ISB Interview Experience 3 – A CA, Political Consultant & Entrepreneur’s Journey to ISB

This article is about the ISB interview experience of an applicant that comes from a CA + Political Consulting + Entrepreneurship background. The applicant shares his ISB interview preparation strategy and shares the debrief of his ISB interview experience.

1. Applicant’s profile:

  1. Chartered accountant, worked with EY for a few years
  2. Moved into political consulting
  3. Startup experience – Started an independent news media entity for the political consulting ompany
  4. Hobbies – Football player

Tip by applicant: Try to inculcate as many extracurricular activities as possible in the ISB application. Even if they seem irrelevant, try to fit those into the ISB application because that shows the interviewers that this person is a multi – talented individual and that comes off as a strong aspect of your profile.

2. How did you map your profile to the different aspects that ISB is looking for?

I had a very diverse profile and that’s what I focused on. Along with my CA and political consulting profile, I also had a startup of my own. In fact, instead of focusing on diversity, my main aim while creating my essays was to balance the focus on all different areas covered in my profile instead of sticking to just one single part of my profile.

For the leadership aspect of my profile, I leveraged my experience in my startup. I showed that the journey of building a business requires great initiative and leadership. The same was true for being a team manager or project manager.

3. What was your ISB interview preparation strategy?

My goal post ISB was to get into consulting. Most of my ISB interview preparation was focused towards that. I already had a very good grip on the work experience aspect of my profile. I wanted to prepare myself to face the questions about my goal of being a consultant.

That’s an area where MBA Sage and the mock interview was also very helpful.

Ultimately my goal while preparing for the ISB interview was to force the interviewer to ask questions about those areas of my profile that I was strong at. I had manipulated my application in that way. It sounds difficult to do but as someone with a diverse profile it was quite easy for me.

I didn’t mug up answers to any questions as I wanted to remain myself and come off as impromptu. The only preparation I did was mentally preparing bullet points to answer some tricky questions like – What was the most horrible day at work for you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? And so on…

I also didn’t prepare any stories to share with the panel. I did however bring the pitch document of my startup and also other relevant documentation related to my work experience. This helped to keep the discussion focused on the areas that I wanted to.

4. How was your experience with MBA Sage?

I booked an interview with Abhijith Sampath. Through the interview, I wanted to get the consulting aspect of my profile covered. I wanted to get a perspective on how an actual consultant would look at my profile, the kind of questions that can be expected and specially the questions that could be expected about my future goal of being a consultant.

Abhijith was a perfect choice for this mock interview because he was the President of the Consulting Club at ISB and he had the perspective towards my profile that I was looking for. He asked me case studies and asked me my perspective on what the solutions to these case studies should be.

5. How was your ISB interview experience?

My interview panel had two members. One panel member was a recent alumnus while the other was a 7 – 8 year old alumnus. Their questions were completely focused mainly on my work experience – The startup I had worked on, my experience in political consulting. In fact, all of the questions were quite specific to my profile and the general questions were quite rare.

When asked about why I wanted to choose ISB, I answered it to show how ISB had a deep fit and benefit for my profile. I was already involved with a startup and I was planning to raise funds soon. My journey at ISB would help me further improve my business acumen that is needed to have a successful startup. Plus, it would also add more credibility to my profile when trying to attract investors. Being an ISBian will also allow me to tap into the ISB alumni network that would be helpful in raising funds and building a team.

I wasn’t asked about why I wanted to pursue an MBA/PGP, maybe because I had mentioned it clearly and convincingly in my essay. One instance that really caught me off guard was when they asked about the most difficult situation I have placed at my workplace. I was able to answer it well, even though it was an impromptu answer and I stuck completely to being extremely specific to my work when sharing the incident.

None of the questions asked in the interview were about the consulting goal I had for my profile. Fortunately, this meant that my efforts in channeling the attention of the panel to the strong areas of my profile, through my essays had succeeded.

6. What would be your ISB interview preparation tips for future applicants?

The best way to prepare for the ISB interview is to:

  1. Introspect the strong and weak parts of your profile. You should also have complete clarity on your goals.
  2. Focus on your strengths and create a profile that projects these strengths and explain how you would like to achieve your goals and how a PGP at ISB is important for it.
  3. Be prepared to speak about your weaknesses. It is not necessary to mention your weaknesses in the application, but if you’re specifically asked about them in the interview then you should be ready with answers.


Edited at MBA SAGE
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