Experts’ Global: Hi Tavishi, thank you so much for your time today! Could you kindly share your story in your own words?
Tavishi: I spent the first ten years of my life in Delhi, after which I moved with my parents to the Middle East. For my undergrad, I studied computer engineering, finishing the last two years of my degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For four years after that, I was employed at Accretive Health, working on workflow automation and business process consulting. Moving to Delhi for an India-based project in 2016, I wished to start a new life for myself in my homeland. In 2017 then, with Experts’ Global’s ISB admissions consulting, I secured a seat in the ISB PGP, and since last year, I have been leading my own venture combining yoga with counselling.
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what are the decisions that made all the difference in your success?
Tavishi: Firstly, I made sure that I enjoyed the application process. I appreciated the opportunity to expand my network, introspect on my growth story, and learn to sell myself. I also made sure to fearlessly challenge the status quo. The usual path for an upwardly-mobile Indian is to move to the United States. However, I made a different choice in moving back to India from the USA!
Experts’ Global: Regarding your GMAT preparation, what were the main resources that you used, and what advice would you give to future GMAT takers?
Tavishi: In my case, when I first thought of taking the GMAT, I spread my preparations out over a year and a half, letting each concept in the syllabus sink in. In the last two months before my GMAT date, I used a GMAT online course to shore up my conceptual understanding, and I also used the official material’s GMAT practice tests.
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your experience with managing the application timeline?
Tavishi: Managing the application timeline taught me that it is best to begin your school research as early as possible. Try and apply to all your target schools in their first round of admissions. Make sure to start working on your essay drafts as soon as you can, and remember that your first drafts are likely going to be much changed before they are finalized.
Experts’ Global: Would you please describe your interview experience with the business schools?
Tavishi: The vast majority of my MBA interviews were quite pleasant. My IIM Ahmedabad interview stands out though, as my interviewers rigorously cross-examined my motivations to work in the social sector. The arguments they made in favor of a shift to for-profit work were incisive, and my preemptive MBA interview prep held me in good stead. It helps if you approach the interview more like a conversation with a natural give and take, where you ask questions too.
Experts’ Global: How was your MBA experience?
Tavishi: My ISB PGP was a single-year course that gave me once-in-a-lifetime business education and cultural immersion. I got to try my hand at dancing and sports and even engaged with the ISL, the school’s internal sports league. Getting to expand my interest base and perspective on the world alongside a truly accomplished cohort made the learning experience all the more fruitful. My PGP specialization was in leadership and strategy, so now I have an understanding of how to manage an organization from the top down, which comes in handy for my current venture!
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your job search experience during the PGP and what tips you would give to future MBA applicants?
Tavishi: At ISB, there are three rounds of placements, and different companies come to campus for each round to conduct interviews and identify talent. More than 90% of my PGP class found a job via the placement process. For the outliers, they had mentors to reach out to, both within the school as well as within the larger alumni community. Further, I have seen my classmates get discouraged initially when they were unable to secure a job in the first placement round, yet go on to land better profiles in subsequent rounds. I would say, do not lose hope!
Experts’ Global: How did the entire pre-application phase and your MBA experience contribute to your growth post-MBA?
Tavishi: In your MBA class, you will find that everyone has a profile of great merit and achievement. You might begin to doubt your own capabilities in comparison to your peers, but this is an error you must avoid. Reach out to your friends if you feel imposter syndrome coming on, and try to approach your MBA as a collaborative experience rather than a competitive one. Be sensitive to your mental health. The high workload of the MBA can be a stressor for many, and most schools have counselors on-campus to help students keep their balance.
Regarding my application process, I am quite grateful for Experts’ Global’s help. Their consulting helped me soul search and identify the USPs of my story, and so craft truly compelling essays. Post-PGP, my experience with Indian corporate culture has been that it is more ego-driven and less open to cross-hierarchy discussion than the USA’s. My attitude which was celebrated as a go-getter’s in the USA has been considered too aggressive in India. There is still a ways to go in changing the misogynistic mindset of Indian corporate leadership.
Experts’ Global: What is your final message to the GMAT and MBA aspirants out there?
Tavishi: Do not let social conditioning restrict your passions. Not every MBA student wants to be an entrepreneurial maverick or a fast riser targeting a CxO profile. Take the time to identify your own vision, and use the tools of an MBA education to amplify it. Further, make sure to network as much as you can. Use the connecting ability of the internet to your advantage and try and reach out to individuals who have achieved goals similar to yours.
Taking help when necessary is always the smart move. To optimize your applications, avail of assistance from MBA admissions consultants. As a last thought, regarding GMAT prep, remember that there are several free GMAT mocks out there that you can leverage to ramp up your practice!
Experts’ Global: Listening to your story has been quite enlightening, and thank you for sharing it!
Tavishi: You are most welcome! I would be glad to help other MBA applicants if they reach out.