Experts’ Global: Hi Manan! We request you to please share your journey, your story, in your own words?
Manan: Hello! Thank you so much for having me here. Like a lot of your students, I’m also an engineer by training. Prior to my MBA, I had four years of work experience. My MBA journey started in late 2019 when I felt the need to develop certain skills in order to fulfill my long-term ambitions. Thus, I started researching about various business schools and the skills I could garner from them.
I started talking to people who were already in the process, and planned my GMAT prep accordingly. Working on a very compressed timeline, I had only about two and a half to three months to spend on my MBA application. Fortunately, with a decent GMAT score, I received two or three interview invites, converted a couple of them, and decided to go ahead with ISB.
Experts’ Global: In your opinion, what are a few actions you took that made all the difference?
Manan: I would like to divide this question into two parts. One part is the GMAT prep, and the other one is the MBA application. For GMAT, the practice tests made a whole lot of difference. In the 20 days leading up to the GMAT, I gave 15 GMAT mock tests.
On the MBA application front, I saw a lot of people over-emphasize the importance of GMAT score and not put adequate effort into the application, especially the essays and recommendations. In my opinion, GMAT is just 30% of the battle and the essays and recommendations too form a major component of the application. I would recommend everyone to put in balanced effort on all fronts.
Experts’ Global: With the benefit of hindsight, what are a few common mistakes that you believe you might have committed in the process?
Manan: My biggest mistake was that during my GMAT, I was overly cautious of the accuracy of my answers. However, unlike many exams one takes in India, for GMAT, one needs the right balance between accuracy and speed. Thus, to increase accuracy, one cannot compromise on speed.
Experts’ Global: What were the main GMAT resources that you used during your preparation, and what tips would you give to the future GMAT aspirant?
Manan: For my GMAT prep, there were two resources that I used. One was the Experts’ Global crash course for two months, and the other one was the GMAT Official Guide (OG). For one month, I went through the videos that were part of the crash course and also attempted every practice question. I used the OG only as a revision tool and worked on the practice questions it had. I allotted the last 20 days of my prep to the mock tests that came along with the crash course.
Experts’ Global: What should be the frequency of the mock tests and how many mock tests should an aspirant be taking?
Manan: In my opinion, every GMAT aspirant should take at least 10 or more tests in the 15 days leading up to the GMAT. However, I understand that many applicants are in demanding jobs and finding time is not that easy. Hence, I would recommend that one takes at least 10 or more tests in the month leading up to the GMAT. That would roughly mean a test every 3 days!
Experts’ Global: What would you like to say about your experience and learning from managing the application timeline?
Manan: One thing that helped me build my timeline and adhere to it was a timeline planner shared with me by Experts’ Global, my MBA Admission Consultants. The planner helped me complete my tasks on time, well before the deadline. As far as deadlines are concerned, there are two things that I want to convey. The first is that one needs to give at least 2 months to the MBA application and the second thing is that the application essays should be in place at least 20 days before the deadline so that there is enough time to have the essays reviewed and edited.
Experts’ Global: Would you like to describe your interview experience with the business school?
Manan: I interviewed with three business schools and each school provided a very different interviewing experience, with a different interviewing pattern; fortunately, the MBA interview prep had me ready for all.
I’ll start with my ISB experience. A panel of 3 interviewed me. I wouldn’t say that the interview was very grilling or intense, but it wasn’t very calm either. The interviewees were very experienced people, so they asked me very logical questions pertaining to my experience and provided me with valid arguments against the points that I was making. Most of the interview revolved around the long-term ambitions that I had mentioned in my essay, how thorough I was with the goals, how my goals would converge with the program at ISB, and how ISB could help me through my journey.
One thing that I want to specifically say is that many people believe that interviewing is just a one-sided process with the schools asking all the questions. However, one should also think of an interview, as a means to decide which school one wants to really be in.
Experts’ Global: Would you like to share details about your MBA experience?
Manan: It has been one of the best experiences of my life up until now. In those one to two years of transformation, one grows both professionally as well as personally. You meet a lot of peers who are doing some great things, and have achieved a lot. You get to learn so much from those around you. It is truly one of the most wholesome experiences one can ever have!
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your job search experience during the MBA and what tips you would give to future MBA applicants?
Manan: Job searching is obviously very intense. It takes a lot of effort and hard work. However, anyone in the pre-MBA phase should not worry about the job search process because as soon as one gets into a business school, one will be flooded with resources. There are seminars, guidance sessions, and talks to help students through the entire process. Moreover, there are professional clubs that provide a plethora of resources to prepare for the journey ahead, as well as help connect with the alumni base.
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about your post-MBA journey? How did the entire pre application experience and your MBA journey contribute to your growth post-MBA?
Manan: It has been six months in my current job now. I am working in the pharmaceutical consulting industry. The work that you put into the pre-MBA phase forms the foundation for interview preparation during your job search, for resume preparation on the professional front, and for the entire profile in general; I was fortunate to be with one of the best ISB admissions consultants; obviously, once you get into a good school, there will be a whole lot of resources to go through, you will add a lot to your profile, but the pre-MBA phase will form the foundation of it all.
Experts’ Global: Can you tell us about a few common mistakes that all GMAT aspirants and MBA applicants should avoid?
Manan: One of the mistakes that I see people make, as I mentioned earlier, is that they overemphasize on GMAT and I feel this is something that one should avoid. One should have enough time in hand for the rest of the applications process, as well. A good business school will have a whole lot of diversity – some students will be logically or quantitatively very smart, some students will know how to network very well, and then there will be those who are extremely creative. These aspects are not visible in the GMAT score but only come out through essays. Hence, it is essential to devote enough time to story building.
Experts’ Global: What would be your final message or suggestion to all those who are planning to do an MBA?
Manan: I know it sounds a bit clichéd but I would just ask people to not stress, to be honest, and to be thorough with the entire application. One needs to be aware of what one is writing and ensure that every point is well researched. Further, if possible, you should talk to the alumni of your target schools as it will really help you in deciding which school you should join. All of this will together help in making your application wholesome and positive.
Experts’ Global: Thank you so much for giving us your time and interviewing with us!
Manan: Thanks a lot for having me here and all the very best to all the students who are applying for MBA this time.