Getting into the prestigious ISB is not just anyone’s cup of tea. According to Abhilaksh Sharma (VIT pass out and ISB Alum), “ISB looks for confident and jugaadu people who can get things done. Just being academically good and raw intelligence will not be enough to cut it.” Before joining ISB, Abhilaksh was working as a public sector consultant at the Project Planning & Implementation Division (Chairman's Office) at the Quality Council of India. This article is trying to capture his GRE prep, essay prompt, interview experience and his overall time in ISB. Want to get into ISB? Want to know if you are cut out for it? Read this interview to find out.
(Above) Abhilaksh Sharma - VIT and ISB Alum
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Please give us a brief introduction about yourself and your profile.
I did my engineering from VIT. Post which I worked as a public sector consultant at the Project Planning & Implementation Division (Chairman's Office) at Quality Council of India. I worked with two major infrastructure ministries on large-scale reforms aimed at improving the quality of services delivered to citizens of India. After gaining a rich experience from there I joined ISB.
How did you prepare for the GMAT/GRE? What resources did you use?
I prepared for GRE. There I scored 335 out of 340. My preparation was heavily based on Magoosh and Manhattan Prep. They are good online sources if you want to prepare for GRE. Apart from that, I also made an excel sheet to record my performance and weakness. And then track and analyse my performance over time.
Could you tell us how you went about answering the essay prompt at ISB?
- To start with my essay prompt I thought of several angles that I could write on.
- The second thing was penning it down.
- Once I was done writing I consulted with my seniors and friends. They helped me narrow down my thoughts.
- After that, I wrote one essay extensively, without any word limit, then edited it down to my final essay.
What made you choose ISB?
I chose ISB for several things. I have done research on several colleges and even talked to seniors and alumni of the same. From all the information I could gather, ISB turned out to be the one. I really liked -
- Unique b-school culture
- The less stressful entry process
- Great infrastructure.
- Excellent teaching quality
- Experienced cohort
- Shorter duration
How was your ISB interview experience?
The interview was very casual and relaxed. The things that I was asked about were my extracurricular, my work experience. They also asked me about my MBA goals, and what plans I have for my future. They didn’t specifically grill me at any point since everything was highlighted in my application.
What is your opinion makes up an ideal candidate for the PGP program at ISB? What kind of stand out qualities is ISB looking for in candidates? Why do you think you made it?
ISB looks for confident and jugaadu people who can get things done. You need to be street smart. Just being academically good and raw intelligence will not be enough to cut it.
In retrospect, what do you think of your decision to join ISB? What were your learnings, and what will you take away from the one year spent at the institute? Is it worth joining one of India's most expensive business schools?
I don't regret my decision of joining ISB. I think every penny of my time at the b-school was totally worth it. ISB gave me everything I asked for on both professional and personal front, but I had to really put myself through the gauntlet for that. I think anyone who comes here keeping in mind that they want to give it their all, will get what they’re looking for.
Any suggestions to the aspirants who are vying for a seat at ISB?
Always keep growing and learning, never take your foot off the gas pedal.
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