First of all congratulations Meenal, on your next journey to Indian School of Business. You seem to have an exceptional track of getting admits to as much as 5 MBA schools across the top tier including ISB, IE, IESE. It would be great if you can tell us about your journey.
Why don’t you start by telling us where were you before your MBA? And what kind of role you were working into?
Over the last seven years have worked in various strategic roles, in which I was part of transforming various ventures. Before I decided to pursue my MBA , I was working with CEO of Sheltrex Developers as an analyst to create business opportunities for the firm. My role was interesting and was entrusted to scout potential investment opportunities and manage sourcing of funding to upkeep finances current projects for the affordable housing.
That's quite impressive, So how & what led to your inclination to pursue an MBA after working for 7 years into the industry? What was the motivation?
Prior to Sheltrex, I was working with HDFC Realty where I had worked from building an idea from scratch to implementation of complete new line of business of HDFC. While working on this idea I realized my passion is to facilitate growth of ideas that positively impact economy and society. For me to reach the industry that could enable me to do so and utilize my diverse industry experience I needed MBA. I spoke to various industry experts to understand the learnings I need to do to achieve so and fast paced full time MBA program will offer me complete package to achieve my goals.
What were key parameters that you used to research for schools?
For me three things were most important while I chose the schools -
The Core Values of the program
The Length of program
And most importantly alumni family
So What I meant by three of them is as follows:
Core values - DNA of school-practical experience, entrepreneurial culture and strong leadership focus
Length of programs - With around 7 years of experience and already in mid to senior manager role I wanted a program that can sharpen my skills in least amount of time , hence mostly less than 2 yrs program
Lastly , I wanted to be part of alumni network that can act as my second family thus guiding me to achieving my long term goal in future.
Most of your admits are from 1 year programs? Was that a specific choice you made?
Yes , length of the program was one of main criteria for me due to my diverse experience and post MBA goals.
Most students who approach generally pick up a school because somebody told them or they heard it somewhere. What would be your advice to such students?
I will advice all the students to first create a list of their strengths, values and objectives they wish to achieve then speak with school representatives and if possible to current/past students to understand their fitment. Post doing this analysis speak to other students/mentors and take their opinion. I strongly believe if you as a student truly believes that core DNA of school matches with student profile than one should definitely apply for the school.
Don’t just go by people words, analyse yourself and your goals to choose the best fit as in the end that's what school will look in.
MBA essays are generally the most tedious aspect of the MBA journey. How did you get started with your essays? The research? Time you took to write them? Did you have different versions.
I took very logical approach with respect to my essays. With my school shortlist ready I already have my profile highlights for each school panned out. I prioritized my schools as per deadlines and personal preferences, with R1 only 1 month away post GMAT this really helped. I created first story draft and got my essays reviewed by my closest friends who are currently in b-schools or already graduated.
Post the best story line, my essays underwent multiple revisions depending on question and school. It took me average 2-3 weeks to create the final draft and 1-2 days for application.
While working on your essays, did you reach to Alumni or consultants to help you structure the essays? What would be your advise?.
While I was working on my essays I mostly took help of my friends, one of them was an alumni to one of the school I was applying. I didn’t take help of consultants as I received huge cooperation and help from my friends.
“Word of advice is choose what best for you, taking help of professional or your friends, objective of entire exercise is to present your true picture in best way.”
Must have been difficult task to decide the place you want spend your next summer, how did you get down to one school post all the admits?
Oh yes, it definitely was. Figuring out among all the options, all of them looking one better than the other was a tough choice. To narrow it down to a single school, I evaluated from perspective on from which place
I can achieve my long term aim in least time, geography I wish to work in and most importantly ROI (tangible or intangible).
That is what worked for me. However, the criteria of choice for each individual is very personal- all the top global schools have their own pros-cons, one just need find one’s best combination
How did you plan your GMAT? How much time did you take prepare for the exam?
For GMAT unfortunately I had only 21 days to prepare for the score mentioned. Since, it was my second attempt was already familiar with pattern. I focused my time in improving my verbal score studied a few verbal lectures available online and took sectional sprint test to monitor my progress. This helped me in improving my score.
Most of the students who approach GMATxchange have this common issue of taking the GMAT 1-2 weeks before the application deadline? What would be your advise for such students?
Since I had almost same time I will advice you all to focus on aspects that you can improve and moderate your progress carefully through timely practice session. Be practical in taking guidance from platform ie. target the weaklinks that you can improve in given amount of time.Do not try to put a 700 benchmark try to maximize and balance your score as a good balance 650+ score is better than a skewed 700+.
One advice you would like to give to all the aspirants to follow preparing for their MBA?
Live this entire process experience if you would enjoy doing it will reflect in your essays. Be honest about where you fit best, don’t just go by school ranking and stats available. Be true to yourself in your essays, as people who will read them have read many essays in the past and will be able to shade light on the skeletons.
One advice you would like to give to all the aspirants to NOT follow preparing for their MBA?
Don’t go for MBA because everyone else is doing so or you will get promoted do so because their is a real need for you.
What are your plans post your MBA?
I wish to take strategic leadership position in large multinational corporation that focus on inorganic growth in technology, energy or infrastructure industries.
Anything you might want to highlight.
Just wish to reinstate create your plan and adhere to achieve it you will achieve your respective results
Thanks for sharing your insights Meenal. I am sure it will be helpful for all the applicants in the future. We wish you all the very best for the next year.