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From 640 on the GMAT to making to ISB to chasing his dream: Candid with Bharath

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Bharath grew up in Chennai and like most of us went on to study engineering and ISB happened to him. Let us listen to this engrossing story of Bharath and his roadmap to his dream.

School: Indian School of Business

Where did you work before enrolling into Business School?

Reliance Industries Limited for 7.6 years.

What was your background before joining the MBA Program?

Before my MBA I was into a hard-core engineering job and was handling the operations of a volatile petro-chemical/Oil & Gas unit in Gujarat.  I started off as a DCS engineer, and was given opportunities in multiple large-scale projects. My last held position with RIL was that of a Senior Manager(Operations). Reliance offered stiff challenges and tougher environments which made me a level-headed person . The job came with extreme responsibilities and, more often than not, one wrong move could mean curtains and it was a job where I always had my heart in my mouth, because many lives were at stake.

In addition, I’ve always been a sportsperson, right from a very young age and there was/is nothing which interests me more than sports. I received my

International FIDE rating in Chess as a 10 year old and have won multiple State/National/International level competitions. In addition, Tennis is the greatest love of my life and one of my key ambitions in life is to visit Wimbledon and watch a tennis match live on center court, even if it means exhausting all my savings.  


What did you want to achieve from an MBA Program?

I wanted 4 things from my MBA and was very clear right from Day-1.

  1. A Industry shift

  2. A Function shift

  3. An opportunity that would get me back to my hometown Chennai.

  4. An opportunity to have a crack at my most favorite company, Apple Inc.( ISB is the only B school in the country where Apple pays a regular visit)

Why did you choose this business school?

MBA was a very late decision for me and I was lucky to have made it to many prestigious schools in my first attempt. I had an ordinary GMAT score of 640, but, in hindsight, I strongly believe that a tough work experience coupled with strong extras got me in. I knew that I was going to pursue an MBA once in my life and I wanted to do it from the top most school in the country. I made it to many of the executive programs of the IIM’s, but ISB was a natural choice for me because,

a.) It was their flagship program.

b.) The un-matched student mix, which I knew, would get me out of my comfort zone.

c.) An opportunity to learn from the world’s most renowned professors, who flew in from different parts of the world.

d.) Placements: With industry shifts and function shifts running through my mind, I knew ISB was the only school in the country, with my level of experience, which could offer me a decent chance in achieving them. I knew it was a long shot, but, needless to say, I wanted to have a real shot.

I strongly believe, back then, and right now, that, for a 1 year MBA in India, there is no place better than ISB.

Did your B-school help you achieve these goals?

Well, I did manage to shift both my Industry & Function, a rarity for somebody with as high a work experience as me. Oil & Gas to BFSI is surely a huge leap. I was interviewed by Apple, but unfortunately, couldn’t make it through in the final rounds, it was surely a big disappointment for me. It was so near, but yet, so far.

What would you term as your greatest achievement at your B-School term?

I guess getting placed in a completely different industry & function was one of them. But yes looking beyond just placements, I think I managed time effectively, made many friends, remained calm and more importantly did what I wanted to. The presence of my mother at campus was also very critical and made me feel at home.I spent many hours playing tennis regularly, never cut down on my sleep (except for a few occasions) and was surely at peace, despite the hectic curriculum. I also took a conscious call to take difficult electives, where I knew I wouldn’t score, but went ahead for the learning.

Well Bharath, you seem definitely a person who follows his heart

What are you plans post the MBA? Where will you work post the graudation?

I have joined the Max Bupa health insurance company as a Chief Manager & Head (Distribution Operations and Analytics). Health insurance in India is set to undergo a titanic shift in the next few years, and I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for me to be a part of the growth story.

Well I can imagine it must a eventful year the B-School, what would you describe as your best memory at the Business School?

When I left ISB, one last time, I instructed the cab driver to take me around the circle multiple times. Once we were done, I got down and looked back at the iconic structure. I knew, it was a goodbye I never wanted to say. Though it was a sad moment, it is the best memory I have of ISB, because, at that moment, it became a part of my life.


Okay time for some quick ones, The greatest lesson you learnt during your term at the Business School

 - "To remain humble or be humbled."

Name one habit/experience that you developed at your B-school which will very helpful in the future (diversity, time management, etc.)

- "To trust your gut feeling and to not be intimidated."

Business Personality you admire the most

- NR Narayanamoorthy.

As a future leader, what would be the next big the world that is going to move the world.

- Robots in frontline defense, ability to stimulate human brain( brain training) and Hyperloop.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school?

To make an honest application with realistic dreams. I also want to advice prospects that the GMAT is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient condition to make it to a top B school, there are other factors which could help you make the cut. So, don’t get bogged down by a lower than average GMAT.

Favorite Quote

Happiness is good health and a bad memory.

Sense of humour is good for you. Have you ever heard about a laughing hyena with a heart burn?


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