A Beautiful Mind

The Reflections Of My Mind

ISB Interview, Fellow Passengers and High Blood Pressure

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I am now done with my first MBA interview at ISB yesterday. I reached ISB on Friday itself and stayed with a friend of mine who is a current student and lives on campus.

OK. I was given a lift from the bus depot to the ISB campus by a fellow passenger (Mr. R) on the bus from Hyderabad airport to the city.  Thanks to him for saving my Rs.100. Boy the ISB campus is huge. And the moment I entered the campus I was greeted by two snakes. Yes. There are snakes, peacocks and white hares. Amazing. Anyway, the snakes were sleeping and soaking in the sun and so i just took a photo and moved ahead. Headed towards my friend’s room and after a lunch with her, started seeing the campus and met a few current students. It was a good experience to talk to an ex-chef from Taj Hotels, an ex-IAS officer and some engineers like me. Not to forget some beautiful faces that I saw 🙂

On Saturday, though my Interview was the first interview of the day at 9:40, I reached the location at 8:30 itself. I had to write a 100 word essay on “Cloning”. Wrote a little bit and then noticed that it went a little bit above 100. My panel (#3) had three interviewers. One Alumnus (A), one current Student (S) and one alumna-cum-adcom member (N). Can you guess why I am referring to her by N?

All in all it was a mixed experience as it started very well and in between I had some bouncers and then it ended in an OK manner. So here it begins:

N: Good profile. But tell me something about you that is not in your profile.

Me: (Thinking … what? Thinking of what I have not written about me in my profile……………….Still thinking……….Ah got it …) I am good poet.

N: (Thinking with a smile … “Oh yes … another poet is here. Lets see how good a poet he is 🙂 “) So do you write your own poems? What kind of?

Me: Yes. I write my own Ghazals.

N: Can you narrate one for us?

Me: Sure. “Humne itni bhi nahi pee …. …. …. jala mat dena.” (This was one of my most recent works 🙂 )

A, S and N: Good. Who is the person for whom the poem is written 🙂 ?

Me: 🙂 🙂 🙂

N: Do you read?

Me: Not Much. But occasionally newspapers and magazines.

N: Oh. I was about to ask you about latest IT trends but now I guess I cannot.

Me: You can still ask me the same question. I will give you my honest opinion.

N: What do you think of your company’s (Nomura’s) future?

Me: Very bright. They are having a record growth this year and will continue to have so. It is a big and very old financial giant backed by a very good balance sheet and expertise.

N: So was Lehman Bros. What makes Nomura an exception that it will not go the Lehman way. BTW… just to let you know we are looking for you approach to your point and not your final opinion.

Me: Defended Nomura. Its strategy and aggressiveness as compared to LB and so on. Some how managed my ship as there were a lot of cross questions.

N: Why ISB?

Me: Explained my views.

N to S and A: Do you think ISB will really provide Sunil all this? I doubt.

Me: Defended further with names of a few courses and special programs at ISB. Everyone appeared satisfied/OK and moved to next question.

Now the next person starts. S had some questions on team work and I told him what I did in such situations.

N: So tell me about two instances where you faced a difficult team member.

Me: (What? Where did TWO come from? I remember only one such situation.) Told them. They appeared to be not so much satisfied with the answer as I saw questions marks on faces of N and A. But the accepted my answer and asked for scenario two. Told them about other such scenario (figured out a related scenario while I was narrating scenario one). Went OK.

S: Coming back to scenario One. What did you do and why? Any problems you faced with your solution.

Me: Responded what I had experienced.

Finally A starts: Do you cook? Why? What? What’s your best dish?

Me: (Cooking was mentioned in my activities.) I missed my home food when I started working. So started cooking. I prepare Sindhi food and told them about my best dish and how to prepare it.

A: Then some questions on my experience during Lehman Bankruptcy.

Me: (This is where things didn’t go in expected manner.) Fact is: I was preparing for GMAT during those days and this event gave me time to prepare and so I used it. Moreover, my father had gone through this bankruptcy experience before when I was a kid. His experience helped me in remaining calm and avoiding the psychological pressure. After I was done with GMAT, LB was sold. So didn’t have to face such difficult time with job hunt or so.

A: Ok. So how were other people reacting? How did you help them?

