good. Also I wanted an out and out task for volunteering and the only such option was being a driver for delivering the blood collected at the Red Cross donation centers to the local hospitals.
Ms. H: (Is watching me answer) Once I was done with my future growth plans, I was asked about the client I was working for in the US.
Mr. V: Which client? Telecom?? Cool.. Which country has a good telecom future? India or China?
Mr. V: What kind of tasks are you into in the project?
Me (yet again): Blah Blah... :)
Mr. R: Which software or tool you used for Testing?
Me: (need I tell??.. :).. )
Mr. R: Ok.. you are from the TECH domain.. you are a techie (wellll am I???.. I dont think so.. neither do many people who know me.. :).. ).. But I am a completely non techie guy... so can you explain me what all different testing happens in the lifecycle of a software application...
Me: yes... these are the different type at different instants in the lifecycle of the application.. blah blah..
Mr. R: Ok.. you said Performance testing.. how is it done?? Have your heard of Winrunner?
Me: (I am bored of writing blah blah..:)..)
Ms. H: (Is watching me answer)
Mr. R: What is the future of testing domain?
Me: Great.. explaining them why so? (they were pretty convinced)
Mr. R: Then if its so goody goody.. why leave it and come to ISB? Why not grow in that domain and reach the top?
Me: Blah blah..
Ms. H:(Is watching me answer)

Both the male interviewers then looked at Ms. Hema and she dropped a bomb...
Ms. H: What is your fallback plan if we dont select you this time as well?
Me: (Stumbled for a couple of seconds but then continued...) Blah Blah yet again... :)
Ms. H: Any questions for us?
Me: My last blah blah.. :)

The interview was good.. no grilling or anything.. absolutely professional approach. Hope this helps who reads it!!...