Experts’ Global: We request you to tell your story and journey in your own words for our readers?
Nipun: Sure! I had done my Chartered Accountancy along with CFA and wanted to pursue finance at that point. I cleared CA in my first attempt, it was all going well, but I was not enjoying the work that much, and I felt that I should do something different. I then shifted to teaching, and over the next three and a half years of my life, enjoyed the freedom of greater free time and opportunities to learn more.
However, I felt that certain experiences could only be had through an MBA. Since I had three and a half years of work experience in India, it made sense for me to go for a school such as ISB, where I felt that my experience would also be taken into account while learning or meeting new people. That is when I thought I should start with GMAT preparation online and go for an MBA in India.
The good thing about me was that I have always been very focused. I knew that I wanted my MBA experience to be situated at the ISB. I could plan my whole applications approach based on that one school only. I was not looking for three or four schools to target. With a singular target, my journey became quite easy, everything turned out well for me, and I got into ISB.
Following my ISB immersion, I got placed in Unacademy, which was again a really good experience. For three and a half, four months I worked there and now I have shifted to another company, Disney+ Hotstar, in Mumbai. Now I am at a place where I really wanted to be, and it was all possible because of the MBA at ISB and the whole process of applying to ISB through Experts’ Global’s ISB admission consulting module.
Experts’ Global: Great! Thank you for narrating your story with such detail. In your opinion, what are the few factors or actions that you took that made all the difference?
Nipun: I feel that at some point in your life you start planning for the next stage of your growth and reach a moment of truth when it is now or never. I think that that urge drove me towards an MBA, especially because I had done three and a half years of work after my graduation. There was a huge gap between when my undergrad days ended and when I began studying for the GMAT.
Experts’ Global: With the benefit of hindsight, what are a few mistakes that you believe you committed in the process?
Nipun: When I came to Experts’ Global. I remember I came very late in the process because I decided at the last moment that I wished to pursue an MBA. The first round of admissions has already passed when I began my applications. It is always preferable to apply in the first round – around September – and for that you should start planning your approach in April. Thereafter, you can easily study and take the GMAT. I think I decided somewhere around August, and hence, I could not take GMAT before that. I started my whole process on the 2nd of November!
Experts’ Global: What are a few suggestions that you would like to give to future applicants preparing for the GMAT and the application process?
Nipun: I think three things are very important. One is that you need to be very sure about what you want. There are so many good schools out there, and certain questions that you ask yourself before starting the selection process will help you narrow your gaze.
The second is shortlisting your target schools, because based on that, you will go for a particular GMAT score and opt for a particular profile portrayal. You also need to assess your compatibility with that school. Once you have decided on your target schools, look at how well your profile meshes with the particular school’s offerings.
The third is time management. Especially if you are working, you need to mentally be ready to sacrifice your downtime for at least three or four months. Lastly, it is all about how committed you are. You need to be fully dedicated to the applications and MBA interview preparation.
Experts’ Global: Okay, that’s great. Can you tell us about your MBA experience?
Nipun: Sure. We were supposed to start on campus, in April 2020, but we were not able to, and eventually our MBA started online. The first fear was that it should not stay online, because that would impede networking, a crucial part of the MBA process. In October 2020, we went to the ISB campus, and I think from there, it was a really good experience. I met so many people and got to do so much.
At ISB, I managed to be a part of the media and entertainment team, where I took care of getting speakers from the media industry for the students, and leading interactions with them. I then got to lead an event called Adverta, a case competition festival. I had a team of 13 people, and we oversaw 12,000 students from all over the world participating in case competitions. Then I got to direct a play as well, and participate in ISL, the annual school sports fest!
I ticked all the boxes that I wanted to. At ISB, even during the pandemic, the school administration remained on point in terms of health and safety precautions, and ensured that the students are always very comfortable on campus.
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your experience of job searching during the MBA? What tips will you give to the future candidates for this?
Nipun: Sure. My perspective is very clear. I think it is all about starting early with outreach. If you plan well beforehand, you should be in a good position for placement day. You can prepare yourself for interviews beforehand. In my case, I was lucky enough to get a good interview with Unacademy where they talked about my past experiences in education. I had multiple rounds of interviews and in each round, it was more about my experience than about the interviewers’ questions.
Experts’ Global: What were the main resources that you used during your preparation for the GMAT and what is the advice that you will give to the candidates?
Nipun: I think for the GMAT, the official material is a really important resource. Having said that, you can also opt for more comprehensive online GMAT prep programs and evaluate their quality through their practice questions and GMAT mocks.
Focus on the official material, after which you can take extra questions from online platforms, and then take four or five good mocks to see where you stand. Always try to book your GMAT slot two weeks before you estimate you would be done with your prep, to make sure you can take the test at an optimal time for you.
Experts’ Global: What are a few common mistakes that you believe GMAT applicants must avoid?
Nipun: I feel one mistake would be to hurry into the process. I just thought that I could take the GMAT very quickly, by studying and understanding the concepts very quickly.
Second, I feel there are certain aspects which you will not get in one go. It is very natural. Do not shy away from paying a little extra for some kind of GMAT and MBA admissions consulting. Take all the help that you can.
Thirdly, I think GMAT is a lot about the environment. When you go into that hall to give an exam, it is a very difficult atmosphere. Just practice in a way that simulates the final exam milieu.
These are a few mistakes that I feel you should keep in mind. Otherwise, the GMAT is not such a tough exam to crack. Honestly, even if your first GMAT attempt yields subpar results, you can improve easily over time and then take another attempt when you are ready to score more!
Experts’ Global: Is there anything you would like to share with us about your post-MBA journey, and how your pre-application process helped in your post-MBA growth?
Nipun: Sure! I feel that I was lucky to have Experts’ Global’s aid, because they knew the applications process well and they customized their own processes for me in terms of timelines. I think that helped me because once I got my targeted GMAT score, I was ready to apply right away!
The whole applications process needs to be known to you, and counsellors help you reach the point of understanding. Post-MBA as well, if things would have not been done on time at that point, then I would have lost the admission in that round.
Experts’ Global: Thank you so much for sharing your insights with future MBA applicants. Is there any final message that you would like to give to all of them?
Nipun: I would just say that the MBA is a really big step in one’s life because it is a post-graduation program that requires one to make an informed decision about where one’s career is going. Choose your schools well, because honestly, when you go to a particular school, you should always see what that school has expertise in and whether it matches your profile. Target the schools that fit your profile and which you feel would be best suited to your personal growth.
I just feel like everyone needs to have a mindset where they take their own time and do things in a way which is comfortable for them. If you want to do MBA early in life, go for it. If you feel like doing an MBA seven or eight years into your career, then go for an executive MBA. You can decide to take the MBA leap at any point in your life but just make sure that you do so in an informed manner.
Experts’ Global: Great! Thank you so much for giving us your time!
Nipun: My pleasure, and I hope my words prove useful!