Me: In reality, everyone was calm and preparing for themselves. Half of the office was empty. Rest were cool due to regular updates from senior management. On top of it, 4 banks started special recruitment drives for lehman employees so some of them had multiple offers and infact got new jobs with good raises. So hardly any pressure on anyone.

A: Oh!!! What we were looking for is how did you react to this situation and helped others. But your case is different.

Me: (I hope I do not have to pay a price for being honest 😦 )

A: How do you mentor new graduates/joiners? Your recommender has praised your mentorship skills so tell me the details.

Me: Told them how I use my experience from my first job and make sure that it doesn’t happen to my team.

A: Why did you choose this particular topic for essay2. It appears to be just an event related to some issues what you led during a production release. So why this and not something else.

Me: This incident … That incident … It was because of this … (They appeared to be convinced but you never know what they exactly felt.)

N: Any questions for us?

Me: Asked two and got a response.

A again: OK just one more question. So why MBA? and Why ISB?

Me: (What? I just said that before. Why again? Anyways…) Same reasons again but this time added one more point.

N: Give me your 100 word essay.

Me: (Ahh. Finally you will take a look at the essay. I can debate on Cloning for another 30 mins)

A, S and N: It was nice meeting you.

Me: (What? you have no questions on my 100 word essay? Anyways.) Thank-you for your time.

All in all it went for 30 min precisely. All the time A was reading my application and was taking notes. Now I have mixed feeling here as I was not able to answer what they were looking for or my answers were not detailed although they were to the point. I also feel that I missed a few important points. But I gess this is all that can be done in 30 mins and this feeling will always come even if I get 60 mins. Let us see what happens next.

Just a note for prospective candidates, the interviews are fully application based and they will try to corner you on one or two points. If you remain confident and give some inputs/facts to your answer or even related your answer to your own experience then it should be fine. Just don’t make a face that you don’t know the answer at all while still trying to say something.

And, if you are singer, prepare to sing in front of them, if you have a good sense of humor be ready to crack one or two jokes.

Finally, went to my friend’s room, had a breakfast with her (Yes. I went to interview without the breakfast.) and then left for the airport.

Now while waiting for my flight at the airport, a lady (wearing an ISB t-shirt) took the next seat. Out of curiosity, I asked here about her relation with ISB. She was an ISB alumna from 2007 batch and an ex-IRS / Income Tax officer (… Wow! I better now discuss my finances here 🙂 ). She is right now a high profile manager at GVK – people who are developing the Mumai Airport. Further, she asked about my experience and told me that she was the Placement Officer in her batch. She knew many people from my company and she also knew “N” personally. And … guess what … she also knew “A”. More than just a co-incidence?

We talked about her career, her year at ISB and many such things (including her favorite whiskey 🙂 ). And in the flight, I met another ISB alumnus (he had an ISB bag). He was from 2008 batch and is now a senior manager at Novartis. Amazing. I like this recession now for they had to fly economy. Otherwise they would have been flying in business class and I would not have got a chance to talk to them.

Now, later in the evening when I was at home, my father suffered from extremely high blood pressure. He fell down on the floor while walking and had to be taken to the hospital. He spent his night there and now we are all back home. He is relaxing and is now in a good health. I know him. He is a strong man and will recover quickly.


Written by abeautifulmind1

November 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm

8 Responses

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  1. […] A Beautiful Mind for more. var addthis_pub = ''; var addthis_language = 'en';var addthis_options = 'email, […]

  2. sunil,

    i hope your dad is doing fine now.

    all the best for your decision!

    Rocky Balboa

    November 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm

  3. Thanks for your wishes.


    November 1, 2009 at 3:02 pm

  4. Hey Sunil – great debrief. ATB to you man, you did a good job afaik. Take it easy and my prayers for ur dad.


    November 1, 2009 at 3:19 pm

  5. Thnx Jamir


    November 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm

  6. […] Beautiful Mind arrived in Hyderabad and wrote out an approximate dialogue of his ISB interview. Steve dressed up as his fiancee for Halloween, was happy with the results of the World Series and […]

  7. […] Beautiful Mind arrived in Hyderabad and wrote out an approximate dialogue of his ISB interview. Steve dressed up as his fiancee for Halloween, was happy with the results of the World Series and […]

  8. Thanks a ton for nice post!
    M finding it hard to study for my gmat along with my work!
    This will give me some vigour!

    Hope all is well at your place!


    December 1, 2009 at 6:28 am

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